I love these types of days! When the ocean shows us just how small we are. I’ll let the pictures dictate the size of the day and assure you it always seems bigger when you are swimming in it.
I went surfing before I brought my camera out, I needed to know I could get in and out safely and that there were quality surfers in the water worth the swim (you really can’t tell from the beach). Big Thanks to Zack Howard (http://www.zackhowardsurf.com). I had to ask him to stay out for at least an hour (he was one of the only shortboards killing it outside), here is a guy I’ve never met before and I’m asking him for favors…
I used my 70-200MM Lens for the first time today, it was a little weird not using a wide angle lens and sitting 20-30 feet away from the surfers. But it was the right call to make on a day this sized. Not going to say I mastered it on the first day but I can see a lot of potential adding this lens to my arsenal.
You needed power, speed, and commitment just to drop in on these waves. It was so hard not getting hung up on the lip, the wind coming off the face of the wave was intense.
Believe it or not, this guy was not caught inside. The wave was just imploding on the shallow reef behind him…
I actually had some issues with being too close at 70mm and I would get this blurred out foreground if I didn’t hold the lens away from water…
I couldn’t believe how clear this lens is… I don’t use a full frame camera in the ocean (Nikon d300s) but I bought this lens (70-200MM F/2.8 ED VR II) with the hopes of upgrading and seeing this is making my pockets shake…
I have few more shots from the day, if you didn’t see yours, Email me at email@example.com… Sorry I don’t mass post pictures, it’s an art not a sport to me.
I had to drive 6+ hours to be able to stay on Galveston for an extra day but when there are waves you do what you have to do, especially since I won’t see the ocean for 30+ days. I got up super early and drove the coast till I saw surfers at 37th Street. Couple of long boarders and one fun boarder but it was more then enough for me to get suited up. (I would swim out if it was an old guy in a row boat as long as he was riding waves).
Luckily for me there was a lot of style in the water and some amazing color the brown water was a great contrast for the morning light.
Here’s Mike!!! a Texas A&M student and a super nice kid, he was riding this wide twin fin and it was the perfect board for early morning chop, this ended up being my favorite sequence from Texas. I feel it represents the majority of TX surfers, people who enjoy just being out there dong what they love. Riding waves is fun and doesn’t have to be more then that
This angle was the only one working early in the morning, it was too grey shooting away from the sun.
Found a frothy barrel on the inside sand bar… really brown
David Voigt the local pro/surf shop employee that I met the day before showed up to grab a few more shots, surf photographers don’t show up everyday in Galveston.
The sun finally came up and so did the waves. Still a little grey but when you got talent in the water you make it work.
The best photos come when the surfer actually works with me to get the shots. He knew I was shooting fisheye and that means the closer the better.
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
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
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
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 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
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
This is the Heaviest wave I caught a picture of this winter. It’s of Tom Whitaker at Honolua Bay on 1/4/12
So in reality we all come to the North Shore to get seen. Stephanie is some North Shore homeless women that sells Lemonade at the Beach at Pipeline. She spends all day at the beach with the biggest smile on her face and is open to coming up to anybody. Came up to me today at the beach and I had the pleasure of talking to her. Told her that she had become a north shore celebrity just by being in the right spot at the right time.
She told me she got punched in the face yesterday by a local girl because kids where harassing her for being on surfline.com and she was telling them to get away. The lady weights maybe 90lbs and is super sweet, couldn’t see her harming a fly. It just goes to show, that everyone is fighting to get scene here and it doesn’t end in the water.
Stephanie best of: Winter 2011 Click here to see the 2011 surfline.com north shore yearbook
And her Video on turkeymelt.com (she shows up half way playing with Alex Grey and Timmy Reyes
It’s unlike me not to post for a few days but I’m honestly happy to be drying out for a few days. I’m giving my wounds, cuts and bruises time to heal. If you have never been to Hawaii the surf breaks are over a very hard and sharp reefs. It hurts a lot when you get smashed into them. I will be exploring Maui for the next few months so I promise to post a bunch of new and exciting locations soon…
here are a few pictures I liked that I didn’t have room to post in the last few weeks
Here is Myles Padaca during the break for the final at sunset, He was a caddy and got the place to himself for 40 minutes
Here a guy getting burnt at pipe and the other guy getting an epic barrel, happens a lot at pipe, kind of suck but it’s reality
And Jamie O’Brian home at pipe
Got up early to get out at pipe before the glorious sun ascended over the Koʻolau Mountain Range which frames the North Shore. I was feeling artistic from the moment I left my house, the air was crisp and I was good spirits. I’m really grateful for my time here and I want to make the best of it. I hope my images warm your heart wherever you may live…
And here is a barrel shot because it is Pipe 🙂
Swam out to Backdoor today, Pipe was firing too, I just liked the shape of Backdoor today more. (for people that don’t know they are the same wave, Backdoor is the right, pipe is the left).
