Surfer Magazine’s Behind the Lens

I do like a good photo feature that is told form the photographers perspective, this series on the Surfer Magazine website features their staff photographers describing their experiences on photo trips.

The first features Todd Glaser talking about Mexico:

I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a bit more technical, I understand that the majority of punters don’t want to hear all about shutter speeds and lenses but there could have been a little bit in there.

The photo’s that accompany it are, as you would expect, amazing, the issues in shooting in the water make up part of the feature so it makes them all the more impressive, as someone just trying to get into shooting in the sea I can appreciate it all the more.

Having been lucky enough to visit Peurto Escondido myself I can vouch for the strength of the currents, I had my first DSLR with me, a Canon 400D and shot a few pictures from the beach.

This shot was at the top end of my Canon 90-300mm telephoto lens which I picked up cheap on Ebay before my trip, pretty sure I had it in sports mode which selected 1/500 shutter speed, in hindsight I should have shot faster than that and got a crisper image but I was pretty keen to get amongst it and it’s a classic Peurto shot so I’m pretty happy.

The second part of the four part series is from Zak Noyle, both have impressive but slightly annoying flash based websites and both of them are Surfer photographers, Zak’s tale is based in Indo and again focuses on the experience of the trip and not the photography side, I was hoping the “Behind the Lens” title would mean I’d be able to get a bit more out of it technique wise but all us surf photography learners will have to make do with the stunning photo’s and the background story.

It feels more like a teaser for a full article with tantalising glimpses into the trip without the full story being told in pictures of words, but that’s what the web feature is all about I suppose, teasing the Photo Annual enough to convince you to buy it.

Indonesia was not really one of the main places on my to go list, this is unusual for a surfer but I guess I preferred the idea of the slabs of Chile, breaking in the shadows of skyscrapers yards from the beach.

But an opportunity came up at work to go on a boat trip to remote North Eastern Indonesia, a perfect opportunity to practice some surf photography and sample some Indonesian reefs without the crowds.

You can see the feature here on (that’s me in the foreground of the first photo), one of my favourite shot’s that I took during the trip shows the main break we surfed, Serenades, going mental on the first peak in the background, at this size it’s pretty much unsurfable on that section but when it gets smaller you can sit right on it and backdoor section after section over the shallow reef.

This was shot from the dinghy with the same 90-300mm lens and a Canon 550D, I pulled it back to 120mm to get the guys in the foreground for some scale and was shooting in shutter priority at 1/1000 of a second, the wave is probably 50 yards behind them, the second peak is a bit further out than where they’re sitting and you can take off there and get a good 200 yard ride along the reef.

I’m looking forward to the next Behind the Lens but so far they’ve given me the opportunity to look back on my own trips and to think about how I would have shot photo’s differently, rather than an insight into the mind of the pro photographer, for that you’ll want to check out some of the recommendation in the next inspirational top 5: Books and Magazines.


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