Tag

Surf

Seven of my Favorite Images #challengeonnaturephotography

Alaska, Antarctica, Bald Eagle, California, Fiji, Hawaii, Mexico, Ocean Sunfish, Penguin, Surf, Underwater Photography

In December a Facebook “challenge” was making the rounds named #challengeonnaturephotography. One of my favorite underwater photographers, Allison Vitsky Sallmon, nominated me to give it a try, and these are the seven images I plucked from my files to share. Each bears a special place in my personal history of travel, diving and photography, even if they don’t cut any new ground photographically. If you want to connect you can find me on Facebook and Instagram. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Ocean sunfish recruiting fish near drift kelp to clean parasites, open ocean, Baja California, Mola mola

Ocean sunfish recruiting fish near drift kelp to clean parasites, open ocean, Baja California.
Image ID: 03267
Species: Ocean sunfish, Mola mola

Sunrise breaking wave, dawn surf, The Wedge, Newport Beach, California

Sunrise breaking wave, dawn surf.
Image ID: 27978
Location: The Wedge, Newport Beach, California, USA

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias, Gau Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago

Dendronephthya soft corals and schooling Anthias fishes, feeding on plankton in strong ocean currents over a pristine coral reef. Fiji is known as the soft coral capitlal of the world.
Image ID: 31378
Species: Dendronephthya Soft Coral, Anthias, Dendronephthya, Pseudanthias
Location: Gau Island, Lomaiviti Archipelago, Fiji

Bald eagle spreads its wings to land amid a large group of bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis, Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska

Bald eagle spreads its wings to land amid a large group of bald eagles.
Image ID: 22669
Species: Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis
Location: Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska, USA

A curious Adelie penguin, standing at the edge of an iceberg, looks over the photographer, Pygoscelis adeliae, Paulet Island

A curious Adelie penguin, standing at the edge of an iceberg, looks over the photographer.
Image ID: 25015
Species: Adelie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
Location: Paulet Island, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place, Eschrichtius robustus, San Clemente

Aerial photo of gray whale calf and mother. This baby gray whale was born during the southern migration, far to the north of the Mexican lagoons of Baja California where most gray whale births take place.
Image ID: 29029
Species: Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus
Location: San Clemente, California, USA

Humpback whale (male) singing, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Humpback whale (male) singing.
Image ID: 02813
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

The Original Wind Surfers: Pelicans, Waves and Surf

Birds, Pelicans, San Diego

Wikipedia describes the origins of wind surfing in the 1940s and 1950s. It couldn’t be more wrong. For as long as they have existed, sea birds and their ancestors have plied the oceans, riding the updrafts of surf, waves and sea swells to gain efficiency and a free ride. My favorite practitioner of this skill is the pelican, although the wandering albatross is a close second. I have been watching pelicans cruise the coastline of my southern California home with a graceful effortlessness my whole life. This winter I made it a goal to shoot some images of brown pelicans surfing and skimming waves. Here are a few of my favorites, photographed in Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar and La Jolla. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave.
Image ID: 30257
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

Brown pelican flying over waves and the surf, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

Brown pelican flying over waves and the surf.
Image ID: 30199
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave.
Image ID: 30262
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave.
Image ID: 30275
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

Brown pelican flying over waves and the surf, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

Brown pelican flying over waves and the surf.
Image ID: 30193
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Brown Pelican flying over a breaking wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California Brown Pelican flying over a breaking wave
Image ID: 30353
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave.
Image ID: 30277
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

Brown pelican flying over waves and the surf, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla, California

Brown pelican flying over waves and the surf.
Image ID: 30194
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave.
Image ID: 30278
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Brown Pelican flying over a breaking wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California Brown Pelican flying over a breaking wave
Image ID: 30364
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Brown Pelican flying over a breaking wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California Brown Pelican flying over a breaking wave
Image ID: 30374
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave.
Image ID: 30273
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave.
Image ID: 30314
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Brown Pelican flying over a breaking wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus, La Jolla

California Brown Pelican flying over a breaking wave
Image ID: 30352
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

California Pelican flying on a wave, riding the updraft from the wave.
Image ID: 30264
Species: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

I photograph brown California brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis). If you like these, please see more California brown pelican photos or a little PDF e-guide about photographing California brown pelicans in La Jolla.

Eric’s New Board

Surf

My friend Eric had a couple of my wave photos laminated onto his custom new board. Eric brought it by this morning before he waxed it so we could get a look at how the images came out. The board looks awesome. The bottom image will end up being mostly obscured by wax, so Eric had a second image put near the nose which won’t be obscured. This way, as he puts it, even when the water is flat he will still be able to look at the image and be forever in a tube.

