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
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
The umbrella was a fantastic addition to the shoot but it has not easy to maneuver. It also only lasted for 30 minutes
I’ve been know to edit out tattoos from photos but this one was poignant and actually added to the shoot
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.
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
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of hitting the coast of New Hampshire, I have been to the coast there before but never scored any waves. After talking to the locals a little, they don’t really have any waves during the summer. Luckily I had a friend that was scouting the coast early that morning and found a really awesome cove called Rye Rocks. On low tide it is a total bone yard over 50 yards of rocks but as the tide rises it peals off this point break into the cove. I personally wouldn’t recommend going right until the tide fills in, that’s if you would like to keep your fins on your board?
Didn’t get into the water until 11am and by that time the sun was blazing over head. When you point a camera at the sun it has a really hard time finding a focal spot. Not the best to take pictures in but I made the best of it.
You can see the white water on the inside of this wave was basically a shiny overexposed blob of brightness.
I was glad Rye Rocks was more of a local spot, if you have even been to NH’s coast you know that every tourist from 500 miles comes to beach and it can get a little crowded with people that really have no clue how to surf. There was only 10 guys in the water where I was surfing, but a few miles down the road at “the Wall” there was over a 150 surfers in a 1 mile stretch of beach. This guy owned this spot on a what looked like a 5’8″ board and he was no little man.
If I got down low enough and shot on an angle I was able to find some color. The rest of my session was a game of dodge ball with the sun.
This kid was my favorite, super happy grom, that was basically just stoked to be out there surfing with his brother. ear to ear smile the whole time.
He watched his brother the whole time and took off on any wave his brother told him to paddle for.
Unfortunately I don’t think his bother told him to duck dive and stop watching.
Overall it was just a fun New England surf session, cold water, friendly vibes and a lot of smiles. Can’t Really ask for more… Except maybe more surfable days, Aloha
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
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 (https://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 (https://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 (https://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 (https://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 (https://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 (https://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 (https://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
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
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
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
I had the pleasure of working with my friend Val on some Fine Art shots. After her duck diving shoot (https://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
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