Carolina Surf Brand is always looking to support young talent — on the board and off. We're super excited to partner up with Mike Leech, an up and coming surf photographer out of OBX. This kid's got skills. Check him out on Instagram and read below and get to know him a bit. He's got it going on and has a huge lust for life, and appetite apparently. Keep it up, Mike!
If I tell you I’ll have to kill you. Haaaa JK. For real though...
Where are you from?
Well, I’m originally from Ellicott City, MD but my family has always wanted to live on the Outer Banks. Me on the other hand, I was more of a mountain/snowboarding guy and couldn’t stand sitting on the beach alllllll day long. But after living on the Outer Banks for the summer back in 2017 where I worked as a photographer/videographer at Farmdog Surf School, my family (me included) decided that Maryland was WAY too far from where we knew we were meant to live! We moved to Nags Head almost a year and a half ago! I’m no longer a mountain person!
What got you into photography?
I was homeschooled for pretty much all of my school years. When you are homeschooled, much like public school, there are a certain number of classes you need to take and I needed one more elective. We attended a homeschool co-op where we went to classes one day a week and were given homework to complete by the following week. My mom just told me I was taking the photography class that was being taught by my friend's mom and that I could use my sisters camera. I wasn’t excited about that news at all! I thought it was going to be boring because I was not an artsy person. I just didn’t look hard enough to see the beauty in simple things at the time. Since I had always enjoyed playing in the water and letting the waves crash on me, I decided to take my Go Pro with me into the ocean during the summer of 2016. I ended up with some cool shots and the rest is history.
Since then I haven’t been able to put down my camera! I became obsessed with capturing the beauty of the ocean and sharing it with people.
What’s your favorite place to shoot? Favorite surfer to shoot?
If I tell you I’ll have to kill you. Haaaa JK. For real though, some people are crazy about revealing the location of prime surfing spots! lol But seriously though, anywhere people are surfing and there is a picture to be taken! Favorite surfer? Oooooh geeez that’s hard because everyone has their own style and flair to their surfing — how they take off, their best skill, etc. It really is a hard question! I find myself shooting Jesse Hines, the Raynor brothers, the Turko brothers, and Brett Barley a lot. Great stand up dudes.
Since then I haven’t been able to put down my camera!
What equipment are you using?
I use the Canon 7D Mark II. The 7D is my main camera for surfing and other sports because of its capability to shoot 10 frames per second. For the in-water I use a GoPro Hero 5 Black for video, and the AquaTech housing that holds the 7D mark II for still shots. I have recently been live-streaming on instagram in the water, with an iPhone in a Aquatech Axis Go housing. Last but certainly not least, I use the DJI Phantom 4 drone for all of my aerial stills and videos.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Full time staff photographer at CSB?!
I hate corn because there is no nutritional value and it tastes weird.
Any other info that you’d like people to know! People love to hear about odd behaviors and obsessions if you have any. Haha.
I LOVE sushi style tuna. I hate the sound aluminum foil makes, it used to make me cry when I was a baby. I love food. Princess Bride is life. She’s the Man is a VERY close second. Pineapple DOES NOT belong on pizza. I just bought my first pair of flip-flops. I love food. I play video games. I'm obsessed with spicy stuff and guacamole. If you were to give me baked beans, cole slaw and rice for the rest of my life I’d be happy. Did I mention I love food?? I hate corn because there is no nutritional value and it tastes weird.