JC: What style of photography do you try to achieve?
JH: I’m into reality as much as I can. I use Photoshop to adjust my raw files but I try to keep them the way I saw them…whether they are action or sunsets or whatever.
JC: How did you get started in windsurfing photography?
JH: In 2008 I retired from ‘real world’ work and my wife Donna and I moved from Lahaina to Makawao, which is upcountry from the north shore of Maui and 20 minutes from Ho’okipa. At that point I focussed on retirement and how I could support myself with my camera. I have a print business selling my shots to galleries etc. so I would set up my van with a few of my prints and shoot the surfers at ‘Pavil’s’ from the car park overlooking Ho’okipa and sell my prints at the same time. This was profitable but very seasonal. Then one day I saw helicopters at ‘The Point’ at Ho’okipa and the windsurfers were going off so I moved my gear there and never went back to the ‘surfers’ end of Ho’okipa. It’s all history after that. Facebook took me and my pix and put us out there in the world where thousands of windsurf fanatics were waiting for me to give them the next slice of action at Ho’okipa, the Mecca of windsurfing. They never get tired of seeing their friends and heroes, role models and idols. No matter how many shots I post!! I think if I can make that many people around the world happy….I should. So I handed out a few business cards and in no time at all I had all of the friends Facebook allows and off I went. There was no plan for this to happen. I had no clue how big my page was for years. But when I started realizing that I had one of the most active pages in windsurfing and the possibilities that were there for advertising for the brands I started trying to figure out ways to squeeze a living out of windsurfing. At this point I pay my bills, but not much more. But it’s not just about the $$…it’s about the love.
JC: What makes a particular shot stand out from all the rest?
JH: It’s all about light. A shot can have everything action related to be a perfect shot, but if I don’t like the light then it’s not a 10. As for content I like new moves best as I’ve shot most of the old ones a million times….how many Brawzinho double forwards do I need!!!
JC: How do you stay passionate about photography?
JH: I don’t limit myself to one type of photography. When there is no wind, waves or sun there is something else. I’m huge on sunsets, but my eyes are always looking for a shot. I have over 12,000 followers on Facebook at last count and they are divided up into watersports and others….others being sunsets or landscapes or critter lovers. I seldom go a day without posting something, even if it’s an old shot.
JC: Do you ever get stressed out when doing a photo assignment?
JH: Weddings stress me out. There is no going back for a retake.
JC: What’s the best and worst part about being a photographer?
JH: It’s nice being recognized in my profession. I’m just an old man on the hill shooting, but I get more respect for that than anything I’ve ever done in my life. That’s my motivation, but then there are the mag covers and my biggest achievement so far in the surf world was winning the photo of the ‘Biggest wave’ ridden by Yuri Soledade in the ‘2016 XXL’ awards, which are considered the ‘Oscars’ of surfing. But honestly I enjoy making all of my followers and friends happy. Many of them had never seen a photo of themselves before I came along. So if I can pick a shot that makes them look like a pro it makes their day and mine. The worst part is rainy days and lousy paychecks!
JC: What equipment do you use?
JH: All Canon, my camera is a 5D Mark 3 for its auto focus system. My lenses are 500 F4L and 600 F4L for sports and 24-105 and 70-200 2.8 for everything else.
JC: If you could only have one lens to use for the rest of your life what would it be?
JH: I am too diverse to have one lens. But I love the 24-105 for everything but sports. As for sports, I seldom get close enough to use my 70-200, but when I do it’s awesome.
JC: If you were new to photography, would you spend your money on a better body or better lenses?
JH: When I was a new photographer, I bought new bodies as they became available. But as I got better I realized that the lens is the answer to better shots, not the box. Once you have a good quality box like I do, then invest your $$ in glass. The lens will outlast the box in most cases and hold their value much better than boxes.