Anyone who knows me well knows that I don’t have a creative bone about me. I can’t draw, I used to color outside the lines, I was horrible at ceramics in school. Although, I was decent at wood shop. I made a stellar CD holder in 8th grade. But, when I show people my images who don’t know I do photography, they are amazed. Let me be clear, it’s not because my images are so stunning, but it’s because they can’t imagine that I actually do what I do. I’ve always loved the ocean and beautiful landscape, but cameras always intimidated me because of the technical aspects. They actually still intimidate me. Then on Christmas back in 2013 everything changed.
My in-laws got me a GoPro for Christmas that year, a Hero 3+ Black, which I still use. As simple as a GoPro is to use, I opened it up and had no clue what I was doing. I had seen all of the incredible images and video done on GoPro’s, but I had never even seen one up close. I said to myself, “well, I guess I gotta start doing cool stuff.” So, I started seeking out cool stuff I could use my new camera for. I used to ride motocross, but I had sold my bike years before. I liked hiking and other outdoor activities, but I thought those were too boring for the epic footage I knew I needed to capture.
It was a few days later that I found Robbie Crawford and Clark Little on Instagram. I had always ridden waves and gone to the beach growing up in Orange County, and loved the feeling of being locked into a barrel. The images I saw from Robbie and Clark immediately gave me inspiration. I thought, “I’ll never be as good as them, but I’m sure I can get at least something cool.” It actually took a while, but I finally made it a point the next summer that I would start going to the beach and try to shoot waves. I got my first lookout shot on a 10/2 burst, because I still had no clue what I was doing, and I was hooked. It was a few months after that I started my current Instagram account and started posting my shots, which were so bad that I would be embarrassed to show them to people now. Although, at the time I thought they were the most amazing wave shots of all time.
After a short while I realized that there was a whole wave photographer community on Instagram, and the inspiration kept rolling. I learned a lot about technique, time of day, conditions, and post processing. It was a lot of hard work because I was self-taught in everything. I learned more about camera settings, which is still important even on an easy-to-use GoPro. The best thing I learned about, but only after a while, was ISO and exposure. Of course, there are other crucial settings to consider on a camera, but those two things changed the way my images came out a great deal.
After a while I started noticing people shooting with the Sony a6000 and I wondered what in the world that was all about. I did my research and learned why the a6000 was so good for wave photography. (I’ll write another blog post later about that specifically). I finally got one and started shooting with it. I was so frustrated when I first got it and almost gave up because I had no clue what I was doing. It took a long time for me to dial it in to where I was satisfied with how my images came out. But, I wouldn’t say the Sony replaced the GoPro. I actually still use both equally as often.
Since I started shooting waves, I have met some amazing people and have had some great times with them. I would even call some of the people I’ve met in the wave photography community my best friends. I have also had the opportunity to represent some amazing brands as well. In the end, photography in the last few years has literally changed my life in a lot of ways. In addition to meeting some great people, it has made me appreciate the beauty of creation so much more because I’m always looking for something to capture.
This is my first blog post on this site, but if you are a photographer and took the time to read this, comment below on you got started. See you in the water!