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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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)

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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

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Super stoked on every wave, little did he know he made such an impact on my trip…

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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.

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Looking For Some Style

This type of surf photography would never be possible without a friend that goes the extra mile to help. My buddy Neal loves to surf and every time I’m in NY there are waves, Neal always says yes. Maybe the waves weren’t fantastic but we were having a blast before the sun came up and I had an opportunity try some new shots.

 

After the sun creeped of the horizon, I switched to a low appature and bumped up the F/stop to create a speed blur effect. It’s really hard to get a semi clear photo while bobbing up and down in the water, It’s hard to accomplish with a tripod…

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I love using a flash pre-dawn, it’s so hard to find someone that will surf in the dark but it makes for amazing photos every time

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The flash doesn’t really work more then 10 feet away you can still get some fun shot via post editing

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You can see the flash in the lower corner

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I know “blow out” photos are desired effect and would not be an acceptable if a client was paying for photos but Neal doesn’t pay so I can go as weird as I want lol

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These photos are me just getting weird with it, I hope you enjoy. mahalo for viewing 10-3-14-neal-16 10-3-14-neal-20 10-3-14-neal-31

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

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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

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The umbrella was a fantastic addition to the shoot but it has not easy to maneuver. It also only lasted for 30 minutes

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I’ve been know to edit out tattoos from photos but this one was poignant and actually added to the shoot

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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.

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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

Trusting Ablitity

Having the ability isn’t enough, it’s knowing when something goes wrong you have the skills to protect yourself. I know that shooting fisheye in the pit at Honolua Bay is the right lens but doing so leaves you exposed if an outside set comes rolling thru.  I got a bunch of fantastic shots yesterday but what I’m most proud of was when I got caught inside and wave after wave (maybe 6?) keep sending me deeper into this torrid mass of white water, that I was able to rise above. Having only a few seconds to gasp for air before the next wave hits you is a strange feeling but freaking-out is what gets your hurt. It’s a helpless feeling knowing that you are not strong enough to get yourself out of this situation, you need to stop fighting and let the current push you out of the impact zone.

What a rush…Mahalo for visiting my site

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I have a bunch more photos, if you don’t see your wave please email me

The Lefts at “RIGHTS”

If you have never been to the North Shore of Maui you might be a little confused about where to tell your friends you are going surfing. Where I come from in NY a beach and the wave are usually called the same thing for miles of coast line. At Ho’okipa Beach Park a quarter mile of sand and reef have a minimum of three names ( people would argue there are many more little breaks within this stretch ) Pavilions (pavils), Middles and Rights. I surf goofy-foot-ed ( right foot forward ) and I have a special love for going left at the “Rights” ( which is at the left end or westend of the beach park ( confusing…).

I have been told this section of wave is a waste of time because

{A} It is a heavy drop into shallow reef

{B} a solid wave sends you into a sea of white water from Middles, which is a pain in the ass to paddle back thru, 10-15 min paddle battle

{C} it will never be a long ride and most of the time you are racing to make the section.

That being said, I STILL LOVE THIS WAVE. It’s peaky, fast and no-body likes it, which means I don’t have to fight anyone for this wave. I watched on the beach for 30 minutes for the right lighting and could see this guy killing the Lefts at Rights the whole time. I grab my camera and basically was this guys personally photographer for 90 minutes. So besides a few rights at Rights that rolled my way shallow this is a blog post about TOSH PEILA @TOSH_PELIA

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I was soooo bummed this shot came out blurry, with a flash you have the tendency to focus on the spray of water because the illuminated water is the closest focal point.

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If you were wondering if Tosh was a good person? here he is ducking his head down and paddling so he didn’t block my shot. That’s why Tosh gets all his shots for free any day of the week.

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All night long

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Here are just a bunch of shots I really liked the lighting on…

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Think this was the only other person that caught a solid Left the whole time I was out.

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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…

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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.

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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

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This is the off the lip section of this post !!!

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Looks fun but point breaks are always like swimming a marathon thru white water. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!!!

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