The experiment has to do with using remote, radio-controlled flashes cased in waterproof housings, held by assistants to the photographer, in order to create new lighting situations for surf photography. The remote-flash experiment has been expensive, frustrating, and time-consuming. We’ve spent thousands of dollars over the past couple years trying to figure out which equipment will work underwater, which flashes provide the correct bursts of light, and what ranges and angles suit this new technology best. And after quite a bit of effort, things are beginning to work on a more regular basis.
But the flash experiment is only a by-product of a bigger idea. The idea is that things should always change. And furthermore, that change is good. It’s probably worth noting that we aren’t opposed to the past, and to those things change leaves in its wake. It’s only because traditional thinking hinders change that we’re able to track the progress we’re making. And when I say “we,” I’m not just talking about TransWorld, or the surf industry. I mean all of society, too. Want an example of change being good? Go dig out your old wetsuit from 1995 and compare it to the one you got last Christmas. Want another? Every time you want to change the channel on your TV, get up, walk over, and change it by hand. Are ya feelin’ me now?
Is all this a little esoteric? Probably. It’s usually not in our daily routine to wonder about how things might one day be, or to embrace the concept that we as individuals might have a say in how the world will turn out. But there’s nothing wrong with occasionally breaking away from wondering where the party is tonight, or which car you should waste the money you don’t have on, to think about the bigger picture, and doing what you can to push the things you love to progress.
What do you want to experiment with?—Joel Patterson