Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
Wetsuit for the waves
Even in the warmer months, from California to Cornwall, the temperature of the sea will warrant a wetsuit if you want to stay warm. “Don’t forget, you’re likely to be out in the waves taking photos for a long time, and without a suit, hypothermia could kick in quicker than you think,” warns Roger. Hire or buy the best wetsuit you can afford.
Underwater DSLR housing
For close-to-the-action surfing shots, you’ll need a waterproof housing. Roger uses the high-quality pro-level Aquatech (£2,000, www.camerasunderwater.co.uk) and SPL (£1,075, www.splwaterhousings.com) housings for his EOS 7D.
More affordable options include the Hama DiCAPac WP-DSLR1 (£150, www.hama.co.uk), which comes in one size to fit most DSLRs with wide or standard zooms. Also check out Ewa-Marine housings, around £275.
Fisheye or ultra-wide-angle lens
“Tokina’s 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X DX is the current surf photographers’ ultra-wide-angle lens of choice when using the crop-factor cameras like Canon’s EOS 7D. It’s sharp and reliable and doesn’t distort shots too much, either. But I had to modify the built-in lens hood with a hacksaw so it fitted inside my underwater housings!” reveals Roger. “I can’t wait for Canon’s new fisheye zoom, the EF 8-15mm f/4L USM – the image quality, when paired with a 7D, should be phenomenal.”
Fast telephoto prime lens
For shooting surfers from the beach you’ll need a long telephoto lens. “I use the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM, that’s super-fast to focus and super sharp,” says Roger, “On my 7D with its 1.6x crop factor, the 300mm has an effective focal length of 480mm; more than enough reach to fill the frame with wave action.”
Carbon fibre monopod
“As I travel around the globe chasing the waves, I’m constantly on planes, so I need light and compact kit. My Manfrotto 695 carbon fibre monopod (around £165) is light and, thanks to its five-section setup, compact for tucking away in bags, plus it’s strong enough to support by big lenses to take the weight and ensure I get shake-free surf shots.”
Fast memory cards
“Initially I was using my own cheapo memory card but found that, when shooting in RAW on my 7D in High-speed Continuous drive mode, I was hitting the buffer all too quickly, which meant I had to wait – and miss some great photo opportunities. I switched to a Lexar Professional 300x UDMA CompactFlash card and the difference was incredible; no more delays!”
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Surf photography tips for during the shoot
PAGE 3: Final surf photography advice from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day
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