Money Or Friends
When you are a traveling photographer you have two choices
Now after years of traveling and surfing around the world I’ve learned probably only one thing “respect the locals”.
Now that doesn’t mean everybody that lives where you are traveling gets free photos…I guess I’m saying unless you are part of the “crew” at each surf spot there is no reason to give out freebies.
Now I’m not saying I’ve mastered this elimination process, and yeah I’ve tried to charge a professional surfer because I didn’t recognize him (the email he replied was tasteful but was basically laughing in my face).
I guess all I’m trying to say is I only like a certain amount of friends and if you are paying $1000 of dollars a week to come visit a place where I’m staying chances are I have no problem $20 a photo…
Easy local ripper (most of the time they don’t need photos unless it’s an epic day)
Easy again, he reached out to me on facebook, lives in the same town as me and is a sponsored bodyboarder
Totally easy, he knows the guy I’m staying with and was generally concerned when he heard that he lost a fin on the reef.
These next two are harder, one of them owned a boat to come out too the surf break. Know I couldn’t tell if they actually live here, they spoke english but most of there questions was about me (I have a problem with asking about people lives)… Lets go with friends this time, just incase I need a ride on their boat
Now this guy asked me if I sell photos, dead give away that he is traveling… sure I could use more international friends but the odds I’ll ever see him again are slim. Hence you are money… maybe he will contact me (I have a few other photos of him too) maybe not. I still have fun shooting everyday and a few extra bucks for more camera equipment is always helpful
Day 1 Teahupoo
First off big thank you to Moana my host in this beautiful country. I will be living in Tahiti for the next 2 months and hopefully we get more waves like to day.
Not a lot of talking on this post since it’s been about a year since I got my camera in the ocean and can’t really explain how heavy Teahupoo was today. I’m glad I had the balls to swim out on a 6-10 foot day. Not so happy after I shot, I caught one wave then got pushed 50 yards across dry reef. shit happens… Aloha.
Just Incase you were wondering how deep Teahupoo is… Lets hope you never find out lol
Bro’s before Pro’s
I was shooting at point with bunch of friends and a few of the young pros on the island showed up in the lineup. I could have raced over and shot in the inside but today was about smiles not impossible airs.
My buddy Reza was working in off island last month so it was nice to go surf with again… It’s been too long
My buddy Mike is alway reliable to take the bigger waves of the day
It was Saturday morning and Christian had to keep checking his family on the beach but he had time for a few nuggets
It’s always good to meet new people, here is Justin, I always see him at Hookipa on the outside. As a guy that prefers quality or quantity, I always respect the guys that sit outside and don’t scrap for crappy waves.
Ok after I got shots of all my friends I swam over to hump Matt Meola leg on the inside at Middles.. He seriously never disappoints, always gives 1000%
He’s so fast sometimes he’s hard to catch
But the dude can huck airs, I’m kind of glad he didn’t land this, I was 5 feet bellow him…
12-4-15 was heavy and by no means clean, I got up super early so I could shoot my buddy Mike before he had to go to work. I didn’t sleep well but I was so excited from the amazing shots I got the day before, that I got greedy for more.
Protocol on bigger days is to go surfing first for 30-60 minutes to make sure it’s safe to go shoot. You have to understand that Hawaii is an Island Chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean Winds, Swells, Tides all drastically change from day to day. I thought because the swell size was dropping from Wednesday to Thursday that I could just swim out without studying the break. I quickly realized I made a mistake and the safest place was to get outside where the waves were breaking.
The swell from early this week was fading and a more Northerly swell was arriving. The problem with this new swell was it was closing out the channel (the safe area, just outside the breaking waves). This new pattern of churning water was also sucking me outside into the breaking waves. If I took a second to look at the water before I swam out I would have realized I shouldn’t have gone out.
The Channel is normally just past these rocks, I should have noticed that it was churning White Water but I was too busy checking my settings taking photos of my friend entering the water.
This was the first wave my friend caught or didn’t.
There was only one other surfer (Kenny?) and a bodyboarder out. Since it was such a workout trying to follow my friend it was hard to stay in position take photos of anyone else. Examples of being to far away and too close
Somehow I did manage to take a great sequence of my friend but this would be the last picture I took that day. I took a massive beating by the next wave, then tried to get in and couldn’t so I swam back outside waited for my friend and asked him if he could help get me back to the shore. I was freaked out and needed help. I’m grateful for good friends. Thanks Mike
Safety With Size
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 firstname.lastname@example.org… Sorry I don’t mass post pictures, it’s an art not a sport to me.
