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Image Of The Week: Through The Tunnel Perfection

Putting together today’s “Of Raceboats And Remembrance” story gave us the chance to look at several images taken by Powerboat magazine photographer Tom Newby, who died on September 11, 2007, in a helicopter accident. We came across some gems, but this one of a Nor-Tech 3600 catamaran— captured in late 2001 in Florida—could be our all-time favorite Newby shot.

Teamwork and precision enabled Tom Newby to capture one of the most memorable images in Powerboat magazine history. Photo by Tom Newby copyright speedonthewater.com.

At the very least, it makes our top-five list. Here’s how he made it happen:

First, Newby instructed Powerboat test driver John Tomlinson to maintain a constant speed (approximately 50 mph) and heading. Ahead of the boat in a helicopter crabbing—meaning flying forward but presented sideways to the subject—Newby lowered his camera via a long pole to a level just below the catamaran’s tunnel. He used a remote trigger mechanism to capture several “down the tunnel” images, the best of which was published in the May 2002 issue of Powerboat magazine.

The coordination required of the helicopter pilot,  Newby and Tomlinson was extraordinary—and it was all the famed photographer’s idea. It took a few runs to dial in it, but they did. Newby and company teamed up to do several more down-the-tunnel shots, but not one ever topped this stunner.

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