Title says it all, shooting stills of talented surfers in Santa Cruz, CA. I have had this trip planned for a month with my buddy Dave Robinson (Ride Guides) to scout for future shoots. So ten days ago we hit go knowing the swell would be up. Plan was to move around a bit, and expand my surf photography. Making my living on the around the water all my life, I love filming and taking stills of surfing, and of course waves. Dave has lived in Santa Cruz for decades, windsurfs, surfs, mountain biking, and of course has a very cool, must check out local Ride Guides business. With out Dave’s help this would have not been nearly as successful and fun. And besides he deals with me in his house for days, Thanks Dave!
I was a day late to capture the biggest swell, but it was still great on Friday 18 Jan. All part of the learning curve to set up future trips for surfing shots. Also Friday morning one of my lens, and camera body arrived half a day late in the afternoon so we were held up further. But we did hit it with an hour left seeing locals ripping it up at the Santa Cruz Harbor Mouth late in the day. I am told this only happens in winter, and you need to know what you are doing, which was obvious on the drops. Friday was double head high and more, the drop ins were stellar, with a few guys standing out, such as Troy Hinds, Jesse Columbo, and a couple others I don’t know yet. The town is filled with talented surfers who are a blast to watch, and of course shoot if they are into it.
I was on the East Jetty setup hand held with Sony A7R3 my camera of choice, partnered with the amazing Sony GM 400, FE f/2.8, OSS. This let me get right in on the guys dropping and follow the focus with this amazing gear. Did not nail enough of those shots, in the short time I was there, all the more reason to come back soon.
Talked with a few of the guys who were killing it afterwards. It was back lit a lot with haze from the spray, and moisture coming but, luckily the 400 has a huge lens hood to at least keep out the flare. Not enough light on their faces to make me, excited about the shots. But with the latitude of RAW on the A7R3, 43MP sensor and its 5 axis stabilization along with the Sony 400’s OSS , that was designed for the Sony ASR3 and A9 body, I was still able to show a few here.
I went back Saturday for sunrise at the harbor, just because I love any sunrise shooting. It was high tide so the break was empty, but still a great way to get the day going. Then Steamers for a few shots and up the coast a bit with my excellent guide Dave. Sunday I hung with Dave, then off to San Fran for four more days of shooting. Look forward to being back later in the Spring for a mountain bike video with Ride Guides, hooking up with some locals for surfing shots, and shooting from in a boat on the water. Also I would bring my FS7MK2 for slow mo, 4K footage, paired up with the Sony 400 lens yeeha.
I need to thank Dave, Carmen, the local surfers who let me grab shots of them, whom without I would be shooting just waves. I love shooting waves, but grabbing action on the wave is a long term goal. Next time I will be at the breaks early and hang for hours so I can nail the shots that make me smile. And of course keep having fun everyday for work, does not get better!
Signing out in Santa Cruz, CA pre-sunrise, Paul Cronin Studios