Yachts slicing through water are difficult to capture in a single image. There is the speed, the dynamism, the turns, the spray, the reflections and ever-changing lighting.
So professional sailing photographers choose to focus on different elements -- the patterns in the sky, the facial expressions of the crew, or the wind filling the sails.
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Nothing shows this more than the selection of photographs from this year's Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image. The annual contest picks the top 80 sailing photographs from sailing regattas that year. Then, with the help of an international jury and a online public vote, these images are whittled down to a shortlist of 20, and finally to a single winner.
Russian photographer Eugenia Bakunova specialises in speed. "I love the challenges of shooting sailing dynamics," she says. "That is why whenever it is possible I try to catch the speed with my camera."
Chinese photographer Bo Wang tries to capture the moments of calm when the wind drops during a race. "Yacht racing is not only fierce confrontation, but also quiet and beautiful," he says.
Andras Kollman, from Hungary, has a different approach. He explains that he thinks less about the action of the race and more about capturing "magic, poetic moments." In this year's contest, his photo shows a bird racing on the water towards a group of yachts.
"Birds and sailors operate in the same way," Kollman says. "They both trim lightweight streamlined structures to create lift; there are many physical features working together, but the sails have the key role."
Evolving technology is giving more opportunities for photographers to capture new angles. Since last year -- when Sören Hese won with an extraordinary drone shot from the German 505 class championships -- jury members have seen an increase in photographers using drones to show bird's eye views of the yachts.
The contest is open to professional photographers from all over the world -- this year, images were submitted from photographers spanning 25 countries. It includes shots from Olympic sailing events, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Extreme Sailing Series and many more.
Nicolas Mirabaud, a member of Mirabaud's executive committee and the international jury, was impressed by the high caliber of photos. "Once again this year, the submitted pictures show the complexity and beauty of the sport of sailing," he says.
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