The Mountains We Choose
It’s 5pm and I have 45 minutes of daylight left, most people would just enjoy the sunset and called it a day. I grabbed my camera and swam the 100 meters to shoot because I knew my buddy Mike was out. I realized once I got out, a rain squall was quickly approaching and was going to destroy any hope of usable color. Regardless these are the Mountains we choose to ride and I feel images like these portray surf culture better than the glossy advertising magazines.
This was the first photo I took as I was swimming thru the channel towards the break… I instantly started questioning if this was a good idea because it was too late for me to go surfing
It’s always comforting when you have friends that can surf, here’s mike throwing a hack right in front of me. Pretty much making my long swim out worth it. thanks mike
Then it got crazy windy
Then it started to pour
Then everything started to fall apart
But if you’ve every been to Hawaii you’ll realize it does this and leaves as soon as it comes in… these 2 photos were taken less than 3 minutes apart
Honestly I don’t know how I focused on this last photo, I attached the original next to the edited one to show how dark it actually was… Try in your house to get a photo of someone walking with a shutter speed of 60, f/stop of 2.8 and ISO of 500…
Short Sands Playground
In my last post I gave a shout out to my shaper in Portland, OR (www.Blackfernsurfboards.com), Mike Hall not only built me a custom board in 3 days, after he found out I was a photographer he agreed to meet me at the beach to show me how much Gnar his board could Shred (“Shredding the Gnar” is my favorite term, you might as well get used to it).
I may have forgot to mention to Mike that I really only love heavy, chunky technical waves and really don’t care for pretty soft long rides. Unfortunately Short Sands Beach on the coast of Oregon is the latter. You go to short sands to learn how to surf and have a pretty day on the beach with your friends. Mike can shred some heavy Gnar but most of the other people surfing this day probably drive Minivans (not the cool crossover kind).
Oregon literally has the most consistent surf in the country and I couldn’t believe the level of surfing I was trying to film, it wasn’t pretty. Maybe I shouldn’t talk trash but it’s so easy. Ok I’m only going to show two utterly gross attempts to surf then i’ll bring back the gnar…
Was this guy tied to the ground?, how do you not even gain any forward momentum… I couldn’t believe this waste of wave
I watched this guy butcher 10 waves already so I should have known but he had such a stylish arch to his take off turn I thought he would actually try to make a section… Nope he just stood there and let the wave smack him in the face, nice!
Thank you for hanging in there, Here is some gnar… Mike on my board, he mastered this skate style chop hop floater on his back hand… either that or he was trying hard to show off his logo on the bottom of the board
Ok I don’t do this often… But I have to publicly shame this Orange hat dude. “Donkey of the week” (he’s luckily this happened a few months ago because I would have dedicated a whole post about talking trash about this guy). Obviously this guy is “A Local” but if your burn little kids trying to learn, your the kook (it’s not Malibu). Not to mention the “I’m too cool to care” attitude but I’m going to hover around the guy taking photos all day, give it a rest. I can admit you can surf but don’t be that guy
New Board Shout Out
BIG shout out to my shaper Mike Hall at http://www.Blackfernsurfboards.com… I gave him 3 days notice to make me a board before I came to Portland, OR for work. He not only delivered, he surpassed all expectations… He took my input and tweaked his “Bean V2” model (skate inspired concave deck with volume in all the right places) I asked for bit more rocker in the nose (I rock the late take offs) and a little less volume then the standard size model…
Check out those lines!!! the concave deck makes for radical turns and less need to grab rail during heavy turns or foam ball barrels
Thanks to my wonderful girl friend Miss Wille Kennedy for all the surfing photos (especially on those not so nice PNW cloudy day) I got a new toy and need to Shred the Gnar hahaha
Thanks Mike, hope I do your creation justice
The Family TAWHARU!
So I mentioned in my last post that I only took my camera out once during my 2 months in New Zealand. There were surfers at some of the surf breaks but (this might sound mean…) they weren’t worth the effort. Mediocre surfers make for mediocre pictures and I would be forcing lower quality pictures. That being said here are the Tawharu’s…
I love stylish surfers, in my option style will always be more important then size of waves or radical maneuvers. I was surfing at Whales Bay in Raglan (the iconic left handed point break in Endless Summer) when 3 surfers all paddled out together (father and his two kids). The youngest caught an inside wave that everyone else in the line up passed on and destroyed it. I was so excited, I had been in New Zealand a month and I finally had a reason to get my camera. I might have come on a little strong following his kids so the father came over to introduce himself. Luckily he was just as excited as I was and let me take all the photos I wanted.
