Surfing Movies to Inspire You

The Best Surfing Movies …catch a wave

Whether you’re a surfing freak, you tried it once, or you’ve never even been to the beach, surfing movies reveal the fraught power of the ocean and those athletes who challenge it. An epic sport with a fascinating history, surfing has a cult-like film industry for those who want to witness the biggest waves and bravest who go out their to chase them.

The Endless Summer

Endless Summer is the quintessential surfing movie. Release worldwide in 1966), filmmaker/narrator Bruce Brown follows two surfers, Mike Hynson and Robert August, on a surfing trip around the world. His aesthetic style and inspiring story set the standard for the “catch a wave” aesthetic of the decade. In Endless Summer, summer never ends.

Point Break

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What’s your breaking point? If you’re a cameraman working on a high-budget surfing thriller, hopefully it’s pretty high. The waves of the film were 60 to 70 feet high. In order to get the best shot, there was more than one helicopter involved. Flying helicopters is dangerous enough in a controlled situation, flying as low to the ocean level as they did was risky.

North of the Sun

Norway is not everyone’s first thought when thinking of surfing destinations. Jorn Nyseth Ranum, 25, and Inge Wegge, 28, thought differently. They dreamed of living as self-sufficient hermits on a remote Norwegian beach. In frigid temperatures, join Jorn and Inge in their surfing and snowboarding adventures. It’s also all about survival, as they use only materials washed up on the beach and scavenge for food.

Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau

Eddie Aikau is a surfing legend. Eddie Aikau proved himself to be a real hero. And not just as a surfer. With over 10 years in the lifeguard tower at Waimea Bay, her saved over 500 lives. He died paddling against all odds in an attempt to save his Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea crewmates. With its rich combination of archival imagery, dramatic reenactments, interviews and meticulous research, this one makes the top of many sport show lists.

View From a Blue Moon

Now these are some beautiful waves. With the world’s most dynamic surfer John Florence and Blake Vincent Kueny, this is the first surf film shot entirely in 4K.  Follow him as he journeys around the globe catching the biggest, prettiest waves. Redefine what is possible in the ocean and how it is represented by the camera.

Castles in the Sky

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Filmed over the course of three years, Castles in the Sky explores the five different locations and the surfers who travel there.  With never-before seen waves and some of the best surfers in the world, experience passion and athleticism or pioneering new coastlines.

For more movie recommendations, follow Brendan Filice on Tumblr and Twitter.

Why Photography Inspires Me

Why Photography Inspires Me

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The world is constantly in motion. In cities, people rush from point A to point B – commuters on the bus, students running around at recess, police cars whizzing to the next scene. In the countryside, insects swarm over crops and winds sweep over the vast landscape. Photography inspires me because it allows the viewer to capture one single moment in time. This image will never be the same outside of the frame; it’s immediately a historical artifact as well as a reflection into your personal memory.

My favorite photography subjects are from nature. The sun rising and falling leaves a magical luster over the landscape and it’s impossible to ignore the beauty.

Here are some of my favorite moments that I’ve caught through my lens in recent months.

Brendan Filice Photography: Driving through Mammoth

While driving through Mammoth Park in California, I couldn’t resist photographing this amazing natural frame created by the arc of the underpass. The beautiful bright sunlight is countered by the darkness of the tunnel. This was an incredible day with so much to see.

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Have you ever seen water so clear and grass so green? I hope my children and grandchildren are able to enjoy the splendors of nature as I have been lucky to growing up in green California. If we don’t take care of our planet our climate will definitely be in danger and these beautiful vistas will be nothing but archived photos – history.

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If you can’t tell, I love landscapes. Landscape photography is inspiring because it captures a sense of place. It provides the people you share your images with an source of inspiration for what this place is like – a walk in the woods or a sunset stroll in Laguna Beach. If the photograph is particularly powerful, it will evoke feelings like memories of being on the beach or happy nostalgia.

Photography is also inspiring because it’s not THAT hard. If you are struck by a certain moment in time, and you have a camera on hand, you can capture that moment! Just snap a photo. Even if you’re an amateur photographer, these photos will have an impact on you for your personal collection and for friends and family. And the more photos you take, the more skilled you will get with your tool. Your camera is your friend but it takes time to get to know each other.

 

For more on photography follow BrendanTaylorFilice.com and see Brendan Filice’s photos on Flickr.

Go On A Photography Adventure

Explore the world through photography with Brendan Filice’s tips.

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We take pictures to show the places where we’ve gone. We look at photography to explore our innermost dreams; the luxurious hotels we want to stay in one day, the mountains we want to climb, the creatures around the world we hope to see with our own eyes.

