High Key Surf on the OBX


Thanks to an offshore storm, we’ve had a really nice swell the past few days out here on the Outer Banks. At one point the waves were pushing 12 + feet. Today things were a little bit more toned down and so since it is Saturday, hordes of die hard surfers headed to the beach. I shot down to the 3rd street access and drove out onto the beach and up to the Avlon pier. As expected, the surf was going off! A few waves were still pushing double overhead.  Both sides of the pier were stacked with both waves and surfers.

I decided to work these photographs as black and whites primarily because the water is still icy cold – 44 degrees – and so everyone was out in full peice wetsuits. This made all the surfers look like a bunch of jet black seals laying around in the water. Combined with an overcast day that had only a handfull of glimpses of the sun, I figured that it might be more effective to expose the white water just to the point of jumping off the edge of the histogram, and then pulling in the contrast of the black wetsuits in Photoshop. This really made the riders pop out. If I had not overexposed by nearly 2 full stops, the world would have been a muddy bland contrastless grey mess. Obviously I would have liked to have had a low sun setting in the west blasting these guys and the waves with some beautiful golden light, but it just wasnt happening today. But hey you get what you get sometimes, and you make the best of it!


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