SHOOTING DOWN TO KE-IKI BEACH FROM PIPELINE, WHERE THE WAVES HIT THE ROCKS AND EXPLODE
“THE WALL” AT PIPELINE: SAYS BIELMANN, “THIS ANGLE SHOWS HOW BIG AND SCARY IT REALLY IS. WATCH TOO MANY SETS AND YOU TALK YOURSELF OUT OF GOING OUT.”
HAVING PENETRATED THE WAVE, BIELMANN MADE EYE CONTACT WITH THIS SURFER RIGHT BEFORE HE GOT SUCKED BACK OVER THE FALLS.
BRIAN BIELMANN is an internationally renowned surf photographer with a body of work lauded worldwide. His passion for both surfing and photography have kept him on the forefront of the genre for over 35 years. Brian got his start after a wipeout on a reef kept him out of the water for month. It was then that he picked up a camera and realized he could make a living doing what he loved by photographing it. He describes himself as a photographer first, surfer second, and his pictures capture the lifestyle in which he has been immersed, living on the North Shore of Oahu — home of such breaks as Pipeline, Waimea and Sunset Beach. As he said at a recent TEDx Talk in Honolulu, “I love it, I live it, I photograph it.”
I had the pleasure of working with Brian 15 years ago on a shoot in Brazil for Conde Nast Sports for Women. We were there to photograph the top women bodyboarders and while waiting for waves Brian kept us all laughing and entertained. We have stayed in contact and chatted last week about his career and pictures. With all the snow sports about to take over our lives for the next two weeks as the Winter Olympics are contested, I thought it might be nice to go to the beach for a moment, especially given what an arctic winter it has been.
CL: Brian, you are considered one of the best surf photographers. What is it about your pictures that sets you apart?
BB: I want the shot that nobody is taking. The fish eye is really popular right now, but I am shooting with a longer lens which is rare. Don’t get me wrong, the fish eye is cool. It sees the inside and ceiling of the wave, but it looks the same whether it’s 3 foot or 8 foot. It doesn’t do the wave justice. With a longer lens, say in the 70-200m range, you see the thickness of the lip of the wave and the roof. It gives you a view of the whole house as opposed to just the living room. Read More