When it’s not about the money…

Every year, for the past 7 years, I have had the pleasure to photograph the Island Style Classic Windsurfing Regatta on Longboat Key in Sarasota Florida. When I first started, it was a favor, it was fun, never made any money, but it didn’t matter because I loved what I was doing and who I was doing it for. The people who run the regatta are wonderful people and the people who race…they are really special too.

After 7 years of the same race, many of the same faces and going back to shoot for 2 long days on the water. I still love it 🙂 I hand hold a 100-400mm lens for about 5 hours on Saturday, maybe 4 on Sunday and my arms are like Jello for a week after…but I still love it. I stress trying to lug all my gear, an Epson r2400 13×19, laptop & 28 inch monitor, my projector and usually at least one of my children for a full weekend. I stress more trying to get the slide show done in 30 minutes of the photos just taken on the water and their photos printed & properly labeled for awards that go out every year. I try to make time to pull together individual galleries for some of my special racers, so they can better see themselves among all the other photos.

There are older racers, some over 60 and some younger ones under 18.  Those are my favorite racers…the smiles they show when they see themselves in one of my photos, well it really warms my heart 🙂 They all know me and they rush over to the table where I set up, just to see what I have. They seem to love the photos where my composition is a bit off or the face is too dark or one that I wouldn’t care to post online. I know nothing about windsurfing, so the ones I think are great,  are ones they would be embarrassed for their fellow racers or their instructor to see 😉

I had a great weekend, the weather was wonderful! I prayed for more wind, but we had just enough for all the racers to sail. The food was awesome and the people even better!  Some people when they read this will ask why I really go through all of this for what seems like nothing. It’s true that I could make more in 5 minutes of a wedding than I do in two 12-hour days there. See, the point I’m making here, is that there are a few things that I do a year, that I don’t do for the money, I do it to give back. I give to others and in return, it feeds my soul, by the joy I see in their smiles…its priceless.

Thank you my Island Style friends 🙂 I can’t wait for next year, as always it was a true pleasure. You know where to find me…I’ll be set up at the table in the corner, waiting to see your smiles and praying ahead of time for more wind!

Corinne Noel †

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