Day 5 – solo sessions

Another one goes unridden

The clock ticked to 515 and my brain was awake!  I am an early riser, great being a photographer and even better for my wife now that we have another early riser, Carson our son.  One last chance effort to try and figure out the flash before I break it down and just shoot without.  No avail.  :(.  You win some and you lose, this trip the flash won.  It wasn’t the first and won’t be the last the equipment failure haunts me.  Just have to roll with the punches.  I decided to shoot with a 50mm 1.2 prime lens, which can produce some amazing results.  My dad and I headed down to South Jetties in Venice Florida about 615.  Not a soul in sight, my favorite time of the day!  Still clean long lines coming in and was about waist high.  Looked super fun to surf.  Such a great moment to get out there with my dad.  Having my best friend as my dad is something I hope that can happen one day with my son.  I swam out while he surfed.  We had it to ourselves for over and hour long after sunrise.  It amazes me there were not more people out.  On the east coast it would have been packed and we get way more wave oppourtunites than they do.  I shot for almost 1.5hrs.  By the time everyone showed up the tide was too high and was really only longboardable.  Since longboarding is way too boring for me (although I have a couple longboards) we got our shortboard SUP’s and headed back out for another 1.5hrs.  It was tough for me with my back issues but always have a blast getting out in the water with my dad.  After the morning session it was time for me to head back to the east coast as I had a ton of work piling up.  Thanks for following along!

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.RVCA.com – Providing the best boardshorts, clothing and wetsuits, supporting artists from around the world.

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!

www.Gitzo.us  – Gitzo Tripods – Supporting all my dry cameras!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.Manfrotto.us – Professional camera support gear

www.CompoundBoardshop.com – The boardshop for all your advendtures!
www.SeafarerSurfboards.com –  World class surfboards made in Florida!

www.Aquatech.net – Aquatech SLR water housings
www.Proshotcase.com – Making the best Water Housings for my iPhone!

SlaveToTheWave.com

See more of my work: 
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Day 4 – Camera woes

Jake into the shade.

The night before there were a lot of indicators that it was going to get good.  Still lots of swell, dying wind 3 hrs before sunrise and clear weather.  I prepped the night before my gear as usual and planned a beach meeting at 630am, about 45 min before sunrise.  In the dark it looked promising but always hard to tell until you get out there.  Jake, Andy, my dad and I swam out.  Before even reaching the sandbar, I realized my flash was not working.  Immediately I swam back in and started trouble shooting.  My window to those during this twilight hour is so small and realizing I was going to miss it was very disappointing.  I headed back to the car and troubleshot the best I could.  After about 10 min I took the flash out and tried to make it happen anyway.  By this time there was almost too much light to shoot flash anyway.  The red tide was still there but much better than the day before.  My eyes didn’t burn but I coughed constantly the entire 2 hr session.   Upped my ab workout in the surf shooting fisheye.  A couple drainers were had and Jake and I linked up a couple times.  Fun morning to start off a great “winter” day in Florida.

After a quick recharge with food I was back at it.  This time heading to South Jetty in Venice Florida, about a mile north of where we went in the morning.  The wind was still light and offshore.  The swell was peaking and looked really fun.  Before swimming back out I took a couple aerial images with the drone.  Birds eye, looking for dolphins but didn’t find any.  Tayler Brothers came in and said it had gotten fun down the beach.  I suited up, in just a shorty as the water wasn’t too cold and the air was perfect. We headed down the beach into the sandbar dredgers to try and get a couple.  We didn’t link up with a barrel shot but got a couple others.  Red tide was still around, as it had been for almost 6 months!  Since I haven’t shot in larger waves in a while (constantly kicking against a current) my feet were full of blisters on each side from my fins.  Keeps you on your toes, literally.

