|Photo by Scott Blankenfeld|
This photo gained a lot of attention during the 2015 summer rafting season. This full dump (everybody out, including the guide and boat, stays upright) happened as the raft came off of Rhino Rock, about midway through Meat Grinder, a rapid on the South Fork American River. Normally, this location provides a backlit sequence of photos offering a few splashes and views downward into the boat showing everyone’s faces surrounded by masses of whitewater. These sequences are usually a non-dramatic crowd pleaser. Not this day!
Every once in a while, a raft will get pushed into a small eddy just above Rhino Rock, named for its rhino-horn-like shape. It’s tricky because there is another rock just underwater in the middle of the eddy making it difficult to maneuver the raft so as to leave the eddy safely. In this case, the raft was pressed upon Rhino Rock by the main current. The guide moved the crew to the high side of the boat to keep the upstream tube from sinking and wrapping the boat around the rock. This was a great idea until the boat started to slide off of the rock. With the downstream tube now fully loaded, the boat did the opposite of what was expected and did a tube stand towards the rock, offering up one of the best photo sequences of my season.
Scott Blankenfled photographs California whitewater rafting during the season following the action on the North, Middle and South Forks of the American River. He also helps companies produce and manage their digital/print content and web presence. You can follow Blankenfled and check out more of his images at www.scottblankenfeld.com.
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