The awesome photos of Clark Little
This collection of images are all featured in my book
Shorebreak, and were taken over three years, from 2009-2012. The locations vary from beaches near my home along the famed North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, to breaks in the neighbouring islands, or in Japan, French Polynesia and California.
My speciality is taking pictures from the impact zone, where a wave breaks on the sand or reef. I capture a unique and sometimes dangerous perspective of waves from the inside out, for others to enjoy from the safety of dry land. Being in this position requires a perfectly timed escape out the back of the wave when it breaks, after I’ve pulled the trigger. The danger is real, and a mistake in timing could result in a major injury or worse. Each shot is unique due to the location, time of day, size of wave, tide, wind and other conditions – no two waves are alike! Since I love shooting wildlife, there are also a few shots of sharks and turtles in the series too.
Shorebreak is the second book I’ve published with my team. It was an encore to the first one, The Shorebreak: Art of Clark Little, which we self-published in 2009. We wanted to put together a second book, as we knew there was astrong demand for it and there were so many new photos that weren’t included in the original. With all of the travelling that I was doing, visiting events, photo shoots for corporate campaigns, exhibitions and film screenings, I was amassing a large selection that were taken outside the North Shore. The idea behind
Shorebreak was for a book that captured my life during this period.
None of the areas was specifically chosen, and the largest selection of shots come from the North Shore, five minutes away from my house. The others were all from the travelling that I did for dozens of projects. While at different locations, I would always make a point of jumping in the water and having a few photo sessions. For example, the French Polynesia shots were from a project I did in Tahiti for an Apple campaign.
My main camera back then was a D300 with a DX Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8D fisheye lens, plus a back-up D3 and D200 with AF Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D fisheyes. Each had its own water housing to protect it from the salt water and impact. The only function and button I put onto my housing cases are a trigger for the shutter. Once the focus is set, Itape it so it doesn’t change. When I close the camera housing case, I don’t need to make any changes. With the drive mode set to Continuous High, the D300 takes eight frames per second and the D3 nine frames per second. A wave moves very quickly, so having the ability to shoot in bursts helped me capture the action. Using fisheye lenses enabled me to incorporate as much of the wave as possible, while also including some of the gorgeous backgrounds at the beach, including the shoreline, trees and sunsets.
The image ‘Big Blue’ was selected as the book cover because it captures the North Shore shore break in its finest form. All of the conditions came together for this shot – tide, wind, wave size, sunlight, water and clarity. It’s also one of my bestselling images, and very popular and well known. It was taken around noon, with the sunlight coming through the wave from straight above. This lit up both the wave itself and the sand that’s churned up inside it.
The thing I love the most about these photographs is how they show people a perspective that they could never experience otherwise. Most people can’t stand where I stand to see these waves and experience this side of nature. When I’d captured some of these gems, Iknew, deep inside, that people would be very excited about seeing something new.
1 Chariots of fire
A glassy wave during sunset at The Wedge, California’s famous shore break
2 Oc ean eagle
A Hawaiian green sea turtle behind a breaking wave in the shallow waters
3 Big Blue
A large wave hits a shallow sandbank, sucking sand off the sea floor
A major challenge is avoiding water droplets on the housing’s lens
5 Sun curl
The sun’s rays are perfectly captured in the arc of an early-morning wave
My speciality is taking pictures from the impact zone. The danger is real, and a mistake could result in a major injury or worse