Maui

A Life Less Ordinary

I like a mood to fit a style and an image to translate a message. Working underwater brings a quiteness to a photo, you have to add dramatic elements to bring a voice to photos. Maui has breathtakingly clear water but there is only one beach on the island that has a beautiful tan sandy bottom… Makena Beach on the south-side of the island.

I don’t wear women’s clothing but I was able to pick an ensemble that fit my model’s look and attitude. I kept thinking “Nico” from Velvet Underground and the work she did with Warhol in the 70’s. I needed the pictures to scream “STYLE” but remaining quite with a devoid of emotion. I think we did a great job and I’m happy to introduce Willie Kennedy to an ocean that is as beautiful as she is, Thank you Willa.

I have diluted the color on some of these images to fit the era

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I don’t claim to be an “on-land” photographer but I wanted this shoot to tell a story. So we documented her journey to the sea

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The umbrella was a fantastic addition to the shoot but it has not easy to maneuver. It also only lasted for 30 minutes

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I’ve been know to edit out tattoos from photos but this one was poignant and actually added to the shoot

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This photos tone may be distracting from the rest of the shoot but the bubbles and the way she is slightly holding down her dress need to be cooled… these accidental test shoot always seem to yield at least one breathtaking image. As the clouds came I needed to adjust my aperture and was just asking my model to stay still so I could adjust color.

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As these types of photo-shoots do not necessarily fit my moniker “The Surfing Photog” they sometimes are more rewarding. I couldn’t ask for better photos or a better model. MAHALO


Trusting Ablitity

Having the ability isn’t enough, it’s knowing when something goes wrong you have the skills to protect yourself. I know that shooting fisheye in the pit at Honolua Bay is the right lens but doing so leaves you exposed if an outside set comes rolling thru.  I got a bunch of fantastic shots yesterday but what I’m most proud of was when I got caught inside and wave after wave (maybe 6?) keep sending me deeper into this torrid mass of white water, that I was able to rise above. Having only a few seconds to gasp for air before the next wave hits you is a strange feeling but freaking-out is what gets your hurt. It’s a helpless feeling knowing that you are not strong enough to get yourself out of this situation, you need to stop fighting and let the current push you out of the impact zone.

What a rush…Mahalo for visiting my site

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I have a bunch more photos, if you don’t see your wave please email me


The Lefts at “RIGHTS”

If you have never been to the North Shore of Maui you might be a little confused about where to tell your friends you are going surfing. Where I come from in NY a beach and the wave are usually called the same thing for miles of coast line. At Ho’okipa Beach Park a quarter mile of sand and reef have a minimum of three names ( people would argue there are many more little breaks within this stretch ) Pavilions (pavils), Middles and Rights. I surf goofy-foot-ed ( right foot forward ) and I have a special love for going left at the “Rights” ( which is at the left end or westend of the beach park ( confusing…).

I have been told this section of wave is a waste of time because

{A} It is a heavy drop into shallow reef

{B} a solid wave sends you into a sea of white water from Middles, which is a pain in the ass to paddle back thru, 10-15 min paddle battle

{C} it will never be a long ride and most of the time you are racing to make the section.

That being said, I STILL LOVE THIS WAVE. It’s peaky, fast and no-body likes it, which means I don’t have to fight anyone for this wave. I watched on the beach for 30 minutes for the right lighting and could see this guy killing the Lefts at Rights the whole time. I grab my camera and basically was this guys personally photographer for 90 minutes. So besides a few rights at Rights that rolled my way shallow this is a blog post about TOSH PEILA @TOSH_PELIA

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I was soooo bummed this shot came out blurry, with a flash you have the tendency to focus on the spray of water because the illuminated water is the closest focal point.

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If you were wondering if Tosh was a good person? here he is ducking his head down and paddling so he didn’t block my shot. That’s why Tosh gets all his shots for free any day of the week.

