To round off the massive—though not as massive as last year's—travel schedule, I decided to take a quick trip to Hawaii (thank you recession for the stupidly-cheap fare) to shoot some video as a prototype for a job we might be doing soon. I'm in Honolulu at a nice hotel right on the beach.
Today I hooked up with my friend jeff Flindt, surfing photographer extraordinaire who lives up on the North Shore. Next week is the big surfing competition up there, and I shot video of Jeff going out to paddle around in the water as he shoots surfers.
Jeff's been doing this for 11 years, so he's got quite the hookup. I don't know surfing from podiatry, but I do, having shot the mountain bike scene for a few years, appreciate just how awesome it is to be able to completely integrate oneself as a photographer into a sport. Jeff is part of the culture, and he took a lot of time out of his schedule today to bring me over to the Quiksilver team house and introduce me to everyone there from the surfers to the "staff," and they're all great, friendly guys. And since they were nice enough to allow me to take pictures from their porch (and generally get in the way) I shall now type their name a few times, and give you a link to their site. Quiksilver, Quiksilver, Quicksilver.
I don't know the surf scene enough to know how important the guys I was hanging out with actually are, but I can tell many of them are really important, and they were all friendly enough to let a stranger just hang out with them.
I had to get up at 5 in order to get up to the North Shore in time for "first light," which wasn't so hard for me because due to jet lag my soul is still somewhere over Wyoming en-route to me, so my body just felt like it was getting up at a normal time.
My GPS totally crapped out on me, the first time I haven't been able to find a place based on its directions (and if I had read the manual, I'd have been fine—I couldn't figure out how to enter an address with a dash, like 56-305 Something Street. As a result I ended up on a spur road about 5 miles away from my destination, in the dark, having to call Jeff.
The day's shoot was great. I don't usually shoot video but since we don't have a second shooter here, the gig was all mine. Jeff's got some cool gear, including custom-made waterproof housings and it's fun to watch him get geared up. He spent a good few hours in the water, during which time I lugged around his 600mm lens and shot surfers and local surfer-watchers alike. Picture for those who like to ogle boys is here, girls with tattoos is here.
Jeff took a break at about 1:00 p.m. and we headed over to a great plate lunch, something I hadn't heard about until our President-Elect talked about it on T.V. The joint we hit today was a bit more upscale than most, very good food, very plentiful, very cheap. Lots and lots of surfers around, including many clearly baked dudes with incredible-looking women in tow.
Jeff pointed out the entrance to where the Lost beach is filmed, pointed out the Foodland grocery store where he saw the guy who plays Locke, and pointed out all the team houses, of which there are plenty. We went to the Oakley house and I talked an Australian photographer through some OS X issues for a while. The house is modern and well appointed, not really what you'd expect from a surf promo house, but definitely in the aesthetic of the Oakley brand.
Because its such a great promotion, each of the team houses is stocked with free beverages from companies like Red Bull and RockStar. I had a free, gigantic RockStar at the QuikSilver house and about ten minutes later wanted to punch a pony in the kidney, the shit is so powerful.
After lunch I drove around the remaining circumference of the island around looking at the water, which was directly outside my window for more than twenty miles before I headed up into the mountains and directly into rush hour traffic, which my GPS then got points for helping me avoid.
Then I started to flag after the day's moving around, but I suffered through another sunset (completely different than yesterday—where the hell did all the boats come from) and another Japanese meal in a place where I was the only caucasian.
Tomorrow I think I'll shoot some video from a hike up Diamond Head, more B-Roll for the video we're doing, and then at night I'll go back up to Jeff and shoot some more talking head of him. This paradise thing can be really exhausting.
Just in case you've decided that you hate me now because of the travel, here's a diversion. I was talking on IM tonight to a friend of mine from the PDN days who is now, with her husband, doing a project where they travel Asia shooting spas. Yes, I said that right, their job is to photograph spas. Then my friend Martin from Apple told me about an expedition a mutual friend from National Geographic is doing where they're taking some eighty people in a converted 757 around the world (in 24 days) to shoot some of the most incredible places on earth. It only costs a hair below $60,000. So there.