I encourage everyone to go on an adventure, inspired by photography itself. Your camera will be your guide. Your camera will be your compass. Prepare your gear, pick a destination (short term or long term) and commit to dedicated exploration of your subject through your lens.

1. Prepare

You’ll want to be diligent in choosing your gear.  It may be difficult to choose which camera gear to travel with. No one wants to miss out on that perfect shot because didn’t pack the right lens, but you definitely don’t want to overpack.  When you are trekking across a the dewy field, every additional ounce will way you down and start to distract you when you’re trying to shoot. So when preparing gear, keep size and weight to the lightest possible. Remember, lightweight doesn’t mean poor quality. You can get cameras that can still focus and shoot great photos.

Just as important as choosing your camera and is choosing the location. If you’re lucky to have a lot of time to take for a vacation, and can go internationally, you can start exploring options by searching photography destinations on Flickr and 500px.  Check out the map features that display pictures at popular destinations.  Narrow down the spots you want to travel to, analyze the captions of the images, and connect with users to get more tips on the place. My best advice is get to know as much as you can before jetting off. Guide books and travel blogs are good to get a reference of the area, but I recommend reaching out to bloggers and even photographers who have taken the same trip. These people are your best resources.

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2. Pack light, pack smart

We’ve all had that moment where we run out of batteries or lose charge. Pack light but remember essential accessories such as batteries and tripods. Carry equipment in a camera-specific bag with padded inserts. A waterproof cover is also smart to keep on hand. It’s fun to take long exposure shots when you’re traveling in the open wilderness, but you’ll need a tripod to hold your camera in place. There’s a lot of work going into new mirrorless cameras recently. These cameras are gaining in popularity because they provide dSLR-like performance in a lighter and more compact package. They literally ditch the “mirror” and images are recorded directly onto the digital sensor; cameras tend to be loaded with new technology, such as WiFi uploads and mobile phone connectivity.

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3. Say “Yes”

Vacation is for sleeping in, but it’s also ideal for beautiful early morning light. The magic hour is a special way to photograph your new destination.  Don’t miss the golden light and long shadows at twilight.Take advantage of the night (if the weather’s right) by setting up your tripod and slowing your shutter speed in order to capture mountainous or desert landscapes lit by the blue moon. One special destination is in the northern hemisphere, Iceland for example, where you just may catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis. It’s worth the wait.

 

Brendan Filice is the author of The Defining Images of Photojournalism. Follow him on Twitter and Quora.

The World’s Most Picturesque Mountains

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Mount Shasta, CA: Sunrise

 

What places are you dying to see in your life? What are the destinations you think would inspire you beyond belief?

I’ve compiled a list of fifteen amazing mountains that not only are a favorite for photographers around the world, but have been sacred relics for people for thousands of years.

What do you think are the world’s most amazing mountains?

 

Brendan’s list:

 

Mount Fuji, Japan
Mount Elbrus, Russia
Tabletop Mountain, South Africa
Mount Shasta, California
Sugarloaf Mountain, Brazil
Mount Ararat, Turkey/Armenia
Matterhorn, Switzerland/Italy
Nevado Sajama, Bolivia
Galdhopiggen, Norway
Ama Dablan, Nepal
Mt. Kailiash, Tibet/China
Mount of the Holy Cross, Colorado
Harney Peak, South Dakota
Kirkjufell, Iceland
Patagonia Fitz Roy, Chile/Argentina

A Beginner’s Guide to Nature Photography

Finding your inner photographer is exciting. However, many beginners find themselves overwhelmed with the culture and community that defines photography, especially nature photography.

Finding your inner photographer is exciting. However, many beginners find themselves overwhelmed with the culture and community that defines photography, especially nature photography.

So what are some things you ought to know once you decide you want to pursue photography as a serious hobby?

  • Megapixels: Starting with a camera between 6 and 8 megapixels is ideal for beginners. It’s easy to be tricked into thinking that more megapixels contributes to higher quality photos, but as long as it’s a high quality camera it is actually more efficient to stay within this range.
  • Digital SLR vs Point and Shoot?: A digital SLR camera is a heftier option that offers more advanced settings and albeit higher quality photos. This isn’t usually the best camera to start with as a complete beginner because it’s a pretty serious investment and requires a bit of an education to start using. However, exposure to using a basic point-and-shoot digital camera is good preparation for an eventual upgrade to a digital SLR.
  • Camera settings: On your digital camera, play around with the different settings. On most devices, you’ll find macro, landscape, and portrait. Macro is great for getting up, close, and personal with subjects such as flowers and small animals. Landscape settings are capable of capturing a wide image with a faraway subject.

Get to know yourself and your subject.

