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March 14th, 2010 54 out of 56 weeks, or is it 4 out of 4?

One of the things I've learned about standing around the ocean with a camera hanging off my neck is, you become a magnet for all sorts of people, with all sorts of inquiries. For as many years as I've been doing this (since 1971), it never ceases to amaze me. The kinds of questions some people come up with are priceless. Believe me, I've been asked them all. And it's usually right when I'm about to pull the trigger. It apparently never dawns on the person asking the question, as to whether or not, what I'm doing with my cameras, might actually constitute some kind of real work, and perhaps, they should at the very least, wait until I'm done taking the photo and I acknowledge them. But that is rare.

I can't tell you, just how many good shots I've missed, answering some question by some non-surfer.

Trust me, it's been too many. Just ask any surfer who's working closely with a photographer. Don't get me wrong here, I've met some interesting characters out there. Including last week. When I met a 90 year old WWII Veteran named Lionel. He walked right up to me, and spoke in my ear, as I was focussing in on some local action. "Bet you wish you were young enough to do that." He said in a soft barely audible voice. I turned and looked at him and said. "Actually, I was out surfing earlier." He seemed unfazed by my answer. "I bet you wish, you were young enough to try surfing." I said to him. "I'm 90 years old. I've seen it all. Why would I want to do that?" He says. "Why not?" I replied. "You said you've seen it all...but you haven't tried surfing yet." He shook his head no.

"I'm all done" he said. "I don't want to live anymore."

I put my camera down and faced him. "Look you're 90 years old. You need to live to 100. If you can make it this far, you can make it to 100." It was then, that I noticed another person with him. His son George. "I don't want to live anymore." He said again. I looked at his son, who shook his head as if to say 'I'm sorry', and then I faced the old man again. "I'll see you here in 10 years. Right here at this very spot. And we will talk about how you tried surfing." "I can't swim." He said. "You can learn how to swim. Lots of people do." I quickly answered.

"I'm all done." He said again. "My wife is gone 3 years now. All I have is my son and my daughter."

Now I'm determined to crack this hard shell. "What do you mean That's All you have? They are not enough to keep you around? Don't you have grandchildren?" I asked. He looked at his son and said "Grandchildren? I have Great Grandchildren. How many do I have?" he asked his son. "Lots dad. You have a lot of Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren." I looked at the two of them and said. "Well there you go. You need to stick around, so your grandchildren and your great grandchildren can hear your story. You need to share your life's experience with all of your family." I said smiling. He smiled back.

"Maybe I'll live another few years, but that's it." He said smiling.

I looked at them both and said "I'll see you both here in 10 years and that's an order." They both laughed. Then I took their photo. Turns out, the old man was an ARMY Veteran who served in the South Pacific during WWII. He was so typical of that era. Still, it would be nice to know, that he left the beach that afternoon feeling a little better about his life, and the remaining years he had left.

I really hoped so. He reminded me of my late father, and late Uncles.

That same afternoon I was shooting at another location, when a woman stood next to me, and talked about the weather. It was that real mild Saturday we had last weekend.
'Boy this is almost Spring like weather." She said. I looked over at her and realized, I did not know her, and that she was just striking up a conversation. "Yes it's a beautiful day." I answered. "Not like that storm last week." She said. "We had a storm in Exeter last Thursday that was really bad."

I looked at her and wanted to say "Are you kidding me lady? I mean hello? You don't think we had the same storm here? " But I didn't. It was too easy to do. So I played into the conversation. "Yes, we had the same storm in Hampton." "Did you?" she asked. "Yes...that same storm passed through Hampton on the way to Exeter." I said looking to see if she was busting my balls or not. "Well, we lost power in Exeter." She says. "So did we." I said looking at her intently.

"We also had a little fire on the beach. Perhaps you heard about it?" I said.

"You know what? I did hear about that fire." She replied

Of course, now I'm looking for the Candid Camera crew, or the PUNKD gang to step out of the bushes. So I looked over my shoulder, to see if this was a set-up by some of my friends. It was not. This was real. I found myself making more insignificant small talk with this total stranger. Then the ultimate comment. "I bet that water is cold." She says. "Oh's cold." I answer. Then the typical "How do you know?" question comes into play. I told her that I also surf. Finally after a few more numbing inquiries, she left. And so did I. And I could not get out of there fast enough.

I Managed to slip back to a spot that only had surfers. There was no easy access for the non surfers. Thank God. So any questions I would be asked at this spot, would at least be asked by those of us, who get the whole winter surfing gig. And that was fine with me. Sort of. Because of course, there's always the friend who drives by, and honks at me while I'm shooting. I often wonder, if they realize the reason I don't stop, and look back at them, and return the wave is, because I am working, and don't want to miss the shot. And if I'm videotaping, it's worse. Because sometimes, I'm going for that ambient mood, of natural sounds of the ocean and birds. And it's ruined with someone leaning on their horn trying to get my attention.

