This is not Hanging Cow Creek, but the creek over the hill from Hanging Cow Creek!
Phase One 645DF, IQ180 back, 110mm Schneider, f5.6 @ 30seconds, ISO 50.
The Search is a marketing program conducted by RipCurl for surfers and the surf industry. It’s an aspirational lifestyle where the best surfers travel the world in search of new waves to ride and the journey is every bit as important as the destination. Friend and legendary photographer Ted Grambeau has been instrumental in setting the standard for the imagery that tells such compelling stories.
I think photography can be approached in much the same way. Each time I venture out with my camera, it’s a new search for a great photograph: the ultimate social documentary portrait, an epic landscape or an emotionally charged interpretation of a new location or destination.
There really is nothing better than travelling on the road, searching for new photographs. On photo tours, we generally have a good idea of what we’re going to find, although nuances of weather, season and the local population can strongly influence the outcomes. Yet while the hero destinations are great, I find that my favourite photos are taken of lesser known subjects that ‘just happened’ to be found as we searched along the road.
This image was photographed in New Zealand and is one of my favourites of the Awatere Valley. It was taken on a photo tour with Tony Hewitt, a bit like the one we’re planning this June/July. We were travelling up the valley to a sheep station near Middlehurst, not knowing exactly what we’d find.
We pulled over to the side of the road and bundled out of the minivan to look over the side of the chasm. To the right, the river snaked and curved around a bluff and this is what I saw. It’s not Milford Sound, it’s not taken in unusual climatic conditions, but I think it’s a strong image and, for me, represents the search.
Does thinking about our photography this way help? I think it does because not every time we venture out with a camera do we find amazing things to photograph. Just like the surf isn’t great every day, nor can we expect to capture perfect images all the time. And that’s what makes the ‘good’ photos so special, what keeps the search interesting, what keeps us going.
Tony Hewitt and I are investigating two new places in New Zealand as part of our ongoing search: D’Urville Island and Cape Campbell (Adventures in NZ). We have a week planned in early July, so if you’re interested, check out the details on our website. Places are still available for our next 'search'! Click here.