Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 East Coast Surfing Championships

The 2015 Coastal Edge ECSC completed on Sunday with the crowning of the pro champions.

A huge congratulations to Kanoa Igarashi for taking the VANS Pro championship. Kano jumped out to an early lead with a 7.67 point ride. After Noah Schweizer, who placed second, closed the gap with 7.23; Kanoa  threw down a 7.77 for a winning 2 wave total of 15.44. Noah made a late charge but came up short at 13.43, followed by Beyrisk De Vries and Oney Anwar.

 Kona Igarashi, USA, 2015 ECSC VANS Pro Champion

In the Vans Jr Pro championship, congratulations goes to Seth Moniz, who held off Griffin Colapinto, Gabriel Farias, and Stevie Pittman for the win. It is really cool to witness the future of competitive surfing putting on a show in your own backyard.

Seth Moniz, Hawaii, 2015 VANS Jr Pro Champion

I had the pleasure of photographing the 2nd oldest running surf contest in the world again this year. It is a contest that I have been attending since I was a little grommet. More post will come showing some of my favorite shots from the week.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Balloons in the Mist

Since I arrived in Charlottesville, one of the photographs that was high on my list was of hot air balloons. They are fairly common yet elusive in this area. On 4 occasions I have spotted them floating lazily on the horizon but either the time of day was wrong or the location did not work. About a week ago I wasn't pleasantly surprised when Conner came flying downstairs yelling my name and pointing to the sliding glass door. I was surprised to see a half dozen balloons drifting over our backyard. There was a thick fog covering the pasture. My vision of balloon photos was that of big colorful designs pressed against a beautiful backdrop. The circumstances of the event led me down a more muted path to a photo that I really love. I have a couple of other images with multiple balloons but I preferred the added dynamic of the hawks flying in from the left and a touch of lens flare on this one.

Backyard Balloons
ISO 100 - 78mm - f/22 - 1/1600 sec

Friday, August 29, 2014

ECSC 2014 - What an Event

Between media deadlines, photo processing, social media, and shooting; I missed updating the blog. ECSC this year got off to a lackluster start. There was great surfing in what amounted to minuscule surf. On Friday morning, it looked like you could practically skate across the ocean.

ECSC 2014 - Longboard

A change occurred on Saturday, though, with a wind-driven swell bringing surf in the morning that picked up throughout the day. The Vans Pro and Vans Pro Jr heats were on with excellent surfing by all. It was only a precursor for Sunday which greeted contestants with a heavy wind-swell breaking outside of the jetty. All of the big names began lighting it up - Patrick Gudauskas, Luke Davis, Tristan Guilbald, Nathaniel Curran, and Tanner Gudauskas.

ECSC 2014 Vans Pro - Patrick Gudauskas

ECSC 2014 Vans Pro - Raphael Seixas

At the end of the weekend, the unimaginable happened. Michael Dunphy dropped into a bomb of a wave, fired off the bottom, and snapped a cutback that sent water pluming thirty feet in the air. He disappeared from view for a moment behind another swell only to violently hit the lip with another powerful snap. The crowd went crazy sensing something special.

ECSC 2014 Vans Pro - Michael Dunphy

As the time wound down, Dunphy's 2-score total held, making him the first VB-local to win the East Coast Surfing Championships since Wes Laine did it 33-years ago. What an awesome way to finish the weekend.

ECSC 2104 Vans Pro Champion Michael Dunphy

As I write this, Michael just won the WRV Outer Banks Pro to make this an August that he will not soon forget. Congratulations Michael!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

ECSC 2014 - Thursday, August 24

It was a beautiful if you are a seascape photographer; however if you are a surfer, you probably have another description for it. Storm clouds to the north and rainbow over Rudee Inlet greeted us as we trickled into the parking lot. Both dissipated later in the day as the contestants struggled through small, sporadic wind chop.

The Men's Vans Pro round of 96 and the Women's Hi-Fi Pro were completed despite the lack of surf. An occasional gem would connect from the outside in. Tough day to be a competitor.

Cody Thompson, Vans Pro

Tomorrow is supposed to be even flatter so I'll be surprised if the Van's Jr Pro goes off. Luckily, Surfline is calling for some waves this weekend. Pray for surf.