  • Do you want to photograph flowers and foliage close up with detail? Are you trying to capture animals in their natural habitat? Are you fascinated with massive landscape images of storms, sunsets, mountain ranges? All of these situations require you to use your camera in a different way.

Two components to consider:

Light

  • Learn how to read the light. Shooting directly into the sun (meaning your subject is “backlit)” is generally misguided. You don’t want distracting shadows, extreme contrast, or light in the animal’s eyes.

Composition

  • What’s the best way to frame your photo? While you shouldn’t restrict your creativity to mathematical regiments, there are basic rules that will keep your composition following basic aesthetic guidelines.
  • Rule of Thirds: Draw 4 sets of lines to equally divided your frame into 9 equally sized rectangles. Where the lines intersect, trying placing your subject at the intersecting points.
  • Attract the eye: If the shot is too “busy,” your viewer will ultimately feel distracted and not enjoy your photograph.

 

I hope this guide gets you started!  Being able to capture the nature world on film (or digital..) is an amazing feeling.

Plus, there’s a big world of photography enthusiasts out there. Plus, now that digital sharing is so popular, like on Flickr, there’s an active community of photographers who are happy to share their skills with amateurs. This article was originally featured on: BrendanTaylorFilice.com

Why Can’t We Just Take a Walk?

Whenever I go anywhere, I see people with their heads down, on their phones.  People are playing Candy Crush, browsing through dating apps, and “Yelping” the best spot for dinner. We’re so addled by our second lives on our iPhone screens. I think most people recognize that it’s a distraction, but because it’s so second-nature, we’ve become complacent.

People nowadays will mock you for being hesitant of technology.  Especially in my millennial demographic, it’s “uncool” to “unplug.”  If you’re sitting with a group of friends at dinner and everyone has their phones out, comparing Instagrams or whatever it is, you feel awkward without a phone.  You awkwardly gaze at everyone, trying to keep up conversation but everyone keeps going back to their phones.  What did people do for fun 15 years ago? We are addicted to technology and this takes us from experiencing our world is scary.

While I worry about the trajectory of social relationships for people in my age group as authentic interaction gets replaced by technology, I try to remind myself that beauty still exists in the world for myself and for whoever dares to embrace it.

My favorite thing to do is to go somewhere – anywhere – without my phone.

This doesn’t sound very revolutionary but for a lot of people this is unthinkable. How will they get to their destination without a map? What about listening to music? What about beating high scores on their game?  What if there’s something they need to photograph and post immediately? Or tweet?

We have to be able to let go of all of these preoccupations.  Why are we controlled by these impulses?  For just a few hours, turn off your phone and go to the library, go to your favorite park, go downtown – and just experience it for what life is.  Observe people as they walk by.  Be conscious of sound – what are people talking about? Do you hear animals? Do you hear machines, too?  There are so many noises that go into our experience that we don’t notice when we have ear buds in.  Breathe deeply – what odors define these places? With every inhale, remind yourself of your purpose.  It’s an awesome way to stay grounded and remind yourself that there’s no need to be on your phone all the time.  Lastly – look around, observe everything in your path.  Let yourself get lost instead of obediently following Google maps.  You can always ask someone for directions (yes, a real person).

My favorite exercise is to jot down what I observe on these strolls.  I always notice that I have more to reflect on when I have a phone-free day compared to days when I’m obsessively on my phone.  What is there to take note of, “Lots of things happened on the Internet today!” compared to “Met gracious strangers, played with two dogs, helped a neighbor with their barbecue.”  Let’s stop caring about the second lives on our screens and remember our real lives in the the very tangible world..start by taking a walk.

An Adventure in Solitude

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I can’t stop exploring.

I’ve been going out on hikes ever since I can remember.  There’s something awesome about getting out of school, leaving the suburban sprawl, and going on an afternoon stroll.

You push past low-hanging branches, climbing higher and higher (or lower, depending on your destination), you leap from boulder to soft patches of soil, maybe losing your balance and landing clumsily on your hands on the tough surfaces.  If you’re lucky, you pass a meadow blossoming with with fragrant wildflowers. You hear some some hurrying and scurrying in the grasses near you– it’s almost always a mouse or squirrel, but on a special day you catch sight of a coyote or a bear.

My favorite time of day, in the city or outside of it, is the brief hour between sunset and twilight.  This is a photographer’s happy hour. I always keep my Nikon on me to catch the unpredictable moments nature provides.

There is a wonderful solitude to being along in the hectic natural world.  Everything’s whirring about, bees heading to their hives, creeks running endlessly to an unidentifiable source, leaves gently falling.  It can almost feel noisy.  But for a human with a camera, it’s a time to be at peace and remember all the elements that make your life possible.

 

Please read my original post on my main site, BrendanTaylorFilice.com.