Having a special relationship with the ocean is what Ed Sloane believes to be the key in capturing the essence of surfing. We agree wholeheartedly. It takes a different approach and eye to freeze frame those moments in time on a wave that are just right. And it is obviously when looking at Ed’s work that he is indeed in love with the ocean. Hailing from Victoria, Australia, Ed has jumped in head first and embraced the surrounding beauty and surf to capture some beautiful photos, as you’ll see below.
How did you get started in photography? What were some of your first jobs?
My brother started hanging out with cameras a few years ago, shooting a lot of things including surf. I used to think he was mad not surfing and standing on the beach shooting. I had his camera in my car one day and after a long surf I was hanging around and started taking some photos. I remember that one morning changed everything, the process grabbed me and I dove right in.
My first job? I don’t think many who start out surf photographers have any first jobs, they get the last jobs, if that. So my first work arose from a part time form of self-employment doing freelance, which is still the way I work.
Has your approach to photography changed as you have progressed in your craft? If so, is that due to the equipment you are using? Or are there other factors that have caused you to change?
Definitely, my approach has evolved and I think that’s natural. The experience I’ve gained has a lot to do with this but so does the nature of the work. Shooting more artistically requires a different approach to working for a magazine. The more professional jobs I’ve done have really taught me about how to approach photography but only for a certain result. It’s a good question whether my approach would change if I altered my equipment. It tends to when I’m using video or film cameras although I’m far from mastering those.
How does one capture the essence of surfing in a photograph?
By living and breathing surfing, that and good time management and forward planning. I think it’s about being there, that is all that is required, to capture surfing you need to be there. The whole challenge in surf photography is to capture those defining moments whether it’s at a comp or an empty wave. To do that requires skill and perspective but the right place will be missed if you’ve got the wrong time.
I love hearing people saying they hate the photos in this magazine or that online feature, those people need to pick up a camera and have a crack themselves, it sounds like they have something to offer.
Talk a bit about the surfing in Victoria and what it takes to photograph some of the waves out there? Is it just a pull up and shoot type thing? Or do you have to get down and dirty to find the shot?
I love Victoria, perhaps it’s fair to call it the forgotten state in Australian surfing. We have the Rip Curl Pro once a year and that’s about all most people care to know. The coast sits on the edge of the Southern Ocean and the roaring forties and is regularly battered by long range swells from the Antarctic. The cold defines surfing here however it’s fickle, between weeks of onshores and dull weather it can really have its moments.
I would say the planning factor for shooting down here is pretty high. I rarely just arrive and start shooting. Like most places tide, wind and swell are all critical so throw sunlight into the mix for good photos and planning becomes essential. As for down and dirty, the Great Ocean Road that runs along the coast is just that, great, there aren’t a lot of big hikes although that can have its downside.
You also have done some video work. How did you get into shooting video? And how does it compare to photography for you as far as fulfillment?
Video is a skill I’m happy picking up along the way. I am some way from being seriously into film however it’s a long term aim to become proficient with moving pictures. The HDSLR revolution has roped me in but it’s obvious that to use these cameras properly requires a good investment and a solid understanding of film. That said, I often feel there are too many things passing me by while I focus on still photography that need to be documented, I have a lot of ideas and hopefully they can come to fruition sooner rather than later.
What else do you like to shoot other than surfing?
I’m pretty keen on landscapes and seascapes. The best thing about Victoria is the close proximity of the surf to pristine rainforest. There are an endless number of waterfalls and rainforest tracks to explore down the coast so when I have the time I’m always into that.
What has been getting you stoked lately, in and out of the water?
Meeting new people. One of the coolest things about shooting is the social aspect. It’s a good thing getting a job and meeting a bunch of like-minded people who love the ocean, you never know where things can lead. The other cool thing going on at the minute is printing, I have been printing a lot of work over the past six months and its been well received. It’s really satisfying seeing your work getting people stoked.
Any upcoming projects we should know about?
I’m working with a filmmaker around the story of the water photographer. It is in the early stages however it has a wide creative scope that is exciting. I’m also shooting a series of high key miniature lineups I’ve been creating with boat wake in the strangest of places. Stuff like that is really fun.
For more of Ed’s photographic endeavors, follow him on his blog at http://sloanephotos.blogspot.com/