Kevin Langeree kitesurfing in Cape Town South Africa on waves

Lens Master – Ydwer van der Heide

Ydwer van der Heide Lens Master gallery

INTRO – We’ve been working with Ydwer van der Heide from Holland for several solid years. Constantly capable of finding new and unique angles where most can only recreate what’s gone before, it’s not surprising he’s had a stack of covers around the world and is in constant demand for private hire by the world’s best riders and their sponsors. We’re sure you’ll enjoy this interview and incredible selection of images that Ydwer has selected for our enjoyment here. 



Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the northern part of The Netherlands.

Where do you live?
Good question hahaha, I don’t really know anymore. I still have a base in The Netherlands but this season I ended up spending most of the time in Cape Town. I don’t really like the winter back home, Cape Town has a nice vibe, good food and many things to do. During January and February it becomes the kiteboard capital of the world. For me a good place to be.

How old are you?

What was your first camera?
I started shooting my first photos with my dad’s camera. I think it was a Nikon F1.

What is your current camera set-up?
Trough the years I ended up with quite a heavy camera bag. Things I always take with me when I travel for a photo trip: Canon 5D MKIII and a Canon 5DMKII as a back-up. 15mm fish-eye, 24mm, 16-35mm, 50mm, 135mm, 70-200mm, 400mm and 1.4 extender. A sturdy Manfrotto tripod is a must for the long lenses. When I started using more flash into action sports photography I added a Elinchrom Quadra and later on also it’s bigger brother the Ranger for more power during daylight. A bunch of memory cards, battery packs and Pocket Wizards to fill up the gaps in the bag. My Aquatech warehousing fits my 5DMKIII and I have a lens port for pretty much all my lenses from fish-eye up to 200mm including a housing form a Canon 580EXII flash. To process my photos I use a MacBook Pro.

How did you get into photography?
Photography somehow came back to me a few times till I actually realized that this was the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My dad played around with photography back in the days. He used to shoot black and white on a large format cameras and developed his own films. At high school we had some introduction classes where we developed and printed our own work in a dark room. This was a really cool thing to do and I think this was the time I got fascinated by capturing the right moment. After high school I finally made the decision to go on with photography. About one or two years later the next passion came into my life. I was always triggered by extreme sports and kiteboarding was the next step. I lived in a place with plenty water and wind. When I met Bas Koole, professional kiteboarder and one of my best mates right now, I stared combining both passions into what my life is now. I truly can say that my daily job is born out of passion.

When did you become a professional photographer?
It’s something that has been growing throughout the years. I know that there was a point where dedicated to it. After a while you have the feeling that you have enough experience to take certain job and that you can guarantee good work to customers. Not sure when I realized that I was a photographer. I don’t think it was after my studies, I’d rather think that it was after a few years and a few jobs.

When did you get into shooting kiting and how did it come about?
My first photo of a kiteboarder must have been around 2005. I know I started shooting a lot with Bas Koole around 2007. I remember the first photoshoot with him at our local spot. I was standing in the water with a camera I borrowed from someone. That was funny, if I look back at it, a lot of stuff could have gone wrong. From that point I was totally hooked with capturing kiteboarding. Bas is still a great rider in front of the camera and trough the years we learned a lot.

Can you remember the first shot you got published?
Not sure what the first shot was. I do remember my first cover on a Dutch kiteboarding magazine. Obviously it was with Bas throwing a kiteloop with a stylish late back roll. It was shot from the water in typical Dutch conditions.

Which is your favourite shot ever?
Trough the years I have a couple of favourite shots. An outstanding shot for me is one of the shots I took last year in Brazil during an Airush photoshoot. We shot it when it at night when it was pitch black, used flashes and moment the moment of the shot was very crucial. It also took a lot of effort from the rider (Oswald Smith). Taking off half a meter later or earlier made a big difference in the composition of the shot. I was happy to see the shot on the cover of Kiteworld #69.

Who is your favourite rider to shoot with and why?
Bas Koole is one of my favourite riders. It’s easy to shoot with him and he’s always in for some experimental stuff. As we worked together so many times, communicating with him is very easy. I like to shoot with people that are extremely passionated in what they do.

Where is your favourite place to shoot and why?
I don’t have one specific place. I’m always looking for new interesting spots.

Where is the most terrifying place you’ve ever shot?
I’m not getting scared to easy, but Mauritius gave me one of those moment I’d never forget. We were shooting in the waves from a boat, at a not well known spot 2km from the shore on an outside reef. An unexpected wave caught us and capsized the boat. All my gear was gone and we had to swim about an hour on open ocean just before sunset till we got rescued. This moment learned me a lot made me respect mother nature more than ever.

Do you have any advice for aspiring kiting photographers?
Do what you love to do. Know your gear and what it can do for you. Try new things and don’t be afraid to fail. Know your subject so you can anticipate. My biggest advantage is that I’m passionated about kiteboarding myself. If you wanted to do it professional, see it as a job. It’s not just shooting, it’s also running a business.

Ydwer is an all-round creative. Please visit his excellent website:

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