cam gouws. portraits of a surfer.

I’m really not enjoying winter. I know some people love it; I wish I were one of those people.

Not used to the cold, wet Cape winters, it does take some extra motivation getting out of bed – it rains for days at a time here – and we haven’t even hit the worst of it yet. My tea consumption levels have surpassed what’s healthy. I miss summer.

In light of my reminiscing about the long, warm days of yore, I thought I’d post some photos from a friendly shoot I did with Cam Gouws earlier this year, as we enjoyed the last moments of summer.

I went with my mate to shoot some surfing - I used my Canon 5DMK3 and 70-200 f2.8 L IS to shoot the action, but I was dying to play with my Hasselblad – the latest addition to the family – so I used that to take some portraits of Cam after his surf.

The Hassy (Dakota, as she is more affectionately known), is a dream to shoot with, and the results are always spectacular. I won’t bore you with discussions about file size, resolving lines and all the quirks that make a Hasselblad a Hasselblad - while those things matter, that’s not why I love shooting with Dakota.

These images were shot in all natural light in the great afternoon summer sunshine, and I shot wide open the whole time, which on the 50-100 is between 3.5 and 4.5.

I’d love to hear what you think, maybe drop a comment on social media? If you're on Instagram, find and follow me here, and if you're on facebook, like my page here.

Photography is magic. Create.



amy hayward. portraits of a designer.

This is Amy. She’s a designer, photographer and as I’m sure you can guess from the pictures, quirky and full of energy. You can see her design work here.

A few weeks back I had the privilege of hanging out in one of Roodebloem’s studios in Woodstock, Cape Town with my friends Dylan and Emma from Lad and Lass photography. They had asked me to spend a day with them showing them the ins and outs of studio lighting.

Although I did manage to get a new profile picture from the day, I’m no model, so we roped in a couple of other people to stand in as test subjects.


Most of these image were shot using the following gear:

  • Broncolor Para 88 for a main light.
  • P70 Reflector bounced into a V-flat for a soft side fill. The basically creates a massive softbox. Often for an even softer light, I’ll use a diffusion material covering the V – but I didn’t want the light too be too soft for these images.
  • Strip light from the back left to create a clip highlight.
  • All of these were powered using 2 Scoro S 3200 packs with Pulso G heads. I also used head extensions on each light- this allowed me to place the lights around the studio without having to hassle with moving the pack all the time. It’s just an easier way to work.

Because of the short flash duration afforded us by the Scoro S, we were about to capture crisp sharp images of Amy mid jump by freezing the action. A flash duration any longer would have created motion blur.

We also had a range of Colorama colour paper rolls as backdrops to keep things interesting… which you’ll see in some of the later posts.

Over the next few blog posts I’ll be posting some pictures using other lighting setups, with some other people.

Photography is magic. Create. 



lesca. portraits of a photographer.

Meet Lesca.

Lesca, a photographer based in Cape Town, and I have assisted on shoots together countless times. From the first job we did together, I decided we would be great friends – she’s that cool.

Recently Lesca shot a rad main fashion story for GQ South Africa… it’s a big deal. The magazine is writing a bio on her, so she needed some portraits to accompany the piece, and asked me to take some photos of her. She’d seen the photos I took of our mutual friend, Roice and was keen to have similar shots of herself. You can see the images in this blog post.

Honestly, shooting another photographer is one of the most daunting experiences, especially one that is stepping into the big leagues like she is.

For Lesca’s shoot, I used only the natural light in Roice’s Cape Town apartment. The afternoon sun was streaming in through a massive window in the lounge, so I just ramped up my ISO, opened up wide and shot away.

For the first round of photos, I put Lesca in front of the window, which created a beautiful rim light and blown out background.

In the second batch of shots I had her sit against a perpendicular wall with the natural light illuminating her from the side, which created a subtle contrast effect.

I made minor adjustments and a black and white conversion in Lightroom.

The whole shoot took about half an hour – in time for us to finish in her lunch break with enough time to actually have lunch. The images are in the gallery below.

The fashion story Lesca shot is coming out in the next issue of GQ SA – I’ve had a sneak peak, and you definitely don’t want to miss it.

Photography is magic. Create.


michael february. portraits of a surfer.

Last week I had a couple of commercial shoots fall through. It’s the nature of the beast. Adamant to shoot anyway, I threw my energy towards setting up a passion project for the weekend. I wanted to do a sunrise beach shoot – something special that I could have the freedom to play with, without the restraints of a brief.

I called my friend Kent Locke, who is an incredible sports and action photographer, to see if he could hook me up with a surfer friend of his. He reckoned that it would be impossible to find a surfer willing to wake up before 10am for a shoot, but he put his feelers out, and super-surfer Michael February took the bait. I’ve wanted to set up a shoot with Michael for a while, so I was super excited to shoot together.  He’s a cool guy who is fun and easy to work with.

