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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
As the sun sets it releases the days tensions and reminds us that tomorrow is a new day.
I went out for a “setting sun session” the other day at Huntington Beach, CA. I wanted to capture the essence of what it feels like as the light falls behind the Pacific Ocean and that sensation as a surfer when you realize you almost don’t even need to see what you are doing to enjoy the rush surfing brings you.
Having to shoot into the light in sports photography is an image killer, good thing I don’t think surfing is a sport… It’s hard to explain to a surfer that I got the shot but not one they will appreciate, every surfer wants a well lighted image of themselves (But other surfers can enjoy the silhouette)
At 4:30 the sun was staring me in the face, making it hard to focus, took me a good 30 minutes to get this shot to work
The only place I could get the blinding light to work for me was in the barrel. Good thing its like a second home for me haha
I said it more then a few times, to get this shot you always get blasted in the side of the head. You’re trying to hold your position and then BAM!!! All the neck pains are worth it when it comes together 🙂
I was probably more upset he didn’t make this wave then he was
I took this photo because I realized I was about to have no more light and the only photos that would still work would be above the lip.
At the end of the session you stay in the water hoping to get that last glimpse of magic, the one that lets you go in with a smile on your face.
The Number Streets at Newport Beach, CA are home to some of the best surfers in Southern California, also some of the most localized surfers. That being said they really aren’t aggressive and territorial like most of the other popular surfing spots in the area. But, if you think you have a chance getting a set wave… You Are Wrong. See the issue with Newport is there are so many guys in the lineup that know exactly where the waves will break, what the sandbar is doing, how the tides are shifting, when the swell is going to peak. ect… On top of all that, they are all friends, so they don’t need force you out… they can just sit back and watch you take off on closeouts because thats the only waves they will give you (or bait you into taking).
This was the first shot I took when I swam out, it set the tone nicely for the rest of the day.
Then the Barrels came out to play
Believe it our not there was actually an empty one that I got to body surf… I never got one when I lived here haha
Barrel to the left to hacks to my right, stuck in the middle again
O yeah like I said, if you want to come on down to 52nd Street and get some waves the boys will be more then happy to give you closeout until you get discouraged and go back to the 909
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
The question I get the most when I’m taking photos is “Do I surf?”. I love surfing, it has to be my favorite thing on the planet. I take photos of it to share the beauty and power of the ocean. I like to tell people when they ask that “I get to catch every wave” (even the waves no ones rides).
Here is one that I caught all by myself (the refection of the cliff and sky on the wave is something you miss while surfing a wave)
I also get a rush when I’m able to get so close to the action without interfering (I have got skag before and I had to pay for breaking the fin)
I also appreciate the different styles of surfers, cause no matter what or how you ride, the joy of sliding on the surface of the ocean is unlike any other feeling
And sometimes I just enjoy sitting back and watching the action.
I had the pleasure of going to my favorite beach in Southern California and I’m purposely not telling you the location (lack of a crowd is one of reasons I love this place). It is predominantly a longboard spot and is home to some of the most stylish surfers in the area. Its contrast of a visually stunning backdrop and long pealing waves make this place a diamond in the rough in over crowd ego driven So Cal.
Inspired by the location I decided to get artsy with the shoot and “document” surfing in it’s purest form, Not only concentrating on the “sport” aspect of surfing photography.
Not easy to only find one guy in a line up in So Cal
I loved the focus on this image
The following pictures are examples of longboarding done right
This guy was the only short boarder in the line up but what he lacked in fiberglass he made up in style
Today I got to check out “South Florida Surfing Air Show”, since the waves were only 1-3 feet they used a wench/rope-pull to propel the surfers into the waves. There were some great crashes, a few airs and a bunch of fun.
But the best part of the event was seeing the community of surfers here in Southern Florida coming down to the beach, bring their families and spreading good vibes. At the end of the day it didn’t really matter who won, everyone had a great time.
If you have never seen a Huck Jam this should explain how the surfers were propelled into the waves
Now for some AIRS!!!
This was my favorite part of the event, the guys waiting for their turn on the rope and everyones families were sharing these little waves and hooting & hollering, having a great time…
My Favorite crash of the day
So the stormy filled sky’s of Southern Florida were an entertaining change of pace from tropical setting of Hawaii but the appeal has warn off. I feel like I’m over editing as a way to compensate for the gray overcast. Maybe I’m just being moody…
I was excited Albert finally pulled off a 360 that I got a picture of… it’s a cool trick but not visual stunning as a single frame. So here is a few shots of the sequence. I think this is the only angle that works cause honestly it just looks like he is face planting most of the time cause the spray covers the move.
This is just a picture of a kick out (exiting the wave) but Albert does everything with flair so it looks good
It started pouring and I never shot in rain like this so I tried a bunch of settings to get it right… I think I need more practice… heres one dark and one light, there is no middle ground… it’s all grey
And I’m sorry if this offends anyone but I’m in Florida for my grandmas birthday and my cousin came with me to the beach today… he’s my comedic relief and helps me to remember not to take life to seriously… thanks jeff… bet you never thought this would make it onto my blog hahaha
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/)