surf photography

New Color

I’m in love with color, mostly the vast arrays of changing light during sunrises and sunsets. The light skims across the surface of the water and the hues of the sky become alive. Unfortunately clarity is an issue as the light fades, I recently purchased a flash for my water housing so I can better illuminate my subject in the failing light. It adds another 2LBS  making the totally weight around 7-8LBS and it’s not arrow dynamic cutting thru the water so, I feel like my balance is off and I’m struggling to maintain a horizon because its top heavy. Here was my first attempt on a super glassy 2-3 foot day at Robert Moses State Park. Many Mahalo’s for my friend Neal for staying in the water extra late to help me practice.

There was enough light when we first started that the flash wasn’t needed, Plus I need to understand range of my Flash (check out the moon)

Normally he would be a silhouette shooting into the sun but the flash added just enough color to make this shot

Too Far away and the flash doesn’t even matter.

The Flash actually made this too colorful and its was super red and over exposed so I bumped up the contrast and made it black and white, around this time I was having issue with focusing, the camera couldn’t find a focal distance in the dark.

This obviously wasn’t the best shot but it illustrated perfectly the concept I was going for, Perfect clarity in almost no light.

In between sets and at the end I wanted to try to get a few beach break barrel shots. But it was really hard to turn my arm with the extra weight to position my camera perfectly


The Places We Call Home

I went surfing all day today, it feels so good to be able to say that since it’s been flat for weeks on the East Coast. I met up with a guy I randomly met in Hawaii this winter that ended up living 3 miles away from my childhood house. When we met neither of us knew when we would go back but it’s nice to reminisce about the small details about the places we called home. He lifeguards at Robert Moses State Park and I was excited to see a semi clean sand bar at a beach I never went to while I lived here. Hidden gems I guess.

When we surfed in Hawaii we only rode shortboards so I was stoked to see that Neal had skills on a longboard

My Favorite shot of the day! There is so much style in this photo its crazy

 

A few of his lifeguard buddies snaking each other and having a blast before their shifts

He offered to let me try his soft top but I declined, Not my style but he made it look good

I loved the fact it wasn’t crowded but there were a few locals ripping it up

The water quality is so much better out east, I don’t think I’m surfing closer then 30 miles from NYC any more

Neal offered to take photos of me and since I really don’t have any professional quality shots from the water, I was excited to let him try with my camera, I told him he had to take his photo getting hit by the wave, I do it ever session as a gag, funny to see someone else do it.


His best shot of me, don’t blame him I really wasn’t catching good waves on my shortboard plus I got up at 4am to try my new Flash for my Water Housing… I need more practice with it

I need someone willing to wake up at 5am to get to the beach by first light, cause with my new flash I can capture so much amazing color. For now you just have to look at my head haha


A Gift of Love

On January 20th I got an email from someone that randomly came across my blog and wanted to buy a print. It was a photo of my buddy Rez at Ho’okipa, Maui during a sunset session taken a few days earlier. He wanted to buy it for his girlfriend for her birthday. I knew he wouldn’t use it for commercial use because of the tone he had in his email so I told him I’d sell it for the price of a 6-Pack. I told him I’d love to have a picture of him and his girlfriend with the picture (a tradition of keeping pictures of mine that people have printed out). I was waiting to share that 6-pack with Rez as soon as I got that photo. 9 Months to the day he sent the picture and I couldn’t be more stoked.


A world away

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


Entitlement

Somewhere along this journey I started to do more then just take pictures, since I travel so much I get to document each local surf scene I travel too. I’m lucky enough to have another job so I don’t need to make money selling surfing pictures. This has it’s plus and minus, I take the pictures I want too and if you want to buy them more power to ya.

On this day I went to the old mans longboarding beach “Gilgo Beach”. It’s a “town beach” and if you don’t know what that means: it means it’s operated and run by a town so they can do anything they want with it (kind of like a country club). If you aren’t a resident of the town it cost $40 a day to park, there is no public transportation and they really don’t want you there. I wanted to document the old man scene that I watched growing up when I used to go there as a kid. I wanted wide angles of the gracefulness and close ups of the technical nose-riding. I forgot that even though I enjoyed watching this type of surfing, this is not my favorite type of scene to be in.

