Waikiki, Hawaii is probably the best place on earth to get pictures of night surfing. The water is warm, the ocean is lit by the moon and hundreds of hotels on the beach, and there are little logger waves year round. I originally swam out to try to get a cool shot of my buddy surfing, using a slow shutter speed so I could get light trails.
These photos actually took two cameras to make: my camera and my buddy’s camera with a flash. I used his flash for the off-camera lighting, so we had to time our exposures together. We surfed and took photos for about three hours, til about 2am. Then the tide went out, the waves went a little flat, and it started to rain. I was stoked because I love shooting photos in the rain, especially in the dark. I had my buddy paddle out to the lineup and sit on his board toward the horizon. Then I had my other buddy with his waterproof flash swim out behind him. I held down my exposure for a few seconds, and when I yelled “NOW!” he popped the flash from the back. When the photo showed up on my LCD screen, I was surprised. I had no idea the camera would pick up all the water color and rain from the flash and the ambient red from the light pollution of Waikiki in the sky. We shot a few versions while it was still raining, then paddled in and ate at Zippy’s.