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Clark Little Makes Waves in Surf Photography

By Hanssie on June 25th 2014

clark-little-wave-photo-1Having moved to Oahu at a young age, photographer Clark Little has been a surfer nearly all of his life. In the 80’s and 90’s, Little made a name for himself surfing the Waimea Bay shorebreak- waves that break dangerously close to the shore – and coming out of it in one piece. In 2007, his wife asked him to take a picture of the ocean for their wall and since then, his photographs of waves have garnered worldwide recognition.

Describing his photographic vision as trying to capture waves, “inside out,” Little hurtles himself into massive waves and expects to be pummeled by the water. He ties his Nikon D300 and fisheye lens, encased in waterproof housing to his ankle and even brings strobes to capture the perfect shot. The waves are so intense some days that he has to tuck his camera under his arm or curl around it in a fetal position to protect it from being sucked away. But, he loves every moment of it, and the waves he captures are well worth the effort.


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Little has made appearances on national TV shows such as Good Morning America and the Today Show as well as been exhibited in the Smithsonian and published in major magazines. Little has also released a 160 page coffee table book titled, Shorebreak, in which ESPN called him “one of the most visible and respected water photographers in the world.”

Recently, he was the subject of this feature that has almost 2.5 million views:

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To see more of Clark Little’s work, visit his website and Facebook.

CREDITS: All photographs shared by Clark Little are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist

[Video via The Inertia/Additional Info: Daily Mail]

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Terms: #Fisheye Lens

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Graham Curran

    Stunning images.

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  2. Paul Blacklock

    Beautiful shots!

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  3. Dick Raymond

    That man produces some of the Most Awesome photographs I have ever seen! I need to share the video with my friends and family!

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  4. Randy Frum

    One word… Awesome!

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  5. gwenhael appere

    Amazing photos ! This guy is a genius !

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  6. Olivier Bulle

    When I grew up I want to be like Clark Little, fearless and innovative. Respect for “The Wave Man”.

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  7. Judy Griffith

    Amazing and incredible photos!

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  8. Ji Hoon Heo

    It’s amazing how much he goes through to get one photo. Having lived on a beach all my life, it’s brutal especially Pipeline!

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  9. Jared Stewart

    Amazing images. Looks like molten glass…

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  10. Greg Faulkner

    I remember following this guy on instagram years ago. Great photos!

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  11. Tyler Friesen

    Awesome pictures.

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  12. Steve Enoch

    These are some amazing pictures. I wish I could find some waves like that here in Kansas. :)

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    • Brian Stalter

      I think if you find waves like that in Kansas you will have something more serious to photograph. lol

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  13. Jeff Lopez

    “The waves are so intense some days that he has to tuck his camera under his arm or curl around it in a fetal position to protect it from being sucked away.”

    I’m surprised/impressed this is the only method he uses, without some sort of attached line or something I think with a single wave my camera would be history haha.

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    • Hanssie

      Actually, he ties the camera to his ankle as well! I wonder how he attaches his strobe though. But either way, I’m still impressed!

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    • Rambo Estrada

      He attaches his housing to his wrist, not his ankle. Strobe is attached to his housing in it’s own housing. Clark used to get his housings custom made but now uses aquatech housings which produce a flash housing which fits onto their camera housings.

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    • Rambo Estrada

      Also the reason to try and hold onto the camera for dear life is once it gets ripped from your hands it’s still attached to your wrist by a leash so when you’re getting thrown around by a wave underwater it’s highly likely the housing will contact your body. That’s the most dangerous part of shooting in surf. My housing got ripped from my grip recently and hit me on the chin giving me a decent gash.

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