If you aren’t familiar with the “Wedge” in Newport Beach, CA let me tell you that the place is an anomaly. A rock jetty was built to protect the entrance to Newport Harbor and it formed one of the gnarliest waves I ever had the pleasure to witness. It’s unique angle and shape takes the power of one wave bounces it off the jetty and then combines it with the second wave of the set.
You’ll notice in the pictures that I’m facing the shore but your looking at the skim boarder profile, that is because he is riding the force of the wave bouncing off the rock jetty and then it is “Wedging up” and combining with the second wave of the set.
This is a nice picture of the wave.
Not so nice. The problem is you never know how crazy it will get till it’s too late haha
Riding the Power off the jetty about to get shacked by the wedge.
It almost always barrels but on larger sets it has this double slab and it drops out with out warning
Here is a shot from the beach to show you how massive it can get… After that my favorite crashes
If you don’t get pounded onto the beach the next set will get you.
Why would you put your body thru this punishment? because when it’s good it’s great
As the sun sets it releases the days tensions and reminds us that tomorrow is a new day.
I went out for a “setting sun session” the other day at Huntington Beach, CA. I wanted to capture the essence of what it feels like as the light falls behind the Pacific Ocean and that sensation as a surfer when you realize you almost don’t even need to see what you are doing to enjoy the rush surfing brings you.
Having to shoot into the light in sports photography is an image killer, good thing I don’t think surfing is a sport… It’s hard to explain to a surfer that I got the shot but not one they will appreciate, every surfer wants a well lighted image of themselves (But other surfers can enjoy the silhouette)
At 4:30 the sun was staring me in the face, making it hard to focus, took me a good 30 minutes to get this shot to work
The only place I could get the blinding light to work for me was in the barrel. Good thing its like a second home for me haha
I said it more then a few times, to get this shot you always get blasted in the side of the head. You’re trying to hold your position and then BAM!!! All the neck pains are worth it when it comes together
I was probably more upset he didn’t make this wave then he was
I took this photo because I realized I was about to have no more light and the only photos that would still work would be above the lip.
At the end of the session you stay in the water hoping to get that last glimpse of magic, the one that lets you go in with a smile on your face.
The Number Streets at Newport Beach, CA are home to some of the best surfers in Southern California, also some of the most localized surfers. That being said they really aren’t aggressive and territorial like most of the other popular surfing spots in the area. But, if you think you have a chance getting a set wave… You Are Wrong. See the issue with Newport is there are so many guys in the lineup that know exactly where the waves will break, what the sandbar is doing, how the tides are shifting, when the swell is going to peak. ect… On top of all that, they are all friends, so they don’t need force you out… they can just sit back and watch you take off on closeouts because thats the only waves they will give you (or bait you into taking).
This was the first shot I took when I swam out, it set the tone nicely for the rest of the day.
Then the Barrels came out to play
Believe it our not there was actually an empty one that I got to body surf… I never got one when I lived here haha
Barrel to the left to hacks to my right, stuck in the middle again
O yeah like I said, if you want to come on down to 52nd Street and get some waves the boys will be more then happy to give you closeout until you get discouraged and go back to the 909
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
The question I get the most when I’m taking photos is “Do I surf?”. I love surfing, it has to be my favorite thing on the planet. I take photos of it to share the beauty and power of the ocean. I like to tell people when they ask that “I get to catch every wave” (even the waves no ones rides).
Here is one that I caught all by myself (the refection of the cliff and sky on the wave is something you miss while surfing a wave)
I also get a rush when I’m able to get so close to the action without interfering (I have got skag before and I had to pay for breaking the fin)
I also appreciate the different styles of surfers, cause no matter what or how you ride, the joy of sliding on the surface of the ocean is unlike any other feeling
And sometimes I just enjoy sitting back and watching the action.
I had the pleasure of going to my favorite beach in Southern California and I’m purposely not telling you the location (lack of a crowd is one of reasons I love this place). It is predominantly a longboard spot and is home to some of the most stylish surfers in the area. Its contrast of a visually stunning backdrop and long pealing waves make this place a diamond in the rough in over crowd ego driven So Cal.
Inspired by the location I decided to get artsy with the shoot and “document” surfing in it’s purest form, Not only concentrating on the “sport” aspect of surfing photography.
Not easy to only find one guy in a line up in So Cal
I loved the focus on this image
The following pictures are examples of longboarding done right
This guy was the only short boarder in the line up but what he lacked in fiberglass he made up in style
Today I got to check out “South Florida Surfing Air Show”, since the waves were only 1-3 feet they used a wench/rope-pull to propel the surfers into the waves. There were some great crashes, a few airs and a bunch of fun.
But the best part of the event was seeing the community of surfers here in Southern Florida coming down to the beach, bring their families and spreading good vibes. At the end of the day it didn’t really matter who won, everyone had a great time.
