How a bout with Dengue Fever led to surf photography
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 30 August, 2015 - Puerto Escondido is the place everyone goes to when a swell lights up the charts, but when the swell drops and bags are packed who’s left? A few gringos with horrible timing who missed the swell, the expat American community and, of course, the locals. Puerto has been in the surf media spotlight for so long that it’s now starting to produce its own crew of surfers, entrepreneurs and, yes, photographers. Lucano Hinkle grew up in Puerto Escondido and took to photography early on. His local knowledge gives him an advantage to be on it when it’s good. He sees those things that most of the just-passing-through crew don’t get to experience.
Where are you from and what do you shoot with?
I was born in the mountains in the state of Puebla, Mexico but was brought to Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca by my Californian dad and Mexican mom when I was 28 days old. So I’m from Puerto. I currently shoot with a Canon 5D Mark 3 in and out of the water. The lenses I use in the water are the Canon 50mm 1.4 ,85mm 1.8 ,17-40 mm 4.0 and the Tokina 10-17mm on land. I have a Canon 70-200 4.0 that works pretty well in and out of the water for Zicatela.
Dylan Southworth © Lucano Hinkle
How did surf photography start for you?
I first got a glimpse of photography in my high school years when I decided to study in California, in Dana Point to be exact. I was able to shoot with film and develop images. I did not pursue it as a career because it was expensive, so I just forgot about it for a long time and then 11 years after in the summer of 2012 I was diagnosed with Dengue fiver and had to lay in bed for 12 days. Those 12 days were really inspiring besides the fact that I couldn’t really move cause I was so weak. I began to surf the internet mostly checking out the Surfline Photo/Profiles that they used to do and anything else that had to do with water surf photography. I started dreaming about photography and about me swimming with a camera and shooting the Zicatela waters. It was at the same time exciting and very scary to think about it, so to make this story shorter I went ahead and bought the gear I needed with some savings I had, and after that I went on a crazy trip to Alaska where I worked with people who were trying to find gold in the mountains. I thought it would be a great chance to learn photography so I left my camera on manual and tried to learn it. The result was some really bad over-exposed and under-exposed pictures, hahaha, but it definitely helped.
Share with us something that most people don’t know about surf photography.
It’s so hard! But so rewarding. You need to love it and really believe in yourself ‘cause no one else will. Photography is expensive - to get the gear you need and a housing - so make sure you really want it, and don’t let money be your main focus because you will probably fail. Photography should make you happy and should feed your soul - at least that’s what I feel especially when I’m in the water shooting. It’s so easy to get burnt out on it, with so much saturation of images on the net, so you need to have a focus and a goal in what you want to achieve. If not, then everything will just get mixed up and you will end up frustrated.
Jafet Ramos © Lucano Hinkle
Tell us about that one time you almost died, on a surf trip or in the water.
Hmmmm, I think I have two. I’m not so sure how close to dying I was but it really felt like it. First one: I almost drowned when I was 7 in Zicatela playing with my Boogieboard. Someone was taking care of me but it happened too fast - I got sucked out to sea and sets started rolling. I was relaxed at first but I decided to let go of my bodyboard and start diving under the waves. But they wouldn’t stop, So I started to panic and to cry. Luckily my dad was surfing and rescued me. I will never forget the way he was swimming at me butterfly style, definitely my hero. I carried a big knot of fear and panic for a long time after that.
On my second year of shooting in the water I went out with a 70-200 2.8 and a a canon1D m3 that I used to own. There were lots of currents in the inside making it super hard to get out there. I kept trying and trying until I was so tired and finally made it out. My mistake was that I should have waited or tried a different approach like go around the rip or study the lineup more because right when I finally made it out a set came and I was too tired to go deep enough. So I half assed it and paid the consequence. I got smashed around with not so much air and barely came up and then the next one got me again. And if there would have been a fourth wave I’m not sure what would have happened. I even took my housing leash off, but at least I did not let go of the housing. I was really dizzy after that and had to rest on a friend’s board.
Diego Cadena © Lucano Hinkle
Name one photographic image you saw that changed the way you approach photography.
I really get inspired by portraits and photojournalism, but when it comes to the ocean any picture by Aichner or Russo in Zicatela is always inspiring to see.
Check Lucano's Instagram feed: @lucanohinkle
Visit Lucano's photography page here