Russell Ord is an award-winning photographer, based in Margaret River (Western Australia) with his wife and three kids. We caught up with him for a quick chat about surf, life and getting really close to big waves.
Hi Russell, Thanks for catching up with us! How’s life, work and family?
I have been extremely well. Combining work and lifestyle can be difficult to make ends meet at times but we are having a lot of fun along the way. It certainly has given our family life a lot of freedom to explore and enjoy every day as it comes.
Had any good winter sessions of late?
I have just returned from a 34 hour drive return trip from the North West WA, I have done it twice in the last three weeks. The first trip I was there to concentrate on photos and didn’t even take surfboards. The waves were incredible so as soon as I got home I drove straight back up with my son. I couldn’t keep up with his nine hours a day in the water but I certainly had some great waves myself. I barely pressed the trigger on the camera this time around.
What motivates you to get out there and do what you do?
I really go through stages of motivation. I have been trying to pursue certain photos in crazy slab waves the last few years and really love the challenges and how . The downside to this is when I have to shoot the so called “normal” it’s just not as exciting, so I really have to remind myself to create new challenges for these types of days.
Photographing big waves in cold water must be a huge adrenalin rush. Talk us through risk and reward…
You cannot compare the risk to reward because the only reward for me is a personal one. 99% of people – including editors of magazines – wouldn’t have a clue what goes into that very shot and in their defense that same moment in time shot from the safety of the channel looks bigger or better. I have hard drives and slides full of those type of photos, hence why I like to try and swim in those conditions. The risks are huge, its not like one day you wake up and decide to shoot those type of photos. It’s been a slow build up over years: training including breathing courses, safety gear, anything that can help me prepare, I will do it.
If you could shoot anything with anyone living or not, what would you choose?
I would love to spend months with underwater photographer David Doubilet, learning new skills and then seeing how I could adapt those new found skills to my surf photography.
What’s your favourite piece of kit?
I love using the Nikon D4 / 16mm housed by Aquatech because I know I will be very close to the action. I should probably use more of a range at times but the closer the better for me.
Three words to live by?
Challenge How (not why) Security (A word I dislike because it holds you back).
love it. All the best, looking forward to catching you again soon.