M O D E R N – S U R F

Don't Look Back

A few weeks ago, I took a 10 day trip to O’ahu – Hawaii! I also decided to rent a water housing and 2x Extender, from Hawaii Photo Rental, to make the trip a bit more interesting. Next time I may rent a bigger lens though, but in the end maybe it would be too close. As far as the water housing, I really wanted to try out surf photography, from the water. I see pretty awesome work from many photographers I follow. Lets just say I wasn’t as prepared as I thought. Growing up in Colorado I am used to skiing and being on top of snow. The ocean is a whole different animal with zero control over its power and intensity.  As I like to describe it; It’s like being in little, 10 to 30 second avalanches. Not only that, the swells we had while I was there were pretty big. Guess I am glad I got that 2x extender to shoot from shore. I did use the water housing but for some snorkeling instead!

I don’t consider myself a surf photographer, but with swells and surfers like this, it was hard not to shoot. I am so use to shooting fine art, landscapes or city stuff. Shooting people really isn’t my thing, but putting them in my type of environment definitely is. I shot hundreds, if not thousands of surf photos. For a while I had no idea what to do with them all. As I scrolled though them, they looked cool, but not something that really clicked for me, didn’t make the cut. A few days is all it took, I don’t remember where the inspiration came from, maybe some of my previous photo series. So I found one I had marked and decided to process it with my favorite black and white software, Silver Efex Pro 2 from Nik Software. I got the basic black and white version I wanted. Then I decided to take it to the same style as my architecture series, Man – Made. Which is a lot of Lightroom brushes to darker and lighten area of intrest to me. With Lightroom 5 new Radial Filter this made things a lot easier. I am sure by now you have counted all my spelling and grammar mistakes, so I will stop typing and let you enjoy the photos. Here is Chapter 1 of my Modern Surf series.

Hope you enjoy and feel free to share!

Barrel 2

Oahu Swells

Surf The Barrel

Modern Swells


The Final Stretch

The Surf

Lining It Up



The Wave

You can purchase these photographs on my SmugMug website here or by clicking on the photo and then clicking the cart icon at the top.

I post my work daily here “everywhere”
Website | facebook | Google+ | Tumblr | Twitter | Flickr | 500px | Stipple | Vimeo | Behance

Chapter 2 of my Modern Surf Series is coming soon

Gear and tech for images: I used a Canon 5D MK III with a Canon 70-200mm f/4 L + 2X Extender. I used my Induro CT214 Tripod but it acted more as a monopod in this situation. The body, lens and extender can get heavy after holding for so long, monopod is key!


Written by

Professional photographer, social influencer, adventurer and content creator, Toby Harriman has fit more into his few years than most will in a lifetime. A visual explorer whose travels take him from Hawaiian shores to hanging out of helicopter doors, from moonlit desert vistas to the edge of skyscraper rooftops, Toby seeks out creative edges that captivate. Based in San Francisco, his drive to create a high level aesthetic has resulted in his development of a vast social media audience and lead to work around the globe. Toby is a potent force unleashing his unique attitude and style unto the world.

12 thoughts on “M O D E R N – S U R F

  1. Pingback: MODERN - SURF P.2 - Toby Harriman

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