Beach party

Jon Da­vatz loves to doc­u­ment the beach life and wildlife on the doorstep of his South­ern Cal­i­for­nia home

NPhoto - - Over To You -

I started tak­ing pho­tos a cou­ple of years ago with my smart­phone. Ini­tially I just took a few oc­ca­sional pic­tures, but it quickly be­came a pas­sion.

One day I was on the San Cle­mente Pier in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, tak­ing pic­tures of surfers. A young woman in a wet­suit and with a surf­board un­der her arm ap­proached me and asked: “Did you just take pic­tures of me”? I said I had, and I thought I was in trou­ble, but she said: “That’s awe­some! I haven’t had pic­tures taken of me surf­ing for ten years – would you mind send­ing me some of them?” I was em­bar­rassed show­ing her pic­tures I’d taken with a 5MP cam­era, but she loved them. I de­cided there and then to buy to a D-SLR cam­era.

What I like the most is to doc­u­ment the beach­front com­mu­ni­ties of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. Some pho­tos are straight­for­ward beach shots that shows surfers [1], jog­gers or peo­ple fish­ing. But with bet­ter gear, and in­spired by other pho­tog­ra­phers, I also started to shoot wildlife, and get into more ab­stract pho­tog­ra­phy.

Im­promptu sub­jects

I of­ten like to have peo­ple or an­i­mals cross­ing my viewfinder, which adds dy­namism to images. One day I was tak­ing pic­tures of a lo­cal rock for­ma­tion over­look­ing the ocean that looks like a hu­man head. As I was fram­ing the shot this guy stepped in front of me to

ob­serve the scene, so I used him as an im­promptu model [3].

Some of my best photo shoots are when I en­counter the un­ex­pected. I of­ten just hap­pen upon an op­por­tu­nity, such as lob­ster cages ready to be dropped into the ocean; once I came across a cou­ple of rare vin­tage cars, wait­ing to be shot by a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher.

My play­grounds are the ci­ties in South Orange County, be­tween San Cle­mente and La­guna Beach. There are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to take pho­tos of surfers, beaches, har­bours, sun­sets and wildlife. Dana Point har­bour is home to many birds, in­clud­ing cor­morants, herons, egrets and pel­i­cans. I love to watch the birds almost pray­ing for break­fast, and even­tu­ally get­ting some­thing to eat. There are also great shots to be had at the many lo­cal fes­ti­vals.

I love to ex­per­i­ment with my pho­tog­ra­phy, and I want to con­tinue learn­ing and im­prov­ing my tech­nique. In par­tic­u­lar I want to take more wildlife pho­tos. To over­come the oc­ca­sional bout of ‘pho­tog­ra­pher’s block’ I’ll call to mind a spe­cific colour or sub­ject for in­spi­ra­tion. And I don’t worry about what peo­ple will think when I’m tak­ing pic­tures – the im­por­tant things for me are to have fun and be in­spired.

01 Su rfer’s De­light Nikon D5300, Nikon AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO400

02 1961 V-Dub Van Nikon D5300, Nikon AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, 1/60 sec, f/8, ISO110

03

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