Surf photography – A quahogger’s perspective

I was shooting some of the surfers from the Mira Costa College surf team for the schools’ marketing department.  I figured a 400mm lens would be plenty enough to get me close enough to the action, but minute-by-minute, I found myself moving closer to the water.  It wasn’t more than five minutes later until I was knee deep with my jeans rolled up when a wave hit me and soaked my pants and unfurled them to the sea.  Only moments later, I got distracted shooting and another wave moved the soaking closer to my belt.  At this point, I realized what was done was done and I was going to hold my position in the knee – waist high water and just deal with the jeans after the shoot.  When the guys came in they looked at me like I was this crazy quahogger and I knew, inside…they were right.  So I learned that day’s valuable lesson and will always have my wetsuit with me when I’m shooting anywhere near water.  Read on about the perils of shoot 2 and the foiled efforts of shoot 3. Shoot 2.  I’ve been a surfer since Junior High and have been a photographer for over 15 years but have never photographed from the water.  This was the perfect opportunity to get a water housing and get out there; I was WICKED excited. So I get the beach and the surf is pretty decent size but with an intense north-south side shore current.  I thought it’d be no problem but after 5 minutes in the water, I’d already been dragged 100 meters south of where I began. Long story short; that was the most intense hour of photography I’ve ever done.  I swam, kicked, dove, swam, kicked, dove, clicked, non-stop but it was great!  Once I had a chance to process the experience (and the images), I couldn’t wait to get out there again and get some remaining pick-up shots.  For more about the ill-fated shoot 3, read on… Shoot 3 involved a very enthusiastic me, suiting up, swim fins on, headed out paddling into position as fast as I could, when…what comes swimming towards me…under me…? A cute little leopard shark.  It wasn’t exactly small enough to be cute but probably not big enough either for me to have done the quickest 180 of my life. I was feeling a little vulnerable at that point, and so concluded shoot 3. When I returned home, Jaime poked fun at me (as she does) and said, “Hey, finally something got you to stop taking photos!”. Hilarious.

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