November week 2 – catchin’ the waves

Every time I see someone surfing the tune to Hawaii 5-0 starts rattling around in my head.  Most images and scenes, pictures and art, songs and poems extract from us something that we can associate with from our past and experiences. Although I have never had a desire to learn to surf, I have always admired those who do and those who try!  Body and water, ever in motion, always aware of the other – rip curl…wow…

Surfing photography usually involves getting in the water, risking shark attack and getting run over or even drowning.  That’s not for me.  So if you find a location that can get you as close to water level and the surfers as possible is a good trade off.  Recently a surfing competition was here in San Francisco at Ocean Beach, but it was not extremely conducive to those conditions.  So I opted for Santa Cruz near the light house-surfing museum.

Early morning front lighting is usually excellent for surfing photography.  But in this location the AM sun is not behind you.  So you will need to take advantage of “side lighting”  So tracking a surfer until at least a portion of his/her face is lit provides dramatic presentations.

Continuous shooting and tracking are two wonderful features of our DSLR cameras.  This feature may be available in some point and shoot cameras although many of them have a substantial lag time.  That is the time between pressing the shutter and the actual taking of the picture.

Surfing photography is all about timing and capturing the surfer in the right position. With digital photography we can photograph like crazy while following your subject.

Everything along and by the water are on my photographic palette.  The second shoot from the second week in November was captured 30 minutes before sunrise from pier one.  The lights of the Ferry Building are reflected on the gently flowing ebb tide.

“The present structure, designed by local San Francisco architect A. Page Brown, opened in 1898, replacing its wooden predecessor, and survived both the 1906 earthquake and the 1989 earthquake with little damage,” says Wikipedia.

I did not have my DSLR equipment with me on this morning walk but my Canon PowerShot S95 was in my pocket.  I set the timer, placed the camera on the railing of the pier, framed my image, set the compensation to a negative 1 and used aperture priority to make this image. (No tripod – use some stable surface, and get your hands off the camera — timer)

No wonder we think of the “water” as the life source/blood of the earth and the Earth Mother herself… without it we would not be!

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