Through the strategic use of color, low powered flash, and slightly slow shutter speeds, water photographer Matt Clark‘s stunning photographs of breaking waves and surfers communicate his deep love affair with the sea and evoke powerful emotions in viewers. Gaze long enough, in fact, and Clark’s work might just wreck any negative preconceptions that you might hold about the sea:
Clark created the image at 1/2500 of a second and f/2.8 using his Canon 5DS camera, 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens, and a low powered flash—all of which he protected from water damage with a custom-designed SPL Waterhousings camera unit.
Like all great art, creating “Polychrome Wave” required much of Clark. In total, his gear weighs more than 10 pounds, and since he shoots from the water and not from atop a board, he threw his back as he swam through the breaking surf. Additionally, Clark said it took him “months of attempts” to finally get the perfect raw shot.
He then processed the photograph in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC until it fit his ultimate vision for the project.
“I have an intimate relationship with the surf,” Clark wrote via Reddit. “It’s absolutely incredible and totally satisfying. I’ve been surfing for almost 20 years here in New York and people often ask, ‘How can you shoot photos when the waves are so good?’ The answer to that is that I’ve been an artist of sorts since I was a kid. So [I’m an] Artist first, surfer second… I [try to] capture the detail of a breaking wave and play with light and shutter speeds to create movement.”