As the tide came in and it started to get a little too high for shooting barrels, I switched my camera for my board.  Really fun waves and surfed for almost two hours.  It was about 1:30 and I had already had about 5hrs in the water.  My back kept me from really pushing full bore on turns, it was still fun to get out there.  Headed to home base for a late lunch.  I also chatted with Brian from Aquatech, the company that makes my awesome housings.  We struggled to figure out why the flash wasn’t syncing.  I then took apart every wire and finally ended up figuring out a solution for it to work.  Headed back to the South jetty about 3:30 and got another surf in while I waited for the light to get good to shoot in the evening.  Another fun but very stiff session.  By this time most of the locals were already burnt out from surfing the last 3 days.  I always find it strange why so many surfers will hang out and talk about surfing while they could instead be out there?  Hey more waves for me right?  I headed back out with the flash housing just before sunset.  Just as I got out there, I faced another issue.  The flash was set to 1/4 and would not move.  I was stuck with that and had to adjust the rest of the camera setting to hopefully make up for it.  A tough problem since I shoot fully manual.  So frustrating as the waves and sunset were perfect for shooting.  Got a couple but not at all what I was intending.  On the bright side, I was out there doing what I love and it was beautiful.  A bonus to have my dad along side this whole time.  So grateful.

 

Thanks to my awesome supporters!

www.RVCA.com – Providing the best boardshorts, clothing and wetsuits, supporting artists from around the world.

www.PacSafe.com  – Providing me with the best travel bags and gear
www.TrustTheBum.com – Sun Bum – Protecting my skin in the sun!

www.Gitzo.us  – Gitzo Tripods – Supporting all my dry cameras!
www.SolveSunglasses.com –  Buy one pair of Solve’s and give one person clean water for life!

www.Manfrotto.us – Professional camera support gear

www.CompoundBoardshop.com – The boardshop for all your advendtures!
www.SeafarerSurfboards.com –  World class surfboards made in Florida!

www.Aquatech.net – Aquatech SLR water housings
www.Proshotcase.com – Making the best Water Housings for my iPhone!

SlaveToTheWave.com

See more of my work: 
Commercial: www.BocaRatonPhoto.com
Fine Art: www.BenJHicks.com
Instagram: @benjhicks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/benhicksphotos

Day 3 – Red Tide

Sunset on Venice, Beach

Rumor has it red tide has been lingering around the area I am in for the past 6 months.  It can be brutal on the lungs and eyes.  Killing a lot of fish along the way.  With the swell purging and the winds howling we ventured out at the best spot around for dredging pits to shoot.  It was victory at sea to say the least.  Within 10 mins your eyes were burning from the red tide infused salt spray hitting your face.  We drifted in the current for about 45 mins before Jake, myself, Tayler and Andy couldn’t open our eyes.  The winds were super strong and had most beaches unridable and along with many closed access.  South Jetty in Venice, Florida was completely closed with the water washing over the parking lot.  This is one of the biggest swells they have had in years here.  Unique was the fact that this front was very far south and didn’t bring much cold.  Whenever I have chased it over here we always run into super cold weather, not something I enjoy…  Tomorrow should be a completely different ocean as the wind turns and the swell cleans up.

 

Gulf Coast – hit or miss Day 2

solid set comes through.

Hitting the road on my first trip of the year across the Florida coast to the West side.  The largest storm this winter is hitting early this week across the coasts, slatted to bring waves to both coasts.  I drove over on Sunday afternoon to get a session in before dark and the swell was already showing pretty strong.  Nokomis, Florida is not exactly a wave magnet compared to the rest of the world but has its moments with a set of Jetties that extend out with Venice to the south.  A little hint of red tide welcomed me but wasn’t enough to keep me out of the water.  Surfed until dark as it wasn’t ready to shoot yet.

The wind blew really hard as many of you experienced across Florida all night.  Waking up this morning to the buoy offshore in the Gulf at 20ft, the largest its been for a couple years.  I linked up with an old friend and ripper Jake to give it a go in the morning.  We checked it at dark and decided to go out at Venice public beach.  Since the winter has been so mild this year the water is actually pleasant and not super cold.  Pretty solid sets were coming through.  Pretty sure we were the only ones out for miles.  I swam out with my flash housing while we both tried to get into position to lineup for a shot.  It was great to get in the water again after having a back injury the last week.  We didn’t get much but had fun out there.  Couple bombs came through, pretty rare size for Venice beach.  After about an hour we headed in as it was too light for the flash. As the wind clocks more NW the waves will change and the spots to surf will change.  Time will tell what the conditions will evolve into!