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Surfing aerials captivate audiences

Surfing aerials captivate audiences
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Surfing aerial techniques (aerials) that fascinate spectators


kyoshiro Suda Professional

About Surfing Air Filming

The air is one of the most difficult surfing techniques, but it is also a fascinating technique for photographers.

Successfully capturing this air will make your surfing photography more enjoyable.


Tanegashima Legend Surfer's Air

Identify the surfer who flies the air.

Only a limited number of surfers on Tanegashima can perform aerials in surfing, so the cameraman generally knows who flies.

However, it is necessary to make an effort to respond to those who come to the island for a surf trip and suddenly fly.

Once a surfer has flown once, the cameraman has seen and marked him, so he is likely to go for the next air.

In the case of professionals, such as at JPSA competitions, it is highly likely that everyone will fly in, so you need to be prepared to deal with air techniques.


Tanegashima Legend Surfer's Air 2

Know the camera's continuous-fire capability.

Surfing techniques are instantaneous in time, with each technique being performed for approximately 0.5 seconds, and even a cutback technique may last for about 1 second.

If you can capture a surfer's technique with the camera's maximum continuous shooting speed during this time, you will have a very high probability of getting a good picture.

Then, why don't we just shoot continuously?

This is naive. There is a limit to the camera's continuous shooting.


There is a limit to the maximum speed of the camera's continuous shooting.

Surfing photographers may be familiar with specifications such as a continuous shooting speed of 10 shots/second, or even 40 shots/second.

However, there is a condition.

The maximum number of photos that can be written to an SD card with the highest image quality is around 2 per second, depending on the performance of the SD card.

When using continuous shooting, pictures are taken faster than they can be written to the SD card, so the data waiting to be written is stored in the internal memory of the camera body, and then slowly recorded to the SD card.

In other words, high-speed continuous shooting is possible only until the camera's internal memory overflows.

If the camera's internal memory overflows, the camera enters a slow continuous-fire mode equivalent to the SD write time, and can only take about two shots per second, which is fatal in the case of surf photography.


Taken at JPSA Tanegashima

What is the possible continuous shooting time for full size Raw (30MB per image)?

For professional photographers who place importance on quality, the editable area after shooting is narrower, but since the file size is small because of the JPEG output, the number of consecutive shots for several tens of seconds can be secured, so you may not have to worry too much about it.

In my case, I want to take beautiful photos, so I take full-size photos and use raw images with a large editable area, but the size of each photo easily exceeds 30 MB.

If I use high-speed continuous shooting with 30 MB of photos, I can only hold them for about 5 seconds at most, and as soon as the internal memory is full, the camera goes into slow mode (2 photos/second), so I have to use continuous shooting moderately or I may miss the decisive chance.


Tanegashima Legend 10


Tanegashima Legend 4

Continuous shooting is taken so that the camera's internal memory is not punctured.

Advanced surfers will not finish with a single move, but will perform several maneuvers, so if you just shoot continuously without thinking about the movement, you will miss the shutter chance.

To avoid puncturing the internal memory, it is necessary to take pictures while limiting the number of consecutive shutter shots.


Tanegashima Island Young Surfer's Air 5


Tanegashima Island Young surfer's air 6

When to use the shutter's high-speed continuous firing

Surfing photos can be taken before entering the water, coming out of the water, etc., but today's article is purely about taking photos while surfing.

waiting for half of one's pair with four melds completed

It is better not to shoot continuously when waiting for a wave, and it is better to take only a few shots, but if you are waiting for an unusual wave (e.g., napping on the board), it is possible to take a few shots.

Paddle - Takeoff

This should be held, but there is no need to shoot continuously.

Just aim at the right point and cut the shutter appropriately.

This is to conserve internal memory to ensure that you get the next opportunity to shoot at the bottom.


Tanegashima Legends Air 7

Bottom position

I would love to take pictures of the surfers at the bottom, but continuous shooting will not be necessary.

However, since the technique is about to be performed, we should hold our breath, watch the surfer's movement carefully, and prepare to shoot a little earlier.

It is also good to assess the individual habits of the surfer, since he/she will use his/her hands or something to recoil before he/she hits the wave.

However, it is common among amateur surfers to get caught in the "do-it-yourself" scam, in which the surfer repeatedly drops to the bottom and gives the impression of "I'm going to do it now," but does nothing as a result.


Tanegashima Professional Aerial Circling

The first turn must be a high-speed series of shots.

Finally, it is time for the first technique to be unleashed. For now, it is a high-speed continuous shooting from a little while before.

