Oct 21st, 2020
Athlete Surfers, Legian, Bali – October 21St 2020
If you are only interested to see the pictures you will find them below, you are welcome to use these images in your social media especially if you could take a second to credit me and link to my Instagram account @_supersharp, maybe like and comment on a few photos 🙂
What you need, if you want to be taking nice surf photos, is for the stars to align – you need nice waves, great surfers and for all of your kit to be working. What I am learning is that all of your kit is never really going to be working. On this occasion it was my mask that was causing the problems.
My mask has been getting some attention recently – mainly other photographers asking if it helps, the answer is of course it helps. It helps to be able to see all of the time. It gives me the confidence to get closer to the surfers as I can see and get the fuck out of the way if I need to, I often need to. It also helps to keep the water from going up your nose. Except my mask was the thing that wasn’t working so, I wasn’t anything like as close as I wanted to be. To be honest, when I got out of the water I was feeling pretty dejected and didn’t think I had anything that was going to be any good. That might be because there are a couple of rips at this spot and I got caught in one.
The left was working and so I allowed myself to be drawn in that direction, It was seconds before I realised I wasn’t allowing anything anymore and the current was taking me quickly, whether I was allowing it or not. It wasn’t too much of an issue, there were surfers close by so I wasn’t too worried, and then the surfers weren’t close by anymore. So I swam like a motherfucker and managed to ge back in to the break and body surfed in. Maybe I am being too dramatic, just putting this here as a reminder that if the ocean wants to it will take you, it will take your stuff and the surfers are far more interested in catching waves than rescuing you.
So by the time I got out I was pretty broken. The images were looking blown out or ruined by water droplets on the back screen and I told everyone on the beach that I got nothing. What I usually say when people ask me if I have nice shots is that I will know when I get home, and I will be saying that always in future. You really have no idea what you have until you get them on a decent screen and now I have seen them on a decent screen I am feeling that these might be some of the best photos I have taken.
Did I just get lucky? I told a guy in the water that I was just spraying and praying and wasn’t expecting anything from the shots. When the mask is fogging its completely unusable, you can’t see the screen at all, and when I don’t have it on I am not pushing myself to get close, just avoiding getting smashed in the head or cut with a fin. As it turns out I didn’t really need to worry about that too much. In stark contrast to Tuesdays experience at Batu Bolong where one surfer was looking everywhere but where she was going and another literally said to me where did you pop up from; I was in the company of surf athletes and they knew exactly where I was and were in complete control of their boards.
This shot is the case in point. I wasn’t wearing the mask and I wasn’t being brave – but the surfer coolly, calmly, expertly came and executed a perfect turn about 2 metres in front of me. There is no crop on this image, I really was right under the board and she missed me 🙂
And this happened about three metres in front of me.
This was about 25 metres away and has been cropped significantly. Short boarders want to be caught in a tight turn at the bottom of the wave, or right on the lip, in a barrel or in the air. So this has the characteristics of a great shot – there is hope for me yet 🙂
The technical bit.
I have been struggling a little bit with my settings recently. I had been fixing the setting on a 1000th of a second, f9 and auto ISO limited to a maximum of 1,000 since I started. However, sometimes the auto ISO seems to struggle, and defaults to 1000 which means the images are over exposed and noisier than they need to be. The challenge for the camera is that you are constantly moving the camera from underwater where its dark, to above the water where it’s very bright. The result is that the shots are very often over exposed, especially on the screen on the back of the camera. It’s not a train smash as the overexposed images are much more recoverable that under exposed images. But I have kind of lost confidence with the auto ISO and have been setting the ISO manually.
The ISO in these shots was at 320 and whilst they were a little over exposed they were certainly recoverable. I have access to shutter speed and ISO in the water so I am going to start playing with those a little bit more. I also watched a video that claimed that my camera doesn’t autofocus above f8, rather it holds the focus from the first image, so I am going to try f8 today.
Did I get lucky?
To answer the question did I get lucky? I think you make your own luck by being in the right place at the right time. I knew the waves were going to be good and I knew that the pro surfers would be there – and I was there and a couple of times I was right where I needed to be – then you just need to be a little bit lucky 🙂
I am off looking for barrels at Bingin Beach, wish me luck 🙂
I hope you enjoy the photos, please let me know if you have any feedback or tips for me and my surf photography 🙂
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.