Surfing is the source

“Punk. Quarterback Punk”.  “Surfing’s the source man, change your life forever, I swear it”. “Speak into the microphone squid brain!”. Point Break is dumb but a very fun action movie. It features a laughably bad Keanu Reeves, a very funny Gary Busey, a gorgeous Lori Petty, surfing, skydiving, shoot outs, all it needs are spaceships to complete it. It also features bad one liners that I cannot resist running through my head as I have fun capturing surfers in the sun at Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia. Out of the 100 or so useless frames I manage to get a few images just right, this possibly being my favourite:


“You’re telling me the FBI is gonna pay me to surf”. “It’s all about balance right? How hard can it be!”. I have yet to venture out on a surf board but I gather it is quite the challenge! Capturing the surfers is not exactly easy either but great fun. Using my 100-400mm L lens at 400mm I try and predict the action and pan along with the surfers. I shoot single shots rapidly with a happy trigger finger to nail focus and timing as neither the Canon 5d Mk II servo drive and continuous shooting nor the autofocus on the 100-400mm are really built for sport shooting. That does not matter, in pursuing new photographic paths from my landscapes the important thing is to get out there and experiment and have fun. I am quite pleased with this image, I only wish I he was facing the camera. The background looks like some cheesy air brush painting but seriously that is how the sunsets look up here at the moment. Surfer dudes, “are you receiving my signal”, what is your opinion on this image?

PS. To see truly courageous surf photography, watch Dark Side of the Lens!

17 Comments on “Surfing is the source”

    1. Thank you Ben and great to see you on the blog! Yeah I was pleased when I saw this and then zoomed in thinking "please let it be in focus" – and it was.

      I was actually in your Brissy gallery three years ago. I see you have a blog now, have subscribed and will have a look soon.

  1. Great image Fleming! Having been a freelance surfing photog in a past life i know all about the trials of capturing this action.

    Of course in those days it was film and if you got half a dozen good shots from a roll it was a good day! Motor-drives always helped as well.

    You nailed it on this one!

    1. Thanks very much Tim. Do you have any surf photos online from that past life? 🙂 Would be interesting to see.
      The servo drive and continuous autofocus on the 5D Mk II and the 100-400mm L is simply not good enough to track these surfers so I find I get better results by single shooting quickly with a trigger happy finger.

  2. Always used to shoot with a 500mm f8 mirror lens, manual focus of course. Very good practice! Having been a surfer myself helped a lot.

    Only images I have left are on transparency which I haven't scanned yet. See what I can do.

  3. Love it mate! Great sunset backed arc and action.

    I've never watched Point Break completely… think i fell asleep afer 15 mins the first time. You make me want to watch it now 😀

  4. that's a really nice shot Flembot. perfectly captured the action- the "cheesy" background as you put it works fantastically though.

    i've tried surfing twice, but much prefer body surfing lol. i can ride waves all day all the way to the beach no problems, but with a board I just get crunched lol. hopefully when i'm back down in Perth I can make it to the beach and give it a go again though. I hate not being able to quite get something- I will stand up (and stay standing) some day haha

    1. Thank you very much Stephen, glad you like it! Thanks as well for commenting, I know I am ridiculously behind on your blog.

      I have been swimming for one year now so I have yet to learn body surfing. I have tried here on the beach but the waves just pass underneath me as I float, how do I hang on??? 😀

  5. Your patience (and skill) have paid off. There are those that do, and those that photograph 🙂 And then there is the rest of us 🙁 It's a great image. By the way, that video you linked to is really something else both visually as well as the dialogue – I could watch it again and again …..

    1. Thanks mate! I wish to be a do'er as well, not only a photographer hehe, but at least I get some gold shots here and there 🙂
      And yes I love that video too, it is really amazing – as are a lot of the short movies and docos on Vimeo.

    2. just watched the video again…almost forgot how spellbinding it is.

      "If I have to scrape a living…at least it's a living worth scraping
      If there's no future in it…at least it's a present worth remembering"

      I could never had said it half as good myself, that is just bullseye spot on poetic truth for me.

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