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All night long

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Here are just a bunch of shots I really liked the lighting on…

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Think this was the only other person that caught a solid Left the whole time I was out.

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Fun Day @ the Bay

I never claimed to be a local in Hawaii, even though I call this place home. I realize there are just some places in this world where I always be a Haole. I surf with respect and humility and try to remain thankful for any waves I get to enjoy. Honolua Bay is one of those magical places that I’m happy just to be at and if a catch a few waves, even better.  January 5th, I was more then happy just to take pictures because there was so much talent I was able to get front row to all the action, Even got to body surf a few waves that the crowd missed.

I saw this guy pumping just staring at me all the way down the line, I was really really happy he didn’t smash his board into my face, that last second before he caught air, I wasn’t sure about anything. Man what a rush…

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This guy is always sitting deeper and shallower then anyone else, which translate into him catching speeding closeout where he can just keep throwing airs. Which is totally crazy because it’s only in 3 feet of water with exposed reef in all directions.

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The barrel sections were a little sketchy but if you were willing to stall you could get deep… Not sure if you’d make the next section but who cares, some one would drop in on you either way lol

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This is the off the lip section of this post !!!

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Looks fun but point breaks are always like swimming a marathon thru white water. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!!!

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had a magical session at Ho’okipa (North Shore of Maui, Hi). Sunsets there will take your breath away and to see it from the inside the Ocean is hard to describe. I love that I can once again call Maui home and really thankful for all the wonderful people that make this Island fantastic.

I would normal comment on each photo but as this is my triumphant return to Hawaiian waters, I’ll let the images speak for themselves tonight.

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If it’s the first time seeing this blog and you want photos from today’s session, please check out my contact page and understand that I just showcase my favorite photos each day. I take a lot more and if you think I got a photo of you, there is good chance I did, so shoot me an email. Mahalo


A Gift of Love

On January 20th I got an email from someone that randomly came across my blog and wanted to buy a print. It was a photo of my buddy Rez at Ho’okipa, Maui during a sunset session taken a few days earlier. He wanted to buy it for his girlfriend for her birthday. I knew he wouldn’t use it for commercial use because of the tone he had in his email so I told him I’d sell it for the price of a 6-Pack. I told him I’d love to have a picture of him and his girlfriend with the picture (a tradition of keeping pictures of mine that people have printed out). I was waiting to share that 6-pack with Rez as soon as I got that photo. 9 Months to the day he sent the picture and I couldn’t be more stoked.


A world away

I wanted to taking surfing pictures, I never knew I would fall in love with the world under the water. Moments seem to slow and pace comes to a crawl. Here are some gems that for some reason or another never made it onto the blog.

My Friend Kate at Little Beach in Maui

During my photo shoot with Kate (see above) I was blown away how beautiful the sand suck was at the beach, she kept asking me what I was doing in the shallows. I guess I see things differently then most

Attempting to spearfish with my buddy Rez, I say attempting because it is really hard

The Beautiful Val Frey doing what she does best, looking good

My Buddy Rez wanting a ducking diving shot, it’s not so sexy when guys do it haha

I’ve tried this shot so many times, It’s not something you can catch on the fly, you have to wait and wait underwater for all the elements to come together

I got Kate to play in the Sand with me for awhile

I made my buddy Rez Hold this girls hand so I could get this shot, I was told it looks like two dudes hold hands, either way I still like it

While in Florida I went to brunch with an old college friend and made her climb in the coy pond so we could get shots, give me a break brunch was $50, she was confused why I asked her to bring a bikini to brunch

I had to finally post this, I’ve been saving this for months and it seemed long enough to make fun of


Rehydrating

I’m currently in Arizona for work and it’s killing me to be away from the ocean. Editing photos gives me this rush of energy and rehydrates my addiction to waves. Here are just a few photos that help me keep the stoke alive.