Old dudes on Long Island are crabby, they usually hate their job have a bad back and think they can catch every wave. Thats all well and good but surfing is supposed to fun. Most of these guys are the epitome of a hard core surfer, cold weather, dawn patrol before work and they will never stop surfing. It’s something that I respected growing up but never understood that tough guy, weary of outsides, this is my beach attitude. All of them will deny this, but none of them even payed attention to the young surfers or short boarders in the line up. I didn’t stay long and I won’t post the negative attitude I witnessed but just remember have fun, it beats working any day.

Even thought I think I got some good shots I’m not going to speak about the photos individually, they are happy in their little pack and I’m just going to let them do their own thing. Maybe one day when I’m old I’ll understand but I hope not lol


The Definition of a Surfer

Any surfer will tell you riding waves may be the act of surfing but being a surfer has many meanings. I am not the same surfer I was when I was 12 when I got my first board and I won’t die being the surfer I am today.

I’m back in NY after a lengthy North America tour and a high school friend wanted to get some surfing pictures of her and her 10 month old daughter. It was hard for me to prep myself conceptually for this photo shoot only because the elements would be greater then the surfing (lighting, angles, distance, crying babies). I decided that early morning light would be the best, an East Coast summer sunrise has this crisp almost blinding light that seems to skim across surface of the ocean and I knew it would add to the youthfulness of this shoot.

Now my friend neglected to tell me that she has never taken her daughter surfing before so my ideas of close ups, capturing joyfulness excitement of her child riding waves turned into watching the bond of a surfer/mother take the first steps into a whole new world. I realized I needed to swim further away and give less direction and not even continue our conversations. They were both justifiably nervous and both of them didn’t really know what was going to happen. I watched as their moods changed and the elements that I was so focused on faded away. I could tell my friend was realizing that a new chapter of her surfing life was starting to happen and even though she might not want to give up her old surfing life,she was ready to make this work.

The range of emotions that flew by were powerful enough for me to be stop in my tracks

You wouldn’t think paddling out on a two foot day would be challenging, until you realize that it’s the first time you’ve ever done it this way

the initial relief of making it to the outside was washed away by the realness of the moment and the striking realization that this was really happening

My favorite photo: the wave passing by with neither of the heads turning, as if it didn’t matter

and the exact opposite: the mother watching what she would love to be doing while holding her daughter tight

On this day no waves were ridden but we welcomed a new surfer into the world. Aloha


Hometown Breaks

I’m a New York Surfer, I grew up on Long Island. This is a statement I had to defend my hole life. Now I’d love to show you how epic the waves can actually get In NY but it’s not going to happen in this post haha. I’ll be in NY till september so here’s to hoping for an early hurricane season.

I went to the beach today with my friend and his family, I was hoping to get shots of him and his daughters surfing but I forgot that none of my friends can surf and they all got Old and Lazy (they would be the first to admit it). So I got some shots of some local surfers and a few shots of us messing around in the shore break.

I know it’s not Hawaii or any other amazing breaks I’ve shown in my posts but its home. No matter how far I travel, my root grow out of nasty brown water and I’m proud of it 🙂

As my friend stated watching me take shots “TAN SHIRT KID IS KILLING IT”

Learning on small waves will make you scrappy!

My buddy wanted to try taking shots of me, but he didn’t feel comfortable out in the break so we hung out in the shallows. This is the best shot he got of me, it’s harder then it looks isn’t it

but he did get a great shot of me getting pounded by the white water… Thanks

Before we left I went out one more time while he caught his breath and had a cigarette break ( I wonder why he need to catch his breath?)

this guy asked for a business card, so even though it not an amazing shot. Everyone is stoked on getting a surfing shot so, I hope he likes it.

