The text on the Worthing Birdman Website describes it:
"The Birdman is a flight competition for human powered flying machines held each summer in the picturesque seaside town of Worthing on England's South Coast.
Many flyers take part to raise money for charities, other design complex machines to aim for the distance prizes. A substantial prize of £10,000 is offered for the furthest flight should a birdman achieve over a 100 metre distance"
The Saturday is reserved for the “Serious Flyers” but with the wind causing a significant swell this year, only two demonstration flights were made before flying was cancelled for the day.
Sunday saw a lower wind speed and so flying started on time with the charity flyers. I say flyers but really they are “jumpers”. Many are in elaborate fancy dress aiming to win a prize by providing the best entertainment. The work that many put into this is fantastic only for them to be wrecked during the jump:
Although the wind was lower than Saturday, it was still strong enough to blow the light (mostly cardboard) creations in the opposite direction of the jumpers so the images are not quite what they could have been.
Following the fun flyers were the serious competitors, measuring wind, aiming to win the £10,000 jackpot. First came Dusan Vuletic all the way from Serbia who managed to stay in the air for 3 seconds, wrecking his purpose made craft in the process.
After Dusan came the remainder of the contenders, mainly in modified hang gliders although the winning flight of the day was Dr Bill Brooks with a flight of 78.4m in his purpose built flying machine.
An event such as The Birdman is made for photography – people doing outrageous things in a picturesque location. The problem we have though is where to shoot it from. The press photographers are placed out on the pier looking back at the flyers with the town beyond. This is ideal except, being on the fishing deck, we are too low. Ideally we would want to get the flyer filling much of the image but still with enough background to put the image into context; Where are they jumping from? is it high? How about the location? From our location we can either shoot a wide image – putting the whole jump into context but loosing the detail of the flyer or crop in tight but loosing all context.
If the aim is national press I know that the most they might use is one image and that single image is not able to convey the jump fully. (As the coverage in the national press proved).
Much is made of the jumpers and the town but I think many thanks should go to the guys in the water keeping the flyers safe:
All in all a great enjoyable event for the town where I live. Good fun and I look forward to next year!
You may see more of my images here..