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Exposure: Eugene Tan

Check out some amazing surf shots from Bondi's Eugene Tan -- the first in our series of photographers who share their best shots and give us an insight into both their creative and technical processes.

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Zennith Geisler
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1 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Bondi Silk Wave

Exposure is a series of photo galleries showcasing photographic talent in Australia. Our featured photographers will share their best shots and give us an insight into both their creative and technical processes. If you are interested in being featured in Exposure, or know any photo buffs who might, contact us at cnet@cnet.com.au.

Eugene Tan

Photographer: Eugene Tan

Shooting subject: Beach, Surf, Sunrise, Underwater

Equipment: Canon EOS 10D, 70-300mm lens, 400mm f2.8 lens, 16mm Fisheye lens, Dave Kelly Water housing, medium format Fuji GX617 (for pararamic shots).

Our first photographer, Eugene "Uge" Tan knows where the waves live and how to photograph them. The celebrated Sydney-based photographer, designer, surfer and founder of the cult website Aquabumps, has several exhibitions under his belt and his own gallery in North Bondi.

A well known character around the beaches of Sydney, his day begins at dawn, before the arrival of the surf lifesavers, beachgoers and holidaymakers.

With just a few surfers, joggers and dog walkers for company, he positions himself in the surf with waterproofed camera at the ready. From fantastic waves, sunrises and surf to local heroes and characters, Tan's photography captures the essence of beach life and culture.

"I've become an early morning addict, says Tan. "Every morning is different down the beach ... different surf conditions, different people ... different light ... there's always a new perspective".

"I'm completely fascinated by the ocean ... I try to make my photos give the impression you're right there, seeing what I see."

I love how every morning is different down the beach. You just don't know what you'll wake up to. Some days it's onshore and choppy, some days silky smooth - like this one down at Bondi. A gentle offshore tickles the lip of a three-foot set breaking in South Bondi. A surfer scurries over the set as a loose board (top middle) looms dangerously before being launched into innocent morning swimmers.

Location: South Bondi, 7:30am

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2 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Bondi Splash

When taking surf pictures in the water with a wide angle lens, you need to get real close to your subjects. This basically means I get run over a lot. In this shot, Bondi regular Mark Weisymar is heading directly for me and I duck at the last minute, creating the splash in the foreground. It was a accidental shot - but I love it.

Location: South Bondi, 7:30am

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3 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Tubular Storm

Rifles is one of the world's most famous tubes. Kelly Slater's favorite joint. This violent tube breaks on razor shape reef. After a morning of sunshine dark clouds take over and create this unusual light for a lone angry tube. This was my last shot before dashing back to the boat to avoid a 50 knot squall. This shot is probably one of my most popular.

Location: Hollow Trees, Mentawai Islands, Indonesia (off Sumatra), 6:30pm

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4 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Electric Blue

Indonesia is full of hollow tubes and clear blue water. This break called "Hollow Trees" is one of the most photographed waves in the world. I spent the day chasing them from below with flippers, no scuba, just a camera trying to focus whilst being sucked along behind them.

Location: Hollow Trees, Mentawai Islands, Indonesia (off Sumatra), 6:30pm

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5 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Mad Frenchman

Vlads is from a different breed. He is part fish, part human. This man can free dive to 65 metres. That would be with no scuba. He has spent his life in the ocean, and is like Tarzan of the oceans ... who wouldn't be in the ocean all the time if you had rich blue water out the front of your house everyday.

Location: Tempe, Moorea, Tahiti, 3:30pm

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6 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Pink Silk

On a very small day down at Maroubra I swam past a surfer who was swinging around to catch a one-footer. The sunrise that morning was so pink it was unbelievable. Humid morning, with heaps of haze in the air -- think that had something to do with it....

Location: Maroubra Beach North End, 6:30am

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7 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Three Peaks

Just across the bay from one of the most famous lefts in the world, I found a break without a sole on it. It was super overcast making the water look like liquid mercury (it's a colour shot - not black and white). I love how the 3 peaks are at different stages of breaking. The waves are so perfect up there. Take me back.

Location: Macaroni's righthander, Mentawai Islands, Indonesia, 6:30pm

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8 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Gold Rush

Morning light is just the best. It's rich and gold. When it hits the water at the right angle the surface look like liquid gold. Super Metallic. Shot with a 400mm f2.8 pointed directly into the reflection off the water this image give you a feeling that only surfers know best ... no one out, winter waves before work down at Bondi.

Location: Mid Bondi, 6:45am

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9 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

The Claw

This waves is only the shore break at one foot. When there are no waves the shore break surges up into a claw shape before slapping the sand on the shore. This eerie shot was taken on a full overcast day at 1/1000th with a 70mm to 300mm zoom. Loads of people think this image is a painting and not a photograph.

Location: South Bondi Shore break, 6:45am

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10 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Backlit Aerial

The sun is lined up perfect in summer for a backlit aerial shot. Unfortunately we just don't get many waves suitable for launching off like this one often. This guy ripped, he's from the 'bra. Never saw him again. Love the spray from the board when its backlit like that.

Location: South Bondi Shore break, 6:05am

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11 of 11 Eugene Tan, Aquabumps

Bondi Fiery Skies

Panoramic cameras are great. The medium format Fuji GX617 is a treasure. Hard to use. Have to concentrate when shooting. This cold wintery morning the skies lit up into an inferno producing brilliant hues of purple and orange. This image was shot in old skool film - not one bit of Photoshop fancy dance work here. Just a beautiful morning down at Bondi.

Location: South Bondi, 6:30am

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