Photographers' Blog

Where the wild things race

Nome, Alaska

By Nathaniel Wilder

The Iditarod is a nearly 1,000-mile-long sled-dog race that pits mushers against each other and the elements as they cross much of Alaska to become the first team to Nome, on the shores of the Bering Sea.

It’s Alaska’s biggest sporting event and brings thousands of spectators, volunteers, handlers, media and mushers – as dog sled racers are known – to downtown Anchorage for the “ceremonial start” of the race.

The following day they gather again at the official restart in the town of Willow – the point from which teams set out for the north in earnest. I’ve photographed these two starts for Reuters four times, but this year was the first time that I travelled to Nome for the finish.

Since I arrived early in Nome, I spent time searching for images that showed the character of the town. I got what I was looking for when I met a guy out on the sea ice, flying a blue tarp like a kite. “I’m in my own little world out here,” he told me.

I also hunted for images that showed the town’s remoteness. I got lucky when I walked past the last house on the coastal side of the main street and realized it would be a great place to photograph the frozen coast and capture the trail that mushers would take as they approached the finish line.

Slip slidin’ away

New York, New York

By Andrew Kelly

When an editor reaches out to you with: “Want an assignment that involves biking, drinking, Vikings and shopping carts?” there’s only one answer. And with that, I was Reuters’ assigned photographer for Idiotarod 2014.

The Idiotarod’s website describes it as: “an urban spoof of the Alaskan dog sled race”, namely, the Iditarod, which takes place around the same time.

The Alaskan race involves a grueling multi-day trek by dog sled across the Tundra, compared to the New York version, which consists of drunk hipsters pushing decorated shopping carts from bar to bar over a 5 mile route.

Dreaming of the Dakar Rally

Giniel de Villiers of South Africa (bottom L) drives his Volkswagen Touareg during the twelfth stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011, from San Juan to Cordoba January 14, 2011.    REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Since the creation of The Paris-Dakar Rally in 1979, I’d always dreamed of one day covering this extraordinary adventure.

Each year, I would follow the televised summaries of this rally race that traversed exceptional landscapes. So when I was asked to cover this event I didn’t have to think on it for long! It was with a feeling of excitement and trepidation that I embarked on this adventure.

A competitor rides in the dunes during the sixth stage of the third South American edition of the Dakar Rally 2011 from Iquique to Arica January 7, 2011.    REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

I was warned that physically it would be difficult.

Life on the Dakar Rally is nomadic as every day we change camp. Using only basic comforts (sanitary and portable toilets), each night we pitched our tents in a noisy campsite, as all night the motorcycle, car and truck teams would repair and prepare the machines for the next day’s stage.

Sydney to Hobart: A “Wild Thing” experience

Every year on Boxing Day, the peaceful waters of the Sydney harbour become rough and wild with nearly 100 yachts making their way to Hobart – a race that I’ve covered 3 times now.

YACHTING/

Photographers are assigned to media boats to get close to the main yachts. Very often you get so close to the massive super-maxi yachts that you feel like crashing every now and then. Despite this feeling, and my severe motion sickness, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race is an event I enjoy covering.

AUSTRALIA/

This year it seemed like another day for me to enjoy my job. The adventure started at 11.30 GMT when A-Team, the media boat that I was on, departed from the Marina in Sydney’s lovely Rushcutters Bay. We were next to the big super-maxis as they warmed up for the race scheduled for 13.00 GMT. We were ready for the start of the race, waiting for the big yachts to sail past, close enough for us to get the pictures. But only 4 minutes after the start of the race a really wild thing happened, triggering 20 seconds of one of my worst nightmares.