While shooting a surf editorial in Tahiti, Tim Swallow found awe and hope in Tahiti’s remote pristine waters and abundant plant life. He pieced his journey together in a self-titled digital newspaper called Hirondelle, meaning Swallow in French.
Words and Photography by Tim Swallow
“Its remote location and mostly pristine landscape really gave me a sense of hope for a sustainable future.”
I think Tahiti is one of, if not the most beautiful place on earth (that I’ve visited). The ocean was thriving and the clarity of the water was awe inspiring. The locals’ respect and love for the sea was something to behold and I embraced that, sometimes shooting up to 8 hrs a day in the water.
Its remote location and mostly pristine landscape really gave me a sense of hope for a sustainable future, almost anything planted grows abundantly. One day I was walking along the road and a gust of wind blew a mango off a tree and onto the ground in front of me. I picked it up, split it open and proceeded to eat the best mango I had ever tasted.
Almost everyone outside of the city grows their own fruit and veg. Fish is mostly hand caught and very little livestock is consumed. The local community has strict guidelines on what can be built and who runs local business.
I was also very impressed with the reef restoration project run by Titouan Bernicot, founder of Coral Gardeners in Teahupo’o. He teams up with the local boardriders, tourists and the World Surf League to help combat climate change and preserve these biologically diverse ecosystems.
Whilst in Tahiti shooting a surf editorial I decided to shoot these b-side images. Over time I realized these images were too nice to leave on a hard drive, so I went to print developing a story for Urth Magazine. This one-off newspaper is my depiction of Tahiti's raw beauty. Unfortunately I had a very limited shooting window and felt like I barely scratched the surface.
In saying that, Tahiti left me hungry for more and I feel like I will be back time and time again to bask in its tropical presence.
These images were captured using the following gear:
- Urth UV Filter Plus+ - I use these filters on all my lens to cut UV haze, sharpen images and keep my lens free of scratches.
- Urth CPL Polarizing Filter Plus+ - my personal favorite for cutting ocean glare and enhancing vibrant colours.
- Urth Variable ND2-400 Filter - I use this filter on bright days for a more cinematic approach.
- Urth 1/4 & 1/8 Ethereal Filter - I use to soften images and create a filmic look when shooting digital.
- Urth Norite Backpack - Great all round day backpack with minimal branding for a stealth, fly on the wall approach.
- Urth Norite Medium Camera Insert - The insert allows for organisation on the go and has been made fit the backpack seamlessly.
- Zeolite Tech Organizer x 2 - One I keep my film and filters in and the other I use as a toiletry bay :) So handy for all accessories on the go.
- Urth Camera Straps - I have 2 camera straps and 3 camera fixed witht the quick release pebble fasteners, I interchange straps to cameras all day.
- Shot on a - Nikon D810, Nikon D3s + AquaTech water housing, Nikon F100, Nikon One Touch 90s and Fujifilm 6x4.5.