Out of Focus - Ocean moments with Warbey

“It's not even just everything on land that you leave behind, it's a break from yourself too.”
Do you have a ‘yes’ friend? One of those people that emanates so much positive energy that they inspire you to get up at the crack of dawn for the first activity of the day. If you don't have a ‘yes’ friend, I’d recommend finding one and embrace life with them as much as you can. The world through a positive lens, is a world worth living in, and one I am lucky enough to enjoy, thanks to my dear friend James Warbey. He is the ‘yes’ man and he also captures the world through his very beautiful lens.  
It is 6am and we’ve met for a chat, just as the first light breaks the darkness on a particularly icy spring morning. ‘Dawnies' as surfers label them, are Warbey’s time to come alive. If anyone can get you up for an early morning ocean session and smile about it, it’s Warbey. Warbey and I share an affinity for early mornings, the times when we're awake while the rest of the world slumbers.The sunrise moments in the sea tend to frame a positive energy for my day ahead, but Warbey likes to take it one step further, by capturing them on his camera. In homage to our 10am work club at JAM, that’s founded upon winning the morning, we decided to share some of the wisdom from an expert, who rarely misses a morning. We hope he inspires you as much as he does us... Here’s what he had to say;
Could you give me an overview of how you got into photography in the first place and what keeps you interested? 
I’ve always had an interest in surf magazines, surf photography and I was into bodyboarding growing up. I lived in London for a good stint of my adult life but was in Cornwall often. When I moved down, I used to sit at Porthmeor and watch Jayce (local surfer) doing crazy big manoeuvres, turns and airs and there was rarely a photographer there to capture it. So it was this combination; the initial interest in the surf magazines and noticing an absence of surf photographers capturing these moments at that time. It led me to buy a camera, I went on YouTube and taught myself how to shoot and then in the first 6 months I was published in Carve. I came into it all really late, but there was good support around me. Particularly the editor of Carve, Sharpy, he’s an absolute legend and was so generous with all his knowledge, he’s just magic and so open with that information. I mean these days there are so many photographers but I believe that we are better and stronger together.
What keeps me interested is that you sort of always have these shots in your mind that you have not yet caught, and I guess capturing those is always something that keeps you going back. 
What is it about the dawn that drags you out of bed on freezing cold winter mornings? 
I think it's the unknown, that you never know what you're going to see. I don't think i’ve ever done a dawny that hasn’t been great or hasn’t made me feel better, even when it's freezing and you do get out with numb hands and feet, you can't really speak properly from being wind battered. Even those grey mornings and you look and wonder if it's worth it, often those are the mornings where the sky just explodes with colour, and you never know until you get in the water. The reality is, it's never not good. 
Is there a particular feeling that you are chasing when you get in the water? 
Freedom from yourself maybe, in a weird way. You don’t think when you are in the water, life is pretty hectic and in there I'm just floating around. I'm looking for moments to capture, but I'm not always shooting, sometimes I put the camera down.
It's about escaping reality and just emerging yourself, sometimes it's just you and the fisherman, the boats, the birds, the fish and the dolphins. What more can you ask for? 
It's not even just everything on land that you leave behind, it's a break from yourself too. 
Is there a special moment during your time as a photographer that stands out? 
The Dolphin. It was the first dawnie that I had done in a long time and I was with my friend Pumps and an author, Will. Conveniently he was writing a book called 'The Draw of the Sea'. It was the perfect, glassy morning and all of a sudden there was a fin coming towards us. At first it was pretty terrifying and I completely forgot I had a camera for a second. Once the dolphin had come and gone, I suddenly remembered I'm a photographer, I should have shot that. Luckily for me he came back. It was magic. 
I can still think of that and get that feeling of pure enjoyment, I think I was on a high for about a month after it. The fear and excitement are so intrinsically linked and it was cool to experience that. 
If you had any advice for budding photographers what would it be? 
Shoot for yourself, when I'm in the sea I'm just shooting for myself and creating things that I think I would like. Don't back yourself into a box, it's okay to be a jack of all. I do all sorts now and I don't see much point in just boxing yourself in too much. 
What do you think it is about the water, cold water in particular that is beneficial to you and everyone? 
I'm no Whim Hoff and I don't know the exact science, but again I think it goes back to that escapism. For me its the mental side of it, it feels like a reset. I enter in a bad mood, but the shock to the system just causes me to not think of it all. You are just in that moment trying to remember to breathe, taking those breaths. Lucky for me I get to capture some of those epic moments. It's just a big ball of positive energy. 
Most ocean lovers will tell you of a moment, mid surf, swim or staring out to the horizon, when time seems to stand still. There is a potency about the water element that helps us transcend reality, and in my experience the more time you devote to it, the more frequently you’re filled with joy. Warbey captures these moments through his art and when I look at his water images, just for a second I'm transported to those early morning feelings of juxtaposed chaos and calm. We can’t always make it to the sea before work (I realise this is modern luxury), but sometimes just an image and the nostalgia are enough and for that I thank my ‘yes' friend Warbey, for never missing a morning.
His message is clear; get yourself into nature, lose yourself in it, and find freedom from ‘yourself'. If you can inspire others to do the same, you win twice. For those of you who can’t make it in the water everyday, but know how good that feeling is, there’s always Warbey’s art...