Daniel Espirito Santo is a surf and lifestyle photographer based in Baleal, Portugal. He moved to Baleal a couple of years ago because he didn’t felt the ocean and surf vibe in Lisbon. As a result he is doing now the most amazing water and surf shoots. We had a litlle chat with Daniel and spoke about his passion.
Why did you started taking photos of surfing?
It started with my passion for surfing. Since I am a child, my father brought me to do fishing. And since then I made a connetion with the ocean. I studied graphic design and fine art. I combined my love for surfing and the ocean and I started taking photos. As I spent more and more time at the beach I focused on surfphotography.
Do you remember which your first camera was?
Yes! It was a camera from Soniy but I don’t have it anymore.
Why did you moved to Baleal?
When I was studying in Lisbon, I felt being too far away from the ocean…
So you lived in Lisbon and the ocean was too far away?
Yeah because you are in citylife and you don’t feel the ocean anymore. Even if it’s close, big cities can take the oceanfeeling. So one day I decided to quit my life in Lisbon, I bought a car and moved to Baleal. I wanted to live by the beach, explore nature and surf every day. It’s three years ago now that I moved.
Which board do like to surf?
In 90% I ride my longboard. Just when it is impossible to get in the water with a longboard I go with a shorter one.
What inspires you?
The nature is my biggest inspiration. There are so many things the nature makes you feel like. And I love to put that into pictures. My favorite shoots are of people feeling the nature.
So when I do surfphotography I am not focusing on surfing like a sport. I like to keep the feeling of meditation and the connection people make with the ocean.
What makes a photo special for you?
The most important thing is to give the viewer a feeling. You can learn all the time about techniques but I think you need to feel something when you see a picture.
Why do you think people like droneshoots?
I think it’s because of the new perspective you get to see. Before the drones you needed a plane or a helicopter to get that view. There are so many things to explore with drones. The perspective you get is completly different and especially for doing natureshoots it’s great because you get a sense of scale.
Everytime I fly a drone whether in the water or not I know I will get something nice.
Did you ever got in a dangerous situation while taking surfphotos in the water?
No! Because I like to go to places that I know and I read the ocean before I get in. Even when it’s big I feel comfortable in the water because I know the waves. And I never go in alone, I’m always with friends.
Is it hard to get the »right shoot«?
I just turn it around: I always take my camera with me and when I see something nice I take a picture. So i don’t need to wait fort he right shoot.
What makes Baleal special to you?
For me the special thing about this place is the nature. You feel it very strong here. If nature wants you to go, it gives you very good weather and nice waves. But if natures want you to do some work and stay home, it gives you bad weather, strong northwinds and bad waves. Also the surfing in Baleal attracts me a lot. You always have place to surf. And there is another thing I like a lot: you don’t need a phone to meet friends. Just go search for waves and you will find your friends somewhere out there.
You live more happily in Baleal!