The weather predictions were in my favour for Saturday. The last time I shot on a beach in Cape Town, the wind very nearly had the better of one of my lights, so I was stoked that forecast was clear.

My mate Clinton, who’s an avid young videographer came along to shot some behind-the-scenes. This is what transpired:

The guys at Photohire were kind enough to hook me up with lighting gear.

Here's a gear grid of what I used.

1. Broncolor Move Pack. 1200w of studio flash power on location. This is probably the easiest location pack to use. It also comes with a shoulder bag – so Clinton, my assistant (and behind-the-scenes videographer) could hang it over his shoulder and it never had to touch the beach sand. Beach sand is bad.

2. Spare batteries. I never used them, but just in case.

3. My favourite light-shaping tool – the Broncolor Parra 88. Fortunately there wasn’t any wind, otherwise this would have turned into a sail. Being Cape Town, there is always a chance of wind, so I had a plan, just in case. See number 5.

4. Focusing rod for the Parra. I kept the light in its most focused position to concentrate the light on Michael. The less light fell on the background, the more he stood out.

5. Just in case there was too much wind to use the Parra, I brought along a white beauty dish. This is much hardier in the wind, and is smaller so it doesn’t get blown around as much.

6. A silver beauty dish. The dish provides a much harder light than the white version – making it perfect for imitating morning sun. If the sun wasn’t coming up in the right position, or there was too much cloud cover, I could cover the silver beauty dish with two layers of CTO (Color Temperature Orange) warm up gel to emulate the sun and place it exactly where I wanted it. But there was no need.

7. CTO warm up Gel – two layers of this on the silver beauty dish and we could recreate the sun.

8. Crocodile clips to clip the CTO onto the silver beauty dish.

9. Manfrotto stacking light stands. Compact but sturdy.

10. Sandbags. Always sandbag. Lighting gear, especially the top of the range Broncolor which I used, is super expensive. Sandbags weigh it down in the wind to prevent the stands toppling over and my lights landing facedown in the sand – or waves.

11. Broncolor mobile flash heads.

12. Head extensions. 1 per light. Because the one light would be the key on Michael and the other may have needed to be placed behind him to emulate the sun, I would need head extensions to allow the heads to reach the pack. In this case, we didn’t use them as we didn’t need to create a fake sun light – but it’s always better to be prepared.

13. Gear hates sand. I’ll often wrap things in black dustbin bags to prevent sad getting in contact with gear. In this case, I wrapped the joins where the head extensions and heads connected. Once sand gets in, it’s nearly impossible to get out.

14. Wrap things in black bags and them use gaffer tape to secure.

15. My trusty Canon 5dmk3 with battery grip. I seldom use a strap on my camera, but I’ll always have the battery grip for extra weight and ease of use when shooting in portrait orientation.

16. My current go-to lens for a shoot like this, the Canon 24-70 f2.8mk2L. A note for safety: never, ever, change lenses on the beach.

17. A blower to get rid of sand.

18. A shoe brush. This is super handy getting sand off gear before packing the gear back into the car. Look after your gear and keep it clean – it lasts longer that way.

19. My car has an electronic egg-shaped key, which is super cool and allows me to remotely open and close my windows and boot. Those features though don’t work once the key has come into contact with water (they’re also madly expensive to replace), so I bring a spare – that can’t be damaged. It doesn’t have the cool features, but it can get wet. So I leave my original key safely in my car and lock and unlock the doors with this guy. I didn’t have to think twice about ending up waist high in the waves to get the shot.

20. My trusty Apple Macbook Pro 15” Retina. So much processing power.

21. My stylish new glasses. It’s like the world is in 4k with these puppies on.

22. Snap back cap – for protection from the sun, but mostly to look cool.

23. I’ve left this little guy for last because he was one of my favourite tools on this job. The Broncolor wireless transmitter RFS2.1. This meant not only could I trigger the lights wirelessly, I could also adjust the power setting of the Move Pack while it was hanging over Clinton’s shoulder. I don’t know what power settings I used, I never once looked at the pack. If it was too powerful, I turned it down using the buttons on the top, and visa-versa. Easy peasy.




Most of how I lit the shots is covered in the description of the gear grid. I only used the Parra – and only really in the most focused position. The picture right shows the proximity of the light to the Michael. That was pretty much our entire setup.










I did a basic colour grading on the images and cleaned up some of the sand on the beach in post, but that’s about it. I’ve included an image I shot with and without the light – so you can see what affect the light has.






Many thanks must go out to Michael – for being a great sport, waking up before the sun was out and being a smashing model. Clinton (who could also be a model), for filming epic behind-the-scenes clips and stills for me. Pieter, Calvin and my friends at photohire and Broncolor for allowing me to use the gear.

The final images are in the gallery below, as well as the behind the scenes pictures.

I’d love to know your thoughts and comments – especially on Facebook or Instagram (I’m much faster at replying on those platforms than anywhere else.)

Photography is magic. Create.