This type of surf photography would never be possible without a friend that goes the extra mile to help. My buddy Neal loves to surf and every time I’m in NY there are waves, Neal always says yes. Maybe the waves weren’t fantastic but we were having a blast before the sun came up and I had an opportunity try some new shots.
After the sun creeped of the horizon, I switched to a low appature and bumped up the F/stop to create a speed blur effect. It’s really hard to get a semi clear photo while bobbing up and down in the water, It’s hard to accomplish with a tripod…
I love using a flash pre-dawn, it’s so hard to find someone that will surf in the dark but it makes for amazing photos every time
The flash doesn’t really work more then 10 feet away you can still get some fun shot via post editing
You can see the flash in the lower corner
I know “blow out” photos are desired effect and would not be an acceptable if a client was paying for photos but Neal doesn’t pay so I can go as weird as I want lol
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
So when I first got my water housing I wanted to see how far I could push the limitations. If have you never seen a water housing it has very limited controls (more access, more points that could potentially leak). So a lot of planning needs to takes place before you start trying a long exposure in the ocean. It’s not like you can just stop and readjust, water is bad for cameras. Here is the first attempt ( Click here for first attempt), I went out a little earlier this time to get the sun as it was setting. Turned out OK but I still have a lot of conceptualization before next time.
An underwater sunset, the blue strip down the middle is actually a channel thru the Reef, there is a sand path and since its lighter it picks up the reflection of the water better then the reef (HOW COOL IS THAT!!!)
I tried to Un-Focus here to make the illusion of standing in clouds, the shore waves weren’t that strong so it picked up the refection, otherwise it would have looked like vapor.
And here is just a picture of the house on Rocky Point, I use it everyday as a reference point while surfing and shooting so I’m always thinking about it. (reference point: positioning point on land so you can line yourself up in the water to be in the best spot for the wave)