Kim Feast, tips and tricks for shooting 85mm from the water.
Kim is also making an art form of shooting with his lens of choice “the 85mm” from the water, below are six tips from the man himself and some incredible imagery produced with the 85mm focal length.
1. Make sure your lens is not set on manual focus before getting in the water. Sounds silly but I need my lens to be ale to continually track my subject as there are multiple opportunities from start to finish on the wave.
2. Take a split second to assess where your positioning is when you see the wave you want to shoot. Do you need to move at all? Sometimes even half a metre can make a big difference.
3. Make sure your port is clear of water droplets. For a flat port I was recommended to learn the dry port system in which you apply a small amount of surf wax to your port and then buff it clear with an applicable cloth. This allows water to bead off. Takes a little bit to work out but I have found it consistently better.
4. Breathe. This is probably the most important. With this lens you are using your viewfinder 100% of the time to frame a dynamic moving subject, even just one mindful breath to centre yourself before turning your attention to the wave can help a lot.
5. Start to become mindful of where you are within the waves breaking zone once you have started shooting. You should be immersed in the view finder and what is playing out in front of you that it can be easy to get flogged by a piece of water out of your viewing zone. Starting off in a small shore break where you can stand and duck under waves can help a lot. This one may take a bit but does develop naturally with experience.
6. Be prepared for a wipe-out. Your last frame can be your most interesting as it is shot tightly and often in the most critical of circumstances. As your hanging in there focussing on your framing a wipe-out can happen. I think the training in shore breaks is a great way to become comfortable here. Learning how to be comfortable getting spun around underwater will help a lot. Wipe-outs are all part of the game so don’t be worried just be prepared.