Photography is a strange thing. Anytime you are capturing something at a fraction of a second—particularly an activity as dynamic as surfing—the potential exists to distort reality. Thus, an image of a perfect wave on a perfect day might easily fail to convey the full experience of actually being there, while a fortuitous convergence of light and action can turn a subpar session into something special. Take the following selection of images, for example. Small swell, bad wind, and crappy weather all made for good excuses to scrub the evening session—both from a surf and photographic point of view. But rather than calling it a day, photographer Matt Shepherd and friend Matt Rott ran their boat down to a slabby little corner of reef that was bending just enough to blow offshore. There, with a 40-pound dive housing, an hour of sunset backlighting, and ISO ramped up to 1600, Sheperd found something worth shooting. Sometimes the only thing worth writing off is expectation.
Watch a “Behind the Seen” reel from the shoot and scroll down for the images that resulted from the team’s perseverance.