Behind the Photo: A Perfect Day in Nova Scotia

When surf photographers have to choose between paddling out and getting behind the lens

It might seem like surf photographers have the most enviable job in the world. But when the waves are pumping, they're often faced with a kind of Sophie's Choice: do they paddle out with their friends and possibly miss a great shot, or do they sacrifice a few good waves for the sake of their work? "I originally went out there for a surf trip of my own," says photographer Mark McInnis of his journey to Nova Scotia. "I had been surf starved for months and just needed some waves. Before I left, I told Noah Cohen, Nico Manos and Pete Devries [pictured here], 'Hey, I'll shoot a little bit, but I'm coming to surf.' But when you have light like this, waves like this and three professional surfers in the water, I guess it's just in my nature to get busy working."

[This originally appeared as the “Perfect Day” feature in our “Cost of Waves” issue, now available on newsstands or wherever you subscribe to SURFER magazine.]