If you have never seen a Huck Jam this should explain how the surfers were propelled into the waves
Now for some AIRS!!!
This was my favorite part of the event, the guys waiting for their turn on the rope and everyones families were sharing these little waves and hooting & hollering, having a great time…
My Favorite crash of the day
So the stormy filled sky’s of Southern Florida were an entertaining change of pace from tropical setting of Hawaii but the appeal has warn off. I feel like I’m over editing as a way to compensate for the gray overcast. Maybe I’m just being moody…
I was excited Albert finally pulled off a 360 that I got a picture of… it’s a cool trick but not visual stunning as a single frame. So here is a few shots of the sequence. I think this is the only angle that works cause honestly it just looks like he is face planting most of the time cause the spray covers the move.
This is just a picture of a kick out (exiting the wave) but Albert does everything with flair so it looks good
It started pouring and I never shot in rain like this so I tried a bunch of settings to get it right… I think I need more practice… heres one dark and one light, there is no middle ground… it’s all grey
And I’m sorry if this offends anyone but I’m in Florida for my grandmas birthday and my cousin came with me to the beach today… he’s my comedic relief and helps me to remember not to take life to seriously… thanks jeff… bet you never thought this would make it onto my blog hahaha
Here is my Re-Edit of December 7 2011.
I was so fixated on “surfers” when I first got to the North Shore of Oahu. Every Professional surfer around the planet comes to a 7 mile strip of beach to surf for 2 months. These are people I have looked up to my whole life, I was letting my excitement dictate which pictures I posted on my site. I’m a fan but I need to let the photography speak for its self.
Here is the original post from 12/7/11 (http://thesurfingphotog.com/2011/12/07/where-i-should-be/) (that barrel by Gavin Gillette is still awesome!!!)
These pictures show the raw power of “Rocky Point” surf break and the chargers that own that spot.
Pipeline is less then a 1/2 mile down the beach but somedays it’s so much heavier here
Rocky Point sometimes has a double break (Lefts and Right) and Un-fortunately some times they crash into each other. Today both were going off. Which lead me to grow eyes in the back of my head.
Backdoor Pipeline? NOPE! This is Rocky Point going off
Here is an underwater barrel shot of Gavin Gillette wave from the original post
I’d like to say they were all clean that day but most of the time I’m swimming thru a football sized field of white water haha
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
#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
#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
#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
A few days ago I had the pleasure to meet Kelly Kingston in the ocean at Lake Worth Beach, FL. She runs a foundation here in Southern Florida called Share the Stoke Foundation (http://sharethestokefoundation.org).
“The Share The Stoke Foundation, Inc. is a charitable organization based in South Florida and is dedicated to donating surfboards to kids and teenagers in need in an effort to keep them off the street and in the water.”
Since today was the highest generated traffic to my site due to the fact I made it on the HOME page of Wordpress.com (freshly pressed) I thought I would try to pass some of that good fourtune onto Kelly and the foundation she cares so much about. If you can help in anyway or just want to tell Kelly how amazing she is you can email her @
Kelly surfing yesterday at Lake Worth Pier, Florida
I would normally have something funny or maybe even something witty to add to my pictures. BUT I’m tired I shot for 4 hours 2:15pm-6:15 (1,200 frames) and have been editing since 7:30. It’s now 2am it’s my 3rd post of the night and I’m going to bed. Maybe I’ll re-edit this in the morning but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that promise…
Black and White photos really aren’t my thing but due to the stormy weather and the churned up ocean I decided to do a series of over and under exposed photos that I would later manipulate to Black and White. Grey storm clouds and lack of light make for crappy color photos but they add mood to B&W photos.
This first one is my favorite by far, this kid is like 10 years old and he was shredding! Usually I don’t turn around if I know the person can’t make it over the lip (I would be taking pictures of the back of the wave otherwise) but his little kid pulled it off. Thanks little buddy
Albert has been showcased in all of my Lake Worth, Florida Posts, He’s hungry and he shreds. He also watches where I am in the line up, Pro’s do the same thing, they realize sponsors pay every time they are in the magazines. Here’s a hint for all you young surfers *make friends with someone with a camera. Cause if your aspire to get paid to surf, you have to have proof you are worth the cheddar*
This guy showed up, took off on all the bombs of the day then bounced. He also had a killer Mustache.*hint for all you young surfers, Grow a Mustache = Take off on bombs*
Here is Edward Kubiak (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000814941597) Please annoy this kid. He is a cocky showboat. Don’t get me wrong I think this kid is rad but, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t use a good kick in the ass.
Here’s how the Grab Bag works… I realize it’s rare that a water photographer shows up and gives away a bunch of shots without crazy annoying logo’s across the middle. Personally my blog is not designed to showcase everyone and anyone. But since I’m here visiting and not here to generate business, I thought it would be nice if everyone got the hook up. So pass along the URL if you see your buddy’s photo and do me a favor remember that you are a community, despite the fact surfing is an individual sport.
