In the surf photography world, Russell Ord is probably best known for his hard charging approach. You see, Russ has a penchant for putting himself in positions that quite simply, no reasonable person should ever find themselves in, E.g. shooting fish-eye just metres from one of the heaviest lips on the planet at The Right.
Honing his photography in the powerful waves of West Australia, Russ was always comfortable swimming in the big stuff. What he is not comfortable with however are crowds. Disillusioned with increasingly packed local lineups, Russ set himself a new challenge, one he could only satisfy by shooting the many unimaginably heavy and isolated offshore bombies that litter the Southern coastline of West Oz.
“The last few years I’ve kind of gone away from capturing every single moment, and now I’m just trying to get that one moment that’s challenging to myself, Says Russ.
“So that means swimming right into the thick of things and seeing what I can do! Your whole life revolves around that; what you eat, how you breathe and how you train.”
Russell has now dedicated himself to dancing with these monsters, looking for that unique image to satisfy his quest. Tracks caught up with Russ to get an insight into the equipment needed to do so. This is Russell Ord’s Heavy Water Shooting Kit.
1: Helmet – Going over the falls at the Right is not that pleasant, your limbs go uncontrollably everywhere, the helmets there not for the reef (its pretty deep) its there for the water-housing which can become a deadly weapon. I have eyes painted on the back to fool the sharks or to fool myself in believing that actually works.
2: Water Housings – The essential piece of equipment from Aquatech allowing me to shoot from the water. I have a 16mm fisheye setup for up close and personal and also a 50mm just in case I am feeling not that brave, my first option is always the 16mm because that’s what I love to do and it makes me feel like I have caught a few waves myself.
3: Safety Vest – I am only ever going to pull the get out of trouble cords if I feel like I am beyond my limits, I spend the whole off season training with One Ocean International to make sure I can be as ready as I can be for an extended period of no fresh air.
4: Westsuit – 4mm Patagonia, warm and toasty, I cant afford to waste energy from being cold, it’s a hard enough swim as it is and over the years I have become a lot better in managing my energy levels.
5: Jetski – I purchased my first ski 12 years or so ago because I nearly drowned when paddling out to the Margaret River bombie which decided to closeout on my arrival (pre breathe hold training) my latest driver has been my son Kalani which is great because I can get him for a cheap rate like a day off school.
6: Fins – I use Dafins and find these to be best for comfort and also when I get dry docked on the reefs around West Oz (nasty) they then become a source of protection, they have a nice hard bottom for legging it across the sharp reef.
7: Fuji Cameras / lenses – I love using the Fuji equipment, great quality, light for travel and couldn’t be happier from the results.
8: Computer / Hardrives – Apple Mac for working on the go with G-Technology hard-drives to back up all my work, which does not seem to many images these days because I am more focused on getting one or two good shots more than capturing every moment of every session.
9: Bag – F-stop bag, best designed bag on the market in my opinion and rugged.
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