So I really don’t try to sell my photos to the magazines, yes I think it would be cool to be a published photographer but it’s not why I do it. That being said when I get an amazing photo I do send it to a few Editors just to see their response. Here was a photo of Dustin Barca at Honolua Bay on 1/4/12. Photo editors wont publish already public material so after I tried for a few weeks to get it published I forgot I never posted this great shot.

Jullian Wilson pulling into a bomb at Pipeline, I love this photo only because there aren’t any other photogs in the shot  (that never happens at pipe haha)

Getting these shot require you getting pitched over the waves, you have to make sure you don’t fall on the surfer

Getting this shot at Pipe resulted in the worse beating I got all winter, I was thrown out of the wave. I wasn’t even trying to take this picture I just grabbed on to my camera for dear life and must have squeezed the trigger

No story about this one, I just like it


Best of the Winter

Winter is over time to make room for spring so in no particular order here are my top 10 favorite moments from the best winter of life…so far

#1 This is a picture of Kamalei Alexander at backdoor Pipeline (the most famous/deadliest wave in the world). It’s unedited (no photoshop, no crop)  This was the first time I didn’t sit in the “Channel” and I ventured out into the line-up. I was so scared and really pushing the boundaries of my physical abilities. But this day I proved to myself that all my training and hard worked paid off.

From the Post (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/12/16/backdoor-barrels/)

#2 This is a picture of a surfing Icon Randy Rarick, I met him on 2-4 foot day out at Sunset Beach. I was training on a small day and learning the contour of the reef. I knew the more I learned about the surf breaks on the North Shore the better I was prepared to leave alive. Randy introduced himself to me because he was intrigued (Established surf photographers don’t swim out to sunset on 4 foot days to “practice”). This chance encounter turned out to be the most influential day of my winter

From the post (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/11/18/meeting-my-icons/)

#3 Jadson Andre at Rocky Point. He purposely threw this air right in front of me, He wanted me to get this shot. I realized at that point that people though I was a professional because my abilities to maintain position in the line up and my demeanor in and out of the water. I sent him a copy of this picture and he Re-Tweeted (He is in top 20 in the world of pro surfing)

From the post (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/11/21/finally-some-swell/)

#4 This is just a random accident shot, wasn’t trying to get it… just following some no-name surfer on the wave. Magic moments are always there and anybody can have to wave of the day. Pro-surf photographers only take pictures of pro-surfers or huge waves… I take pictures of everybody because it isn’t a job… Its fun

From the post (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/11/16/got-to-love-art-shots/)

#5 Waterproof Long exposure… I have been a photo dork for a long exposures and night time pictures are my favorite non-sports related type of photography. To get this picture I swam out to the reef at 10pm, set my tripod (I got a custom tripod mount for my water housing) used a flash light in a ziplock bag to illuminate the ocean. It was a 30sec exposure at an f stop of 11 ISO 800

From the Post (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/12/13/waterproof-long-exposure-2/)

#6 I had permission to swim out to the Eddie Aikau Big wave invitational. Nobody besides invitees and a few photographers are allowed to participate in the opening ceremony paddle out. This is not televised and it is one of the greatest honors in surfing. With great humility and pride did I share those moments. December 1 2011 was the day I realized the true meaning of Aloha

From the posts (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/12/02/eddie-paddle-out-ceremony/)(http://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/12/02/brotherhood-respect-unity/)

#7 Clark Little is the most famous wave photographer in the world. Here was my first attempt to capture the amazing shore break he has made iconic with Hawaii’s powerful waves. I took about 1000 shots to get this one keeper… not easy

From the Post (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/11/19/clark-little-type-of-shots/)

#8 Because of my success on the North Shore of Oahu and my eye for “art” shots a mutual friend Val Frey hired me to get her the classic duck diving shot. I got paid to take pictures of a model… I repeat I got paid to take pictures of a very beautiful model

From the post (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2012/01/10/duck-diving-photo-shoot/)

#9 That duck diving shot gave me enough credit to venture into Fine Art shots.

