It was my last opportunity to shoot waves at my favorite spot in Santa Cruz for a long time before moving back to Southern California. I had already gotten in the water that morning for sunrise with @dus10photos, and I was bummed because it was foggy and the sun never came out. I headed back out for sunset to the same spot hoping to get one last chance to score something. I pulled up about an hour before the sun was to go down and it was windy as all get out and hardly any waves. I sat there depressed knowing this would be the last time I would be here for a while. I thought, “I should just call it good and head home.” My wife, who is much smarter than I am said, “Just go out, you will regret it if you don’t at least try.” I mustered up the motivation, put on my suit, grabbed my camera and walked out to the water.
By the time I got down to the water, the golden hour of sunset was starting and the tide began to drop in a favorable way. There was still more wind than I had hoped for, but I thought, “I actually might get something.” Even though it was windy there was a nice little mini rolling in that would glass up because of the water retreating off of the sandbar. It was something I couldn’t see from the car. Before long, I was shooting every wave that came through. Still, the conditions weren’t optimal, but I figured if my camera got what my eye was seeing then I should have something to run with.
I stayed in the water until it was almost dark because I wanted to make the most of my time. I drove home and stuck my card in my computer to see what I got. Anyone who shoots with a GoPro knows what that anticipation is like. It wasn’t even close to my best day shooting, but I was pleasantly surprised at what I ended up capturing. When I stuck my shots from that day into Lightroom to do some post-processing, I was able to adjust the images more to what my eye saw. And, of course, I like to bring out the colors in my photos.
As far as the success of the photos I got that day, in terms of Instagram success, I captured the image that has gotten the most likes ever of any shot I’ve taken (Image #1). I also captured one of the only images that I have ever sold, and got $250 for it (Image #2). And just to think I almost didn’t even get in the water that day.
The moral of the story that I’m trying to get across is that it’s totally possible to get great shots even when the conditions aren’t the best. Since then, I have been out in some bad conditions and just did what I could. I got creative tried new things. I didn’t always get the best results, but it forced me to get out of the box of hoping for glassy three to four footers, no wind, and bright orange sunsets. But of course, make sure you definitely get in the water when you get that. In the end, when it doubt, go out. See you in the water!