ECSC 2014 Wednesday, Aug 20

Today we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise and some small but contestable surf. I'm always amazed at what these kids can do with minimal conditions. Asher Nolan won the Tautog's Pro receiving a spot in the Van's Pro and a check for $2k.

Asher Nolan - Taugtog's Pro Winner

Both the Junior Van's Pro and the Van's Pro first round heats were completed. The heat sheets and results will be posted at the United States Surfing Federation site. My favorite shot from yesterday was Gabriel Farias airing out over some gulls.  Incredible.

Gabriel Farias - Round 1 Heat 8 Van's Pro

More action from yesterday can be seen on ECSC360. Remember to follow me on Twitter @TravisOwney or on Facebook for updates.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ECSC - Preparation and Gear List

Finally the day is here. Shooting with ECSC360 is the most anticipated week of the year of me. It is one of long days starting at 4:30 a.m. and often not ending until sometime after midnight. It is filled with the tension of having to get the shot and having it ready for publication by the media deadline. While the public is enjoying the largest beach party of the year, our focus is on the details like f-stops, compositions, and shutter speeds. Our eyes are constantly scanning for the next captivating image. The crowds cheer as a surfer blasts a 360 air while we pray that we didn't miss it - that we nailed the focus and captured the moment. Did the spray obscure the expression? Was the composition clean or was there something missed? Will it translate to a still?

2013 East Coast Surfing Championships

I spent last evening cleaning my cameras and lenses until each was like new. Shooting on the beach we have to constantly fight sand and salt spray, so the cleaning will be a repetitive theme throughout the week. Today while waiting on the delivery of a Nikon 200-400mm f/4, I am packing my gear. I will take with me:

  • Nikon D800
  • Nikon D300s
  • Nikon 200-400mm f/4
  • Nikon 70 - 200mm f/2.8
  • Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
  • Tokina 16-28mm f2.8
  • (2) Induro tripods
  • (2) Induro BH ball heads
  • (1) Wimberly head
  • ThinkTank Hydrophobia 70-200mm rain cover
  • Op-Tek backup rain covers
  • Hoodman Loop
  • Lee filter system with holders and hoods
  • Lee ND soft graduated filters
  • Tiffen polarizer
  • Lee 10-stop ND filters
  • Tiffen .3, .6, and .9 ND filters
  • Cable release
  • Camranger remote release
  • Batteries and chargers
  • Compact flash and SD cards
  • Nikon 900 strobe
  • Strobe gels
  • Rocket blower
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Residual oil remover lens cleaner
  • LensPen
  • ThinkTank Streetwalker camera backpack
  • LowePro AW200 camera backpack
  • Non-abrasive PecPads
  • Sensor Scope
  • 15" Apple MacBook Pro
  • (2) Seagate portable 1TB backup drives
  • Apple iPad
  • Apple iPhone 5s
  • Pocket battery charger with USB connect
  • Intuous 4 tablet and stylus
  • Spyder 4 Colorimeter
  • Memory card readers
  • Gaffer tape
  • Headlamp
  • Heat sheets

2013 East Coast Surfing Championships

Virtually everything listed above will be used over the next 5-days. So now just pray for surf. It killed me watching the opening round of the Billabong Pro in Tahiti yesterday with 12' faces. We may not have triple-overhead surf for this year's event; however, we will have a great event to cover.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 - ECSC: BMX Broke Out at a Surfing Contest

One of the bigger events that has become established at the East Coast Surfing Championships is the BMX exhibition. Several top-level pros and X-Games finalist arrive each year to put on a show on a massive ramp course set up on the beach. Watching these riders on television doesn't really give you a sense of just how high that they are flying. For the first photo below, I was on the top floor of a 3-story media tower and I was shooting up! Insane!

Vans BMX Exhibition 

Vans BMX Exhibition 

Nice and short. I'm a bit distracted today trying to recover from a late night at a concert in Harrisonburg, getting ready to start the unenviable tasks of cleaning my camera sensors (dust bunnies galore), and 2nd Chicago Bears pre-season game tonight (I know, it doesn't count but still...). Oh yea, working the day job too. Back to the grind.