How To: Moonlight as a Surf Photographer with Andrew Shield

Magicseaweed

by on

Updated 6d ago

Surf photography has never a lucrative vocation, but now, with very little monthly retainers within the industry and fewer surf cos throwing budget at sprawling team houses on the North Shore each winter, it can be challenging for a salty lensman to keep the wolf from the door.

So what’s a lifelong surf photographer to do? Genial Australian photog Andrew Shield has managed to keep his family fed by shooting commercial work for boat manufacturers such as Quintrex, catalogue work for various surf brands, and all the while staying prolific on the surf editorial front – even if the returns for that endeavour are diminished.

One of the developments in Shieldsy’s career is the partnership he’s formed with the Pegasus crew up in the Telo Islands. (Telo Island Lodge and Pinnacles on Telo). Guests have a world class photographer at their disposal for their 10-day stay, pay Shieldsy direct for their photo package, and he gets put up in some classy digs.

It’s an arrangement that’s given the mellow legend lots of tasty setups to shoot, and the opportunity to score an obscene number of waves for himself. It’s not uncommon for the fortunate bastard to do half a dozen trips a year.

Anyway, here’s 20 of the top lineups and moments over the last couple of years from Shieldsy’s enviable home away from home. Captions by the photographer.

All good surf resorts need a good dog, and Telo Lodge has the best. ‘Dre’ is a mellow legend who loves getting out on the water ever day.

All good surf resorts need a good dog, and Telo Lodge has the best. ‘Dre’ is a mellow legend who loves getting out on the water ever day.

Pinnacles: not a bad break to have in the backyard.

Pinnacles: not a bad break to have in the backyard.

Nothing if not scenic: Pinnacles’ surf guide Jacque, otherwise known as Wobby (short for Wobbegong, Shark rhymes with Jacque), clocks on for another day of gainful employment.

Nothing if not scenic: Pinnacles’ surf guide Jacque, otherwise known as Wobby (short for Wobbegong, Shark rhymes with Jacque), clocks on for another day of gainful employment.

This left is a fairly mellow affair, but compensates with a pleasing length and wrap.

This left is a fairly mellow affair, but compensates with a pleasing length and wrap.

The full tropical cliché.

The full tropical cliché.

The local swell magnet spot. Good in a flat spell emergency.

The local swell magnet spot. Good in a flat spell emergency.

The bank account might not be huge, but I feel pretty lucky.

The bank account might not be huge, but I feel pretty lucky.

The local crew are super mellow, lovely humans. The kids grow up quick.

The local crew are super mellow, lovely humans. The kids grow up quick.

An impressive A-frame, but full marks to the fallen palm tree for having another go at life.

An impressive A-frame, but full marks to the fallen palm tree for having another go at life.

No denying the Telo Islands have a few more surfers these days, but quiet corners reward the diligent.

No denying the Telo Islands have a few more surfers these days, but quiet corners reward the diligent.

This is one of the more consistent swell-magnet breaks. Out of frame to the right lies another series of peaks (where many lessons are taught when there’s some size).

This is one of the more consistent swell-magnet breaks. Out of frame to the right lies another series of peaks (where many lessons are taught when there’s some size).

Jack Freestone a few years back. It’s a good place to get work done with a co-operative pro. It’s Noa Deane’s favourite wave in the area too.

Jack Freestone a few years back. It’s a good place to get work done with a co-operative pro. It’s Noa Deane’s favourite wave in the area too.

Sure, a lot of setups here aren’t thumping death or glory tubes, but tell us you wouldn’t have fun at this spot.

Sure, a lot of setups here aren’t thumping death or glory tubes, but tell us you wouldn’t have fun at this spot.

If I wasn’t busy steering the drone, I’d be on that inside one for sure.

If I wasn’t busy steering the drone, I’d be on that inside one for sure.

The right out the front of Telo Lodge needs to get chest-high to move off the reef. This is probably as small as you’d bother to surf it, which could explain old mate’s decision to chill.

The right out the front of Telo Lodge needs to get chest-high to move off the reef. This is probably as small as you’d bother to surf it, which could explain old mate’s decision to chill.

Tory Gilkerson works as a guide at Pinnacles on Telo and is one of the happiest and most easy-going souls you’ll met. “Tozza” was also the 2016 World Longboard Champion.

Tory Gilkerson works as a guide at Pinnacles on Telo and is one of the happiest and most easy-going souls you’ll met. “Tozza” was also the 2016 World Longboard Champion.

The sunsets up here – particularly in late season are something to behold, especially with a cold Bintang as you motor back to the Lodge after surfing all day. I swear I’ve seen grown men almost get teary.

The sunsets up here – particularly in late season are something to behold, especially with a cold Bintang as you motor back to the Lodge after surfing all day. I swear I’ve seen grown men almost get teary.

May I recommend The House Right?

May I recommend The House Right?

The snorkelling up here is pretty good.

The snorkelling up here is pretty good.

This left is a bit of a mission to get to, but there’s kegs aplenty on tap.

This left is a bit of a mission to get to, but there’s kegs aplenty on tap.