From the post (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2012/01/29/kate/)

#10 This was the biggest meanest wave I swam out to all winter. Tom Whitaker at Honolua Bay Maui 1/4/12

From the Post (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2012/01/05/honolua-bay/)

Here is just a friend of mine saying goodbye to me at the Maui Airport… Makes me smile


Here’s a turtle

Ok I know I’ve been slacking, I’m starting a new Job which will put me on the road for the next 6 months straight. I will re-edit at least one day every week for the next few months so I can keep the Aloha alive. I took about 50,000 photos this winter and yeah maybe I posted the best of the best but there are a lot of unseen photos to re-discover.

Here’s a turtle… Yeah he’s slow but when you see him he’s worth the wait

 


Kate…

It’s always a pleasure to work with beautiful talented athletes. Kate brought this calmness and elegance into the shoot that really translated to the photos. We had the opportunity to explore a lot of different ideas and different mediums (rocks, sand, waves, deep dives, pool) and the morning sun was excellent lighting. The shot took place @ Big Beach in Makena

(http://www.facebook.com/KateBella)


Point on Point

Point is the West break at Ho’okipa and it was super glassy and on point. No need for a description, the pictures will say everything

Lets start with the airs!

Some barrels, hard shredding and local flair

I love the perception of this photo, I was shooting under the lip of the section that broke in front of the surfer and it makes it look huge!


Pavilions Hookipa part 2

Pavilions is fast steep take off with a long workable right, it’s a fun technical wave. When it’s going it off is a heavy local spot and you can bet if you aren’t sitting deep or paddling like crazy you are going to get in someone’s way. It’s my favorite wave at Hookipa despite the fact I’m goofy foot and the lefts are blocked offed by jagged rocks.

Dylan Walsh was tearing up the wave the whole day… Check it

Some more local Shedders

Overall a glassy over head fun day


Pavilions Hookipa part 1 (Donkey Show)

Pavilions is the East break at Hookipa beach park, it’s also the most localized spot on the beach. Knowing what you are doing and watching out for deeper surfers is Key at this spot. I’m only stating this because as a photographer I have no right to tell anyone to watch out, I’m just a peaceful observer. But I was dodging Long Boarder’s and kooks for more then half my session, Kind of a pain in the ass when you are focusing on a surfer that clearly has the peak and someone drops in on them and right in front of you.

Maybe I’m bitter or maybe I spent the last 2 month at Rocky Point on the North Shore of Oahu and saw people get beat down for putting peoples life’s at risk.

I personally feel the same way as this girl in the photo flipping the bird…. This guy should have got booted

This happened so many times I decided to get a shot of this donkey bailing his board. He bail his board after dropping in on the surfer on the wave and didn’t even try to hold his board. It’s dangerous and personally I think it’s a sign of disrespect.

And I’m not one to get to gang up on someone but this girl didn’t give a shit. She must have thought she was at Waimea Bay .  With that huge red board, acting like this is a local share waves… She got barked at and did it again…

This is my favorite Donkey 1 Trips Donkey 2….


Good Vibes and Cute Girls

It was a longboard day at Hookipa, small waves but some enjoyable Kona off-shore winds. This brings a lot of smiles and mellow attitudes. Everyone is out there just enjoying the ocean and the wonderful felling you get gliding along the water.

Lets get the cute girls out of the way first, then we can worry about the god vibes haha

Bust out your best shaka

Since it was small I made my friends hold hands and look cute for an underwater shot. Maybe one day I’ll take engagement shots, hahahah yeah right


Over Exposed Gold

What’s funny about shots like these is that they have more of a mass appeal then regular surfing shots. Over exposed, over edited garbage will all grace peoples walls. Don’t get me wrong I don’t dislike shots like these, I’m just try to salvage a bad day of lighting with an artsy touch. Basically I’m disappointed in my effort today…even though you will enjoy these shots 