Instantly I realize his son was not only comfortable with my camera but was pumping the wave just to make sections in front of me. Insert Jonas Tawharu… One of New Zealands Up and coming Groms
I feel a little bad because his sister could rip too but I really could not connect with her on photos. The break had a lot of take off points and I think if she sat next to Jonas, I’m not sure she would have gotten a lot of waves… Introducing Elin Tawharu
The sun came out of nowhere and blew out 10 frames before I could adjust the for the light, I feel really bad because she killed this wave and I missed 90% of it (I still had to make it B&W because the exposure of light destroyed the color)
And last but not least John Tawharu, he keep taking off on the inside and pretty much surfed clean up (I guess you have to when both of your kids can surf circles around everyone in the line up). He would come over after every wave and say something nice about his kids or questions about me. Super nice
Ok now that we gave the rest of the family some attention, we will give Jonas the spotlight he deserves, starting with the sequence from the first picture in this post (I felt like such a beginner, loosing sight of the horizon and just following the surfer)
It really wasn’t even that good of a day but he made the most out of every section and close out, charging like he was in a 35 minute elimination round
Super stoked on every wave, little did he know he made such an impact on my trip…
I sent the father all of these photos and he invited me on every surf trip they had in New Zealand that summer. Sorry it took so long to thank you publicly but I guess I was a little bummed that this was my only day shooting in New Zealand
Where have I been for a year?
So If you were an avid follower of the “The Surfing Photog” you would notice I seriously dropped the ball. The winter of 2014-2015 I went to New Zealand and had one of the most epic surf adventures I have ever had! That being said 80% of the beaches I surfed I was the only surfer to be found (With the exception of New Plymouth, Raglan and Gisborne). 20-30% of my travel backpack was filled with heavy camera equipment that never got used (except one day in Ragland… I’ll post that after this post).
Maybe I should have set up my camera and gone in to take pictures of pretty empty waves, glorifying the wonderful empty breaks across New Zealand’s North Island but thats not my style. Firstly I don’t want to spoil anywhere in the world that has waves with no people, thats why all the cell phone pictures I post here will not be labeled. Secondly I take pictures of the sport of surfing, If you want pretty desktop picture of breathtaking geography… I’m probably not your guy.
I’m BACK on Maui for at least a few weeks and I promise I will generate content for you, so let the trade winds be kind and swells abundant. Mahalo for waiting, I do miss all the wonderful support I get from my online community.
A Life Less Ordinary
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
Fun Day @ the Bay
I never claimed to be a local in Hawaii, even though I call this place home. I realize there are just some places in this world where I always be a Haole. I surf with respect and humility and try to remain thankful for any waves I get to enjoy. Honolua Bay is one of those magical places that I’m happy just to be at and if a catch a few waves, even better. January 5th, I was more then happy just to take pictures because there was so much talent I was able to get front row to all the action, Even got to body surf a few waves that the crowd missed.
I saw this guy pumping just staring at me all the way down the line, I was really really happy he didn’t smash his board into my face, that last second before he caught air, I wasn’t sure about anything. Man what a rush…
This guy is always sitting deeper and shallower then anyone else, which translate into him catching speeding closeout where he can just keep throwing airs. Which is totally crazy because it’s only in 3 feet of water with exposed reef in all directions.
The barrel sections were a little sketchy but if you were willing to stall you could get deep… Not sure if you’d make the next section but who cares, some one would drop in on you either way lol
This is the off the lip section of this post !!!
Looks fun but point breaks are always like swimming a marathon thru white water. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!!!
There will come a time in every young surfers life when he has to start missing Swells for work, birthdays parties or hangovers. But there are days (especially during a wave drought) were you have to “just get to the beach”, this Sunday was one of these days, not the cleanest but the biggest we have seen in some time. I’m not going to name this spot (please don’t post locations) but it was prime for this crazy cross island swell. The people informed were ripping and everyone that stumbled across it were struggling to keep up (myself included).
I’m the not biggest fan of empty wave shots, they lack perspective and are sometimes UN-rideable but these perfectly illustrate the intensity of this swell. *none of these are fisheye shot, I was using a 17-55mm, what you see it what I was dodging all day Sunday.
This one is blurry but the size of this pit needed to be shared.
