It is a wonderful, warm, calm, sunny Tuesday when someone suggests I spend Friday with Carla as she photographs the magnificent J Class yachts racing in Falmouth Bay. The chance to go out on the water, see those fantastic boats up close, and watch Carla at work – what’s not to like? Friday dawns: grey, windy, stormy and wet: a whole different proposition. We meet at the press tent on Events Square, Carla with a huge, heavy rucksack full of camera equipment, we are briefed on what to expect, and taken down to the dive boat that is to be our transport for the day. Carla has one last check of her equipment and we’re off.A flat-bottomed dive boat is not good at cutting through waves and as we get out into the Bay, the skipper opens up the throttles and the huge diesel engine lifts the nose of the boat out of the water as we power our way to the start line some three miles out. The boat hits the first big wave, a great spume of spray shoots up over the cabin completely soaking everyone in the back; it’s going to be a rough ride. At the start line the immense size and elegance of the J Class yachts makes it all worthwhile. The skipper has us in a perfect position to watch the yachts compete for the best start. But the sea is rough and just standing up is proving difficult (there are no seats out on deck) – I am clinging on, but Carla’s using both hands on her cameras taking lots of photos as the yachts come charging down on us; she is quite fearless. As we follow the yachts around the course, I end up hanging on to her so she can continue to take pictures. Every time we take off, at full speed, to another vantage point, Carla concentrates on checking her cameras and trying to keep the lenses dry with her trusty ‘shammy’ cloth. I just hold on!The weather gets worse, the yachts are amazing, then the mist arrives, but Carla keeps taking pictures. At one point I shout at her: “Don’t worry about the photos, just hang on!” But she takes absolutely no notice.Back on dry land, looking very bedraggled, we take shelter and sip some well-earned scalding hot coffee. I ask her if she has been in trickier situations, Carla laughs “No, I think that was pretty tricky; fighting the weather, staying upright, staying on board, rain and spray on the camera, then fog… and taking pictures! Fun though, eh?” She explains that her love of photography really took off 5 years ago when she and husband Chris moved to Cornwall to open the Seadrift Café & Restaurant in Porthleven. “Just walking the dogs in this fantastic scenery, I always took my camera. We needed pictures for the walls so I framed some and then they started to sell; it just went from there.” She went on workshops all over the world with some well-known landscape photographers like Jonathan Critchley, and Light and Land, with whom she now works as a photographic leader on their courses, sharing her love and knowledge of photographing landscapes with clients.
“I’ve been to Norway, America, France and Italy running workshops and to update my own skills. I love photographing the white horses of the Camargue in France. But my absolute favourite place had to be the Arctic: Spitzburgen and Lofoten in Norway were amazing and I have been back a few times. It’s pretty challenging too, being so very cold has different impacts on the cameras, but it’s just so beautiful and other worldly.”
I meet up with Carla a few days later to look at the photos she took on our day on the water. Despite the conditions, she has some amazing images, and, unsurprisingly, despite being covered in bruises from our adventure, she hired a rib to take her out on the Saturday to get some sunnier, calmer pictures. She wants to thank Steve from Solent Rib Charter (solentribcharter.co.uk) for taking her out at such short notice.
Needless to say I shall be ordering one of her stormy day photos of the J Class yachts as a reminder of a really fabulous day out with a rather intrepid, and hugely entertaining photographer. Thanks Carla, it was brilliant!
Carla Regler Photography
Seadrift, Fore Street, Porthleven TR13 9HJ