There’s no place like home

Grounded by COVID restrictions, nomadic surf and travel photographer Ted Grambeau turns his lens on his Gold Coast home environment with stunning results.

It was the poet T.S. Elliot who wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Surf photographer Ted Grambeau would agree. Renowned as one of the surfing world’s most well-travelled and accomplished adventure photographers, Ted had to forego his usual whirlwind travel itinerary documenting exotic and far-flung surf locations in 2020 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Instead, he’s trained his lens on his local environment around Currumbin – its sweeping beaches, rugged coastal rock formations, and jaw-dropping sunsets, producing a stunning collection of images that allow us all to see Australia’s favourite holiday destination through fresh eyes.

“The last six months would be the least travel that I have done in nearly four decades,” says Ted. “It has allowed a time to more closely appreciate my home in a new photographic sense. It has been a time to smell the roses, so to speak, savoring what photo opportunities exist in my own backyard, ones that I have never previously appreciated as much due to my nomadic lifestyle.”

Ted is equal parts artist and technician with a meticulous attention to the latest developments in photographic equipment and the formal training he was grounded in, together with a keen eye for the potent moment and a poet’s temperament. He’s worked for clients like Apple, Rip Curl, Speedo, Red Bull, Nikon, Quiksilver, Billabong, BMW and Patagonia, as well as surfing magazines around the world.

His fine art prints are highly sought after and purchased by the likes of Hawaiian musician Jack Johnson and exhibited internationally, but Ted is most comfortable bobbing about in the ocean marvelling at nature’s beauty.

“Having the time to explore landscape and seascape photography has been rewarding, applying all the technical aspects that I have learned over years working for clients around the globe,” he says. “Most importantly, I’ve enjoyed meeting the challenge of creating unique images of one of the most photographed coasts in the world, the Gold Coast.”

Instead of jetting off to the far corners of the world, this assignment required only a short stroll out Ted’s front door to the beautiful Currumbin beachfront. The results are some truly breathtaking images of a familiar stretch of coast that you’ll look at with a new appreciation.

As one of the true masters of his art, Ted captures all the natural beauty of this much-loved coastal strip, the play of light on the ocean, the extraordinary colours of a Gold Coast sunset, set against the distant bright lights of Surfers Paradise, the surreal blur of young nippers sprinting into the ocean, the delicate beauty of a passing cloud, the explosion of white water on rocks, a lifeguards’ tower silhouetted against a twilight sky fading from brilliant orange to a deep indigo.

The time at home has also allowed Ted to continue working on an ongoing project called Sea Level, capturing surreal moments above and below the water line, rippling ocean surfaces illuminated by the otherworldly hues of another glorious Gold Coast sunrise or sunset.

“Shooting immersed in the ocean at absolute sea-level from first light I have been recently experimenting with a variety of new lenses, and different focal lengths, while continuing to shoot with existing proven formulas of lens combinations has yielded some of my favourite all-time images,” he says. “Again, the camera is just a tool, nature provides the all-important ingredients which determine how successful the outcome will be. I am pretty excited to take this even further to new levels in the near future.”

Check out his full range of sunset photography.

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