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Once you have done a similar project more than once, you’re officially an expert at it surely? This month I had the pleasure of filming my second Ocean Rowing video and capturing images for the amazing Linda Blakely.

Linda, 49, will be setting off on the adventure of a lifetime in January 2024. For the past two years, she has been training to row across the Atlantic Ocean. Starting in Gran Canaria, Linda aims to arrive in Barbados less than 40 days later.

If Linda touches down on solid ground within the 40 day timeframe, she will be the new record holder for a solo row across the Atlantic.

linda blakely ocean rowing 2024

How to follow Linda Blakely’s Atlantic Ocean World Record Attempt

On January 7th 2023 Linda heads out to Gran Canaria to prepare for her ocean crossing to Barbados. You can follow Linda and her progress on this truly impressive adventure via the following links:

My First Ocean Rowing Videography Encounter

Despite Ocean Rowing being an incredibly niche activity, this wasn’t my first encounter with such a project. My first being in 2022 when I met Team HODL on the Norfolk Broads.

Team HODL consisted of Matt, Luca and Cutu. Three incredible lads who trained to row across the Pacific Ocean in 2023. They set off from Monterey Bay in California and arrived in Hawaii approximately 50 days later.

During their training and promotion of their challenge, I helped by shooting photos and videos for them to use across various social media platforms.

Click here to read more about Team HODL and my first Ocean Rowing Project.

team hodl pacific row challenge photograph
Team HODL photographed at Broom Boats in Brundall – Luca (left), Cutu (centre) and Matt (right)

Linda Blakely’s Ocean Rowing Photography & Videography Project in Tenerife

During the final months of this summer, Linda contacted me to check my availability for filming in December 2023. The project involved flying out to Tenerife in the Canary Islands for a few days.

Once there, I would capture footage and photos of the vessel, equipment and technology on board and of course Linda in action. I also captured a detailed interview section where Linda would outline the ocean rowing challenge, fundraising and more.

rannoch r10 atlantic ocean rowing boat

Armed with my Sony A7iv mirrorless camera, selection of Sigma lenses and a few other gadgets, I got to work on this epic project.

The project was broken up into various pieces making it fun and easy to piece together. The main part of the project was shooting a talking head style interview with Linda which would go on to become the foundation of her promotional video.

This acted as a guide for some essential B-Roll footage to be captured demonstrating various parts of her ocean going vessel.

ocean rowing photography and videography rannoch r10

Capturing Documentary Style B-Roll On The Sea

One of my all time favourite bits of footage to capture is B-Roll. Great additional footage is truly the icing on any visual cake. It takes the viewer on a journey, evokes emotion and keeps them engaged.

Not only that, B-Roll footage is great fun to capture and gives you an excuse to get in on the action. Linda invited me onto the vessel and took me out of the harbour to demonstrate the rowing boat in action.

While out at sea I was able to capture some fantastic action footage and photos. Most importantly it highlighted how much of a challenge Linda is embarking on. It opened my eyes to the level of concentration, determination and fitness involved in rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.

Simultaneously Capturing Photos & Videos of Linda Blakely

When shooting with a Sony A7iv camera I can easily switch from video mode to photo mode. With all of my favourite settings stored, it takes less than 2 seconds to go from shooting awesome video to great photos.

While capturing each clip of B-Roll footage, I could quickly switch to photo mode on my Sony mirrorless hybrid camera and grab snaps too. This allows me to capture imagery which matches the lighting of the footage almost perfectly.

Check out the full and finished video we captured in Tenerife below.

Equipment used for Sports Documentary Filmmaking

Despite having to pack light for this project, I managed to fly out to Tenerife with all of the essentials. From camera and gimbal to lenses and filters, I really didn’t need a lot to capturing everything to a high standard.

Sony A7iv Mirrorless Camera

An absolute workhorse of a camera which I’ve now owned for one year. I’d recommend any professional level photographer or videographer to have one in their kit bag. Even if you’re using something a little more beefy such as an FX3 or similar cine-line camera.

The Sony A7iv has one of the best auto-focus systems built in and allows for very fast switching between shooting video and photos. Thus never missing a thing while only holding one camera.

Click here to read more about the Sony A7iv Mirrorless Camera

Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art Lens

My favourite lens in the kitbag for shooting close up talking head and interview footage. Built for portraits, it creates a fantastic separation between subject and background.

The Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art Lens is super sharp and has awesome auto-focus capabilities when used with the Sony A7iv camera. When shooting talking head footage with this lens I’ve noticed little to no focus breathing as the subject moves slightly forward or backwards.

Click here to read more about the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art Lens

sons of the thames linda blakely
Image captured with the Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art Lens

Sigma 56mm f1.4 Lens

I know. I know. I know. It’s an ASP-C (crop sensor) lens. And again, it’s another lens typically used for portraits on smaller cameras. However, it is still an absolute beast which produces incredible imagery.

The Sigma 56mm f1.4 was my first lens purchased and still to this day remains my favourite. It is super sharp, produces an incredible bokeh and contributes massively to any video project for shooting B-Roll footage with.

Click here to read more about the Sigma 56mm f1.4 Lens

DJI RS2 Handheld Gimbal

At first I was a little sceptical about the DJI RS2 Gimbal. Not because I didn’t think it was an impressive bit of equipment. But more I thought it wasn’t necessarily essential. Having now worked with it on countless projects my mind has thoroughly been changed.

It comes everywhere with me, and I mean everywhere. Taking the dog a walk to the beach? It’s in the car. Seeing family at Christmas? Yup, it’s there. I’ve taken it to film technology trade shows where the exhibitors were more impressed by the RS2 than much of what was on show that day.

For me the most important thing the RS2 does is keep your camera level. No matter what you’re doing, the horizon will be straight, your subject will be upright and your editing time cut down dramatically. Unfortunately I haven’t yet written an article about the gimbal but rest assured, I will be doing.

K&F Concept Black Mist 1/4 Nano-X Variable ND Filter

Now that was a bit of a mouth full wasn’t it? I definitely couldn’t eat a whole one. The K&F Concept Black Mist filter is quite a new addition to my kit bag. Being completely honest, I have to hold myself back from using it on everything.

I won’t say too much about it here, but head over to a recent article I wrote which demonstrates why it is a must have bargain purchase for any photographer or videographer.

Click here to read more about the K&F Concept Black Mist 1/4 Nano-X Filter

k&f concept black mist nano-x 1/4 filter
K&F Concept Black Mist Nano-X 1/4 Variable ND Filter

Linda Blakely and Adam Rhodes on BBC News!

On December 31st 2023 I received a phone call from a private number. Upon answer I was greeted by a journalist at BBC News Northern Ireland who had spotted my video above on YouTube.

After requesting to use some of my footage as part of a feature on Linda, it was only a matter of hours before my work and New Years Eve interview from Linda herself was live on TV and shared to the BBC iPlayer Newsline programme.

adam rhodes photographer videographer bbc news

Hire Me To Tell Your Story!

Whether you’re backpacking across the Sahara Desert or climbing El Capitan, I want to be a small but visual part of your fantastic story. I’m available to travel anywhere in the world to capture both photography and videography.

You can contact me via any of my social media channels or by clicking here to do so using my website.

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