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An Institute Double Take is a photo taken by a staff photographer which may not fit into a typical newspaper category, but still shows a unique side of MIT and includes a short description of the story behind the photo.

While it’s not always apparent how much luck plays a role in getting a good shot, this photo should be a clear exception. I’ve been doing a lot of sailing at the MIT Sailing Pavilion since the beginning of summer and, in an effort to pick up some tips from more experienced sailors, I rode around on the race committee boat during a Tuesday-night advanced Tech Dinghy race a few weeks back. Figuring I might as well bring a camera along for fun, I grabbed one of The Tech’s Nikon D800s and a 70-200mm lens.

Weather during most of the race was overcast and gray, and with the pictures turning out fairly flat and unexciting I spent a fair amount of time on the boat helping out with the racing, adjusting the course, and keeping track of which boat finished in which position.

Late in the evening, despite ominous cloud cover directly overhead, the sun began to illuminate the sky to the west. We were in the middle of making a small change to the starting line when it began pouring. It took me a second to remember that I had the (weather sealed!) camera and I started snapping shots of boats in the direction of the sunset. I had the f-stop and ISO at f2.8 and 1250 due to the previously lower light conditions so I dropped the exposure time a bit to 1/8000 of a second to rein in the extra light. The quicker shutter speed suspended the raindrops in the radiant sunlight to create a surreal series of images which, of the roughly 50,000 I’ve taken since picking up photography last year, are easily some of my favorites.