Best Turn of the Day. He had crazy speed going into it
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
Aloha to all on your thanksgiving night, wherever you might be. Had a chance to hit the beach at sunrise and score some barrels at Lake Worth Pier in Florida. A lot of good vibes and happy faces today along with a bunch of close outs but everyone left happy. So thank you for your continual support of my surfing blog and I hope I add a little stoke in your life. Aloha
I don’t normally shoot vertical with a fisheye but I was getting pulled backwards and my arm just tilted but the shots came out awesome
This wave was actually the heaviest barrel all day but my camera only grabbed the first frame of the wave. This was a 4 wave set and I took 14 fames per wave but my camera doesn’t reset that quickly so I missed an awesome shot. Didn’t have the heart to tell the guy that I missed the picture, cause he came right up to me after and asked how he could see the shots. These things happen
I was a little inside for this wave and I had to hug the sand bar so I didn’t get fins in my back (about 4 feet deep here)
The take off was gnarly and most waves ended in an air drop because it was so steep
Here is ED showing us how not to do it (notice his feet not on the board)
There were a lot of fun closeouts on the North Side of the pier but there weren’t too many takers willing to throw them selfs off the ledge, here is one that payed off
Here is one that didn’t, No chance of making it but you got to give the guy credit for trying
New Island Maui
So I moved to Maui at the end of December thats why my post have been slow lately, I love the feedback and the comments I have been getting and it’s weird but I feel an obligation to keep posting. So there are two back to back swells coming the first week of the new year and I promise I will start blowing up thesurfingphotog.com again.
Mahalo for visiting. My new place is down the street from Ho’okipa so I’ll start showcasing the local rippers soon
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.
to get this shot I was literally underneath his board
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
Slow afternoon at Sunset
Wanted to feel the new pulse of swell @ Sunset so I swam across Boneyards (bad idea). There is a lot of West in this swell and it was just dragging me over the reef. It’s good practice for tomorrow when the VAN World Cup resumes. I put in a work out and even got caught inside by a large set (the lip came down on my legs a sent shock waves thru my whole body) just go’s to show when you are not ready you can get pounded.
New Yorkers were out in full force today at sunset, so why not get some shots, forgetaboutit
This guy, not from New York but he looks angry enough
And this guy is my neighbor, I’m not sure if he speaks english, but he smiles when I say hello so maybe I’ll give him this picture. He’s a big dude so maybe I’ll just leave a copy on his door step ahah
VANS World Cup
So today was the first day of competition for the VANS World Cup, the second stop on the Triple Crown of Surfing, Held at Sunset Beach. The waves were a little choppy due to heavy winds but it was a solid 8-12 foot swell. I was granted access to shoot in the water during the comp, an honor I took with a lot of humility. I take what I do very seriously and am truly grateful for this opportunity. Enjoy the pictures and Mahalo for visiting my blog.
The break is a little far from the beach and with 10+ waves it looks miles away
Joan Duru from France getting pitted!!!
Sean Moody advancing on to the next round
When I got this picture of Gony Zubizarreta I realized I was way too close to the competitors, I have to stay in the channel away from the surfers, If I messed up a wave I would not only be ostracized by the surfing community but I probably get kicked out of Hawaii
An it was my honor to watch Sunny Garcia out at Sunset from the line up, a memory I will not soon forget.
If your interested in seeing how big it was today, check out this video. I went swimming in this!
Lets face it, Taj was on fire the whole event, it’s been a few days but I though I’d add this little barrel Taj got in the Reef Pro.
Flynn’s Back Flip
Ok so the other day Flynn Novak did a back flip at rocky point, It made Surfline’s Punt of the Month and apparently it was a big deal cause I heard about it at Thanksgiving dinner last night. I got the sequence of him doing it but it was a little over exposed so I didn’t even think about posting it but since it’s “News” on the shore, I might as well show you what I got. Enjoy
Totally could have sat at Hale’iwa Alii Beach Park and watched the first day of the Reef Pro in 2 foot surf but instead I hit the beach with my camera and some New York Transplants (Got to represent my roots). We hit up Rocky lefts/Gas chamber, the East facing swell is blending the two breaks and really shifting the peaks. Nothing huge but definitely a bunch of head high sets.
I’ve been posting a lot of sequences but today I had the pleasure of following a local Lifeguard and I got a bunch of shots. Enjoy
And some Taylor Knox action just because he’s Taylor Knox
Pipeline has claimed the life’s of more surfers then another break in the world. These surfers that are immortalized on the plaque behind pipeline were professional surfers. Makes you think. If it doesn’t make you respect this wave then you are too foolish to ride it.
Hawaiian Motto: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono
Translates to : “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”
That WILL happen
This is the where the whole surfing world comes for a reason. Prices will be paid