Event: 13th Annual Sons Of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge
Well, 2016 started and they did it again.
“They” being the more than 600 people that stripped down to bathing suits and jumped in the 50 degree Atlantic ocean, all for charity.
The 13th Annual Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge was certainly not unlucky. In fact, it can be argued that it was the best one yet.
According to a NJ.com story, it wasn’t the water that shocked – it was the suddenly chilly New Jersey air. Suddenly chilly, because, just a few days before it was nearly 70 degrees in the Great State of New Jersey.
Very non-late December like indeed. However, come January 1, it was a chilled 39 degrees with a stiff breeze.
This was my seventh SOIPBP, having shot the first one back on January 1, 2009. Back then, I was just looking for something to interesting to shoot.
Since that time, I’d like to think I’ve become part of the fabric of the event. I get there early, shoot the charities that are represented, watch people pour into Asbury Park’s Convention Hall, shoot the actual plunge (the shortest part of the whole day), and then see it till the end.
It was definitely crowded in Convention Hall. Had to be over a 1,000 people, but some dogs. Took a good few minutes to go from one end of the Hall to the other.
But, as usual, it was one big party. A local band, Kül d’Sack, got everyone warmed up early. By the time the WRAT radio DJ Gotts, in his customary pink bathrobe, and the bagpipers started to lead the plungers to the ocean’s edge, it was in full swing.
That’s when it got interesting for me.
Yep, that’s me in middle of the frame down below, in this shot from a drone’s camera. As I usually do, I had on my chest-high hip waders and my long water-proof coat. Even before the plungers started, though, I nearly got knocked off my pins by a wave.
[To watch the full video, , with music, done by Will Luketwitte and his drone, it’s on the Sons of Ireland Facebook page or here on Google Drive.]
That elicited a huge cheer from the crowd. Unfortunately, that wave got my camera a bit wetter a bit earlier than expected. Then, when the crowd bum rushed the ocean, there was a lot of splashing. More wetness.
I could tell it locked up pretty quick…started working again, then locked up again. It wasn’t dripping or anything, and Canon does a pretty good job of weatherproofing their rigs. But you get a little water between the lens and the body…not good.
While they plunged on, I plugged away. I was a bit worried though, so I was trying to shoot as much as I could when I knew it was on. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I got some of my signature shots.
This guy pretty much summed of the event.
Quickly, though, I had to get out of the water and try to get my rig as dry as possible. Under the electric hand dryer in the men’s room worked before.
But not this time.
It would be a few days before the ol’ Canon would fire back up. I know I know…my strategy of kissing my luck up to God is going to really fail some year.
But not this year.
Back inside, the afternoon band was on, a Jersey Shore favorite – Brian Kirk and Jirks. I was shooting with my Fuji X100T, in B&W mode now. Because I love the B&W JPG files out of the X100T. Grabbed a nice portrait with Gotts and Brian Kirk too.
Later that evening, after a well earned burger-and-a beer, the Asbury Park sky was in glorious sunset mode. I had to grab a last shot.
A wonderful day indeed.
(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016