The Happy Place / by craig levers

Larry Fisher December 1994; Rip Curl used this image as a Double Page Spread, NZ's Ceo Paul Muir citing that the background made it such a Kiwi photo. And for that reason it was also used as one of the opening spreads in the book PhotoCPL.

Larry Fisher December 1994; Rip Curl used this image as a Double Page Spread, NZ's Ceo Paul Muir citing that the background made it such a Kiwi photo. And for that reason it was also used as one of the opening spreads in the book PhotoCPL.

It has been 22 years since I got my first 'professional' water-housing. I wonder what the CP of 1994 would think of 2016's water world.  It seems every second photographer has a water-housing. It would be easy to sound quite bitter here. Catch cries of the digital shooters not having to deal with only 36 frames on a roll of film. There were no YouTube tutorials of how to swim out with a housing. No surf photog forums in my day- boy!
 
But where does being bitter leave you? Crying into your beer in the corner of the local "back in my day!" That is not the go. 
 
A couple of years ago I was over it. Over swimming out and getting good images that no one wanted. It felt like the magazines didn't want my work. No one was buying water shots off the website. And to add salt to the wound, it's always a conscious trade off; shoot or surf.
 
I went surfing. I needed to go surfing. 

Hamish Divitt looking on to a pitch perfect scene

Hamish Divitt looking on to a pitch perfect scene

But then it kicked in again. That feeling you get when you paddle over the shoulder of a wave. A mate gets a sick ride. You see, maybe just for an instant, the most perfect section pitch. And you think; that would have made a great image.

Our National Champ, Billy Stairmand back home from South Africa in time for the off-shores

Our National Champ, Billy Stairmand back home from South Africa in time for the off-shores

There was a re-stoking. But also a significant change in why to swim out with the water-housing. There is no thought of getting cover shots anymore; I swim out because it's my happy place. To scare and to challenge one’s self immersed in Mother Ocean's power. There are endorphins flowing strong.

That is more verbose than needed. It is simple; it is fun.

Like surfing, for a few precious moments the world gets washed away and you are in the now. Those moments get stored on the camera's memory card. A good name that, memory card.   

These images are from the last few fun sessions. Challenging water at times, stoke factor: 10.

Expectant father to be any day now, Corky McAlpine

Expectant father to be any day now, Corky McAlpine

See... happy place... 

See... happy place... 

Corky handling the pressure drop with ease as always

Corky handling the pressure drop with ease as always

Bevan 'Napes' Wiig maybe taking that stoke thingy too far?? 

Bevan 'Napes' Wiig maybe taking that stoke thingy too far?? 

Napes's haaaaappy place for sure! 

Napes's haaaaappy place for sure! 

Thick and wide, just the way we like it

Thick and wide, just the way we like it

From The Galleries

It has been a good run of waves, solid waves, moments of perfection. 

Just click on the image to see this image bigger....and buying options of course!