O yeah, heres my friend being sexy on the shore


Quality vs Quantity

It’s been a long time since I had the opportunity to taking surfing pictures, for the last 2 months I’ve been in the Midwest and Canada for work. I had the 4th of july off and was in San Francisco so I packed up my gear and went to the beach. In the last few years I’ve visited NorCal a lot and have leaned most of the breaks from Santa Cruz to SF. If you have never visited coastal northwest of the United States the weather is almost always foggy and overcast unlike the picturesque beaches of SoCal. So unless you are a hardcore surfer and will brave cold water and heavily populated shark infested waters you don’t surf here. UNLESS it’s a holiday… When it’s a holiday every kook and his kid are at the beach riding longboards on 2 foot beach break.

Luckily I know were to go. I went to a surf spot called Grey Whale, even though it’s easy enough to get to and only 5 miles south of Pacifica Beach it’s never going to be a crowed surf break. Limited parking, 50-100 stairs down a cliff and a short beach keeps tourist away. It’s also a steep fast wave so it cuts out most of the long boarders and beginning level surfers. Their must have been 100+ surfers at Pacifica surfing 2-4 waves, there was 6 at Grey Whale the whole time I was there and really only 3 of them belonged. As for the size it must have been head high to some double over head sets.

If I wanted to sell shots I could have made a killing at Pacifica but instead I really only took pictures of one guy and when he offered to pay for the shots I declined. So I introduce to you Keil Miller of San Diego. As stoked as he was to receive the shots, I couldn’t be more grateful he was there to make my only beach day in 2 months worth it. Aloha

I knew it was a heavy day when people comment on the fact they can’t believe I just swam out there but I didn’t really realize until I saw this picture haha. I guess in the heat of the moment I don’t really worry about limits.

I was hooting more then he was when he raced thru this barrel, haha

It was super overcast and since this shots angle was up and away from the beach it was grey and void of color. I thought it looked better as B&W

Think about where I was to get this angle? I thought I was going to fall on top of him


Follow the Light Foundation

This was my Follow the Light Foundation submission. I’m not much of a video editor yet but I put a lot of heart and thought into it. I hope you enjoy.


California Revisited

I’m working on a west coast International Marketing Tour, yet for some reason I’m in Illinois… Don’t ask it’s marketing. I’ve  gone to California a few times already this year and have been lucky enough to land some pretty solid swells. Here are a bunch of great shots for one reason or another didn’t make the cut in my previous post, so I thought since I’m suck in the Midwest and the chance of getting great surfing shots is slim, I’d revisit the west coast.

Sold this shot to this guys friend for a gift… so I didn’t want to post the shot until he got it. It was the best shot I’ve got in California hands down! (it was his first session with his new board… I think it’s a keeper)

This kid was killing it that day!

The water temp so freezing this day I was surprised I stayed in for 2 hours with only a shorty 2/2mm. Wish I could stay longer it was a super glassy day

I could just post the 3 shot from this sequence and claim it was a sick but he didn’t even come close to landing it.

Here is a great barrel shot from the Wedge but it was a little too pretty to add to a post when you are calling the place a freak


Texas Sunrise

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.


3rd Coast

So I travel a lot for work, last week I was in Southern California this week Galveston, TX. But luckily for you I always bring my camera.

I was at 61th St in Galveston (yes Texas has surf). I shot fisheye today, something I don’t normally do when I don’t know the break or the local surfers (because you have to get really close), but I thru caution to the wind and it paid off. Actually it made the waves look a lot bigger.

Just incase you didn’t know the water is a filthy and brown, O yeah it almost always smells like low tide, but if it has waves I’m going in haha

People are friendly in Texas! This kid was just a local college student spending his free time at the beach. You be surprised on how many people don’t even say hello to me and people wonder why I charge them for photos (If this kid emails me I’ll give him everything for free). It pays to be nice

The line up was empty so I was about to go in then this guy paddled out and I decided to see what he had to offer. I’m glad I did he ended up working at the local surf shop (Southern Spears Surf) across the street. He was killing it and it actually made my session so big ups to SouthernSpearsSurf.com

To be able to punt airs with on shore wind and mush waves is a huge testament to this guys ability

Here is the last sequence I shot, I love when I get a shot and I know that it just made my session.

Thanks Texas


The Wedge is a Freak!

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