Riding the wave of photos

Photographer Clark Little turned a hobby into a new profession and is opening up a local gallery.

August 05, 2010|By Ashley Breeding
  • Hawaii's Clarke Little, in his new Laguna Beach gallery, shows the technique he uses with his waterproof camera to capture brilliant inside the wave images of Hawaii shorebreaks.
Hawaii's Clarke Little, in his new Laguna Beach… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

When Clark Little captured his first photo of a large shorebreak wave on Hawaii's North Shore just more than three years ago, the Oahu resident never dreamed he would one day become a world-renowned photographer.

"My wife just wanted some art for our bedroom wall, and asked me if I could take some pictures in the ocean," Little recalls. "I'd surfed these waves for years and thought 'yeah, I can do that.'"

At that moment, the former supervisor of a botanical garden would discover a rare and beautiful talent that would soon pull his life in an entirely different direction, ultimately landing him features in magazines like National Geographic and Nikon World, and even an appearance on Good Morning America.

"The ocean is my second home, so I just fell in love with the hobby," he said. "I may take a beating — sometimes getting thrown 30 feet up the beach — but it's all worth it to see those image later.


"Actually, I really enjoy it."

Now, after returning from recent shows in Japan and Brazil, Little has opened his first gallery in Laguna Beach at 550 S. Coast Hwy Unit 4.

"It's a dream for me to open a gallery where people can come and see my work," Little said. "I'm especially excited to be in Laguna where the beaches are beautiful, the streets are busy and people have an appreciation for what I do."

The space features limited-edition pieces on Plexiglas and aluminum (for a translucent effect). They include "Marlin," which captures the collision of waves and creates a glass sculpture-like image in the foreground against an orange sunset; "Sand Monster," which shows a crystal-clear wave sucking up sand from the shore; and a "Gold Nugget" sunset shot through the barrel.

His portfolio has recently expanded to include sea life like turtles and dolphins.

"It's endless what you can do, and I'm always looking for something new. If it's in the ocean, I'm going to try to capture it," he said.

Images are also available on canvas and in glossy, luster or giclée prints, as well as on greeting cards, postcards, a calendar and collector's and signed limited editions of his book, "The Shorebreak Art of Clark Little," which features more than 100 photos.

Little said he was in the waves of Aliso Creek and Sleepy Hollow with his Nikon D300 within minutes of arriving in town, and hopes to put together a show of his work in Laguna Beach in the near future.

"Being able to capture these images on beaches around the world, that not many people are able to get, is a real treat," he said. "To see the excitement on peoples' faces when I share these images with them that they would otherwise never see makes me really happy."

For more information, including gallery hours, call (949) 715-6897. For more information about Little's work, visit

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