On Location: A North Shore Ascent

Daniel Russo's top frames from Pipe last week

Eventually you get to a point in your photography career where you’re no longer looking to shoot photographs. Of course, you pay your dues grinding out 12-hour days, but eventually you create your own science on how to work more efficiently. After a while, you’re looking to shoot memories. Here, Daniel Russo has captured his fair share. Within the hierarchy of surfing photographers, some of the most well respected are the men and women who shoot Pipeline from the water. Russo is there, front and center, a veteran who’s paid his dues as the Second Reef sets roll through. He first graced the pages of Surfing Magazine for a solid run, and has worked as the DP of Vans Surf for the last five years, a gig that takes him around the world with the likes of Nathan Florence, Nathan Fletcher, and more. He recently swam this last Pipe swell, and we figured we’d catch up, check a couple photos, and talk story for a second or two.

“Makana Pang is part of the next generation who are exploring the lineup at Pipeline. A lot of moments happen out at Pipeline that can be photographed, and a lot of the time, you don’t see them. This is one of those moments that didn’t go missed.” All Photos: Russo
“Makamae DeSoto on one of the best waves of the day, if not the best. It’s a special moment for the surfer and the spectators when these waves come through.”
“Growing up on the North Shore, you don’t decide who your friends are; your friends decide for you. The Rothman family has always been more then just friends since day one. Makua, shown here, helped me build my photography career, and I couldn’t be more stoked when we get to work together when the waves at home are this good. It was shot with a Nikon D4 and a 16mm lens.” Photo: Russo
“Morning lineup of a west set coming through Off The Wall before it hits Pipeline. Sometimes with the really west direction, Off The Wall will capture the energy of the first few waves of the set and create a perfect left that’s good for lineup photos. This was shot with a 70-200 Nikon telephoto lens.”
“I made a bet to Jamie [O’Brien] the other night on who would be out at Pipeline the longest, him or me. He said ‘I’ll be out there till I’m 80.’ I guess we still have 50 more years to do what we love.”