East Coast Surf Culture Photography Project

Putting the day job to one side! I always try to have a personal project on the go, some short some long. One series I am working on at present falls under the long term heading, this is mainly due to the difficulty of all the separate elements needing to fall into place at the same time, that and the 100 mile drive to the location.

The aim of this body of work is to document the UK’s North Eastern surf culture, Being an ex surfer myself I wanted to show the reality of surfing in England as a ‘straight’ document, more so about the people and the location than just images of a surfer surfing. Furthermore the dedication needed to psyche yourself up to strip off in a car park in winter to put on a wet suite when the wind is howling and its minus four degrees.

Here are a few images from the series so far, I would love to hear your comments.

Shaping Of A New Surfboard In A Workshop

The Shaping Of A New Surfboard

I shot this image of shaping a surfboard in a very narrow, very dark shaping bay. The bays are set up with strip lights each side of the work area and are set at work level so I new I would need to use an on camera flash for this as there was no room for anything else in the tiny space. I used a peace of white card to bounce the flash forward and to soften the light as I did not want to burn out any highlights, there could only be one lens for this shot and that was the 14mm ultra wide-angle, it was the only way I could fit it all in.

Sitters Shop Portrait

Portrait Shot

This portrait shot was set up in the middle of the sitters shop / business unit while he was at work so it had to move pretty fast. I used a single lamp for this image with some scrim cloth to give a softer light. I placed a surfboard behind the sitter as a background prop and one white board opposite the lamp to push a little light back into the shadow area. The lens I used on this shot was a zoom set to 105mm this aloud me to move back and helped the sitter to relax a little.

Bunker At A Well Known Surfing Area


The bunker at this well-known surf spot had its five ton roof taken off in storm surf a few days before I got there. Having taken several shots of this bunker on previous occasions I felt I would document the loss of its top.

To get this image I mounted the camera on a heavy tripod as the morning had good gusts of wind. My proffered lens was a 24mm tilt & shift. I also needed to filter the image in camera, I used three filters at once on this shot. Firstly I setup a hard grad 4 stop neutral density filter to balance the sky then I went for a 10 stop neutral density filter to take the exposure up to eight minutes. I needed this long exposure so the sea and sky would softly blur. The last filter I added was a heavy warm up filter to stop the image looking too cool when using the 10stop neutral density.