moran, norway, fanning, surf, grass, mountain

Trevor Moran: Chasing the shot

Words: Josh Rakic
Photography: Trevor Moran

Surf photographer Trevor Moran explains what it was like to capture surfer Mick Fanning in action in the dark and snow in Norway

Surf photographer Trevor Moran has travelled the globe chasing the best waves with the world’s best surfers, but his sojourn to the cold waters of Norway to shoot three-time world champ Mick Fanning under the Aurora Borealis counts as his most difficult challenge so far.

It could be argued that Moran’s task to capture cold water surfing by day in Norway was more challenging than anything he’s attempted before.

“My role was to do more of the daytime stuff, which in that part of the world is a little harder than it seems – there’s only three to four hours of sunlight, and it’s not direct,” says Moran. “We wanted to document surfing in Norway itself – the waves, the cold water and surfing in these harsh, crazy weather conditions. We touched on the Northern Lights thing, but that was really a separate project.” 

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“From a photography standpoint it was a real challenge and exceptionally difficult –without direct sunlight it was challenging photographically,” says Moran.

“We decided in the first few days there after assessing the brutal conditions that we weren’t going to try and get glamorous surf photos with sunny action. We chose to embrace the conditions, the gnarly and harsh environment and document it like the far-flung location it is. From a technical standpoint, that meant a lot of graining photos with high ISOs, and low shutter speeds for speed blurs and stuff like that. The imagery truly represents what we experienced.” 


Go behind the scenes

With the weather, the season and 20 hours of depressing darkness against them, how many waves did Moran and Fanning get?

“We had one three-hour session per day on the few days we surfed because of the light, so it was pretty challenging so far as getting good surf photos – and from a morale standpoint, too,” says Moran.

“There was a lot of pressure in that sense. Per day there were 10 to 15 good waves from maybe 45 waves in total, in three short sessions. Trying to get enough photos, I put a lot of pressure on myself. I knew I had to make really good decisions and not screw around, to have the water housing ready and shoot from the shore in my wetsuit, so I could run into the water when I needed to. It was worth it and it was an awesome experience.”

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