If the camera's internal memory is used up, the next maneuver will be shot in slow mode, so I shoot in rapid succession while saving a little.

The best part of the technique is to shoot in full continuous mode, and the rest of the time, shoot intermittently in continuous mode.

Even with this, you can't shoot the board at the ideal angle for surfing, so all you have to do is hope you get a good picture.

Also, most of the time, the surfers don't suddenly perform an air-type technique from the first maneuver, so there is no need to prepare for an air-type shot.

Be careful of air in the second and subsequent turns.

After the second round, air moves may be performed at any time.

Since many of the films end with an air, the cameraman is in the mode to prepare for air moves.

Watching the wave and the surfer's movement, imagine, "He's going to cut back once here, so maybe the next one? and so on, while taking pictures.

If you are not prepared for this, you will miss your chance to capture the air.

Examples of Photographer's Air Photography Failures

In air photography, it is still easy to make mistakes if you are not used to it, but I will give you some examples of major mistakes.

camera shake

Even with a fast shutter speed, telephoto lenses can cause camera shake.

If you take a good shot, you can get a flowing shot, but this is only possible if you succeed in keeping the surfer in the center of the viewfinder while he or she is not moving.

If the surfer suddenly flies away and you rush after him and shoot while swinging the lens, the picture will be unusable due to camera shake.

It is necessary to frame the shot with the position of the surfer in mind.

frame out

This is probably the most common mistake. This is the situation where the surfer overhangs the frame in the photo.

This failure is especially likely to occur when the surfer is flying higher than expected.

Many surfers raise their hands above their heads while flying, so if their hands are cut off, this is also a failure.

If the wave is big, the wave will also fly high, so consider the size of the wave as you work on your frame work.

Lost through the viewfinder.

The information in the viewfinder is vital for the photographer, but if the surfer disappears from the viewfinder at the moment of flight, you will have to wander around and look for him, but when you find him, he has already landed or capsized (laughs).


Air by a legendary surfer from Tanegashima

Surfing photographer's air measures

Keep a bird sight on your camera until you get used to it.

If you lose the surfer in the viewfinder, it will take time to find him with a telephoto lens. This is even more difficult with a super-telephoto lens.

In such a case, you should attach a sighting device for bird photography to your camera.

Although it is necessary to align the center of the sight with the center of the camera's viewfinder in advance, a sighting device that can follow the fast movements of wild birds is a strong ally.

Also, when shooting video, it is much easier with a sighting device.

In the middle of the day under the blazing sun, it is difficult to see with an LCD, but with a sighting device, you are looking directly outward, so there is no problem of difficulty in seeing.

The surfer is simply moving the camera so that it is positioned near the center of the crosshairs of the sight, which drastically reduces the number of mistakes in shooting.

Techniques for shooting with both eyes open

It is common practice to look through the viewfinder with only one eye and close the other eye, but if you do not have a sighting device, get into the habit of shooting with both eyes open.

Concentrate on the viewfinder with your right eye and the overall situation with your left eye, but here and there, concentrate on your right eye.

You will be much less likely to miss your target in this way, and you will not miss a surfer who starts to take off outside of the wander because you are looking with your left eye, so you can start shooting immediately.

If you are a surf photographer, you should learn to shoot with both eyes open, so that you can expand your shooting range.

Read the surfer's movement.

It can be something like, 'Hey, did you just step behind the board? Do you want to do something?' Let's look at it like that.

Before you do something in surfing, there is always some sign, such as a slight recoil of the hand.

When a surfer is aiming for a tube on takeoff, you can clearly see that his timing is a little different from usual, so this feeling can be applied to tube riding as well.

Judging by Mr. Surfer's speed.

If you feel that the speed is somewhat fast, it is almost an omen to aim for the air, so follow it. If you feel that the speed is too fast, it is almost a sign that they are trying to get airborne, so chase after them.

If you are a good surfer, you can clearly see that your surfing speed is fast when you are shooting with a telephoto lens, and on the other hand, if your speed is slow, you will not be able to see it.

Surfers with high speed tend to have better results, and their photos are often used to decorate Instagram.


Taken at JPSA Tanegashima 2

Preparation for photographer's air-based shooting

When you feel a surfer's air, there are some things you should prepare for instantly.

Autofocus with focus lock for possible out-of-focus

Although it depends greatly on the camera and lens model, when shooting in AF mode, the surfer's position is often not centered during air techniques, and the autofocus may shift.

