Surfing the Rail_Bells Beach_Great Ocean Road

Canon 5D camera and Canon 600mm f4 IS lens. Exposure Details: 1/2000 second f5 ISO 400.

I’m no sports photographer but, as a teacher, it’s important that I try as many types of photography as possible. A couple of years ago I decided it was time to try my hand at photographing surfing. I headed for Bells Beach, the world famous surfing mecca around 1 ½ hours drive south west of Melbourne.

One thing I needed was a super telephoto lens. I managed to arrange the loan of a Canon 600mm f4 IS lens from a contact at Canon Australia. It’s a monster of a lens and far too heavy for the sort of tripod I usually use. So, instead of the relatively compact carbon fibre designs I prefer for landscape and travel photography, I had to arrange the loan of a heavy backbreaking aluminium model. The combination of super telephoto and sturdy tripod allowed me to set up close to the car at the top of the cliff face overlooking the ocean and shoot down on the action. The high viewpoint emphasized the 3-dimmensional qualities of the scene by highlighting definite foreground, mid ground (the surfer and wave) and background elements.

A fast 1/2000-second Shutter Speed was chosen to freeze the fast moving surfer and breaking wave. I remember making the drive down the coast on a Saturday afternoon and photographing in the late afternoon and early evening light. The next morning I photographed a spectacular sunrise (see tomorrow’s post), prior to returning to Bells Beach and the nearby Winkipop for more surfing photography. It was a great weekend and, for me, life doesn’t get much better.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography
Glenn Guy