Stormy New Brighton

Black-and-White, Stories, Street 23 Jun 08

Stormy New Brighton

Yesterday was a good day. For the past few years I’ve missed the really big winter storms here due to having the sniffles. So I’m glad that nature was bored and decided to give us one in the middle of summer. I went down to New Brighton knowing it would be good and I had a list of shots to get. This was one of them. Now most people would probably use a tele-photo lens at maybe 200mm and stand clear of the waves. Where’s the fun in that? 10mm, right in there.

I re-watched ‘War Photographer’ the other week with James Natchway. The one key important lesson I took away from it was to just go for it. You’ve got to be in the action to photograph it. Now I know this, and have done for a while. But as they say in the Matrix, “Theres knowing the path and walking the path.” There are times, when doing street photography, that I feel too self-conscious and I walk away. I don’t get the shot. This time though I got wet, my camera got wet but most importantly I got the shot. It wouldn’t look the same at 200mm from the safety of my car either. I spent over 2 hours down there and got completely battered by the wind, sea, random foam and sand. My god though, the weather was awesome. Oh and there are 4 kids in this photo, not that you can see them for the water.

Comments 24

  1. Bernhard says on 23 Jun 08

    Real great capture… perfect shot. I love this picture.

    Greetings from Austria

  2. Northshore says on 23 Jun 08

    Thought it was you wandering around – I’d recognise that hat anywhere! Awesome shot

  3. Ben says on 23 Jun 08

    Best post on Vanilla Days?. I think so. Jolly good show :).

  4. Stephen Phillips says on 23 Jun 08

    Thank you for a memorable and thrilling image. I, too, am a storm and surf chaser and love this stuff. I can’t imagine a better capture than this one. Splendid.

  5. Mark says on 23 Jun 08

    Absolutely perfect; a true ‘decisive moment’, and I think the best shot you’ve posted on here. The quote that sums up the ‘get in there’ approach for me is from Oliver Stone’s “Salvador” – “You’ve got to get close to get the truth”.

  6. Ryan R. says on 24 Jun 08

    You’re right – the 10mm really does the trick! I love the contrast, yet great dynamic range. Great action too!

  7. David H-W says on 24 Jun 08

    Absolutely stunning shot! Well worth the soaking! As you say, really comes alive as you were right in the action.

  8. Graham G says on 25 Jun 08

    Would it be wrong of me to say that I think this is the best shot of yours that I’ve seen in a long time?

    So well constructed, so well captured and so well, just bloody good and powerful.

    Did any of the local papers take it? It’s surely a front page image.

  9. Enrique Vidal Vijande says on 7 Jul 08

    Great image, has lots of movement and feeling to it. Being in close to the action definitely makes a difference. The BW works great.

  10. Sara says on 3 Oct 08

    What a great moment to capture! Amazing timing, and black and white is perfect.

  11. Adam Patterson says on 15 Oct 08

    Stunning. Great detail in the wave, the expression on the kid in the front is also great.

  12. h.c. says on 13 Jan 09

    wonderful picture !!!!!!!!!

  13. Claus says on 27 May 09

    Fun for some, and a very surprising experience for others ;-)

  14. Mark says on 13 Apr 10

    I like this a lot. I have that same self consciousness when shooting street and it’s something I’m overcoming by just shooting more. Sometimes you really do have to be in the action to make the connection. I see some great shots out there in blog land but I wonder how close they were standing and using a 200mm telephoto seems like cheating and impersonal.

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