Category

Surf

Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, Sunrise Wave Photo

Surf

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, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, morning, barrel shaped surf, California

Breaking wave, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, morning, barrel shaped surf, California.
Image ID: 27975
Location: California, USA

Ponto Magic – Carlsbad Sunset

Carlsbad, Surf

Ponto in South Carlsbad is one of my favorite beaches simply because I have spent so much time there. We used to live very close to Ponto and it is the first place I tried taking surf photos. We often walk the sand at Ponto, below the bluffs upon which the state park campground sits, and enjoy the sunset. I recently picked up a Nikon D800 camera and 14-24 lens, and have been looking for an opportunity to go out and shoot with them. Last night the sunset looked like it might be pretty good, so I grabbed the D800 and we headed down to Ponto for some photography and sunsetting. This is what we saw. Summer in southern California is great. Cheers!

Sunset and incoming surf, gorgeous colors in the sky and on the ocean at dusk, the incoming waves are blurred in this long exposure, Carlsbad, California

Sunset and incoming surf, gorgeous colors in the sky and on the ocean at dusk, the incoming waves are blurred in this long exposure.
Image ID: 27880
Location: Carlsbad, California, USA

Sunset and incoming surf, gorgeous colors in the sky and on the ocean at dusk, the incoming waves are blurred in this long exposure, Carlsbad, California

Sunset and incoming surf, gorgeous colors in the sky and on the ocean at dusk, the incoming waves are blurred in this long exposure.
Image ID: 27879
Location: Carlsbad, California, USA

New Surf Photos?

Surf

I’ve decided to renew my surf photography efforts this year, using the new Canon 5D Mark III camera as the workhorse. I am having my surf housing retooled to work with this camera, along with the 15mm fisheye and 16-35mm f/2.8 zoom, and will have it fitted with flash capability so I can shoot in the twilight hours (hopefully) when there is some sunrise or sunset color in the sky. My experience with shooting surf is that frame rate is vitally important. In other words, being able to capture 6 or 8 frames in that one second of peak action is crucial, compared to, say, just 2 or 3 frames. My best luck in the past was with the Canon 1D Mark II N, shooting 8 frames per second, but the files were on the small side and do not support the large printing I want to accomplish. I’m gambling that the frame rate of the 5D Mark III, with its 6 frames per second, along with the full frame file size will make it a potent tool for shooting surf in the water.

Hopefully I will have new wave photographs starting in a few weeks!

Sunset wave, Ponto, Carlsbad, California

Sunset wave.
Image ID: 19396
Location: Ponto, Carlsbad, California, USA

The Wedge and Cylinders

Surf

A big New Zealand swell is hitting south-facing beaches, including the Wedge in Newport Beach which is seeing 20’+ faces right now. The light was terrible and the waves were sloppy and foamy. I’m glad I did not choose to shoot in the water because it would have been a waste of time given the overcast skies and soupy water. While the sets were big, they were walled out. I had a new camera so I practiced dragging the shutter with a technique I first tried at the Wedge about 6 years ago. Cylinders actually had better waves than the Wedge, but it was all pretty ugly this morning. Here are some photos I thought were interesting.

Gift from the Sea

Surf

A wave truly is a gift from the sea**. We are baking in a heat wave right now in Southern California, and the only respite is water. I have not been out to photograph waves for a really long time, so I decide to go out this morning since even if there is no surf it is too hot to go running or work out at the gym. At 7am I arrive at my favorite barrel spot, the one place that almost always has at least a little bit of hollowness even when the waves are tiny. I am pleasantly surprised by beautiful conditions. The water is pure glass, there is not a speck of wind, and decent little tubes are coming in every few minutes. Wow, only one guy is out here, while up the road at Cardiff Reef I can see a ton of people including what looks like 10-15 sweepers. How nice to have this little stretch of beach so empty. The water felt great, cool but not cold. I bagged a few wave photos in spite of the fact I am using my slowest-frame-rate camera body (1DsII). Labor Day will be here soon and that, along with the start of school, really clears out the water. The best months of surf are just ahead. I love living near the ocean.

Cardiff morning surf, breaking wave, Cardiff by the Sea, California

Cardiff morning surf, breaking wave.
Image ID: 23293
Location: Cardiff by the Sea, California, USA

Cardiff morning surf, breaking wave, Cardiff by the Sea, California

Cardiff morning surf, breaking wave.
Image ID: 23294
Location: Cardiff by the Sea, California, USA

Cardiff morning surf, breaking wave, Cardiff by the Sea, California

Cardiff morning surf, breaking wave.
Image ID: 23297
Location: Cardiff by the Sea, California, USA

** With apologies to Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Keywords: surf, wave, photo, ocean, sea, morning, picture.

The Wedge Claims a Life

California, Surf

I was saddened to learn that the Wedge claimed a life today. Huge swells rolling in from the south made for a big day at the Wedge. Unfortunately, a bodysurfer was thrown onto the jetty, and after being rescued by lifeguards he died later at Hoag Hospital. My condolences go to his family and friends. Be careful out there guys.

