Today I was fortunate to meet one of the surf world’s great filmmakers: Jack McCoy. He introduced himself to me while I was standing on the sand waking up and waiting for the sun to rise before heading out in the water. A tall, quiet man with a quick smile, Jack offered me a few tips and some insight into housings and how best to keep drops off the port. Everyone who takes a camera into the water has their own way of keeping the port clean — it’s a common denominator — and I always appreciate hearing how more experienced shooters go about it. When he told me how long he had been working and how many films he has shot, I was floored but tried not to let on. Wow! We learn from and are inspired by the great ones and then we hope to pass it on in the future. Mahalo, Jack McCoy.
Here are a few more morning images. Every wave is different, unique, and so fun to try to capture. I’m testing out the limits of what my camera can handle in the way of exposure latitude, highlights and shadows. These are processed to pull out as much honest detail in the shadows as possible while allowing for a reasonable amount of blowout in highlights. It’s tough shooting directly into the sun with a digital camera — digital cameras do not handle the sun in the same graceful way that film did — but sometimes that is where the color and interest lies. Cheers and thanks for looking!
I tested out my latest Del Mar Surf Housing this morning. I had great light for about 20 minutes right at sunrise, then swam around for a few hours trying to photograph the set waves. I wish I was about 20 years younger, I feel pretty worked over. Thanks for looking!
Blood Red Sunset, Surfers waiting for waves, Encinitas, California.
These guys were enjoying the last hour of light, waiting around under the deepening red dusky sky, catching a few waves. Encinitas, California.
| Two surfers at sunset, blood red dusk, Encinitas.
Image ID: 27976
Location: Encinitas, California, USA
Sunrise Barrel, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas
The surf was small but fun. The water just cool enough to be refreshing but not chilly. No wind, glassy water. Beach empty. I got in the water right as the sun rose and touched the waves. From famous Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California.
| Breaking wave, Moonllght Beach, Encinitas, morning, barrel shaped surf, California.
Image ID: 27975
Location: California, USA
Carlsbad Sunset Triptych
From one of my favorite local beaches, South Ponto. The surf was almost nonexistent so I photographed from shore. See more Ponto Beach photos.
Art Wolfe hosts the biennial International Conservation Photography Awards (”ICP Awards”). One of my images was honored in the 2010 edition of the competition, so I decided to try again this year. My photograph of a young California sea lion entangled in monofilament fishing line, taken in the Espiritu Santo Biosphere Reserve in Baja California, was selected in the “Natural Environment At Risk” category, which seems quite fitting given the competition is meant to highlight conservation and issues relating to the natural world. Thank you Art and ICP Awards! To see all the recognized images — and you should since there are some spectacular photos in this year’s competition — check out: http://icpawards.com/2012winners.php
| California sea lion injured by fishing line.
Image ID: 27419
Species: California sea lion, Zalophus californianus
Location: Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico
I love Italy. And I love photography. What could be better than an Italian Photography competition? Molto Bene! The Asferico photography competition, sponsored by Asferico Magazine in Italy, is an annual display of incredible images by many of the finest photographers in Europe. I have long admired the annual Asferico galleries of winners, and in 2011 I decided to take a crack at the competition with an entry of some photographs. I was very pleased to learn that one of my images, the red gorgonian image shown below, received Segnalato status (Honorable mention? Signal? Not too bad?) recognition in the Il mondo subacqueo (”underwater world”) category, alongside fine competitors from Spain, Hungary, Estonia, England, France and Italy. Was it too much to hope that Tracy and I would be flown to Italy first class, met at the airport by an Italian Vogue supermodel in a convertible Lamborghini who would escort us to the awards celebration followed by a week in the old country masquerading as a internationally celebrated and notorious wildlife paparazzi while sampling Roman chianti and pasta? Alas, yes it was too much to hope for! My image did, however, appear in Asferico Magazine (I believe) and on the competition website, so that is molto bene. Grazie, Asferico Magazine, I will probably enter again next year. Ciao!
| Bryozoan grows on a red gorgonian on rocky reef, below kelp forest, underwater. The red gorgonian is a filter-feeding temperate colonial species that lives on the rocky bottom at depths between 50 to 200 feet deep. Gorgonians are oriented at right angles to prevailing water currents to capture plankton drifting by.
Image ID: 25395
Species: Red gorgonian, Lophogorgia chilensis
Location: San Clemente Island, California, USA
Here is a link to some of the underwater category winners and honored images: http://www.asferico.com/awards3.asp?aaaa_es=2012&cat=B&ID=644
Notice how I subtly inserted just enough Italian words for people who do not know me to think I probably speak great Italian and must be quite worldly and well-travelled?
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are found throughout the worlds oceans, but seeing them near San Diego is somewhat unusual. Conventional wisdom has it that humpback whales in California are most often seen in the Channel Islands near Santa Barbara, as well as the central coast near Monterey Bay. However, if you put in enough time on the ocean anywhere in California, you will eventually see a humpback whale. Friend and fellow photographer Mike Johnson and I had a rare treat recently: a young humpback whale that was surface active for about an hour. It breached repeatedly, including performing head slaps, one peduncle throw, quite a bit of pectoral fin slapping and occasional trumpeting (deep rumbling sounds made while the whale is exhaling, or blowing, while at the surface between dives). You will notice live barnacles hanging from the whales chin when it breaches. These barnacles will die off when the whale reaches warm winter waters, and be reacquired when it returns to colder northern climes. Here are some fun photos from that hour.