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Interview with Phill Boyd

If you’ve never had a chance to visit Abersoch but have heard whispers of the legendary beauty of its coastline, do yourself a favour and take a look at Phill Boyd’s photography, however, I can’t guarantee when you’ll next come up for air. That’s how I discovered and fell in love with Abersoch - through Phill Boyd’s lens. His ability to capture a moment between ocean, surfer and sun is second to none. His sunrise over St Tudwals East will make you feel as if you’re in the water alongside him and his endless, starry skies over Cardigan Bay will give you goosebumps. Inland Sea caught up with Phill to find out more about his life, his photography and those amazing surf shots.


Hi Phill! Your work features a wide variety of seascapes, what draws you to the ocean?

Phill: I think it’s the variety, no two days are ever the same. I love the colours, the shapes and the power, it is so unpredictable. It can be a beast on its day, it makes taking photos a real challenge. You’ll have images in your mind you want but it can take several attempts to get it right, this makes you want to keep going back more and more.

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What are the pros and cons to shooting something as unpredictable and potentially dangerous as the ocean?

Phill: I suppose one positive is not many people do it! You do have to take some risks but I am pretty cautious with it. I’m pretty keen on the weather and tide situations. We have a good local bunch surfing here too who are always watching each other’s back. Shooting from the water requires a fair bit of swimming and if there’s a decent swell then that’s usually a bit of a workout, it can get pretty cold in winter too.

Your surfing shots are legendary, what are your top tips to getting a good shot in such extreme conditions?

Phill: I think if you have a bit of a knowledge of surfing can be useful and working with the same surfers definitely helps as you can predict their movements. Don’t get too focused on tight shots either, look at the big picture which will create depth and scale. As well as your basic photography rule of thirds.

Surfing in North Wales

It’s clear from your work that your heart is in Wales, which are your favourite locations to shoot and why?

Phill: We’re pretty lucky here where we are (Llyn Peninsula) the water colour and clarity is awesome. I love to shoot sea life in the bay near Abersoch which is nice and sheltered and surfing at Porth Ceiriad, the emerald water and shape of the wave there is stunning.

For people hoping to get into surf photography what equipment would you recommend starting with?

Phill: Most cameras these days would be sufficient, something with good resolution and that shoots a good frame rate is a winner (the Sony A6000 range is very good) add to that a 35mm and 70-200mm lens and that’s a decent setup to start off. 

Surfing in North Wales

What do you use to shoot?

Phill: I started off with a Sony A7r3 and I’ve just added a Sony A9 to that. I was lucky to find an Aquatech housing in great condition second hand and use that for all my water shots. The A7r3 has awesome resolution and is a great one for wide angle shots or shooting off the beach with my 200-600mm lens. The A9 has fast autofocus and with 20 frames per second is super speedy. I tend to use that more in the water with the housing.

If you could go anywhere in the world, what would be your dream spot to shoot?

Phill: Ah tough one, there’s a few! I would love to visit some of the classic spots in Hawaii and Fiji but I think top of the list would be a road trip along some of the remote coastline in New Zealand, the landscape looks amazing!

Thanks so much Phill! If you’d like to check out more of Phill’s work (and you should) you can check out his Instagram @phillboyd_outwest, his website www.outwestimages.co.uk or have a look at the double page spread featuring Phill’s Work with Inland Sea in this months Coast Magazine.