We didn’t quite know what to expect when we kicked off our new Photo of the Day feature on December 1st, but we instantly saw a fantastic response from photographers up and down the East Coast and across the Gulf, Caribbean, and Great Lakes (along with around the world). That’s added a rad #liveaction component to our website and social media channels, and gave us our first Photo of the Day recap gallery and monthly voting. For December 2016, our inaugural winner is North Carolina photographer Jon Carter, whose #tbt shot from Hurricane Nicole won a commanding 35% of the online voting. Read Jon’s short interview and scope out a few more of his beautiful Outer Banks perspectives. Go follow the man on Instagram — you’ll appreciate every post, just like we appreciate every submission. then make your voice heard. Oh, and photographers — keep those potential #photooftheday shots coming!
ESM: What is it about this winning shot that really captured your attention and your imagination, Jon?
Jon Carter: I had set up trying to get a good lineup shot and I saw this amazing amount of water heading back out to sea. Right away I had a feeling it was going to create something amazing — the most amazing backwash wave I’ve ever seen in person. It went so high, it almost was out of my frame.
ESM: What is it about the shot that you think proved to be so popular with viewers and surf fans?
Jon Carter: It was one of those right place, right time moments — I just happened to be there to catch it, and since it was a wild and crazy wave, I believe it captured everyone’s attention, not just surfers.
ESM: If you could have done one thing differently with this photo, what would it have been?
Jon Carter: It would have been crazy if I had been standing down on the beach for a different perspective — and I couldn’t imagine being in the water shooting that beast. It would have properly destroyed me!
ESM: What is it about the Outer Banks that produces such beautiful photos?
Jon Carter: I tell you what, it never gets old. It’s the raw energy with our ever-changing weather patterns — and a big part of it is all the good vibes thrown off from all the good people here on the Outer Banks.
ESM: What three photographers have influenced your work the most, and why?
Jon Carter: Hands down #1 is and always will be Mickey McCarthy. He taught me so much and meant the world to me and so many others. He truly inspired me at a young age from the first time I laid eyes on some of his photos. His eye and his angles were amazing, and I always wanted to try and capture some of those same angles. He’ll be dearly missed and I’m gonna miss our talks while shooting so much.
As for other photographers, so many influence me that I can’t name them all. Just on the Outer Banks alone, there’s a handful of talented photographers that I admire — and we all push each other to be better. There’s a lot of respect for each other. One thing I know for sure is, the photographers keep getting younger and younger — or I’m getting older [laughs].
ESM: As a photographer, how do you navigate the challenges and demands of social media and the Internet?
Jon Carter: It’s pretty challenging in this day and age because there are so many avenues and media outlets that it honestly becomes overwhelming. I just try to stay current and post stuff regularly through my Instagram and Facebook pages. You have to keep your audience intrigued — if not, they’ll move on to the next person they’re intrigued by. I like to post other forms of photography aside from surfing, too, and it’s interesting to see how my audience reacts to it. I enjoy shooting just about anything — when I shoot new things, it pushes me to learn something new.
ESM: What would you tell a young photographer looking for advice?
Jon Carter: Just be yourself — shoot things that you love and are passionate about and the rest will follow. Enjoy doing it, always be respectful of others, and always be thankful because we’re blessed to do what we love. One more thing: please don’t set up over another photographer’s shoulder or right in front of them [laughs].
ESM: Amen. Any parting shots?
Jon Carter: Thanks so much to everyone that voted for my photo and to everyone that always shows me support! Thank ESM for this opportunity and for always showing me love and support since day one.