INTRO - Scoring the job as staff photographer for one of kiteboarding's biggest brands is definitely an envious role. It helped being in the right place at the right time of course - working as chef for one of Best's founders, Alex Shogren. The rest is history and Gavin is for sure one of the fastest and most efficient providers of stunning photography that we work with. Check out more of his work at: www.sailfishimages.com , but for now kick back, park your pointer over the first image of Shannon Best attacking Taiba lagoon in the dead of night and let this travelling Aussie kiting-marksman entertain you for a couple...
Where did you grow up?
This last shot is of Joe Ruscito walking across a sand bank in the Bahamas. The world is big and full of amazing things to do. So go see it. Life is too short not to check it out if you are lucky enough to be able to. Thank you. I hope you like the shots
Samoa. Surf. Good.
Bill Kraft paddling out at one of the prettiest beaches I have been to. We had to 4WD down this track and then climb down a cliff to get to it but the water was amazing! Bill is paddling past me for another wave. Sorry, can?t tell you where.
This is Stuey Martin from Australia; one of the best wave riders out there. Unhooked, strapless? all the time. He also makes some amazing surf and kitesurf boards. He charges it! This was taken on my home beach a couple of summers ago. It?s kind of cool t
Shannon Best doing the double barrel rail in Brazil. Shannon, Bill and myself built this nasty rail from some scrap wood that had rusty nails sticking out of it. It wobbled and, where we positioned it, the sand filled in the next day, so the whole thing w
Joe Ruscito with an unhooked grab on the Great South Bay, New York. The water is really brown up there so I decided to cut it out, lay down and shoot through the grass to get a different angle and give the shot some color. This shot is in this issue's Kit
Bill Kraft riding late one night and throwing down a 313. Taken in Brazil once again and we tried a bunch of shots on this night. Focusing in the dark is a crapshoot but we nailed this one. This shot almost looks like Bill is hanging in a studio? but he's
Alvaro walking the back streets of Los Roques. The main island on Grand Roque is such a sleepy little island town - you can see the guys in the background playing some dominos and drinking rum passing the time away. So relaxed out there...
Alvaro Onieva in Los Roques again. I had the fortunate opportunity to be on board the Best Odyssey a couple of years back and this was taken from the top of the mast looking over the outer reefs of the marine park. When I first climbed up there was a huge
Aaron Sales cruising past the camera. Such a simple shot, just riding along, but the splash on the housing with the yellow kite and yellow shirt make it cool. A different perspective on what it's like to kite.
This was the hardest shoot I?ve done. A last minute trip saw a bunch of different things line up and somehow I ended up on a boat in front of the Statue of Liberty after weeks on the road. I thought the police were going to get us for getting too close to
Bill Kraft going-off back in 2005. Billy built all these sliders and kickers for the lagoon. It took forever to make (Brazilian time) them all and they weighed a ton. The wood in Brazil is so heavy. Finally, we had them set up and Billy was going crazy. I
Shannon Best in Taiba again. He was flying into these toe-side slides when the wind was cranking. He is probably on a 10m here fully powered up. No fins on the board again, just trying something different that fits into Shannon?s powered wake-style. This
This is Joe Ruscito in New York. Best set up a kite school and lesson centre up there last year and the conditions are sick - just like Hatteras! I like the way the wake is split by the fin. It's crazy how water flows off the bottom of the boards and if y
Bill Kraft in St Croix cruising his home waters. Nothing crazy in this shot, but when you are riding the gin-clear Caribbean, a toe-side past the camera can come out well.
Alvaro Onieva and Bruna Kajiya walking back from an afternoon session. Another perfect sunset, another perfect day in Los Roques.
Alvaro Onieva doing a loop 3 in Los Roques. This was taken in the water housing. We were done shooting when these crazy clouds came through. I only had three shots left on the camera so we had one go at it. This was the third and final shot of the burst.
Shannon Best - butter-slide in Taiba lagoon, Brazil. We did a bunch of takes to get this shot and the secret to the slide is to remove the fins. The shadows from the remote flash highlight the tattoos and over expose the top of Shannon?s back. Many thanks
How old are you?
What was your first camera?
What is your current set up?
Canon 1d mark2, Canon 1d mark3, 15mm, 16-35mm, 70-200mm, 1.4 ext, 550ex Speedlite, ST2 remote flash, SPL water housing.
How did you get into photography?
Through travelling. I spent a lot of time working, surfing and travelling through southeast Asia and started to really get interested in capturing moments of time in the world through my travels.
When did you become a professional photographer?
I became a professional photographer in 2004 when Best first started. I jumped at the opportunity that arose from the creation of the company and it's been amazing watching Best and the sport grow from there, especially the level of photography. In the past year or two kiteboarding images have definitely improved. It's great!
When did you get into shooting kiting and how did it come about?
I got into shooting Kiteboarding in 2003 when Alex, Scott Harwood and myself started to kite. At that time I was working as a chef for Alex Shogren who started up Best with Shannon and Jeff Beige. I had enrolled in a photography course to learn more skills as I was getting bored with the chef gig just shortly after Best was formed. It was more of a right time, right place type of thing, Best needed a photographer and I was getting more and more into it. Things fell into place.
Can you remember the first shot you got published?
Not specifically. I think my first shot was in Kiteboarding Magazine in 2004. It was funny, there was so much animosity towards Best when they first started. Several magazines wouldn't really run our shots or ads, though some did take our ad money just for fun. I think the first shot was in Kiteboarding when Tom James was in charge.
Which is your favourite ever shot?
Shannon's butter slide down in Brazil at night. We went to shoot the early season sunset with the remote flash. I love doing sunset flash shots. The sky was full of these tiny pink cotton candy clouds. Such a beautiful sunset so we tried a bunch of shots and they looked good in the camera. As it got dark we decided to try some night shots but it's really hard focusing in the dark. It turned out that the sunset shots weren't super crisp but last shot of Shannon doing the butter slide was prefect. Nice and sharp for a flash spray shot.
Who is your favorite rider to shoot and why?
I would say Shannon. We have had our moments on the road, but Shannon has a creative mind when it comes to shooting. He has great ideas and loads of experience so we always try different angles instead of the same product style shots. Bill Kraft is also great ? he is ready to go anytime, whether it's 5am or 8pm. Everyone is fun to shoot with.
Where is your favorite place to shoot and why?
Not sure, I like Brazil because the wind is a given but the brown water doesn't cut it. Probably the Caribbean with Los Roques being a stand out for sure. Anywhere where the water is blue.
What's the most terrifying place you've ever shot?
I was kind of scared shooting in front of the Statue of Liberty, only because I thought we might get arrested and I could lose my visa. But I guess shooting back in my hometown. Shannon, Stuey Martin and myself shot this outer reef a couple of years ago about a mile offshore. I used to surf that reef when I was kid and it's a sharky place. People see them out there all the time. I spent about two hours in the water and the whole time I was awaiting the chomp!
Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?
Take your time. Communicate with your rider. Lining up certain backgrounds or shots takes a lot of work and you need to be on the same page as the rider. Have a plan and work the shots you have in mind. Once you get it, move on?
BEST TEST REPORT PAGES:
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Click here for the 2009 Best Nemesis 12m review
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Click here for the 2008 Best Nemesis HP 10m review
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Click here for the 2008 Best Oujia 128cm review