INTRO - The ladies certainly have an eye for this sport. Jody in particular manages to capture the sport at its most beautiful and inspiring moments. She's the live-aboard photographer on Discovery - a 60 foot catamaran known for it's work as The Best Odyssey vessel. Gavin McClurg is skipper and contributes an 'All At Sea' column to each issue of Kiteworld, so we're lucky enough to get to regularly get to pick and choose from Jody's immaculate work. A documentary and adventure sports photographer, as well as appearing in all sorts of freesport publications, she has also shot for National Geographic.
You could pass a lot of time dreaming your way around: www.jodymacdonaldphotography.com
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Where did you grow up?
Where do you live?
I live onboard a 60 foot catamaran known in kiteboarding circles as The Best Odyssey.
How old are you?
What was your first camera?
What is your current camera set-up?
Canon EOS 1D Mark II body, Canon Mark II 5D, Canon 7D, 14mm, 15mm, 20mm, 50mm, 16-35mm, 24-105mm, 70-200mm, 300mm, 2x Ext, SPL Housing, Ikelite Housing.
How did you get into photography?
I was always into art classes and being creative since I can remember. I took photography classes in college and I fell in love with it.
When did you become a professional photographer?
I was a photo editor for a couple years but then began shooting full time in 2006.
When did you get into shooting kiting and how did it come about?
I got into shooting kiting back in 2006. I'm co-owner of The Best Odyssey which is a five year world kiteboarding expedition onboard a catamaran. We have pro kiters out all the time, so it really was a no brainer.
Can you remember the first shot you got published?
We did an article for Wind and Kite magazine back in 2004 when we had the F-One team come onto our first boat. I learnt a lot watching photographer Manu Morel shoot the team. Most of the images were his, but I got a couple of mine published in the article.
Which is your favourite shot ever?
I'd have to agree with John Bilderback's response to this; it's the shot you haven't taken yet. As a photographer you're constantly learning and improving and what you liked six months ago you might not like any more. I've looked at my images so much that I don't really find them interesting any more. I'm way more excited about the stuff I want to shoot but haven't yet shot. That's definitely what motivates me to keep shooting and wanting to get better.
Who is your favourite rider to shoot with and why?
That's a really tough question. They all have their unique styles and personalities and are all so talented and used to shooting in front of cameras that they make my job very easy.
Where is your favourite place to shoot and why?
Another tough question. I would probably have to say the Marshall Islands or French Polynesia. They both have great waves but I absolutely love it when you can combine that with crystal clear, warm water. That is often a tough combination to find.
Where is the most terrifying place you've ever shot?
I think it's got to be when I photographed Moises Niddam kiting in the Panama Canal. We knew we were probably going to get arrested but what was really scary was that the winds were maybe only 15 knots; barely enough for him to kite. A huge tanker was passing through the canal and Moises kited right in front of it where there was a huge wind shadow. I thought for sure his kite was going to go down and he was going to get run over by the tanker. I still don't know how he pulled that one off, but he made it. Then the cops came.
Do you have any advice for aspiring kiting photographers?
I think a lot of photographers, especially in the beginning, just shoot the action and don't think about the composition. Slow down, imagine the shot you want in your head. Think about and shoot for the background first and wait for the kiter to come into that background and then take the shot. Then you will get a well thought out photo that is interesting from the foreground to the background. It will add layers and depth.