Training in a pool balanced upright with flippers on and with arms held high above her head is all part of keeping fit for the job for Raglan Surfshot photographer Jane Alice. Add to this the dynamic of being in the surf with the swell and surfers to watch out for while keeping a 5kg camera up ready for ‘that shot’ and you start to sense how talented this young photographer really is.
Jane shifted to Raglan permanently only a year ago and has spent the bulk of her time taking shots of the surfing out at Manu Bay or on dry-land getting her specialised photography business all sorted. A graduate of Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design in Auckland, Jane has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. From a young age she used to assist her father, a wedding photographer, with his work and it was this experience that sparked her love for the lens. Given her background in competitive swimming since the age of seven and then later as an ocean swimmer, it is of little surprise Jane ended up combining water and photography into her unique business.
“I bought the water-housing for my camera in 2008. It has taken a few years for me to be capable of doing what I do”, says Jane.
Now, with the help of a Work and Income Enterprise Grant, her business has been given a kick-start as the surfing season approaches. “I had to develop a business plan and financial forecasting to apply. Then I didn’t hear anything for so long I thought I had missed out. It was great when the call came through”, she says.
Her surfshot website is up and running and Jane has recently purchased a top quality printer. She markets her business by handing out wristbands to surfers on the water.
“When you think that my job is out there in the waves and action, a wristband is the perfect way to advertise what I do. A business card was never going to work”.
While Jane loves what she does she admits to getting some ‘strange looks’ from people on the beach who see her sort-of swimming with arms out of the water. She also tries to get as close as possible to the surfers. “I have to hold my camera up above my head with one hand and have the other on the button. I have a wide-angle lens and have to wait for the last second to get the best shot.” says Jane. And while all this is happening Jane also has to keep an eye on the surfers around her.
“They are pretty good and aware of where I am, but every now and then one can drop down almost on top of me from behind a wave”, says Jane.
Perfecting taking great surfing shots has taken years. As well as keeping up above the water Jane also plunges deep down under waves, an experience she says, that can leave her feeling a little dizzy. In what must be a gross understatement Jane says her work is ‘tiring’.
Back on dry-land surfers wanting prints contact Jane using the information on the wristbands. She is also happy to arrange a specific surf shoot at a time convenient.
As the summer season approaches Jane plans to spend plenty of time bobbing in amongst the waves capturing the perfect shot on the perfect wave.
Jane can be contacted on Ph: 027 339 1129.