Separated by almost 3,000 miles, Tampa Bay and Lake Havasu couldn’t be more different—and not just because one is saltwater and the other is freshwater, or that one is in subtropical Southwest Florida and other is in the barren Arizona/California desert. The go-fast boating cultures also are decidedly different.
Photographer Jeff Helmkamp snagged this beauty of Fair Chase, a Skater 368 catamaran owned by Arizona’s Steve Ahrenberg, yesterday on Lake Havasu. And more of his fine images from the Desert Storm Poker Run are coming soon. Photos courtesy/copyright Jeff Helmkamp/Helmkamp Photos.
But with events happening in each locale this weekend, speedonthewater.com—being a national daily media outfit—will bring you coverage from both the Florida Powerboat Club Tampa Bay Poker Run and Desert Storm Poker Run.
Pete Boden, speedonthewater.com’s chief photographer, has the Tampa run covered, which makes perfect sense as he lives down the coast in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. But as has for the past few years, Illinois-based Jeff Helmkamp, a frequent contributing photographer for the website, is shooting Desert Storm.
While Boden’s assignment starts tomorrow, Helmkamp has already been snagging images at Lake Havasu’s signature event. Yesterday, he captured the delivery of a new DCB Performance Boats M37 catamaran to Alabama’s Stephen and Kelly Marino. Today, he’s shooting the Desert Storm Street Party in downtown Lake Havasu City.
Tomorrow, Helmkamp’s literal and figurative focus turns to the poker run. On Saturday, he’ll wrap up his Desert Storm assignment with the top-speed shootout coverage.
With almost 200 boats registered for the Desert Storm Poker Run, Helmkamp will be busy this week.
A long week to be sure, but then Helmkamp loves shooting on the Colorado River-fed waterway through the desert. The stark, colorful environment and the “sheer number of boats” appeal to him. And the natural environment is nothing like that of the Lake of the Ozarks, where he does most of his go-fast boating photography.
“It’s like the Lake of the Ozarks with cool mountain scenery,” he explained. “Lake Havasu is refreshing because I can move 50 yards and get a different backdrop. Also, having the river connected is a bonus because the river is something like there is anywhere else in the country. The water is so clear.”
In fact, he said, Lake Havasu is his favorite place to shoot.
“With the Florida Keys a close second,” he said.