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Giant waves on the idyllic island of Hawaii

Giant waves

As autumn draws to a close and the Pacific waves grow into towering walls of water, Hawaiian photographer Clark Little gears up for the best time of the year. Risking his own life, he grabs his camera and dives into the giant waves on the idyllic island of Hawaii – resulting into some pretty amazing photographs.

Diving into walls of water
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Big Picture Hawaii 03 Profile

Clark Little has been living on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii since he was two years old. His photography career began in 2007, and his spectacular photos have already earned him dozens of awards and many magazine covers. Clark has his own gallery in Haleiwa and has published two books full of breathtaking photography.

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Mountainous bone crushers

These waves look almost serene but they can be pretty dangerous. Clark says: “I always make sure I can escape through the back of the wave. If I get hit by the front of the wave, I could end up with several broken bones. I chose this picture for the cover of my latest book because the image really captures the essence of my photography.”

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Magical reflections

Clark shoots most of his pictures inside or in front of a wave, but sometimes he likes to experiment: “Everything changes when you're underwater. This photo was taken behind the wave, below the surface. Without any wind, the water becomes crystal clear, resulting in spectacular reflections. The curl of the wave stretches out the palm trees, creating a distorted image.”

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Flashing timing

This strong composition was no lucky coincidence: “After 40 years of experience I know exactly when the tunnels form. I time my dive right down to the exact moment so I can just grab those few seconds when the tunnel forms.” Clark also used a flash in this picture: “Later in the afternoon, it gets darker, so I often use a flash. Otherwise the wave gets too dark.”

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Life underwater

Sometimes Clark encounters unusual animals, such as this endangered Hawaiian green sea turtle (honu): “When the ocean is calm and the waves are less spectacular, I go underwater to look for marine life.” He has also photographed sharks: “But for those I have to go deeper out into the ocean. They are truly beautiful animals!”

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