If you didn’t make it into todays other post or the “Black and White Series”… Surf harder…
AND if you really want your photo without the logo and better quality, email me. firstname.lastname@example.org or maybe just want to say thank you… Aloha
I went surfing for a few hours today, sloppy on shore beach breaks. When you’re not used to it or just throwing one trick on a wave you find yourself chop hopping till you realize you’re already out of position. Plus I got to re-encounter the always friendly locals of Palm Beach County haha. People start to smile when you bust out a camera, But I’m a prick you burn me while I’m surfing good luck catching a free shot.
This kid Albert from yesterday showed up with some of his buddies and it was worth me grabbing my camera. They obviously grew up here and understood how to tear apart these waves or at least throw the “go for broke” tail-whips.
Sequence of Albert blowing tail, he was the only one really linking the rights (the board art is so punk rock!!!)
Any one that wears such awesomely bad 80′s style face stick better be able to surf… He’s going to have to land airs to pull off a neon wetsuit thought haha
Didn’t really grab any shots of there 3rd friend but doesn’t mean he should be left out, high school can be a cruel place and I don’t want him getting made fun of tomorrow.
I’m really still not used to seeing buildings on the beach, I grew up in New York where they protect the natural beauty of the beach and the North Shore of both Oahu and Maui don’t have a single building taller then 3 stories on the beach (except Turtle Bay). It just reminds me of the bumper stickers “KEEP THE NORTH SHORE COUNTRY”
So I’m currently in Southern Florida (tell your friends)… And I actually got some waves this afternoon. I miss Hawaii but It was great to be able to get wet and get some shots. I used to surf Lake Worth Pier when I lived in Florida back in 2003, it was an extremely local spot and I couldn’t get a wave to save my life (I was learning in a spot you shouldn’t be learning at).
But today was fun and I actually had some talent to shoot, so over all it was a fun afternoon. Aloha
North Side of the pier is a wedgey reform, not a lot of power but there is usually a little ramp at the end for a hard cut back or mini air.
I tried to shoot some video, not a huge fan of the quality thats why I rarely post videos but enjoy
I had a lot of epic shots I took this winter but it’s funny how many I missed, It would be impossible to post all of them but I’m getting surf stoked all over again going thru my re-edit.
Fisheye Lens are a staple of surf photography. Depending on how you angle the lens you can make waves look bigger, deeper or steeper, But the down fall is you can also do the opposite. When I first got comfortable enough to get close I realized that I then had to master the fisheye. I mess up a lot of great shots due to inexperience and being too far away. But I learned from my mistakes and how to crop a photo to hide the distortion. Enjoy
Check out the original and the cropped, it’s really hard to maintain a believable horizon
Bottom angle shots will dwarf a wave size
Water droplets on a dome shaped housing ports are a way of life and an image killer
Subjects on the edges of the image get distorted
Too Far away
Once my nerves started to subside and I started having fun,my pictures got exponentially better. These are all from November 12th, my 4th day as a water photog. I stayed in the ocean for over 7 hours that day (3 sessions), it was also the first day I sold my shots to anyone. A huge mile stone and the first day I felt like things started to click.
I’m a ham and rarely serious…
I started feeling comfortable getting close, I was out of position but at least I was close haha
This one is painful to look at because it shows I had no clue how to position my body, I took many beatings to figure it out. Flynn Novak bottom turn
I went out for my last session at 5pm stayed out until 7pm trying to figure out controls for fading sun shots.
Ok, if you haven’t been following me or new to my site, this was my effort to cover this winters surfing season in Hawaii. I had never taken a professional water angle shot before in my life and had no clue what I was getting myself into. I’m the first to admit I was way over my head, but it didn’t stop me from going for it.
This is the start of my re-edit of my photos from this winter. After reviewing my photos I’m amazed how far I came in 3 months. It just goes to show if you put your heart into something and tell yourself failure isn’t an option you can accomplish your dreams. These are my photos from the first 3 days with my water-housing (november 9,10,11). It’s not as easy as point and shoot haha.
How bad it this hahahahaha, it’s Gavin Gillette but It’s so blurry If it wasn’t for the logos on the board I couldn’t even identify him
I was so afraid I was going to drowned, I keep myself soooo far away from the action. Hawaii waves are more powerful then anything I have ever encountered. Humility was the best lesson I learned thins winter
Not only being too far, I didn’t understand how to frame a picture. I was unconfident in my abilities which led me not to even look thru the view finder I would just hold my arm out and hope for the best. Man I’m a kook
I must have taken 5000 photos into the sun before I figured it out. Here is my first attempt.
I’m sorry you have to look at such crappy photos but it’s important to me for you to realize how far I came. Here is a picture of my first sunset on the North Shore, (notice the lack of people and all the sand that was on the beach during the beginning of the season).