Surfing Nadine at Point Judith

October 18, 2012

Hurricane Nadine came to town!  And although she didn't leave too too much rain, she passed some heavy breezes, overcast skies, and storm swell our way while she churned offshore.  I headed over to Point Judith again to get shots of the waves and surfers.  I'm starting to get much more comfortable with my new Nikon TC-20e III teleconverter, both during shooting and editing.  I went to Point Judith early in the morning while the surf was highest, but the sky was gray and cold so many of the shots emote the same feelings of gray stormy chills.  I was in the area later in the day as well so I swung through for any of the sunset sesh surfers.  

For my second visit the skies had cleared and the sun kept everything seasonally warm and golden!  I didn't have too much light, but I started to play around with motion blur and panning.  This can be a tricky technique, used to keep an action subject sharp and create a motion blur around them.  The trick is to find a slightly slower shutter speed that matches nicely with the speed of your subject, and follow them with your camera as you click away and try to keep the subject in the same spot in your frame.  You can see one of my results towards the bottom.  This technique is not widely used compared to the popular wicked fast stop motion shutter speeds used by the majority of sports photographers.  However, with so many of my subjects surrounded by water, I find it appropriate to accurately capture the water's character, which can range from tumultuous and fierce to gentle and complacent.  Stopping every drop of water to create sharp edges and suspended droplets would seem more appropriate for roaring seas and giant waves crashing against rocks or the shore.  But perhaps a calm stream or gentle lapping of water against the beach could be more accurately captured by long exposures creating a blurred and glassy effect across the water.  Even during sports the water has different characteristics, and a motion blur can add dynamicism and approachability to a wave that may otherwise come across inaccurately intimidating or malicious.  I plan to try more motion blur in my surf and sailing photography, looking towards iconic motion blur photographers like Darrell Wong.  Practice makes perfect!  And with this sort of technique it's a LOT of trial and error, with some happy mistakes along the way!

All images can be seen in the Surfing Nadine Viewing Gallery on my website, with fine art options under the Surf & Sport section of the Photography Catalog.















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