Posted on June 10th, 2010
Here some surf photography basics you can use this summer.
Surf photography can be very risky, sharks, broken bones, run over by surfboards and possible drowning are all risks when involved with surf photography.If you are up for taking risks to get that great shot its always worth it. You basically deal with the same elements surfers deal with when you are out there.
To start with if this is your first time do not use expensive equipment. Fuji and Kodak make great throw away waterproof cameras. If you are going to drop a few dollars then I would suggest either an Olympus or Pentax. They both makes underwater cameras that run in $300 range. Also consider a monopod and ball head might help to reduce the stress on your arms depending on how long you plan on shooting.
If possible only shoot in RAW mode at the highest resolution. If you shoot JPGs its easy to blow out the whites or get the wrong color contrast in high contrasting seas. Use the fastest shutter speed possible. Shutter speed should be equal to or faster than the ratio one over the focal length of your lens. Shutter speed should be about one over your ISO, so, if your ISO is set to 800, your shutter speed would be 1/800th of a second. Obtaining proper depth-of-field, for many scenes, will make the difference between a good shot and a snapshot.
Make your own judgment call. When it comes to getting out in the waves and shooting make your own judgment call. Never trust what a surfer says about the waves. An understanding of the break is even more important. Need to know where the wave will pitch or bowl so you can be right inside of the action.
Always be creative and have fun with it!