South Carlsbad Reminiscing

California, Carlsbad, Stories, Surf

When I was a kid, my family would drive down from Newport Beach to spend a week or two each summer camping at South Carlsbad State Beach with two other families. This was going on 30+ years ago. (Now you know how old I am; everyone looks like a grom to me.) Back then we just had fun and didn’t ruminate over things too much. Now I realize how excellent these trips were. For a boogie-boarding wanna-be grom, mornings in the surf here were heaven. Our parents gave us all the freedom we could want. The 10 of us kids, plus friends who we might bring along, had the run of the beach and surf while the old folks would kick back and keep half an eye on us from up on the bluffs. We would get up early, crawl out of our sand-filled sleeping bags, grab our boards and fins, double-time it down the wooden stairs and paddle out over glass. Sometimes it was clear, other times overcast. The north county bottlenose dolphins, the ones that inhabit the coastline and forage for fish in the rips, would often swim by just outside the break, same as they do today. We knew they were dolphins but also half-imagined that they were sharks; I was sort of nervous around them. We would have wave after wave all to ourselves with not another person in the water for hours as far up and down as we could see. I suppose everyone was at work. Most of Carlsbad was undeveloped, agricultural land or just empty, so there was no pressure on this break. I would spend so many hours catching waves my Churchills wore holes in my heels.

I have been catching some of that old vibe shooting photos in the water. I realize the shots I am trying to score are not those of surfers and other people but rather of sunlight, empty breaking waves, barrels closing out, blue-green water and the mist that hangs over the coast just before the sun is high enough to burn it all off — these are the images etched in my mind from our Carlsbad camping weeks. Nowadays I live 2 minutes from South Carlsbad State Beach, how is that for coming full circle? My fins are longer, hair is shorter, however I still like to be in the waves from the campground down to the Ponto jetties. A kid again.

ponto
Those are the south Ponto bluffs looking toward Leucadia in the background. Some damn developer is planning on building a hotel or something on that spot. Travesty.

ponto
Ponto jetties, the entrance to Batiquitos lagoon, are just visible if you squint real hard. I live on that hill back there.

Fire Breathing Dragon

California, Carlsbad, Surf

**As of August 2012, I am using Delmar Housing Projects for my Canon 5D Mark III. The lens I prefer to use is the 16-35 f/2.8 II. The first couple sessions with this rig: first and second.**

More surf photos.

My approach to photography is not particularly rigorous or diligent. In fact, it is random and haphazard. A good friend of mine has several times referred to my technique as “machine-gun-fire.” My thinking is that if I spray enough frames around during the course of a shoot, odds are one of them will be a keeper. I adhere to the ancient Zen saying that Even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut. In keeping with this philosophy (of shooting as many frames as I can and worrying about it later) I replaced my 20D with a wildly fast 1DIIN (my other camera being a relatively slow 1DsII). This thing is a fire breathing dragon. It fires off 8.5 frames a second, continuously, and doesn’t even begin to slow until I have blazed 20-30 frames. Not only that but I got 500 shots this morning before the camera was full — that is a lot of photos. 8.5 frames a second is twice as fast as any of my other cameras, so I can shoot twice as many frames in a day which means, assuming averages hold, I will get twice as many keepers. Twice the keepers means I am now twice as good as I was before and I should expect twice as many photo sales. Sound reasoning.

I took the new camera out for a test drive this morning at Ponto, wrapped in the beautiful new Delmar camera housing that Erik Hjermstad just built for me last week. Conditions were nice, glassy, sunny, warm. It was fun. Here are a few shots.

Breaking wave, Ponto, South Carlsbad

Breaking wave, Ponto, South Carlsbad.
Image ID: 17679
Location: Ponto, Carlsbad, California, USA

Breaking wave, Ponto, South Carlsbad

Breaking wave, Ponto, South Carlsbad.
Image ID: 17680
Location: Ponto, Carlsbad, California, USA

Shorebreak at the Wedge

Surf

Another morning at the Wedge. I sympathize with this guy as I have eaten more than my fair share of shorebreak sand too. It looks like the lip caught him in the back of the head just after this shot was taken. And this is only a small inside shorebreak, not a set wave. Some days Wedge waves are so mutant that, combined with crossed-up backwash, they have the potential to work you at any time. See more wave photos.

Shorebreak, The Wedge, Newport Beach, California

Shorebreak.
Image ID: 14204
Location: The Wedge, Newport Beach, California, USA

My guess is this guy shrugged it off and paddled out on the next backwash. Just one more reason to love a September southern hemi swell in southern Orange County…