For more than three decades Paul Kemiel has been capturing high-speed motorsports action from behind the lens of his Canon equipment. Kemiel, who hails from Michigan City, Ind., said his desire to start his photography career began in 1978 when he attended his first Formula One Grand Prix auto race in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Father and son drivers, Terry and Ashton Rinker, race deck to deck during a recent Powerboat Nationals event in Kankakee, Ill. All photos courtesy/copyright Paul Kemiel Photographics
Three years later Kemiel took his camera to his first Unlimited hydroplane and offshore race in Detroit and ended up selling some of his pictures to Lakeland Boating magazine. Since then his photographs have been published throughout the country and internationally in various magazines. He’s been a regular contributor—and sometimes even an author— for everything from Hot Boat, Powerboat and Speed Boat magazines to APBA Propeller, Soundings and Mercury Racing publications.
For a dozen more boat-racing action shots from Paul Kemiel, check out the slideshow above.
Kemiel, who is the official event photographer for the US F1 Powerboat Tour, said his passion lies in capturing the subject—whether it’s a boat or a car (and even wildlife)—at its highest peak of action.
“Squeezing the camera’s shutter release at the decisive moment—that split second in freezing the boat and propeller out of the water or a race car’s wheel off the pavement in the apex of the turn—is my ultimate goal,” said Kemiel, adding that he was hooked on that challenge from the day he shot his first Unlimited hydroplane race on the Detroit River in 1981. “Patience and the utmost attention to focus on the boat and to block out all the external distractions are integral parts to the formula. It’s well worth the efforts when you capture the moment of the boat coming off a wave and flying the hull.”
Editor’s note: Paul Kemiel has been a contributor to speedonthewater.com for several years and was one of a handful of professional and reliable photographers for Powerboat magazine, where Matt Trulio and I worked for many years. To check out Kemiel’s extensive archive of boat racing shots, visit his website.