I know my fellow surf photographers will nod in agreement.

One of the other aspects of shooting surf photography is, you do get to see more that most other folks do when heading down to the beach in the Spring-Summer-Fall. And one glaring observation is this. The wetsuit is not kind to those of us with any kind of a weight problem. Oh baby. And it makes no difference if you're male or female. The wetsuit does not hide our imperfections. Hardly. If anything, it's like walking around with a flashing neon sign pointing at us. And I say this, knowing damn well, that I am one of the ones, who suffer from this. Look, we all want to stay in shape. Unless you are so content with what you look like (and most surfers I know are pretty freaking vain), that you don't care. But I do know for a fact, that we all want to look good, and surf good. Am I right people?

I once knew a surfer, who could hold his breath forever, just to hide his slightly paunchy midsection. That in of itself, is an art form. I also knew a surfer, who no longer surfs with us, who looked like a damn slab of beef, trapped in some cruel oversized sausage casing. I feared he might suffocate one day. But seriously? Standing around this last weekend, shooting surfers of all sizes and shapes, and then heading out for a surf both days, I became increasingly aware of the wetsuit, and how it does nothing to hide what we can typically hide in our daily clothes. There are no baggy wetsuits. So while most surfers do not have this problem, there are some who do. So what's the solution?

Lose the weight, or pay me extra, to Photoshop your butt when I take your photo.

Now for some of my weekly Global observances:
Tonight on HBO there is a new series out called PACIFIC. It is about the the US MARINES in the South Pacific in WWII. The series is done by Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Those of you who are aware of these two working partners will know, that they previously worked together on the other successful WWII series about the US ARMY in Europe during WWII called BAND OF BROTHERS. We all knew someone who served in WWII. Be it your father, uncle, aunt or grandparents. PACIFIC is a true story of three Marines. This is their story.

So did you hear about the latest crackpot out there who has joined forces with the scumbag Terrorists? JIHAD JANE. I swear you can't make this crap up. Some wacky house wife had her own website and had bought into the whole JIHAD movement. The Feds caught her. JIHAD JANE? This sounded more like a SNL skit then a reality news item. She had a website? This would be comical if it were not so stupid and real. Have fun in Jail Jihad Jane. Dumb ass.

Speaking of dumb asses how about the Congressman Massa from last week's latest political fallout? And speaking of real big dumb asses, how about Dan Rather's comment about our President? How come no one is calling Dan a racist?

The HURT LOCKER won Best Picture last week at the Oscars. Funny, it was the only movie I saw out of the BEST PICTURE category. I guess we need to get out more. I do want to see Avatar before it's gone from the movie theaters. I also missed the 3D Slater and Raimana movie at the Aquarium.

CONGRATS to Dr Mark Henschke a local Surf Doctor who has received the National Patients Choice Award two years running.
Rest In Peace BRICKHOUSE Surf Shops. Jamie and Mark are first class surfers and human beings, and they will be missed by all who frequented the Brickhouse Shops. And I'm sure whatever they end up doing, they will be both be successful, and well liked.

CONGRATS to the WHS GIRLS Basketball team winning their 4th consecutive State Title last night. Good luck to the Boys B-Ball team with local Surfer Jesse Gould a senior and outstanding player!
KEEP Getting Stronger Kim Grondin! We ALL Love you!
Happy Birthday Gale.
Don't Forget to TURN YOUR CLOCKS Ahead this weekend.
HAPPY SAINT PATRICKS DAY 3-17-10 to all my Irish Friends and Relatives!
March 21st 4:00PM The RINKS at EXETER!

Please give to the RED CROSS or some other trusted organization to help the people in Haiti and Chile. Like the RED CROSS. Help these people. Please.

*Check out the NEW updated DROPPING IN ON RALPH blog Section. All of March 2010 is now posted. *This is the blog section of this website where you can write in and comment. The only downside of this blog is you actually have to use your REAL Name. No hiding behind some fake handle and name. If you want to comment, you have to man up and be yourself. And I will post all comments both good and bad. You just have to be yourself.

*Molly Paddle Video by Joe Carter has been moved to the
Community Page.

Please Support ALL The photographers who contribute to Ralph's Pic Of The Week
every week for the last 6 years. **Think about BUYING a Photo from any of the weeks
on RPOTW as a GREAT Gift Idea. A nice framed photo of your favorite Surfer!

Remember my friends...Surfing Heals All Wounds....
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.


