Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone: Surf Photography

If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen a few weeks back I posted an image of a second-hand SPL water housing.  Before purchasing this more serious water housing, I had been using an OutEx rubber housing on my Nikon D200 for about a year.  I took it out into the ocean once or twice, but I was never convinced that it would provide the protection of a robust housing such as the SPL.  I mostly used it to photograph my children at the beach or in the pool.  Earlier this summer after using the OutEx at the pool with my kids I noticed some leaking.  At that point I started looking for and found a used SPL housing for my Nikon D300s.

Over the last several weeks I've been testing out the housing on my kids to get the hang of it and finally last week I drove down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to catch a swell.  I have a hard time when it comes to photographing surfing.  Most of the time I'll take a few quick shots before paddling out.  I just can't resist going surfing when the waves are good.  Fortunately/unfortunately I broke my (new!) board I decided to give the water housing its inaugural use.  The waves were 4 to 6 ft and breaking onto a shallow sandbar so the threat of getting pounded was very decent but nothing life threatening.  So I put on some swim fins and went out to take some photos of my friends who were still out in the water.  

I took about 400 images in the hour I was out.  Probably 75 - 80% were throw-aways.  Mostly of unfocused water.  But there were a few times when it all came together. 

I've been an avid photographer for about 13 years and it's so much fun learning new skills and putting yourself in new places to make different photographs than you've ever made before.  I felt like a complete novice.  But it's getting out of your comfort zone that helps you learn and experience new ways of seeing the world.

What are you learning?  What's making you feel like a beginner and getting you out of your comfort zone? We'd love to hear.

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