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Surf 'n' Turf - part 1 of 1 2 3 4 5

by James Gunn Published 01/08/2011

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Societies' 2010 Sports Photographer of the Year, James Gunn talks about shooting in the Highlands

James' tips for taking surfing photos

There are three choices for photo styles: Putting camera in a water housing, donning a wetsuit and getting in the water for dramatic, low-angle close-ups - this can be very dangerous and exhausting, but magazines love these shots Standard lens for wide shots that take in a whole seascape

Super telephoto lens for tight close-ups of surfer from a distance


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I prefer the tight close-up shots.

Depending on the tide and access to the beach/foreshore, a minimum of 400mm focal length is needed, 600mm is ideal and 800mm is best if you can afford it. Hiring for a few days is a viable option. There is no need for a fast, f2.8 lens as there are no distracting backgrounds to worry about, just a wave and the sky.

In fact, having a dramatic wave spray in focus along with the surfer and his board can enhance the shot. I recently hired a Canon prime 400mm f5.6L USM lens for use during a week-long international surfing event, the O'Neill Cold Water Classic at Thurso, Caithness.


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1st Published 01/08/2011
last update 17/10/2017 14:22:35

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Updated 17/10/2017 14:22:35 Last Modified: Tuesday, 17 October 2017