For photographers, the problem with most sailing competitions is that the pictures begin to look the same from race to race – sailboats against a nondescript horizon of blue sky. The America’s Cup is different. Its backdrop is San Francisco’s iconic skyline.

Getty Images staff photographer Ezra Shaw took advantage of the unique setting from air, land and sea when he shot this year’s 34th installment of the competition.

“The first week we had three photographers covering the race,” says Shaw, who covered the races starting back in July. “My boss at Getty Images gave us a budget to get up in a helicopter and we would rotate between the helicopter, the boat and land. I went up in the helicopter on the first day and it was spectacular.”

Knowing that other photographers were out on the water shooting the race gave Shaw some freedom to find creative ways to cover it from shore. Shaw, a 15-year veteran at Getty, lives in San Francisco and knowing the lay of the land helped him scout the best spots.

“The picture of Transamerica building framed in the Golden Gate Bridge is a precise spot that anyone can get to but you have to know it’s there,” he says.

Some days there was only a single boat on the water, which was visually boring. The final races in September, however, were refreshingly intense and rendered some of the best images, featured inShaw’s web gallery.

via Wired.

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