Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Time / Date:
13:09 / January 26, 2012
Camera Body: Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L II
Shutter Speed: 1/800
Focal Length: 165mm
I grew up shooting images of my friends snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing when I was in my teens, and after that long things become routine. Always having an eye on the water when shooting surf is key. I am always looking for that one moment each time I am shooting that will outshine the rest and I think the most important trait to shooting surf is patience.
This particular spot only breaks well a few times a year and I really love shooting here. The waves break so close to the beach, but also over shallow water which is really fun to shoot from the water. I’d been in the water shooting this spot for 2-3 hours before I got tired and probably cold, and got out and was changing. I had another camera with a 70-200 beside me and actually shot this image of my friend Peter Devries while I was half suited and changing into dry clothes. There were a bunch of people on the beach, having a fire, eating, getting ready to go back out for a second surf. The waves became less consistent and I really just got lucky to have my camera out when this set came.
When I am shooting surf, I usually have a camera setup in a housing before I go to the beach incase the waves are really good and I don’t want to waste time messing around. I use Aquatech housings and have my 1dx set up with a fisheye, 20mm, 50mm or 70-200 ready to go. Ill also bring another body which more recently has become a film body, so that I am prepared to shoot from shore, or lifestyle and portraits. For this image having a second camera ready to go was essential…if I’d been messing around with my camera / housing I’d have missed this shot.
Making the Shot:
For this image it just came down to being ready and in the right spot. I really like straight on angles of barrel shots if you can see most of the rider…but still tell he’s going to get a really ride. But here I also composed the image so that there was rocky foreground as well as mountains and islands in the background. A ton of layers, with Pete being the focus.
Editing & Processing:
After a day of shooting digital I try to do an initial edit right away and get rid of almost everything but a few images that I really think work. For this image I didn’t have to do too much. Contrast, pulling the highlights back and using a grad filter on the sky was about it. The look / feel of images I work on is always changing. I just want the image to look good….to me.
I guess I chose this image because to me is has all the elements of a good action surf photo. It’s interesting to look at, with foreground and background elements…but still the surfer is the focus. It’s also one of my favourite spots to shoot surfing in the whole world and especially when you get some light – and in the Pacific Northwest I am usually working in monotone with many different tones of grey – so it’s nice to see some colour.
Advice would be to understand what you are shooting as much as possible before you start, but to also shoot a ton and have fun doing it. I take photographs because I enjoy it.
Lately I’ve found inspiration on Tumblr. It’s great to follow my friends / peers and I really do get inspired by what they are doing. As well as just getting out shooting…I’ve been shooting more and more nature over the last year or so and want to continue to do so.
About the Photographer
I grew up in Tofino, B.C., and had the good fortune to be in and around the ocean from an early age. I started out in high school taking photos of my friends surfing our home beaches, and since then my still and motion work has focused on surfing, fishing, and the life and culture of the Canadian coast.
Basically, I’ve just always loved the journey and the simple adventure of getting there. I love exploring new places and being outdoors all the time, and I hope to inspire people, through my work, to do the same.
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