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 (https://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 (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
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
Around the 3rd week in November the North Shore Lit up, It was time for me to step up or get out of the water. All the pro’s started to show up and the waves started to get heavy. If you remember the waiting period for the Haleiwa Reef Pro, 9 days without contestable swell then BANG.
I was so impressed by the talent that it made me hold position longer and try to get closer. It was the push I needed, I was getting drilled by outside sets and slammed into the reef everyday but the fear was gone. I wasn’t going to miss it, I wasn’t going home empty handed.
Adriano De Souza
I would stay out all day everyday, holding position, legs cramping, watching the never ending magic
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).
So this is going to be a different type of post, I gave out a bunch of business cards today and told everyone I would post their picture. My gift to everyone…
Email me if you want the sequence
Started off at rocky lefts
This guy was ripping, he was dress partly as Santa, said he couldn’t surf in the jacket. 3rd picture is him getting clipped by the lip. Dude came right back out for more. It’s my pleasure to shoot people who go for broke
Here is a bunch of shots from Gas-Chambers, some big sets and heavy drops
I don’t think anyone likes to get skunked but it happens. I got a few shots but I’ll let you be the judge if they are quality. No excuses play like a champion 🙂
I like this kid (I think his name is Rico?) he always goes for broke
The low tide @ Rocky Point has been super shallow this week, this guy is over like 2 feet of water
Why old guys don’t do airs
I was off today, couldn’t figure out what to do with my self. Got suited up, camera ready, walked down to Pipe…… and sat on the sand watching it for at least 3o minutes. Wasn’t a point to get wet, pipe was a gnarly drop into a Mush Burger. It bothered me that I didn’t want to get in but to get any type of shot I would have got blasted over and over.
I was Hating all day, worked out for two hours then just walked back and forth to the beach over and over again….. Same story. It drives me crazy, cause there was waves but nothing I wanted to shoot or surf.
Around 2pm I lost it, grab my camera and hiking gear and climb the Ko’olau Mountain Range behind sunset. I know, I’ve been told repeatedly not to climb there, It’s either private land or military. But I don’t listen well…
Towards Sunset/Rocky Point
The whole North Shore
Found these glasses on the street at the beginning of my hike, so I gave my best “better not be hating look”
So I live across Kam Hwy from Rocky Point Surf Break (probably the most photographed beach this season due to the lack of Pipe swells) so there is always talent at my beck and call. I could live here forever but I wouldn’t want to be any where else right now.
If you have ever surfed Rocky Point you have seen this guy, his name is Rasta, nice guy just don’t take off on his wave
Wanted to show the change of color from the rights to the lefts, both these pictures were taking within 10 minutes
I don’t post blurry pictures too often but I literally get hundreds a day, Water is a hard medium to shoot in and if you haven’t noticed to sticks to everything. This u shape blur actually worked as it blur out the back of the surfer and the sun refection on the wave. Picture was taken at 5:30 right before sunset
O yeah and it’s Holly Beck, you might have heard of her!
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)
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)
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 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
So I must of shot for a total of 6-7 hours yesterday, about 1500 frames. By the end of the day yesterday when I got in from my last session around 6 I was done with editing. I went to Turtle Bay Resort to watch Marky Healy talk about his surfing/free diving/spear fishing/stunt man (he’s done it all) experiences in this Talk series thats going on during the Triple Crown. Really cool stuff, that dude is seriously balls to the wall and an amazing waterman. (sorry no I didn’t bring my camera, if you want that type of stuff check out US weekly, I showcase talent and art)
I like how the surfer changes color from the first frame to the last. I don’t shoot on P, I like full control of my camera. I have to choose weather or not I want the first frames drowned out by the sun and the surfer lit up or first frames clear and the surfer dark in the barrel. can’t have it all
Flynn Novak makes my life so easy, always throws moves in the best part of the wave and always goes big. Thanks Flynn (haha like he reads my blog)
If I want to stay in this industry I have to start learning the sponsored Groms (under 12). Meet