Last month we hosted our first photo contest with our ambassadors and received a ton of awesome entries from around the globe using the hashtag #mizulife. We’re happy to announce Lee Bertrand as the winner with his shot “Liquid Half Dome”! We were blown away by how much this wave resembled Yosemite’s iconic cliff face, not to mention the epic sunset colors. Awesome shot Lee! We got to know him a little bit better after he won and learn about his background, what he likes to shoot, and how he took this photo.
Use the hasthag #mizulife to join in for the next round!
Let's start with the basics: Where are you from, where do you live, when/how'd you get into photography etc. (anything you'd want people to know about you!)
I grew up in East Hampton, NY. It's a beautiful small town at the east end of Long Island. The Beaches are pristine, and, believe it or not, the waves get really good. Unfortunately the winters also get really cold! In my early twenties, I spent the summer season in my hometown where I worked as an Ocean Lifeguard. During the winter season, I lived in Florida and worked at a golf course. It was during this time I developed a passion for photography. I’ve always had an interest in art and nature. I actually wanted to be an illustrator at one point, but once I got into photography it was clear I wanted to dedicate myself to this craft and pursue it as a career. I moved to San Diego, CA in 2011 where I continued my work in drowning prevention as a full-time Swim Instructor until 2015 when I turned my part-time photography business into a full-time career.
What's your favorite thing to shoot?
My favorite time to be behind the lens is when I am in the ocean! Water photography inspires me in so many ways and it's hard to pinpoint which aspect I like the best. My three main interests are underwater wildlife, ocean art and surf photography.
I love photographing underwater wildlife and each encounter is special. It's always a blessing to see a large predator underwater. To see a shark in its natural environment is a rush and a calming sensation all at the same time. Something that's hard to put into words so I have spent a lot of time documenting it with my camera.
The aspect of creating ocean art is something I truly love. Capturing the beauty and power of the ocean is something that has seemingly endless possibilities.
Lastly, surf photography. Working with someone else to create an image on mother natures terms is always a challenge! It can be really hectic but a perfect surf shot is one worth chasing!
Tell us about this epic Liquid Half Dome shot - were you out there looking for something specific? Or shooting surfing? Where was this taken (if you don't mind telling)?
I created Liquid Half Dome in Ocean Beach, CA. I was actually photographing an up-and-coming professional surfer named Brooke Young. I was using a longer focal length (70mm), the sun was setting and the tide was filling in. There was a ton of water moving around the inside of the reef and it started to get a little wonky so in-between sets I was capturing images of little empty gems. The sunset lit up that night and I created some really rad images of both surf photography and ocean art. It is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world to be in the ocean, camera in-hand, and have the sky light up! Anyway, I edited all of the surf shots first. A few days later I got around to editing the wave images. I was trying to come up with a caption for the image to post it on Instagram. That was when I noticed the wave looked like a waist high liquid version of Yosemite's Half Dome, hence the name Liquid Half Dome.
Where can we see more of your work?
My website is www.leebertrandart.com and my Instagram account is @leebone27. My website has all of my portfolios, fine art prints for sale and stories about my travels. Feel free to subscribe to my email list for discounts on prints and stay informed about upcoming events, shows and artist receptions.