INTRO - Dave grew up in England but has since moved to Egypt. What better place to shoot more kiting? Self confessed at trying to grow up but realising it wasn't for him, Dave started off in the early 80s with skydiving photography and in the 90s with underwater work, trying to find Nemo. The move to Egypt in 2007 though was a real turning point and since then it's been kitesurfing all the way.
Find out more about Dave at www.redseamonkeys.com
Where did you grow up?
England, The Midlands then Hertfordshire, until moving to the coast in 2006. Tried growing up and didn't like it!!
Where do you live now?
El Gouna, Egypt, still have a home on the Isle of Portland
How old are you?
What was your first camera?
First Camera: Brownie Box camera, can't remember the model
First SLR: Olympus OM10
What is your current set up?
Canon EOS 1D MkIII, 5D MkI & II, 7D, 20D's and a 30D as remote cams, Canon lenses: 15mm fisheye, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 50mm, 85mm, 70-200mm, 100-400mm, 300mm, 1.4x & 2x ext, 580EX Speedlites, STE2 and PocketWizard triggers, Ewa Marine waterproof housings. There's some other stuff as well. On the face of it this seems excessive but here in Egypt there's no repair or service, well none that I'd trust anyway, so I try to have backups for most situations.
How did you get into photography?
As a kid. Both sides of the family had these awesome albums with colour, black & white and sepia photos and then old shoeboxes held together with tape containing even more. I would sit for hours never tiring of looking through them. I think it was an uncle who gave me my first camera. Staring through the glass bubble viewfinder on the top trying to see the upside down image of the subject before pressing the shutter release.
When did you become a professional photographer?
I had a semi-pro attempt in the early 80's with skydiving photography and again in the 90's with underwater work but 2007 and the move to Egypt was the real turning point.
When did you get into shooting kiting and how did it come about?
Early 2007 and the move to El Gouna. It was right here on the doorstep. As well as the hundreds of holidaying kitesurfers, I got to know pro riders and manufacturers who come here.
Can you remember the first shot you got published?
The Austrian online magazine Kiteunit used some shots in early 2008.
Which is your favourite ever shot?
Hate this question. Celine Collaud pulling a railey in a bikini on her old Underground board has a special place. It was a random shot before she was sponsored, we sent it to Underground. Technically it's not even a great image but it was at the start of her career as an aspiring pro rider and she looks fantastic. It's become a love hate picture over time!
Who is your favorite rider to shoot and why?
Celine. She's so accurate and smiles, I can get really close and she'll look straight into the lens whilst making a handle pass or some other powered trick. It's so much fun doing a shoot with her.
Where is your favorite place to shoot and why?
El Gouna, I love the light quality, especially at sunset and there are so many different shades of blue water and dramatic desert backdrops.
What's the most terrifying place you've ever shot?
Don't really have a place as such but a couple of memorable moments:
A Latvian holiday maker asked for a photoshoot on his last day. The wind increased to 30 knots plus and all he had was a 12m but was still up for it. He got lofted out of his board and I remember watching his tensioned board leash through the viewfinder and then, to my horror, seeing the board accelerating straight towards him. Both the rider and board disappeared together from view under the water and the spray! I wasn't sure whether he was dead, or dead lucky, but he stood up unharmed, white faced and shaking! End of shoot?.
The most nerve racking shoot was the first time I photographed a bride in her bedroom, getting made up and into her wedding dress. Unlike kiting you can't really ask for another take!
Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?
General: Spend on some quality glass. Be really, really sure before you consign images to the trashcan. Keep backups and backups of backups. Terabytes of storage are low cost, the right image may be priceless someday.
Pro-Kitesurfing: Get to know the rider, his or her style. You'll be amazed at how much creative input they can offer. Some of them could probably do your job, could you do their's?
Think twice about shooting weddings ;D
Galleries - Dave Cooper - Pro
Kitesurfing Test - Boards 2013
Kitesurfing Test - Kites 2013
Ozone Catalyst 10m
Kitesurfing travel directory
San Salvador Island (Bahamas)