The waves in these photos are dinky compared to what is rolling through today.

The Wedge in Newport Beach is one of the world’s most notorious and exciting bodysurfing spots. Locals in the 70’s and 80’s developed a reputation for getting barreled in the bruising, thick wave while risking being pile-driven onto the sand if they got sucked over. Growing up in Newport in the 60s and 70s, I remember many times sirens would sound down Newport Boulevard as an ambulance raced to the Wedge to attend to some poor soul who had gone over the falls trying to impress his buds or the (quite fine) local girls, crunching bones as he returned to the beach. The old-school still bodysurfs the Wedge by virtue of a local ordinance that forbids any boards in the water between 10am and 5pm. However, these days boards rule the Wedge, working the place with bodyboards and standup. The Wedge is best on a south swell. Incoming waves reflecting off the adjacent jetty combine with the next wave to form a doubled-up triangular mutant mountain wave that pitches over thick and fast in surprisingly shallow water. The result is a big, sucking, foam-filled donut. Don’t get caught inside during a closeout set.

Indian Summer, or, Why We Live Here

California, Carlsbad, Surf

Hit the water this morning at 7am. Full sun, deep blue sky, not a cloud, mild warm offshore breezes, glassy sea, small but fun waves. Went for a walk with my daughter at Moonlight Beach at sunset tonight, deep orange-red sky, not a cloud, mild warm offshore breezes, glassy sea, small but fun waves. Get the picture? While much of the country is dealing with snow, rain, or just plain miserable cold, it is nearly idyllic here.

Green room, Ponto, Carlsbad, California

Green room.
Image ID: 21788
Location: Ponto, Carlsbad, California, USA

Moonlight Beach at sunset, Encinitas, California

Moonlight Beach at sunset.
Image ID: 21794
Location: Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, California, USA

Moonlight Beach at sunset, Encinitas, California

Moonlight Beach at sunset.
Image ID: 21793
Location: Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, California, USA

Ponto Surf, 11-15-2008

California, Carlsbad, Surf

Fun surf at Ponto this morning. Nice offshore wind, shoulder high sets once in a while. It got crowded about 8am, and the high tide softened the waves up so I got out by 9am and off to a soccer game.

Wave breaking in early morning sunlight, Ponto, Carlsbad, California

Wave breaking in early morning sunlight.
Image ID: 21779
Location: Ponto, Carlsbad, California, USA

Longboarder carves wave in early morning sun, Ponto, Carlsbad, California

Longboarder carves wave in early morning sun.
Image ID: 21783
Location: Ponto, Carlsbad, California, USA

Wave breaking in early morning sunlight, Ponto, Carlsbad, California

Wave breaking in early morning sunlight.
Image ID: 21785
Location: Ponto, Carlsbad, California, USA

Fourth of July Surf

Surf

A beautiful Independence Day morning at Ponto: sunny, glassed with lots of little peaks rolling by. Too bad all the folks from out of town got there at 6am and blocked the Coast Highway with their mega-RVs, making it nearly impossible for the people who actually live around here to access the beach!

Breaking wave, morning surf, curl, tube, Ponto, Carlsbad, California

Breaking wave, morning surf, curl, tube.
Image ID: 20887
Location: Ponto, Carlsbad, California, USA

Breaking wave, morning surf, curl, tube, Ponto, Carlsbad, California

Breaking wave, morning surf, curl, tube.
Image ID: 20888
Location: Ponto, Carlsbad, California, USA

Cardiff Morning Glass Redux

Surf

I got out early again this morning and swam out at Cardiff just north of Seaside Reef. For the most part the size had dropped off but it was still warm, glassy, not a speck of wind and sunny at 6:30am. Once again I had a huge stretch of water to myself, only a few guys out at Seaside and the usual crowd at Cardiff Reef. The sets were inconsistent and there was a lot of waiting around. A harbor seal was swimming around near me for a while, and squadrons of pelicans cruised by all morning. It was so still for the first hour that I could hear that soft sound of water ripping along the lip just as each wave would crest before folding over. The extreme low tide at dawn was helping the waves feel the sandbars and kick up. By 8 the tide has risen enough that all the juice was gone and it went flat. Beautiful but flat. I swam around for another hour picking off a few more sporadic set waves. I left at 9 only to watch Italy lose to Spain. I think this swell is done.

Cresting wave, morning light, glassy water, surf, Cardiff by the Sea, California

Cresting wave, morning light, glassy water, surf.
Image ID: 20811
Location: Cardiff by the Sea, California, USA

Cresting wave, morning light, glassy water, surf, Cardiff by the Sea, California

Cresting wave, morning light, glassy water, surf.
Image ID: 20812
Location: Cardiff by the Sea, California, USA

Cresting wave, morning light, glassy water, surf, Cardiff by the Sea, California

Cresting wave, morning light, glassy water, surf.
Image ID: 20815
Location: Cardiff by the Sea, California, USA