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The Surfer

I was fortunate enough to meet with Jamie Russell, a 16 year old hotshot surfer with a raw talent and ability for catching and thrashing waves.  I have always been a keen surfer and I love nothing more than sitting out the back and waiting for the next big set to roll in.  Surfing is not just an extreme sport but rather a lifestyle.  I remember the feeling of catching my very first wave, a surge of cool ran through me like liquid nitrogen and I knew from that very moment that I would be doing this for the rest of my life.

Catching Waves

I get out there and I catch waves and I have fun.  Jamie Russell attacks waves with such technical prowess and power and makes it look easy. Drawing power from a wave is a skill, but the intricate manoeuvres that Jamie Conjures up are the very reason Jamie is being heralded as Ireland’s next top surfer.

A man of many talents Jamie recently placed 3rd in young photographer of the year. I asked for a few tips but he kept quiet about his photography skills. I guess it’s his loss as I won’t be sharing my surfing techniques with the young star (which is a good thing!).

The Bat Cave

First off, it wasn’t easy getting permission from the caped crusader for the venue. Affectionately known as Mermaid’s cave, This wonderful location resides beneath Dunluce Castle in Portrush. With a bit of a climb down to the cave, it took a little while to get down and get set up.  Inside it’s a fairly steep incline and was a nightmare to move around, make lighting changes and generally pose in.  to make matters worse, the 5D’s inability to focus in dark areas made it almost impossible to use AF and this, coupled with the falling light made me switch into overdrive to ensure we got the shot.

I ran with two lights in this shoot.  The elinchrom ranger rx was my main light source and I used a 580 EX II for separation and this was gelled with a CTO for warmth.  Again, the ranger exceeded my expectations in the damp and dark conditions and the 30 sec lamp came in really useful when the ambient dropped completely.

Top Tips:

When possible, visit the location at the time you propose to shoot it to check light and accessibility.
ALWAYS pack a torch and be aware of light fall esp. when down a cave. (packing up and climbing out in the dark is not fun!)
Make certain of your flash settings when in difficult scenarios as it took nearly 5mins to climb down and make a change.
When you fall (and you will) make it look good.



  1. Leah Russell on Tuesday 14, 2010

    These pictures are amazing for some reason they remind me of the film Star Wars back in the old school days. I think there is a touch of Luke Skywalker in Jamie! Great location too.

  2. Rick on Tuesday 14, 2010

    I know what you mean Leah the ground has an unearthly feel to it. I wanted the processing to be a little gritty and old school with a modernised approach as I love the surf shots from back in the day. Thanks!

  3. Karen Mitchell on Tuesday 14, 2010

    Atmospheric shots of a very talented guy

  4. Rick on Tuesday 14, 2010

    Thanks Karen.