Jean-Jacques Rosseau once wrote 'every man has the right to risk his own life in order to preserve it. Has it ever been said that a man who throws himself out the window to escape from a fire is guilty of suicide?'
Maybe monotony is our fire, though in the end it doesn't matter why - nothing matters here.
Scott Dennis, Russell Bierke and co. ride shotgun, you can jump in the backseat with me. Take a few deep breaths...
The flash double tow was basically an adaption to Laurent Pujol’s original double tow concept, in which a photographer is towed into the wave by a jet ski, behind the surfer, riding a surfboard themselves. The original idea was different because it gave a unique, dramatic and beautiful perspective on the way surfers ride the barrel. I think this way of documenting barrel-riding can be appreciated by anyone because it really engages the audience in the moment. My daytime version is much the same, however the magnitude and perfect shape of the local reef-break adds a touch of raw Australian beauty. The additional flash element enabled me to light up the subject from behind and meant it would be possible to have unique natural lighting in the background at sunrise/sunset.
I had no previous experience with using speed lights so the technical side of this was new for me. Basically, with the help of a dedicated crew of local surfers we went out in the darkness and just had a shot at it. Equipment wise I made no exceptions on image quality; when you put yourself on the line that much you want to be able to rely on technology. This meant using the Nikon D810 full frame DSLR, Nikkor 16mm 2.8 fisheye, Nikon sb-910 speed-light, Aquatech Elite D810 water housing, Aquatech pd-50 dome port & Aquatech strike 910 speed-light housing.
I chose the D810 because of it’s renowned low light capabilities and ISO range. The 16mm fisheye allows for a full wide angle view, to put the audience right in the moment. The sb-910 speed-light has high speed sync and is relatively compact. Aquatech make the strongest and most versatile camera and speed-light housings on the market and their small pd-50 dome port always keeps water droplets to a minimum. My basic settings were: 1/1 (full power) on the sb-910 at 17mm (the widest flash possible), ISO of 800, shutter speed of 1/800sec and aperture of 5.6 on the D810.
What I’d imagined the images to look like was reflective and glossy but I was surprised at just how much clear water absorbs artificial light rather than reflecting it. The result was an eerie image in which only turbulent water was illuminated and the surfers are either riding into the darkness or the sunrise/set.
So after 4 months, 3 hospital visits, 2 broken boards and an infinite amount of memories, I’m proud to present these images and I hope you can appreciate them.
Your wall will thank you.