Surf at Jæren, Norway: A Sunday in September

We were not alone. Not by a longshot. It was Sunday, the weather was beyond what you can expect for this time of the year and the forecast had been promising much.

The beach was crowded.

Or, it was as crowded as it can get, in a niche sport in a quiet part of a small country. Still there was ample parking.

A promising start to a new season, one of us concluded. I agreed. This was one of those classic late summer days, with the sun shining, high temperatures in the ocean and waves pumping. If you felt like, you could stay all day long. Some of us did.

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The sun hitting the moving ocean hard. 200mm. F/5.6, ISO-400, 1/4000 sec

Camera settings

After doing a successful test shoot with the 8-15mm fisheye, I opted for the same procedure this time around as well. I fixed the lens at 15mm and fitted it inside a dome port. I was pretty happy with the settings last time around, so I did the AV mode (shutter priority) again and fixed my aperture to F/5.6 (switching to F/6.3 later). Even though it was a sunny day I went with ISO400.

The main difficulty of using this lens – apart from focus which is always a problem – is the physical challenge of getting close enough to the surfers, swimming the inside and not getting hit by wild flying boards. Using such a wide lens at a distance is pretty much a lost cause. You have to get within a few meters. Also, the surf needs to be good, with decent sized waves, for the lens to fulfill the potential it has. Although it can easily be used at medium distance, there are better options for doing that. All in all you should go in the water with people you know, and who have enough of a skill set to be able to not hit you in the head.

In total I did three swims, switching once to the 70-200mm just for the variation. I also did some random shots while at shore, just because why not.

On the inside

I often spend the first 20-30 minutes in the ocean getting used to the waves and figuring out the positioning. This day was no different.

Because of the wave going left, and me wanting to shoot from inside the wave, I had to shoot towards the sun most of the time. Normally I don’t prefer doing this, but all-in-all it was all good though.

Surfers include: Per Arne, Torger, Niall, Åse, Gjert, Richard +++

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