July, 2017Surfs UPby Mel Lindstrom



Long time client and marketing guru Adrienne Parker has been an abundant supplier of fun advertising projects. Quite a few of the pieces I have shot for her have ended up in my portfolio, and this series is no exception.  What made this assignment so special was witnessing the sunrise at the Santa Cruz coastline.

Of course, to make a sunrise shoot happen you need to get there BEFORE the sun comes up for all the prep work. And considering it’s a one hour drive and the sun comes up early this time of year, and it takes an hour to load the van, it does mean that the alarm goes off at 3:30 in the morning. That’s the part of location shoots that are not so glamorous.

Lauren Smith is a another long time collaborator. He was the on set art director on this shoot.  We have become friends over the years so now working together on a shoot is more like getting together with a good buddy than just working on a job.

Once we captured some great shots with long shadows, it was time to move onto some other beach shots. Our brave subject, Joe Buckalew, had both the patience and willingness to wade into the cold morning surf, only to find himself rolling in the sand a short while later.  What a trouper!

We experimented on this shoot with the use of a drone. Our trusted drone operator, Robert Menkemeller, was quite adept at getting the angles we wanted for some unique shots.


Since a decades long compadre of mine is a Santa Cruz surf fixture, I asked him to join us on the shoot to offer his expertise on the best surf, times, beaches and the like. You can see Dane Hansen (in the blue and black wet suit), offering his expert advice to Joe and me.

And doesn’t Trent Ringen, (my handy assistant) make a great location reflector stand? Thanks Trent!

I have to admit, there are times when the art directors can start to get a little demanding. When that happens you just have to let them know it is time to back off and let me do my job.  OK, that’s not what was really happening here, but it sure does look that way. Lauren is a great guy and we always work well together.

And than of course there are the moments between the shots when you get a chance to relax and play with the locals. Really one of the best parts of this type of shoot.


Special shout out and warm thanks to long time friend and Aptos resident, John Scanlon.

John showed up to the shoot and took most of the wonderful set shots. Great to have you with us, John. Next time try to find a way to put yourself in a shot or two.


3 Responses to “Surfs UP”

  1. Alice McKown

    Wow, Mel, I am happy to see that you are continuing to do the absolutely awesome work that you always have done. Fun to read this interesting recounting of your shoot, too. You are are a great writer!

  2. Elena L

    The work communicates connection, love, and spiritual unity, Mel! Such a great story, shot, and your presence. You’re really blessed to do what you love and bring your love into the world this way. Thumbs up!

  3. Kirk Fetzer

    Reminds me of the work you’ve done for my magazine over the years Mel. You’re unmatched in getting a group of CEOs in suits to look natural and interesting in a one minute shot on a trade show floor. Keep it up!


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