Wax On, Wax Off: Surf Photographer Carl Steindler

Categories: Wax On, Wax Off

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Photos by Carl Steindler
Mike Dunphy, Zihuatanejo

Orange County resident and 26-year-old surf photographer Carl Steindler's work has mostly appeared in Transworld, where he has worked for the past two years as a photographer and editor. He landed the job after interning at the magazine for a year while he was still in college. Carl recently moved from Laguna Hills, the town of his upbringing, to San Clemente after getting married in September. Besides Transworld, his work has appeared in a number of international mags this year.

Steindler answered a few questions about his career, his photography and Orange County . . .

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Jamie O'Brien, The Wedge

OC Weekly: When and how did you get into photography?

Carl Steindler: I was really into video all through high school. I used to take a video camera on little trips, surf trips, family stuff and make these little videos. I went to UCSB and double majored in poli sci and visual arts . . . and I took a photo class as part of my required classes to graduate. . . . I fell in love with photography, the dark room, all of it.

You were the only Orange County native to become a finalist for the Flame award this year, right?

Yes, that's correct.

Since South Orange County was Flame's home and his canvas, do you see yourself as working in that tradition?

I never met Flame, but I guess I do see myself as following in his footsteps in terms of [showcasing] when the best waves hit our coast, getting the best surfers on the best waves here, just showing Southern California as the epic surf culture that it is. . . . I mean I love Salt Creek, and that was Flame's spot. It's like a little photo studio. There are so many angles . . . from land, or from water. . . .

An older photographer told me . . . that Flame used to have all these wind chimes hanging at different parts of his house. When the wind would come through and blow the wind chimes a certain way, he'd know it was offshore at Salt Creek. Even when the waves are huge, if the wind's not right or the tide's not right, you can't get the shot. That's what keeps me going, the never-ending battle to get that perfect shot.

Describe your favorite photo, or maybe tell us a bit about your technique or artistic approach in general.

I'm into progressive moves and progressive surfing. Not necessarily stuff that's super pretty, like sunsets or whatever, but rather someone blowing a huge air with a huge rotation. . . . And I love sequences.

What's coming up for you?

I'll be going to Hawaii after thanksgiving, 'til December 10th. I also wanted to do a trip to the Great Lakes to capture freshwater surfing.

Where else can we see your work, other than Transworld, of course?

My website has alot of stuff. And some international stuff, like Waves Mag out of Australia, Surf Europe, Surf Portugal . . .

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Nat Young, Troncones



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