OK this is somewhat news worthy as far as local surf photography goes. But I may need to back up a little, and tell you how this all came about. I was on the phone last week talking with Kevin Grondin. We were talking about my latest GoPro video footage from HUMBERTO. As most of you photographers know, the wide angle lens on the GoPro is only good when you are sitting on top of your subject. In other words, you need to be within a five foot radius to get the best open barrel shots and action shots of the surfers you are shooting. I've had this same conversation with a fellow surf photographer from Central California. Jeff Chamberlain and I talked about it last Spring. We both agreed.
Trying to get decent footage in the water with a
GoPro takes some doing.
I am not complaining per~se, but it is limited. It basically flattens out the surfer when you are sitting inside about 30 yards. I will typically place myself in the "sweet spot" the most hollow section of the wave. It is after all the most sought after image in all of surf water photography. Otherwise why even bother swimming out.
The problem is as old as the Go Pro itself. The need to be closer.
So I was saying to Kevin, if I swim deeper out into the line up, I will essentially put myself at the peak of the wave. Where the wave is biggest, but I would only get the drop and maybe a bottom turn before they are gone. It all happens so quick out there. So while I'll be getting biggest section of the wave, I will end up missing the actual barrel. And that's the shot I need the most. I said to Kevin, "If I had one of my good cameras out there with me, I could get a better video." Why? I could use the zoom and get that crucial drop and bottom turn and then slowly pull back as they got closer. I'd get the best of both worlds.
He brought up his dingy idea
(again). He's been trying to get me into his little dingy and shoot from the channel. That looks good on paper, but it's more of a hassle than it appears. The logistics of launching a dingy from the shore break is not plausible in my eyes. Too many things can go wrong. And I would still need a housing just to be safe.
And then out of the blue and really out of context with what we were talking about, Kevin says "Couldn't you bring a step ladder out there?" At first I thought he was talking about bring an actual step ladder out in the water. But then he clarified what he was saying. "No I mean just carry a step ladder down to the water's edge." I stopped and said "You know what? That could work."
It's not what we were talking about (shooting in the water), but it opened my eyes to other possibilities.
For years I've shot at low tide on the rocks and kelp beds, and was never able to shoot over the lines of whitewater. When it gets big there's walls of whitewater that is virtually impossible to shoot over. With a step ladder I would be able to elevate my shot and shoot directly over the whitewater.
As much as it pained me to give credit to Kevin, I had to acknowledge him.
This was a great idea. And with this Lorenzo swell coming it would be the perfect time to try this new surf angle.
So on October 1st, 2019 I carried my 10' step ladder over the rocks and kelp beds at dead low tide to shoot the waist to chest high waves from Lorenzo. My dear friend Tony Berardini assisted me once I was in place. I took a lot of grief from members of my family prior to this VERY SUCCESSFUL shoot.
They all thought I was going to fall like Humpty Dumpty and break my neck.
What they didn't realize what that it was more dangerous putting the lights on the house every Christmas than doing this simple task. Yes the rocks and kelp were slippery. But the ladder was secure and level (way more than at my house and the Blue Spruce tree I decorate each year.) I was solid. No chance of falling or moving. In fact, I was able to place my elbows on top of the ladder which gave me a tripod like stability that I didn't have before when shooting by standing on those wet slippery rocks. The possibilities were endless. And I truly believe I have just scratched the surface when it comes to "The Ladder".
I told my wife "They laughed at The Wright Brothers..."
Be sure to watch the LORENZO video I posted this week. It was all shot from the Ladder. First EVER Ladder footage of surfing in NH.
So keep yer eyes peeled for the guy on the ladder in these coming months.
"Yes I get high with a little help from my friends."
And speaking of friends.
For the second week in a row, I lost a good friend, a brother Marine, and a fellow surfer. Joe Collins. Joe was a full bird Colonel in the Marine Corps. He did one tour in Iraq, one tour in Bosnia, and several others over his career. Two weeks ago he went into the hospital thinking he had pneumonia. He was quickly diagnosed with Lymphoma and it had spread everywhere. He was on Chemo for the two weeks but it was too late. He passed away Wednesday October 2nd, 2019. He was 66 years old. He leaves his beloved wife Liz of 32 years, and their two sons, John and Martin. His siblings Katherine, John , and Thomas, along with several nieces and nephews. And so many friends, Marines, and colleagues.
Joe was a good guy. Never had a bad word to say about anyone. I'm not going to lie,
I'll miss him at our annual Marine Corps Birthday Gatherings. This photo below was from one of them. Behind him are two other dear Marine buddies of mine. Butch and Harry. This is the second Marine we lost since last year. Warren White and now Joe Collins.
I don't know how cancer can lie undetected in one's body and then suddenly rear it's ugly head an take a life. I don't understand that. And I'm sure it was a shock to Joe and his family. It's certainly a shock to all of us.
This is Phil Bean and Joe Collins at one of our gatherings. Phil was close to Joe. Phil was a colonel in the Marine Corps too. This is going to be a tough year for us on November 10th, 2019 when all the local Marines gather to celebrate our birthday.
