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
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 email@example.com… Sorry I don’t mass post pictures, it’s an art not a sport to me.
I’m not sure if there is some other meaning for Andrew WK’s song “I Get Wet” but it excites me and I’m not ashamed.
Ho’okipa Beach park on the North Shore of Maui is the closest thing to my home break, Not saying I’m a local, but I have spent more days here than any other beach in the world in the last few years. Personally I like it a little bigger but if people are ripping I’m going to go out with my camera.
I haven’t been in Maui since the winter of 2013 but when I swim out with my camera it feels familiar. I know the reef, how the spots break on different swells and how to get in and out of the ocean safely. Maybe I should have been more cautious, It been a few month since I’ve seen good surf but that didn’t stop me. I swam out full steam and got a close as I could with a 17-50mm lens… Maybe too close.
All the shots today were at Pavils (It’s short for Pavilions, but I was assured multiple times no one uses that name but feel free to shorten an abbreviation to an abbreviation and call it P-Vil), there was a PWA (professional windsurfing association) event today so all the surfers were forced to the most eastern section of Ho’okipa.
This is the “Picture of the Day”, It’s clean, crisp and logo free (well except for mine, but I’m not corporate)
I guess I was excited to be back because I took more close-up than anything else, maybe I should have used my Fisheye Lens
I was only scared once today when this 58 year (it was his birthday on Saturday, I talked to him on the walk to my truck) came wobbling towards me, Not saying he wasn’t charging but on this wave I thought I was getting a rail to the face.
It was a surprise to swim out and see another Photog, Raja (http://www.travelingkameleon.com/)… You don’t get a lot of interest in the small-medium surf on a Thursday morning, but it was nice talking to someone that knew what they were doing.
Raja was mostly communicating one surfer (Lucas), when you go out to capture pictures with a photographer, you try to throw maneuvers in front of him so I didn’t connect with Lucas that much because our timing was not in sync. Luckily Raja missed a few sections down the line because he was shooting Fisheye and Lucas came screaming down the line.
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 Kennedyto 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
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
I have a bunch more photos, if you don’t see your wave please email me
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
The cold water has arrived and with it has come some serious waves. This is the time of year in NY when all the kiddies that thought it was “so radical” to take up surfing for the summer go away and the cream of the crop rises to the top. When you realize that this isn’t just a warm water hobby but a serious addiction that is only satisfied by the cold heavy hand of mother natures raw force.
Let the fun start
Wished he made this massive air drop but you have to have a serious pair to try
It was so hard to stay in position, Would have love to be able to shoot fisheye in the pit but when your swimming against a raging current my 17-55mm lens is money.
A lot of surfers where out, but you could quickly tell the one’s treading water and the one’s charging
Days like this I don’t even mind that they are devoid of color, waves like these aren’t pretty, deal with it.