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Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Yesterday I bought a round trip ticket on the Laben Bergbahn, a small mountain cable car in Oberammergau, Germany that took us quickly from 900m to 1684 meters. Some folks, however, bought a one-way ticket up the mountain and used an alternative mode of transportation to come down.

I am not sure if I am courageous or crazy enough to jump off a mountain like that and paraglide to the bottom.

parasailing

paragliding

paragliding

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This past weekend I traveled to Washington D.C. to cheer on a friend and her team, the DC Strokes Rowing Club, in the 3.1 mile Head of the Anacostia Regatta. I don’t have a lot of experience photographing sports or even people, so it was a challenge for me to capture some images of the event.

The last time that I watched my friend row, she was part of a four-woman boat, but this time she was in a mixed boat, with four female and four male rowers (plus a coxswain). I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to synchronize your efforts with such a large number of others of such varied sizes and strengths. It was fascinating, for example, to see how they carried the boat down the ramp to the water, with the rowers arranged in ascending order by height.

I learned from the last time that I watched a race at this location that the best way to get action shots of the entire boat was to place myself on a bridge that overlooks the finish line. So after I watched the rowers launch their boat, the Stonewall, and head slowly for the start line, I walked quickly to the bridge to await their arrival. As I looked upriver to see when the boats would be coming, it was tough see across several railings and four lanes of traffic.

Eventually their boat arrived and I was happy that I was able to get some action shots from above as they headed for the finish line. Congratulations to all of them!

(Click on any of the photos in the tiled mosaic to see the photos in a larger size.)

The rowers in action

The rowers in action

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Readers may have noticed that I rarely take photos of people and never photograph sporting events, but yesterday I found myself supporting one of my friends at the Capital Sprints Regatta in Washington D.C. on the Anacostia River. This was her first competition as a member of the DC Strokes Rowing Club and it was great to get some shots of her in action to commemorate the event.

I had never before been to a regatta and I took a lot of photos in an effort to capture the feeling of the experience. I selected a few of my favorites for this posting, including some close-up portraits as well as some action shots.

row4a_blog

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

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Anyone who had ever played sports has undoubtedly been told, “You have to keep your eye on the ball.” Apparently that is true for dogs too.

I took this shot of Freckles, a friend’s year-old Cocker Spaniel, as she chased a large ball in my back yard yesterday. I love the intensity of her focus, as reflected in her eyes and the expression on her entire face.

freckles_ball_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Like a sprinter, this Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) seems to be lunging forward toward a finish line, pushing hard to be the first to break that invisible tape.

leaning_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was observing this Slender Spreadwing damselfly (Lestes rectangularis) earlier this week, it suddenly launched into a series of acrobatic maneuvers worthy of an Olympic gymnast on the high bar. I captured several action shots of the routine, possibly related to laying eggs, although I managed my clearest shot when the damselfly returned to its starting position and waited for the scores from the judges.

Pointing the toes for maximum extension

Pointing the toes for maximum extension

damsel_spread2_blog

Swinging back to generate greater velocity for the next trick

Finishing up the routine

Finishing up the routine

Waiting for the scores from the judges

Waiting for the scores from the judges

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This past weekend I came across a type of caterpillar that I first encountered last fall.  Its black, yellow, and white markings once again made me think of the Pittsburgh Steelers National Footbal League team that wears those same colors.

The sports pages of the newspaper currently are saturated with articles on football, so it’s only natural that I think in those terms (and I apologize to the rest of the world for any confusion caused by the fact that we Americans use the word “football” to refer to a game that doesn’t use feet much at all and use “soccer” to refer to the other “football” game).

I enjoy referring to this caterpillar as the Steelers caterpillar, though, of course, it has a “real” name, which I think is a Smartweed caterpillar (Acronicta oblinita). Some US states have state insects, so I wonder if the Steelers would welcome a fuzzy new mascot. This could be the start of a trend and a marketing opportunity—there are more than enough caterpillar types around for each team to adopt its own.

black_and_yellow_blog© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This past weekend I came across a caterpillar that I had never seen before.  Its black, yellow, and white markings somehow made me think of the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team that wears those same colors. For now, I am referring to it as the Steelers caterpillar, though, of course, it has a “real” name.

I’m having trouble identifying it—it may be a Smartweed caterpillar, also known as a Smeared Dagger caterpillar (who makes up these names?), although it seems to be lacking the red coloration in the hairs that I see in most photos. If anyone can make a positive identification, please let me know. Who knows, maybe the Steelers need a fuzzy new mascot?

Pittsburgh Steelers caterpillar

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I was going through my recent dragonfly photos and this one really caught my eye. Somehow the combination of the dragonfly’s position and the long branch with the slight curve together made me think of a pole vaulter just before he clears the bar. It’s a little unusual that I photograph a dragonfly from below with the sky as a backdrop, but that’s what happened that day.

Maybe he’s preparing for the Dragonfly Olympics! What other events do you think they would have? I’m pretty sure they’d have gymnastics, given the frequency with which I see dragonflies do handstands.

Pole-vaulting dragonfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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