Yesterday- 1966 Pro Surfer Rusty Miller Visits Maine
(Below) Rusty Miller in 1966. Having PRO Surfers visit New England back in these days was such a novelty. It was like let's go see the poor lil dopey New England Surfers and let them see and talk to a real surfer. Of course that has all changed now. Today the Surf World is aware of the caliber of surfers and surf we have. Now it's a must stop for a traveling pro. Credit Steve "Crow" Watson for getting these Surfers to visit us in Southern Maine. Photo courtesy of Ed O'Connell

Today- Sunday March 7th, 2010

(Above) Sunday March 7th, 2010. We start our weeks on a Sunday. This is Leah Grondin and this is a waist high wave. Photo By RALPH
* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.

(Above) Sunday March 7th, 2010. This is Leah's dad Kevin. And while I never quite understood the concept of this move, I can't deny the reaction he gets from the fans on
the Wall every time he does this. It is a circus out there. And Kevin is one of the Ring Leaders.
Photo By RALPH * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.

Today- Saturday, March 6th, 2010
(Above) This is Brian Taber. For some reason, I've missed Brian's sessions all year.
I didn't miss this one though. Saturday March 6th, 2010.
Photo By RALPH
* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.

(Above) This is a mellow CHOWDA HEAD peak. I had to almost beg these guys to go
out so I could get a shot or two. Saturday March 6th, 2010.
Photo By RALPH
* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.

Today- Saturday, March 6th, 2010 THE LUMPY's LEFT Sequence

(Above) Not sure who this was...but he was picking off the mid size waves at LUMPY's
and having himself a good ole time. Saturday March 6th, 2010.
Photo By RALPH
* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Sequence.

Today- Saturday, March 6th, 2010

(Above) Casey Lockwood somewhere in New Hampshire. March 6th, 2010.
Photo By RALPH
* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.

(Above) Kevin Grondin at that same place in New Hampshire . March 6th, 2010.
Photo By RALPH
* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.

Today- Saturday, March 6th, 2010 The Ed O'Connell Files

(Above) This looks like Bryan from Pioneers...but I can't be sure, cause I can't read his name tag from here. Saturday March 6th, 2010. Photo By Ed O'Connell
* Click on the photo above to see the Whole Gallery.





March 6, 2010 from Michael Sander on Vimeo.

Here's another slick HD Vimeo viddy from Michael Sander. I love Sander's work. It's all Markey J on the LB and Mike Stanek on the SB. It's short but Super Sweet. As in...Suhweetuhhhh! Enjoy!



Today 2010- The BLATANT DROP IN of The WEEK.
March 14-2010

(Above) All Rise: 10th Street District Court of Surf Justice is now in session, the Honorable Judge Ralph G. Fatello presiding. CASE #47 BLATANT DROP IN OF THE WEEK-
This case is between two Massachusetts riders. See it all inside to see how it unfolds.
Photos By Jeff Crawford * Click on the photo above to see the Whole Crime.

RANDOM Pics from Readers
(Above) Ryan Jackson ripping the snot out of this lip. March 6--2010.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Jackson
* Click on the photo above to see the Readers Gallery.

(Above) Raven Lundy the moment before... March 1--2010.
Photo by Ryan Jackson
* Click on the photo above to see the Readers Gallery.

(Above) Unknown in Mass-a-chu-setts. March 6--2010.
Photo by Jeff Crawford
* Click on the photo above to see the Readers Gallery.

(Above) Unknown on a crowded beach day in Mass. March 6--2010.
Photo by Jeff Crawford
* Click on the photo above to see the Readers Gallery.

(Above) This might be DUG (the Man That Time Forgot). March 6--2010.
Photo by Dan Hanlon
* Click on the photo above to see the Readers Gallery.

(Above) Jacob Burkhart at Playa Hermosa Costa Rica. March 6--2010.
Photo by Julie Ann Burkhart
* Click on the photo above to see the Readers Gallery.


(Above) WHS has a HUGE fan base. Last night the Girls Basketball Team won their 4th consecutive Champions Game and title. The fans seen here were out in force. It's hard to beat a movement like this. March 12--2010.
Photo by John Carden

(Above) 40 Days in Hawaii COMING NEXT WEEK! Photo By Ryan Jackson

(Above) 40 Days in Hawaii COMING NEXT WEEK! Photo By Ryan Jackson

(Above) Long Island Transplant Ryan shot this in Hawaii. COMING NEXT WEEK!

The NEW Invisible Surfer Man Series
*Click masthead above to read the original ISM story.

(Above) Put the cursor over the image to see happens when you DROP in on someone. You become Invisible. Put the mouse over the image to see the original photo and then marvel at the results of what happens when the criminal becomes invisible.
*Put the cursor over the photo to see the Real image.

by Jeff Crawford


(Above) US NAVY SEALS Training on the West Coast. Put the cursor over the image to see the 2nd shot...Photos courtesy of US NAVY

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