21 Apr Sports Photography as a Spectator – Canoe slalom

Source: Fujifilm X Blog

Canoe Slalom at Grandtully, Scotland

By Jeff Carter

In a series of articles, X-Photographer Jeff Carter will be shooting at sports events in the UK and showing how to capture great images with the Fujifilm X Series without the need for a media pass.


Sports Photography as a Spectator – Canoe Slalom

Canoe Slalom is an Olympic sport that over the years Britain has excelled at with competitors bringing home medals and world championships. Joe Clarke brought home gold at the Rio Olympics last summer in the K1 class and Tim Bailie and Etienne Stott struck gold in London 2012 in the C2 Slalom event.

Canoe Slalom is where competitors navigate a course of numbered hanging gates on river rapids in the fastest time possible. Gates are split between downstream (green) and upstream (red). On each course there must be between 18 and 25 gates, of which 6-7 must be upstream gates.

If a competitor’s body, boat or paddle touches a gate 2 seconds is added to their final time. If they miss a gate, go through in the wrong order or go through upside down, then 50 seconds is added to the final time at the end of the run.

Competitors take part in canoe (C1 or C2) or kayak (K1), with canoe using a single bladed paddle and kayak using a double bladed paddle.

Events take place all over the UK on either natural river courses or artificial courses like the ones at Holme Pierrepont near Nottingham or Teeside in the North East of England. Personally I prefer to shoot at natural courses as the rivers are usually set in beautiful countryside and granite rocks look much better than angular concrete in the final images.

I decided to attend the DIV1 and Pan Celtic Event held by Scottish Canoe Slalom at Grandtully on the River Tay in the Highlands of Scotland. The course at Grandtully is considered to be one of the most challenging natural river courses in the UK, with plenty of white water, waves and eddies. Access for spectators is excellent with viewing all along the river and access right up to the bank. For photography Grandtully is a great place to capture some extreme sports action shots.


A canoe slalom course is quite compact, so you will have plenty of time to choose your shooting positions carefully. However when choosing your shooting position you need to be mindful of the officials and make sure you are not blocking their view of the gates. The best thing…

Sports Photography as a Spectator – Canoe slalom posted on Fujifilm X Blog on .

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