Oct 23rd, 2020
Baby Barrels, Bingin Beach
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I am such a dick sometimes. I didn’t know anything about the wave at Bingin other than it barrels when the conditions are right. Marko told me he doesn’t like it. Why would you go there when there is a world class barreling wave at Padang Padang? He kind of gave me the impression that this was a trifling thing and that I shouldn’t bother. The guy I met in Legian on Tuesday and agreed to meet there said it was easy, you can just sit in the channel. When it came to meeting up he decided it wasn’t working and headed off to Uluwatu.
It’s a bit of a mission getting there as Bingin is at the bottom of a cliff but its all well developed with proper steps all the way down. I sat in a bar for about half an hour and watched how to get in the water. Thats also a mission, you have to navigate the very shallow reef – but I made a friend on the way out so that was also cool.
I was there on my own and I didn’t know anyone other than the guy I met on the walk across the reef so I took up a position 25 or 30 meters down the wave. I was quite happy for the first 20 minutes or so. It wasn’t quite barreling but I was in the right spot and getting some really nice pictures of the surfers coming straight down the wave. If there was any chance of a barrel they scooped themselves up and went for it. I was right on the shoulder of the wave just before it broke – I was nailing it. Having an absolute blast.
Then the ocean did what the ocean does, it kicked the shit out of me, twice. What seems to happen is that every 5th or 6th set has three absolute monsters at the back of it. I didn’t know that. These monsters are much wider than the regular waves so when the first one came it was a total surprise, I’d been there for 20 minutes already and this hadn’t been happening. The wave has a kind of curve to it, so if you want to be looking down the barrel you need to be where it breaks. So you get drawn in, and you get excited, and you think everything is cool and then, BOOM motherfucker 🙂
Because the wave is so much wider, you aren’t on the shoulder anymore, you are in it, as it breaks, where the power is. Barreling waves, and this is only my second experience so I am no expert, but they go straight up, and over – hence the barrel. If you are in it you go straight up and over and that isn’t pleasant. What’s worse is that it gets really shallow, really fast and the bottom is reef, and reef is hard and sharp. So after the first time this happened, I will be totally honest with you – I was shitting myself. Then some time passes, and you haven’t seen a monster set for a bit so you start to get a bit braver and get a bit closer and then you get smashed to fuck again.
I was in the water for about an hour and this happened twice. The second time I gave up and the sea spat me out – just a few reef scratches. By the time I got out I was completely broken, again.
What Did I Learn ABOUT Shooting Surfers In Barrels.
I was all happy on the way there thinking this was going to a breeze. Marko had given me the impression that this was too easy and Dani had told me that I could just sit in the channel. What I know now is that if a wave is barreling its because its strong and hitting shallow ground. Even though the wave wasn’t quite working I got some nice shots and a couple that could almost pass for barrel shots.
If this one had been in focus it would have qualified, I think.
Same wave, same guy – he looks like he is crawling out of a small hole. Is this a barrel shot?
This is the guy I met on the reef on the way out and I think its my favourite shot of the day.
This guy must have been the best surfer there, most of the shots were of him.
So what I have learn’t is that shooting surfers in barrels isn’t easy. Maybe if you have a 200mm lens and you are another 30 metres away its easier, maybe.
Being in the water is never easy and not paying attention gets you fucked up.
Bingin works best, from what the guys that were there told me, on a mid to low tide, that’s when the tide is on it’s way in. I have read since, don’t ask me why I didn’t research this before, that it is at its gnarliest at low tide.
It’s is forecast to be pumping next Thursday, Friday and Saturday so I will be there then for sure.
The technical bit.
My mask didn’t work again and I don’t really know what to do about it. I am sure I would have fared better at ducking the waves if I had it on, but I didn’t.
The pictures were all shot at f8, 1000th of a second and an ISO of 320. It seems to be ok except some of the images at the end of the run aren’t quite in focus, annoyingly. This could because the subjects were too close; what I saw in the YouTube video is right and the camera isn’t continuously focussing on certain apertures or I was moving too fast – that seems less likely.F
I only took about a 120 shots, that’s a new low, which makes it much easier to select and edit. of those around 90 were in focus and free from droplets on the port, so I seem to be getting that right. Maybe I have been doing this wrong, maybe I only need to be in the water for an hour, hmmmm.
I’d really like to get my mask working again. If anyone has any tips on how to prevent a mask fogging I’d be really interested to hear from you, the overnight toothpaste isn’t cutting it.
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On a mission to become more active and mindful with my photography; to leave the house more often with the intention of taking photographs; to find attractive, interesting and engaging ways to share the images, videos and solutions I discover with others.