Over the years, I’ve photographed nearly every sport there is, or at least it feels that way. One of the exceptions was surfing. Living in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, there weren’t exactly a lot waves around. For a while now, I’ve been hearing that the Rockaways right here in New York are a pretty popular surfing spot. Lo and behold, I learned there was a surfing competition yesterday morning so I grabbed my gear and decided to check it out. Two things I learned: 1) When standing on the jetty, no matter how close to the shore you are, you will get wet. 2) My 200mm wasn’t quite enough to get really good tight shots. I was able to capture a few decent images when one of the surfers would catch a wave fairly close. For the people who went farther out, a 300mm would have been better, or even a 2x. I’ll definitely be making another attempt at it in the future, though maybe waiting until the afternoon or evening so the sun isn’t rising behind them creating silhouettes everywhere…as dramatic as they might be.
Earlier this week, Occupy Sandy put out a call for photographers to help document the damage to people’s homes and apartments in the Rockaways, for insurance and FEMA purposes. The damage was incredible. Nearly three weeks after the storm, there are still a good number of people there without power or heat. Though there are lots of people out there helping: the Red Cross, Occupy Sandy, community organizations and other volunteers all doing what they can. Our first stop was at the Alive Ministry, where supplies were being distributed by volunteers at the church. I honestly believe they would have given the shirts off their backs if it would have helped.
Afterward, we went canvasing along one of the streets to check on people to see if they needed supplies and to document the damage from the storm. One man’s apartment had nearly more than a foot of water during the storm. Inside everything was still damp and wet even the floor and carpet. Glass surfaces like mirrors or photos were covered in condensation.
The next apartment had water up to the ceiling when the floods came, mud and grass were still visible when we walked in. Nearly everything was ruined. Luckily the tenants had a place to stay during the storm.
The boardwalk on the beach less than two blocks away was bent and broken like a child’s toy that got used a little too roughly. Below are a few more images from the day.