Instead of always shooting in AF mode, it is better to select a mode that allows you to shoot continuously while adjusting the frame by activating AF with a half-press and then locking the AF.

Change the frame position based on the assumed flying position.

Surfing airs are far above the waves, and even more so with both hands in a hail of bullets, so it is a different framing technique than usual.

If you can place the surfer just above the surfers, you can get a sense of flying, but it would be terrible if your hands are cut off.

I think it's no use to put the surfer in the center of the shot, but if the surfer is above you, you can capture the waves more clearly and powerfully.

It is difficult to place the surfer in the ideal position because of the momentary nature of the event, but let's make an effort.

Surfing aerial techniques (aerials) that fascinate spectators, and surprising ways to fly

Air Specialists? There are surfers who are very good at flying, but they also have a surprising way of flying.

Fly from the bottom

The usual way to perform air moves is to run up from the bottom of the wave and fly from the top of the wave.

However, as soon as he reaches the bottom of the wave after takeoff, he suddenly performs an air technique at that speed.

It is difficult to photograph the timing of the airs, but the quality of the airs is so high that I tried many times to photograph them and failed many times.

Anyway, you never know when it will fly, so when the continuous shooting starts, it is already too late.


Difficult-to-photograph air experts

Fly without waves

Ha, flying in such a small wave?

Surfers who are good at flying will fly even in small waves, so photographers are completely caught off guard and almost always miss the shot.

If a local surfer is known to fly, the photographer will anticipate and respond with, "He's going to fly on this wave, isn't he? I can anticipate and deal with it.


Tanegashima Legends Air 8


Tanegashima Legend ae 9.

Grab the board and fly.

It's not so common in surfing that you would think it was a skateboarding technique. It is so rare in surfing that you might think it is a skateboarding technique, but a quick Google search reveals that there are many names for it, depending on where and how you grab the board.

I've only seen it in a few JPSA pro competitions, but in Tanegashima, you can usually see it, and there are people who perform it even in the crappiest waves.

You can see the skills of surfing legends at Tanegashima.


Tanegashima Legend Air


Tanegashima Legend Surfer's Air 3

Practicing strange and unseen air techniques?

Are you working on some mysterious technique? Sometimes you come across a situation where you are working on some strange technique.

The photographer doesn't know what the specialist thinks, but a legendary surfer doing an unusual air.

The way he twists the board at an angle I've never seen before? Maybe he is studying, but it is a great shutter opportunity for the photographer.


Practicing your mystery moves? Legendary Surfer

Photographers love people who fly anyway!

Surfers and photographers may feel differently.

Surfers are more concerned about landing on the water, because they can get higher points in competitions if they land on the water and finish properly, while photographers are more concerned with...

To be honest, it doesn't matter what you do, as long as it's a spectacular landing.

The photo of the finish of the air is surprisingly normal if you only look at that piece, so I really don't care about the finish. I took the picture just to show that the finish was also successful.

As you can see in the photo below, I flew as hard as I could, and the result was like the old novel "Hakubumura.

If the picture below shows the result of flying as hard as I could, it also provides a double shutter chance.

Whether you fall head first into the ocean, hit the surface of the ocean (full body), or hit your face on the board, you will get a great picture, and the photographer will be very happy, but please do it to the extent that you do not break the board!

The surfer who breaks his board will look as gloomy as the photographer who submerged his camera.

There is no need to worry about your surfing failure in front of the cameraman at all, in fact, it is appreciated, so fly away! I am sure the photographer will be happy to take pictures of you.

Even if one of your feet falls off the board, the board spins around, and you hit your face hard on the board, they will say, "Wow, you did a rodeo flip with one foot! A spur surfer doing a rodeo flip with one foot! They might even write something like, "Wow!


A surfer standing on his head on an air landing.

Surfing aerials, a crowd-pleaser, summarized

I hope you enjoyed this article on tips for photographing airs, with many photos of airs taken by local surfers on Tanegashima.

The photos in this article may have been boring because they were taken only by men.

The photos in this article have been placed appropriately, so they have nothing to do with the content of the text or the photos before and after the text.

As a thank you to those who have taken the time to read this article, I would like to conclude it with some air photos I took at the JPSA Tanegashima event.

I felt like this photo was a service from a pro to the photographer who was working hard in the intense heat, but he flew in the best position in front of me, so I remember I was happy to take it.


JPSA Tanegashima Air 1


JPSA Tanegashima Air 2

I would also like to thank all the surfers who have appeared on this blog.

Thank you for reading to the end.

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