A while back I was on one of those crazy “search-engine vision quests”, you know the kind I mean…where you should be doing your work, but you see something that sparks your interest and off you go clicking deeper into unexplored regions of the interweb. You are never sure where you will end up but you find a lot of awesome stuff along the way.
On this particular instance my digital travels led me to a sick photo of some lucky soul setting up to get barreled in an emerald/sea-green, beautifully backlit wave that had even more lines stacking up out the back.
First I just geeked out on the photo’s awesomeness for a minute or two and then set my sites on finding out who took the photo and when it was taken (I already had figured out the spot), which led me to Jonathan Nimerfroh and his company JDN Photography. Normally I probably would have looked through a couple of galleries and then continued on…but because the photo was posted on a certain day, my weather-nerd personality took control, thinking “wow if that picture was taken on the day it was posted to Jonathan’s blog I really, really blew my forecast big-time…”
Long story short, I actually contacted Jonathan to ask when the photo was taken, thankfully it had been a couple of weeks before, (forecast saved!), and after a couple of emails he agreed to showcase some of his shots in our “In-Focus” photo series.
I also had a few questions for Jonathan and he was nice enough to answer.
After looking through your surf photo galleries, and in particular your action shots, it seems like you have a strong connection to the ocean. Do you surf? (and if so how long have you been surfing for?)
[Jonathan]: I got my first surfboard at age 12. This past year I have been doing more surfing then shooting. It’s been my one escape from “work”. The next best thing to surfing is watching surfing, which is where my love of surf photography began
Your website says that you are based out of Philly, PA…that is a couple of hundred miles (as the crow flies) one way to the nearest beach…how often do you actually get to the ocean?
[Jonathan]: I am originally from the Philly area. I lived in Florida for a while but decided that my photo business would be strongest close to a major city so I moved back home. From where I live now, I can be at the ocean in a hour. It’s like driving from downtown San Diego to Lowers but without the hike at the end of the drive. I try to surf once a week. The winters are great in NJ. Waves all the time and empty beach. The benefits of living near the city is a steady flow of clients that keep me traveling and give me the means to always be planning my next surf trip. My wife loves to plan, so we are always looking for the next adventure. We recently scored some surf on our honeymoon in Eleuthera this past March.
Your galleries have photos of beaches on both East and West Coast…do you have a favorite coast? Or beach? and what makes it your favorite?
[Jonathan]:Every time i travel to a new location it’s my favorite beach, but if I had to pick one it’s a left handed cobble stone point in Rhode Island. It’s my favorite cause to get there it’s down a long dirt road on private property. I discovered it when I was renting a barn on the property to vacation in. One morning I woke up and heard waves but couldn’t see anything. Once I got to the lookout the rest is history. When I do travel to the California, I feel like there is a much richer surf culture. Surfers on the west coast embrace different styles and ride all types of equipment. On the east coast, I think we are behind the times in that aspect. Take Ryan Burch for example, who is always riding something different.
You have shots of some pretty iconic surfers (like Rob Machado and Donavon Frankenreiter), do you actively try to find and shoot some of the professionals, or do you set up at a spot on a good day and pick them off as they show up?
[Jonathan]: A few of those were assignments for the ESPN surf blog. I was lucky enough to work along with surf writer Jon Coen on those. There are a handful of talented surfers in Ocean City, NJ who are always looking for photos. They usually link up with guys like Timmy Curran if they pass through town and let me know.
Do you have a favorite subject or style that you like to shoot?
[Jonathan]:I tend to shoot the things I like and interest me. Right now it’s fly fishing, sea kayaking, and coastal life-style stuff. I think if you have friends that are artists, spend some time with them. If your buddy has a band, go see them live once a month. Things like that keep my work fresh.
What is your primary camera that you use? It also looked like you had some in-water shots, do you work with water housings or some of the other water proof gear?
[Jonathan]:I use Canon Digital SLR Cameras and Canon L Series Lenses. I also have a SPL water housing. My favorite travel camera is the Fuji x100.
What is the best way for people to check out your photos and support your company?
[Jonathan]:Well, the best way to find me is to go to my website www.jdnphotography.net and if you need a wedding photographer, I’ll throw in an extra discount to anyone who mentions Solspot. Gotta fund the next surf vacation somehow : )
Check out a few more images.
You can check out more of Jonathan’s ocean work here: http://www.jdnphotography.net