How I Ended Up Behind The Lens
The first question I have to answer is...how did I find photography?
Around the time I was still peeing in my pants my mother had a 35mm Pentax and a bunch of telephoto lenses. She liked birds and would shoot them in our backyard (with her camera, not a gun). Her love of photography made her an early adopter of video. She had an 8mm film camera she used to shoot family videos and quickly moved over to VHS-C when the technology became affordable. I didn't have any interest in her 35mm camera but that camcorder was a different story. I pretty much stole it around the age of 12. I began shooting me and my friends skateboarding. A few years later I got a digital 8mm camcorder and an analog editing deck. I hooked them up to a couple of VCRs and had a video editing studio in my bedroom. I used it to throw together skateboard and BMX videos for my friends, some of who are still very successful in those industries. Fast forward to my early thirties and I had already been through my tenth college major, film production. I was living in Long Beach and traveling to Central America a few times a year, shooting digital video of incredible surf and editing on a computer in Final Cut Pro. I loved shooting surf video but I began to see something special in the still image. I would take screen shots of the best frames of video because I found the ability to capture that perfect moment more satisfying than capturing the entire sequence of a wave. I had thought about getting into the world of photography a few times in the past but always felt that if I put down my video camera to shoot some photos, I would miss something. I finally gave in a few weeks before a trip to El Salvador. It was hurricane season and there was a swell about to hit Long Island. I stopped at B&H on my way home from work, purchased my first DSLR, a Canon 50D and hit the beach the next morning. A few days later I bought a Sigma 150-500mm lens and got on a plane to El Salvador without my video camera. I never picked it up again.
Question 2: Why headshots?
I had been shooting strictly surf for a few years when the Quiksilver Pro New York was announced. This was a dream come true, I was going to get to shoot Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow and the rest of the pro tour in my backyard. It would never get any better than that and I slowly started to lose my drive to shoot surf over the next few months. I started dabbling in other things for the first time. One day while going through my images from the Quiksilver Pro something hit me. My favorite shot from that week wasn't the shots I had of Taj or Kelly getting barreled, it wasn't the shots I had of Owen Wright and Josh Kerr boosting way above everything and it wasn't the 10 shot sequence I nailed of Kelly Slater's perfect 10 to knock Taj out in the semi-finals. Then I looked back to some of my other surf albums, my favorite shot from that first hurricane swell? My favorite shot from that El Salvador trip? That's when I realized I liked shooting surf...but I love shooting people.
Owen Wright carried off beach after Quiksilver Pro New York victory
Owen Wright just before Quiksilver Pro New York final vs. Kelly Slater
Rob Mole after an AM session at Las Flores, El Salvador
Arturo Getella during a hurricane swell in Long Beach
Keywords: Headshots, brian schatzel, headshot photography, kelly slater, long island, new york, owen wright, photography, quiksilver pro new york, surf
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