Working on Vacation: Ryan Taylor’s Kiteboarding Shoot in Grand Cayman

Ryan Taylor

Vacations are a necessity. We all work hard and deserve some time off. While my non-photographer friends would tell me that it is a time to put down the camera, I see it as an opportunity to do the opposite. I often take vacations as not only a break from work but also a break from some of the creative “confinements” that I find myself in sometimes. Don’t get me wrong; I love the collaboration process between the client and me, but sometimes there isn't the free time to take photos for myself. I try not to overthink it and keep concepts or ideas light. For example, I might want to shoot more landscapes, explore different techniques such as panoramas, or play with my GoPro more. On this particular trip, I knew I wanted to shoot kiteboarding. I was traveling to Grand Cayman with my family and knew it was a hot spot for riding.


I called a few contacts through wakeboarding and eventually got in touch with a brand’s team manager. He was able to get me in touch with a couple pros in the area, and I lined up a couple shoots. The first night I shot with Brandon Bowe and Amy Stralko. Brandon is an up-and-coming rider, and his enthusiasm to shoot was awesome. He was able to help me out with anything I needed (a boat to get out to the reef, an extra set of hands to hold flashes, etc.). We shot a good couple hours into the sunset. It was Amy’s birthday that day, so she had to leave early to celebrate; we made plans to shoot the next morning.

Early the next day, my wife and I drove to the other side of the island where Amy lives. We met Amy on a beautiful sandy beach among some mangroves. She admittedly had a bit of a rough start due to the celebrations the night before, but after one hard fall she was back into it. From that moment on, we worked on a few different shots, and she even learned a couple new tricks within the session.

After that, the wind died down and we were able to enjoy some real time off. I got to spend time with my family, do some diving, and I even had the chance to get some riding in myself. In the end, I was able to get a few of the photos published, so all in all it was a very successful vacation. I left the trip feeling refreshed both physically and creatively, which was great considering the next job started immediately upon returning to the States.

Kiteboarding Ryan Taylor

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