“How many shots did it take to acquire this one?” It is a good question. I hear it a lot. Here is how it works…
Learn your craft. Buy the right camera and lens setup. Build-acquire the housing. Figure out optics in water. Watch weather. Select a swell, tide, surf break, weather pattern with the correct potential combination. Wake at 4 am,
Prep your gear. Have a little coffee, but not too much because you do not want to pee in your wetsuit during morning feeding hour, and sharks feel the charge from your camera body and sometimes come for a look. Curious cats, they usually lurk outside of view. But not always.
Pull on wetsuit and fins, in the cold offshore darkness. Step into grey-black water, as the light comes up on the eastern horizon. Feel the cold rush, as you swim under the first line of whitewater. Tend to the port on the housing and protect your gear as you try to avoid a beat down. Then, outside the surfline, you find the peak you think exists, and not unlike surfing, you stalk your wave. The light is good for ten minutes, optimal for ten minutes and average for about a half hour after that, but you stay out for hours, making that 36 frame roll of film last, because that is what you do.
The really intriguing part is just being there. You never want that to end.
Editor Jeff Divine once asked: “Do ever shoot anything not during golden hour?”
“Only if I have to Jeff”
Though I am a big proponent of contemporary digital capture, I have to admit that I do not use the motordrive or the near unlimited load that exists now, with big storage memory cards. Quantity does nothing for me, in acquiring the things that I do. Planning, persistence and passion do. So the game is pretty much the same. All of these images are film captures. Just what I was working on this week, as I created something for a project.
It is all about light, and water, vision and persistence.
The funny thing for me, is that although I am continually surprised at what I find in my stills files, I shot all of these same subjects in motion picture. An older cross section of that work is contained here. I need to build some new reels. Time…….passes.
All of this requires effort. Seth Godin examines the subject here.