Canon 1D Mark II N, 15mm lens, F5.0 at 1/80th, ISO 160, Canon 580EX fired by a PocketWizard Plus II. © Fred Pompermayer















When we came across the surfing image by photographer Fred Pompermayer now featured on our homepage, we immediately knew it was something we had to share.  There are plenty of surf photographers using flash in the water, but this image went beyond something just surfers would appreciate – any photographer would be proud of this image.

Getting an image like this is not easy.  There are so many variables at play that it takes a patient craftsman to come away with a stunning image.  Fred Pompermayer is definitely a craftsman, making his own water-housings for camera and flash and then putting them to work in the most demanding situations.  Having an assistant that can tread water for a long time is also essential!

His housings are the key to in-water flash photography – a place where a sync cord is just not going to work.  Radio will, but not without challenges.  Water happens to do a good job of absorbing radio waves so reception can be an issue.  Getting the flash high out of the water will help things a lot.

Camera and Flash Housings















Remote camera triggering is also something Fred is working on both with handheld cameras and with cameras hard-mounted to the back of a surfboard.


Remote Camera Triggering
Camera Mount










We tracked down Fred through his web-site, www.theshot.com.br, and got the full story:


Fred Pompermayer was born in Brazil in 1975. From a very young age he was fascinated with the power of the ocean. While studying Architecture in university, he took a photography class where he found an instant fulfillment. After graduating with a degree in architecture, he boldly decided to combine his two passions of surfing and photography, abandoned his major, and set out to become a surf photographer!

He has a very creative and unique way of shooting moments because he is always looking for something new and exciting to capture. He has the ability to build his own water housings for his cameras, flashes and even camera board enabling him to bring his ideas to fruition.

Fred has made California his home base. He has worked in various studios in and around Hollywood earning valuable experience, all the while dedicating every spare moment to his action photo way of life. Now his love for the ocean leads him to travel all around the world capturing enthralling surf photos that have been published worldwide.

Fred Pompermayer working on his hand-built housings.

To round out the story, we had a few more questions:

Where in Brazil are you from?

Piracicaba, Sao Paulo
When did you start in photography? 

I graduated in 2002 as an architect in Brazil. I worked as an architect for one year and realized that I really wanted to dedicate my time to my photography.

When did you move to Cali? 
In 2003 I moved to California so that my girlfriend (now wife) and I could live in the same country.  It was at that point that my surf photography really started to take off.  I was able to travel and work odd jobs to support my passion of photography and surf.

Is photography your primary job? 

Yes, I am lucky, surf photography is my main job.  I also really love taking action photos like BASE Jumping, skateboarding - anything extreme, I like!

Magazines your images have appeared in? 

I work as a contributing photographer for a lot of magazines worldwide

When did you start building your own housings? 

When I changed my equipment from film to digital I needed to have all new housings for my new cameras and equipment.  I started looking around and realized quickly that it was going to be very expensive.  So, I had an idea to create my own.  I literally started with nothing, and it took some trial and error, but I was very impressed with what I first created.  Now that I have been doing it for a while I have gotten intricate with the design.  I am always on the lookout for little rubber pieces to make the buttons, or small nuts or bolts to help me trigger or turn my dials.  I found a little rubber piece that worked perfectly in a truck stop while I was driving across the country!

Flash in action.
How long have you been surfing? 

I have loved the idea of surfing since I could remember.  When I was a kid we lived about 4 hours from the beach.  I would buy surf magazines and cut out the best surf photos - I covered all of the walls in my entire room. When I was 12, I convinced my mom to let me sell my bike and  bought a surfboard and could go to the beach once a year!  I would consider that I have been surfing since I was a kid, only now, it's so much more frequent.

Anything else about you that the photo world would find interesting?  

I live in Los Angeles with my wife Anna and my daughter AvaDora who is a year and a half.  I was nominated for the Billabong XXL 3 years in a row, and last year I won the Billabong XXL for best photo for the Monster Paddle.  I made 6 covers last year in Brazil, Hawaii, Portugal and Japan.  My website is www.theshot.com.br

(Fred is going to be building housings for the MiniTT1 on camera and the FlexTT5 with flash, so we’ll hopefully post an update when we see the results!)