Non-center/rule of thirds framing is a skill that often separates a professional from an amateur photograph. This type of approach can add visual tension to a scene, and can contextualize things in a positive way.
In general, the more perfect and groomed the waves are, the smaller the lens you can, and probably should, use. Also, the use of 100VS in this situation was intended to exploit the warm sunset tones present in the scene.
Mike Losness in Oceanside, California
A professional photographer needs to be as ready as possible for unexpected, photogenic situations. Having an extra camera body with a different lens on it is a good means to this end. In this particular situation, a backed-off view of a smoke-filled horizon helped provide an interesting duality.
Rob Gilley's tribute to former SURFER Editor Steve Hawk
First, Steve stepped into the literary bouncer role with remorseless panache. Like a mulleted Patrick Swayze, he starting kicking ass left and right. If your prose didn’t cut it, you weren’t getting in the magazine. For example, over the years he rebuffed some of my own submissions with terms like “juvenile” (right cross), “semi-scholastic” (Rocky Balboa body-blow), and my personal favorite, “hermaphroditic” (Bruce Lee neck-stomp).
Red Tide in Carlsbad, California
It wasn’t until the late 2000s introduction of ultra-low light sensors that a phenomenon like Red Tide could properly be captured. Previous issues with reciprocity failure and long exposure motion faded away, and allowed for new possibilities.
Mick Fanning at Off The Wall
Although this shot never ran, I consider it a successful motion differential blur. The shutter speed was just fast enough to ‘freeze’ Mick’s body, and just slow enough to reveal his incredible speed.
Alex Gray and Chris Del Moro in Costa Rica
Down time on a surf trip can offer a good opportunity to shoot a portrait. In this case, we found a colorful background under "open" shade, and played up the contrast in personal styles. Despite their differences, Chris and Alex are lifelong friends.
Bridge to a reef break in Taiwan.
Possibly the most useful—and under-rated—lens in photography is a low-distortion, super wide angle (not a fisheye!). If you want to capture foreground, reveal layers, add visual tension, and exploit depth, this is the type of lens to do it with.
New south swell in Oceanside, California
Shot before sunrise, this “telescape” attempted to take advantage of the low light capabilities of the Mark II, the foreshortening effects of a super-telephoto, and the predawn colors.
Jesse Hines in the Caribbean
Photographer: Rob Gilley Surfer: Jesse Hines Location: Caribbean Image Specs: Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm f 4.0 L, 1/1000th at f 7.1 Notes: “Possibly the most important skill in photography is the ability to choose the right lens for the situation. In this case, a 70-200mm seemed to work because it was tight enough to