By Darren Stones
The Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia provides photographers with excellent surfing photography opportunities. One of the best places to watch the surfing action is from the cliff top at Jan Juc, Torquay. Here you will find easy access to large timber platform viewing areas, which are directly adjacent spacious car parking areas.
Popular times to see surfers in this location are during the afternoon, and locals head here at the end of the day after work or school.
For the surfing image featured here, I used my Canon 20D DSLR camera with my Canon 400mm f/5.6 L USM lens attached. I had that combination securely mounted to my Manfrotto monopod. The monopod allows me to keep the camera and lens combination steady, whilst at the same time taking most of the weight off my arms.
I use the continuous mode function when photographing surfers so I can take multiple frames per second. It allows me to photograph the peak of the action as a surfer moves across the water and riding a wave. I use the AI Servo focussing mode on my camera so that the lens is constantly focussing on the surfer. This mode requires me to position the surfer in the middle of the frame so that the focussing capability continually tracks the movement of the surfer.
I like to use a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second or faster, so this generally means I'm shooting at ISO 400 or 800. Aperture Priority is my preferred shooting mode and I always shoot in RAW format so I can get the best possible data in camera.
Cropping images is usually required because it can be difficult to get a frame filling shot from long distance. If the surfers ride their waves in close to shore, then cropping may not be required or is quite minimal. A fast focussing fixed length telephoto lens can help produce high quality sharp images that look attractive and have that WOW factor.