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Cruisin' the Reef
Cruisin' the Reef

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Sports IV (Basic Editing)
Camera: Nikon D80
Lens: Tokina AF 12-24mm f/4.0 AT-X Pro DX
Location: Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, Florida
Date: May 2, 2010
Aperture: f/4
ISO: 160
Shutter: 1/1250
Galleries: Sports, Seascapes
Date Uploaded: May 4, 2010

Wow, what a nail-biting week this has been. The first vote I received was a 3 and I immediately thought about all of those other kiteboarding challenge entries of mine that scored lower than expected. This time, however, it seems to be in the right challenge, not a Free study where they are not appreciated quite as much. I've never seen a score climb so consistently all week long before. At about 25 votes the score was at around 6.5 but it just kept climbing day after day. The problem was that every time that it climbed to the score that ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' MattO had most recently posted, Matt would update his score to between 3/100ths to 5/100ths of a point higher than mine. It seemed like I never could catch him.

I approached this challenge with the mindset to arrange something beautiful that would hopefully appeal to voters. Expecting a ton of closeup action shots, I decided to incorporate action into a pretty scene that I expected would bring a few higher votes. This is pretty much the shot that I had in mind when I called my friend Ken and asked him if he needed any more shots of his products for his distribution company, Fuacata Sports. I imagined the clear shallow water along with a few clouds and I told him that it was important for me to include the kite in the picture. That is not easy to do when the kite is on 25 meter lines. Usually I ask the kiteboarders that I shoot to jump over me so that I can aim the lens upward and get them with the kite above them, but the wind was very light the entire week and at times Ken found it difficult to keep moving at all, much less to pull off a jump.

I do all of the product photography for Ken's company which is the sole distributor for Jimmy Lewis products (surfboards, kiteboards, and standup paddleboards) for North and South America. I also do all of the action shots for their promotional needs and catalogues. Here's their website where a lot of my photos are featured: Jimmy Lewis U.S.

I asked Ken to meet me at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne because this beach's proximity to the gulfstream means crystal clear water over it's white sand and sea grasses. That's where the turquoise and emerald colors of the water come from. He is not really over the reef in this shot. The first reef is actually about 3/4 of a mile out. I didn't want South Miami Beach's buildings in the background but the combination of the wind direction and the sun meant that this was the only direction that I could shoot and get good results. The problem was that I couldn't get a good shot of Ken from the front and get the kite in the shot at the same time. Coming back towards me the kite would be too far in front of him (to my left) to get it in the frame.

For shots like this I love to use the Tokina 12-24. It gives the viewer the feeling of being there in the area...and was I really there! Ken is passing so close by me that he could reach out and grab the camera if he wanted to. On one return pass going the other way I was intent on getting a closeup of the board cutting through the water for him to use in an upcoming catalog. I need to get one of those signs on side view mirrors that is customized for my use: "Objects in wide angle lens are closer than they appear" WHAM!!! I leaned over to get the closeup just as Ken was passing by and his shoulder collided with my head. The force of the collision knocked both of us down and I am lucky that I didn't drop my camera in the water. I don't like to use my underwater housing because it is so cumbersome and I can't change focal lengths with it, so I am really lucky that I didn't drown it.

I, again, have to thank my teammates on Team Arabasque for their never ending support and critiques of my daft draft entries. They were pretty much unanimous that this was the right choice from this shoot.

For those who are interested, here are a few more of my favorite kiteboarding shots and some that have been in a few magazines:
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Place: 5 out of 171
Avg (all users): 7.0335
Avg (commenters): 8.0000
Avg (participants): 6.8788
Avg (non-participants): 7.1239
Views since voting: 2971
Views during voting: 391
Votes: 179
Comments: 21
Favorites: 6 (view)

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05/12/2010 09:44:07 AM
Beautifully done and simply a gorgeous photograph.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/12/2010 09:22:27 AM
Congratulations! This is wonderful.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/12/2010 08:18:22 AM
Really nice shot and result. I had this in my top 4 (all given the same vote). Congrats!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/12/2010 01:24:38 AM
I would have loved to see this in top 3. This was one of the 3 perfect 10 scored images for me. But oh well, the Gods of DPC act in strange ways!

In my views, you are a ribbon winner.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/12/2010 12:26:58 AM
nice work! immediately recognizable ;-)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/12/2010 12:18:28 AM
Congrats on a top 5 finish. This is a very good shot and one I had picked to finish ahead of mine.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
05/11/2010 09:44:21 PM
Great clarity and angle. Has a slightly surreal finish to it. Well done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/11/2010 05:23:40 PM
Beautifully composed -- interesecting diagonals, rule of thirds. (Sorry, I'm being mathematical again.) Great colors and exposure too. Very effective.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/11/2010 05:27:15 AM
i,m going to bump this up comming back to comment good capture of the subject good crop i like how you have him in the frame of the image ..well done
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/10/2010 10:41:24 AM
Fantastic shot but a bit too much contrast in the arms / legs for me. Still works well
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/10/2010 01:24:34 AM
This would be my favorite, but I'm distracted by the way you can't see his second leg. I just love the composition.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/08/2010 06:04:33 PM
Looks like an awesome place to vacation. Beautiful photo.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/07/2010 06:08:39 PM
This is very well done. Water color, skyline in the background all add to the image. Wish I was there.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/07/2010 10:47:21 AM
well done
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/06/2010 11:18:24 PM
WOW - that's great!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/06/2010 09:08:07 PM
Sick angle, wake, hand and splash. I even like the kite!
Excellent job, on both your parts! Top score for sure!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/06/2010 04:04:53 AM
very nice work. gotta love having the tools and access to shoot stuff like this, as well as when work and play come together ;-)

there is only a small handful of people at dpc capable of a shot like this, and you're one of them.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/05/2010 10:01:55 PM
I wouldn't change anything in this image. gets a perfect 10 from me!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/05/2010 08:22:33 PM
how amazing is this?!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/05/2010 03:03:27 PM
The hand dragging in the water strikes some emotional chord in me though I've never wind surfed. I think it makes a person want to be the wind surfer somehow. Just looks fun!

As for processing, I think you did a great job with that too. Nothing is too bold.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
05/05/2010 12:29:52 PM
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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