No more talking, you say the word Barrel and nothing else matters
Kamalei Alexander getting shacked
Ok I’m not hatting here but I had to post this. I don’t know if Benji Weatherly gave up or literally fell asleep during this backdoor wave. The wave was not a closeout and pealed down the line with Benji so I know he didn’t fall but I have no clue what was going on during the wave.
I can’t end a post with Benji and his narcolepsy so here is Dylan Goodale about to get shacked
Today was the finals of the Pipe Masters and the Triple Crown of surfing. I stayed out shooting all day. It was a great ending to an amazing contest season for me and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it. Kieren Perrow took home the win and John Florence the Triple Crown.
Kieren Perrow in the final
Michel was one heat away from the Triple Crown Title you could hear him in the water, he was really pissed off that he didn’t make it, there is no second place in the triple crown.
Relaxing back stage and just stoked he was wearing a $10,000 watch, haha
So it was kind of a dream come true today, being out at pipeline with only 4 guys in the water. Pipe is a scary place for photographers too, we may be sitting in the channel but rouge sets and inexperienced surfers will kill you. All seriousness, I don’t recommend going in the water at pipe and anybody that respects the place says the same thing. I didn’t stay out long but after you see up-close John John get a perfect 10 it’s not going to get better. (Perfect example the next heat Aamion Goodwin beat Taylor Knox with a combination of two waves for a total of a 2.20)
My favorite wave of the day was John Florence 10 point ride. You can see him here stalling with both hands to get in the perfect position. Awesome
Evan Valiere not only picked the perfect waves but was super deep and under scored in my book
And Ian Walsh Talking off on this monster, look at this thing throwing!!!This is the biggest crowd I’ve seen on the North Shore so far this season, went on like this for about half a mile, impressive they way they handled it, even if there was a crazy line for the bathroom
If this was my career I should be at Pipe or OTW today, being seen and making a name for myself. But the waves were better at Rocky Point today hands down. And I love Rocky’s cause it weeds out the weak photog’s, it’s not a sprint like Pipe, it’s a straight up marathon. A current runs across the point and if you’re not a strong swimmer you’ll either be in the impact zone or down the beach in 5 minutes. Not saying I’m superman, I just know how to handle the break. (took a lot of beatings to find out)
Gavin Gillette was on fire today, either that or he was just everywhere I was
Here is what you have to take off on to make the wave, not a day for beginners
My favorite Surfer of all time Mark Occhilupo, I tried to get a picture of him on a back side wave, I must have shadowed him for 20 minutes (in the impact zone) getting pounded but he only took lefts. Still stoked haha
I really enjoy shooting with the guys from Japan, they are very respectful and humble in the water and on land. Plus they SHRED, so I’m compiling a bunch to send over to the Japan Mag’s at the end of the season.
I was shooting from underneath with a fisheye which makes this wave look a lot smaller then it really was, after this ride I was caught inside and instead of trying to get back out thru a football size field of white water, I saved my energy and went it.
Ok and Sterling Spencer cause the dude makes me laugh (the shots kind of grey but so his humor so it’s all good)
Pipe was on today and everyone was on it. Not crazy crowded, but if you didn’t know what you were doing you had no place being there and the line up got thinned out pretty quickly. Weirdly enough I think there are a lot of people out there surfing that don’t even try to take waves, they just want to say they were surfing pipe on a big day. 40-50 guys out and the 3 hours I was there maybe 20 different guys caught waves.
Kelly Slater got out there and within 10 minutes took this inside bomb right at me, Kind of wish on shots like this I was shooting with my Fisheye
Freddy P showing us what not to do on a wave, he dropped into a huge set wave after this but my shot was blurry so the falling picture is going to have to do.
Empty one and a few unknown rippers
So the waves are very small, so I deiced to go on down to Turtle Bay Resort and take pictures of Tourist. I figured I could make a few bucks or just have fun watching people learning how to surf. Trust me it takes years to gain style and everyone (myself included) looks like a kook when they first start. I had a blast and so was everyone in the water. It’s on the North Shore but there aren’t any local here that want to beat you up. People are just happy to be in the water. I meet Josh Kerr today surfing with his daughter, really sweet girl that wanted to know what I was doing, Josh told her I was talking her photo. He thought I worked for the hotel, I guess all the photographers he knows wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like that hahaha. But I got his information and I told him I’d get him the photos and NO I WILL NOT CHARGE JOSH KERR FOR PHOTOS, HAHA (if you don’t know who Josh Kerr is check out his website http://www.kerr-azy.com/)(I think he’s currently ranked 6th in the world)
And there was a cool turtle that was hanging out in the line up. I didn’t want to bother him to much but I came close enough to snap a photo
I can focus with my fisheye up to about 4 inches away from my camera and I find my self closer then that some times. Once the top surfers trust you in the water the rest try to get used to the comfort of having a camera in their face. I don’t discriminate, if you can rip I will pull the trigger and take the shot. Today on top of getting used to being inches away from a surfer on a wave, I tried to take some shot that other surf photographers uses as illusion shot. By tilting your fisheye lens you can make a surfer look deeper in a wave or a wave look bigger then it really is. Check it out and if you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer.