This is Joe from last year. I'm sorry the image is so blurry. He was smiling at the late Warren White who showed up late to our gathering. I was swinging my camera back and forth trying to capture these moments. I had a feeling it was Warren's last Marine Corps Birthday gathering. But I always thought that I would see Joe again. Damn Joe...I'm going to miss you.
This photo (above) was taken in 1976. This is Joe surfing in Nahant. Yes, he was a surfer. I know his good friend Dave Jean is hurting today as well. At some point we should do a paddle for Joe. He was after all, one of us, and more importantly, he served his country well.
Semper Fidelis Joe. I'll meet you on the other side. Meanwhile, say hello to George and Warren for me.
Now for something uplifting. Local Legend Peter Stokes is seen here holding his granddaughter. His son Emlyn's first born.
Not sure if this is Peter's first and only grandchild, but if it is welcome to Grandfather hood. I LOVE being a grandfather. LOVE it!
Local surfer/artist/musician/ Stan Chew sent in a message on social media this week to let us know his dog "Smiley" passed away. I love dogs. And I was truly saddened to hear this news. I love all pets. But I'm a dogman.
Rest In Peace Smiley. I hope you're chasing whatever it is you like to chase
in Doggie Heaven.
Now on the other side of that doggie coin
is Edward. The rescue pup of Jack and Kate Keefe. Look at that face. I met Edward, Ed, Eddie this morning.
Having just lost their beloved cat Yellow they stepped out of the cat box (no pun intended) and for the first time in many years for both of them, they got a puppy.
I know what puppies are all about. They bring a joy and love into every home that is hard to beat.
I wish them all the Best of times ahead! Welcome to Hampton Edward.
"Surfing, Love, Family, and Puppies Heals All Wounds."
Because it's been a while since I've posted a pic of Colby I figured what the hell. From May 16th, 2013. Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
Now for Some Local, National and International News
Look if you all don't know by now that putting any kind of smoke in your lungs is bad for you? You're a freaking idiot. Any kind of smoke in your lungs is not good for you. Cigars, Cigarettes, Pot, Vaping, you name it, it's not good for you. What I don't agree with is shutting down these mom and pop Vaping stores in Massachusetts. Why because 14 people have died from it? Are you kidding me? How many people are dying from cigarettes everyday? Fair is fair. And although I'm 100% against Vaping, until you shut down every store that sells any kind of device to purposely inhale smoke into your lungs, then I say back off from the Vaping stores.
Yeah this can't be good for you. For a minute there I though some of this smoke was coming out of his ears.
If I had to pick between the two of them today? I'd pick TULSI.
She has my vote. A Hawaiian who is not only a veteran, but she actually is a surfer. For real. She surfs.
She wore the uniform of the US ARMY served in IRAQ. Something that 45 has not done. She's the REAL DEAL.
Hell the woman is a surfer! She has my vote! VOTE TULSI 2020!
Let's try and get all the surfers to back her. VOTE TULSI 2020!
ESM (Eastern Surf Magazine) using a READY MAG format did the Best of Ralph's Pic. And while they couldn't possibly use everything thing I've ever done, they did manage to put up some 50 pics of mine, plus two videos. And I was truly humbled by their intro. Mez said some nice things about me. CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE THE WHOLE Spread.
If You Love The Beatles...This show is worth seeing.
COMING FATHER'S DAY 2020.
While I was making the GRANITE GIRLS video I came up with this project and concept. It's never been done before. As hard as that seems to be. I'm onto yet another never been done before Surf Movie concept. This will be an overview of Surfer dads and their sons. It's a work in progress and I'm hoping to get as many dads and their sons as possible in this movie.
The DVD's are available at all the local surf shops. Or by
sending me an email. email@example.com or send a check for $20.00 made out to ADLANTIC and send it here:
c/o OC Studio Suites
703 Ocean Blvd Suite C-4
Hampton, NH 03842
Or RENT or BUY it Online. You have spoken and I have listened. You don't have a DVD player so I made it available Online. Watch it on your Smart TV, your computer, or your cellphone! I can't make this any easier my friends.
GRANITE GIRLS and The RIVER WOMEN from Ralph's Pic Of The Week on Vimeo.
NOW AVAILABLE on VIMEO ON DEMAND.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
This week's news was all about Vaping. And not to be outdone, Ole Khaliddy has been vaping at GITMO for the last few months. He's trying to open a Vaping shop at the prison compound. He's having a hard time getting the powers that be give him the green-light. Something tells me he's just blowing smoke up their asses. KSM you old fool. Vaping is not good for you.
And so my friends, please take advantage of this weekly photo shop of the mastermind who planned 9-11 and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians by KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
*Note to self -must pick up a case of Vaping Products at
Home Depot this week.
HAPPY 32nd ANNIVERSARY Cory! October 10th, 2019!
REST IN PEACE Smiley
REST IN PEACE "Yellow" Beloved Cat of Jack and Kate.
Lenny Nichols & Colin Madden
Co-Directors, NNE District
Eastern Surfing Association
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to
Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 13 years.
** BUY a HIGH RES Photo
from any of the weeks on RPOTW.
my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.