I went for a bit of an experiment the other afternoon/night and captured something different, that I’d like to share with you.
I thought I’d make use of a promising looking sunset on Saturday and drove down to a break called Winki Pop right by Manly Beach. It’s a rather long swim to get to the right spot (about 10-20min depending on the currents and waves). But I had already spent all morning out there shooting and noticed that the water was exceptionally clear that day and just had to return again for sunset…
So with an idea of slow shutter, sunset, surf, underwater, silhouettes and some more experimental stuff in mind I started to swim out just as the sun was setting. I misjudged my timing and arrived at the point break a minute after the sun had set. But luckily the sky hat a mist / thin layer of clouds on offer that were glowing bright orange for a while.
Some last surfers were still out surfing in the last light – which was exceptional! The ocean surface had transformed to dancing black oil reflecting the vibrant orange sky. The waves were just big and clean enough for some barrels and so I positioned myself just behind the breaking waves and set my shutter to 1/30sec and exposed for underwater shooting. With the sunset afterglow lighting up the breaking waves and a surfer pulling into the barrel with his hand stretched out into the wave to slow himself down I followed his movement as good as I could make out in the dark and captured a version of a shot I had in mind for weeks.
My friend and fellow surf photographer Spencer and Izac were out too and I captured some of their silhouettes into some of the shots too.
I haven’t shot underwater in a while… I don’t like the idea of just shooting blindly. Also, being underwater just firing at the shapes and movement of the ocean can be a bit of a hit and miss. But actually swimming out and wanting to achieve a certain style / shot was a different story. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve had this kind of shot in mind for weeks and was basically waiting for the conditions to come together – which really doesn’t happen very often.
There’s still room for improvement, but it’s close to what I had imagined. I’d like to experiment further into this shot with a larger dome port and possibly an off camera (waterproof) flash behind the surfer.
All shots were captured with the Olympus E-M1 and Panasonic LUMIX 8mm f/3.5 fisheye lens inside the Olympus PT-EP11 underwater housing in combination with the ZEN 100mm dome port. A really small and compact setup that is great to handle.
I’m also giving away free surf photo sessions! It’s free and super easy to enter: All you have to do is sign up for the SurfLove Newsletter. BAM you’re in the draw!
If you’re a keen photographer and want to learn how to capture shots like these then head over to the Workshop section to learn everything about surf photography workshops I do.
Most of these shots are available as prints in the Print Store under the Underwater section.