Got this shot by sticking my arm thru the wave as he raced by, I would say he was about a foot away
If you watched the Van World cup of surfing you will know the name Olamana Eleogram the only perfect ten of the competition, He was really comfortable with me up in his grill
The Next two are trick shots, the first I turned the lens sideways and gave the wave a circular shape (I over did it here) and the second shot is the tilt down making the wave bigger then it really was
I spent all day at Waimea Bay on the 1ST, the Eddie Ceremony wasn’t until 3pm and I had never swam out to the break before on a large day (it was 8-12 feet) so I had to know I could make it out there and back by myself before the Eddie Paddle out. It wasn’t really harder then any other spot I was just being cautious and safe. It did take 15 minutes non stop to get out and 20 to get back thought, so it wasn’t exactly fun, but great exercise.
First few are just some locals getting on the break before it got crowded, Waimea is a known “share wave” meaning that no one has priority and any body can take off at any time. You’ll see what I mean in a second.
I was surprised to see my buddy get a wave all to him self, This guy charges so he can make waves that most don’t take off on I guess.
The rest are from the Eddie, I wanted a picture of the guys Paddling out to the break, here is Mark Healy, Makua Rothman and Danny Fuller
This was just another great angle that didn’t fit in my first post
And this last one is a picture of all the guys taking the strings out of the Flower Leis so they wouldn’t be littering. I really love this picture but without context it’s wouldn’t make sense
I had a great last few days, great picture, good memories and a lot of wonderful people. Not to say everyday here isn’t amazing I was just really in the grove the last few. Woke up early hit up Rocky Point, then Back Door then a quick spin at Off the Wall till my battery died. I told my friend Paula that I’d get here a Jack Johnson picture, but I don’t want to bother the dude walking his kids to school in the morning, plus thats really not my style. So I caught him pumping in to a nice workable right today at Rocky rights, dude has got nice flow. I kind of miss stylish surfing.
And Nat Young Doing What he does best
Today was the final day of the Van World Cup, big up to John John for not only winning but comboing everyone else in the final. Was a day full of barrels and smiles! And for me a lot of swimming, current on the inside literally sucked. Got a lot of good shots and had a good time and honestly I’m glad next time I go out to Sunset I don’t have to sit in the channel any more.
These first two shot were from the Round of 32 Heat 4, Olamana Eleogram and Kieren Perrow
These last two are from the final. I was super close to Michel Bourez so instead of duck diving this wave, I stuck my arm thru the wave and hoped I caught the action, and really hoped I didn’t get sucked over with it…. I didn’t
It was hard to try to document the paddle out without feeling emotional about the importance of the Eddie. It’s more then just a contest, it’s a brotherhood of men and the community they represent. I wanted to show how much respect and honor this day meant to everyone, not just the participant. The North Shore is a small friendly country town, despite the circus that arrives every winter. If you treat it with respect and try to represent “aloha” while you are here, it will embrace you.
These aren’t your typical photo journalistic shots, I wanted to find the Aloha I saw today and share it with you. Mahalo for taking the time to see it
I was just in the middle of the Eddie Aikau Paddle Out Ceremony. I still have goosebumps thinking about it. Words cannot describe the love, emotions, brotherhood feeling within that circle, it was truly magical. They had the ceremony at Waimea Bay on the North shore. The day goes a followed, they come together, get inducted into the competition, say a prayer and then go paddle out to the bay for a blessing and to show respect to Eddie. The public does not paddle out as a sign of respect but they allow a few photographers to document the paddle, I was one of those lucky few. I’m truly honored by this experience, I have so much respect for these men and the waves they ride. The Aikau O’hana and the Hawaiian culture is such a loving respectful part of this surfing community and I want to thank them for all the Aloha they have shown me.
Kelly Slater 11 time world champion and former Eddie Winner
I love the fact that Tom Carroll paddled back out to catch another wave, he was also one of the last people to show up to the ceremony cause he was out surfing Waimea, 50 years old and full of stoke. I have so much respect for this man.