How To – Add Some Drama in Nazare

How To – Add Some Drama in Nazare

Nazare has been in the news a lot recently, with Garrett McNamara being towed into one of the biggest waves ever surfed, I spent a week there in October 2011 with Ben Poole and we scored perfect waves every day with a host of local spongers and a couple of tow-teams practising for the big stuff.

The angles you will have seen on the newspaper front pages and all over Facebook are from up high and taken with a long lens, one of the interesting things about the spot is the headland above it which offers a perfect birds eye view of the first peak of the wedge, I just re-blogged Paul Fenrichs post featuring the photo’s taken from this angle.

My Photos

In the selection of my photo’s above there’s one taken by Ben Poole of me walking towards the headland, that cliff is pretty big, there’s another shot of mine from around where To Mane (whose shots you would of seen) took his photo’s from, with the fort in the foreground.

As you can see the swell was a bit more manageable when I was there, in the shots of McNamara and Kealli Mamala about to head out for a paddle session he’s actually standing on the beach on the other side of the headland, in my shot of the boat you can see the headland in the far right, it’s very sheltered on that side but the paddle out would have been long to get all the way around to the break (I suspect they just got a lift on a jet ski after getting the photo).

Lessons learned

I think the high angle of the McNamara photo’s really lends itself to the drama of the situation, he’s also chosen to pull back and get some people in the foreground for scale, I have included one shot I took from the cliff with nothing in the foreground and I don’t like it nearly as much as the one with the people walking down, I think I could have composed that one a lot better though, and I have got a couple more that I’m happier with but I don’t want to put up here just yet.

There must have been hundreds of photo’s floating around of that wave and the rest of the session but the one’s that have grabbed the public’s attention are the ones with the foreground in them, something I have learned from the non surf related inspiration (critique of shots in the Plymouth Camera Club competitions and from the Big Lens Fast Shutter podcast) is that people always make a shot more interesting and context is everything.

What I will take away from these photo’s is the importance of composition and putting the action in context, something that I wish I’d thought more about back in 2011 when I was in Nazare myself.