I gave up half way into the shoot and went underwater, I got a cool sequence of a guy breaking on a wave (stopping Flintstone style  hahah)

and the ever popular behind the waves shot…. I still have to work on this one


Hookipa River

Tried shooting at point today at Hookipa beach park and ending up at middles. I haven’t lived here too long but that was the worst current I dealt with on Maui. I couldn’t stay in one spot and on top of that I was having issues with water droplets on my lens. I got a couple of good shots but that was more luck today then skill. Enjoy

 


Setting Sun Session

Got to Hookipa around 4 for a setting sun session with my buddy Rez. Some cool shot and great color. Less words more pictures :)

Rez almost landed on me 3-4 times during the session but he was going hard so I didn’t mine. 

You need a permit  to use a Jet Ski (they call it a thrill craft in HI) and be able to Tow-In surf in Hawaii. This guy was in my class this weekend, He is a Kite-Surfer from San Fran cool guy, hopefully going to shoot him kite surfing next week. 

Rez into the sunset


Really Fine Art

I had the pleasure of working with my friend Val on some Fine Art shots. After her duck diving shoot (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2012/01/10/duck-diving-photo-shoot/) she put on a tight white dress and swam around. It was a lot of fun and we just ran with it, no real direction just having fun. I hope you like it as much as she did.

And here was just an outtake that I really liked. I told her to point her feet and look graceful I think I just accidentally captured her practicing


Wind Surfing

Ok I never tried Wind Surfing, seen a wind surfing magazine and have never shot pictures of wind surfers, That being said I think I did a good job. Met some nice wind surfers in the parking lot of Hookipa  Beach park asked some basic questions about the sport and swam out. I’ve seen them bust crazy airs before so I was ready for that but I had no clue how fast the can move in with a slight shift of their sail. I really didn’t want to get hit so I played it cautious

Air of the Day!

The next 2 shots are of the same guy (SAME WAVE), I loved the color behind the wave shooting into the sun. Surfers never get that high so I wasn’t use to turning around looking for that image.

Here is an older guy that was leaning so deep into the wave, not sure if that a good thing or not. But I though it was cool

This kid was killing it!

GOOD JOB? YES OR NO


Duck Diving Photo Shoot

So a few days ago I had a photo Shoot with my friend Val Frey. She operates a Billabong Surf Camp here on Maui (www.WavesHawaii.com (best school on the island)). She wanted to get the classic duck diving photos so for an hour all she did was swim under wave after wave. The girl is a super athlete and did it with a smile on her face the whole time.

900 photos, over a 100 keepers, this was the hardest editing I had to do all winter


Wave of the winter

This is the Heaviest wave I caught a picture of this winter. It’s of Tom Whitaker at Honolua Bay on 1/4/12


Honolua Bay 2

So I said had a bunch from yesterday session so I thought I’d do a part 2 from Honolua Bay.

This was actually my favorite shot of the day! The surfer dropped in on the bodyboarder and the sponger edged him into the white water then looked back to watch the guy get smashed by the lip. Really funny

This not a bodyboarder post but this guy got super deep so I had to show it too.

Longboarder’s were killing it too

I’m a goofy foot so I understand this photo, still doesn’t make it a good idea on a point break style wave. The girl duck diving can’t figure it out either haha

This was a great spot for this surfer but this was the wave I got smashed on. Thats how crazy I am, I know I’m about to get pounded but I still grab a few shots before the wave drills me haha, I might have issues


Honolua Bay!!!

Today at Honolua Bay was EPIC!!! I have so many amazing photo’s from todays session. If you don’t know where the place is don’t come here haha.

Kai Barger was killing it!

Dustin Barca about to get shacked!

Its awesome when you have the chance to show people there waves after the session, Met this guy on the top of the hill, he’s a local guy that was killing it all day, went back for more after I left too

I dig this shot cause I get to show you how heavy it was and where I had to sit to get these shots. Only got pounded once but I can tell you it wasn’t fun…


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