Q&A with Tom Carey

tom carey

We are so thrilled to have surfing photographer Tom Carey as a Tamrac Sponsored Photographer.  Tom joins our team with an incredible talent at capturing surfers in some of the most extreme and beautiful enviroments.  Since picking up his first camera at the age of 12, Tom Carey has been passionately pursuing his lifelong dream of shooting the best surfers, in the best waves, around the world. Nineteen years later he’s still doing what he enjoys and his photos are a testament to that love.  When not roaming the globe, Tom resides in Costa Mesa, CA with his lovely wife K.C. The 32-year-old Seal Beach native is currently a staff photographer for Volcom Inc. and Surfing Magazine. In 2010 he ranked 1st on the Transworld Business Exposure Meter.

Tom Cary

Self Portrait, Tom Cary

Tamrac: How did you get into surfing photography?
Tom:  I started off with my mom’s Minolta SLR just shooting my friends who were good amateur surfers at the time. This was the film days and my first shots weren’t too bad. A lot of my friends turned pro and I ended up sticking with it.

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: Did you learn to surf before you became a photographer?
Tom: I definitely learned to surf before I became a photographer. I wouldn’t say I’m that great or anything but my timing and wave knowledge is good I think.

©Tom Carey

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: What tip would you give to someone who wants to photograph surfing?
Tom:
I’ve seen the most success from people that buddy up with one great surfer, travel around with them, and meet other great surfers. Really it’s all about connections and opportunities. So knowing the right people always helps.  Otherwise a lot of guys are shooting underwater and empty wave photos only now. They seem to be having some success with that so it just shows you that you don’t have to have someone on the wave to make a great photo.

©Tom Carey

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: You have traveled all over the world, is there a particular location you love to visit?
Tom: A lot of times you end up going to the same places time after time so anywhere new and fresh is always an adventure. Indonesia however seems to have the best waves and weather, which are two combinations we all love.

©Tom Carey

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: What projects are you excited about this summer?
Tom: Well I think Volcom is going to slowly start filming for an upcoming movie, which I hope to contribute to. That might take us over to France, Bali, and really just bring our team together. Its always fun to work on these projects and then see the finished product and say “Wow, I was a part of that .” It’s a good feeling.

©Tom Carey

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: Most of us will never know the feeling of being in a “pipe” or “tube”, can you describe what it is like?
Tom: The vision you get is always amazing. I couldn’t tell you what it feels like to be on a surfboard on a giant Tahiti barrel or anything like that but I’ve had a few tubes on some smaller waves. The feeling of coming up from shooting a big tube is pretty awesome as well. Especially now that our cameras are digital. You usually know when you had a good “hook-up” and you’ll straight away check out your LCD screen. Next thing you know you’re showing the surfer that probably got pounded on the wave if he fell. So they like to know the beating wasn’t for nothing.

©Tom Carey

©Tom Carey

Tamrac: What Tamrac gear do you use?
Tom: I travel with my Tamrac Expedition 8x Back Pack and either my Super Telephoto Lens Pack to fit my 600mm, or my Tamrac Big Wheels Speed Roller Case.

Tamrac: What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
Tom: The durability hands down to me is my number one concern. I abuse my gear constantly with all my travels and Tamrac’s bags are the only ones that seem to hold up. The salt air that I surround my self with corrodes everything, especially zippers. But my back pack has the weather sealed zippers and I never get a single snag. I’ll carry as much gear as I can on the planes these days as well. And my Tamrac’s just seem to fit everything more proficiently.

For more information on Tom and to see more of his amazing work, visit his website! tomcareyphoto.com