Clark Little, photographer of Hawaii’s natural beauty, can show you just how magnificent the ocean is. Vibrant blues, greens, and sandy browns blend together. Frozen-in-time waves look like glass or pieces of cloud. Little takes these stunning photos from inside the barrels of powerful and dangerous waves.
The longtime resident of Oahu’s North Shore has spent the last 15 years documenting shorebreak waves. Those monster swells roll in from the Pacific and crash directly onto the sand, unobstructed by reefs or shallow water. Little released a book in April called The Art of Waves, featuring more than 150 of his favorite wave photos.
“Shorebreak is so beautiful and scary at the same time,” Little says. “I used to surf the shorebreak, so . . . it’s my comfort zone. I like sand bottom. I think it has more . . . beautiful colors.”
Laird Hamilton is a big wave surfer. He says Little’s photography helps him see the beauty and complexity of the ocean in a way that’s impossible when surfing in the chaotic and big seas he likes.
“His books capture the things about the ocean that make us believe in higher powers,” Hamilton says. The writer of Psalm 89 reminds us who the higher power is: “O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord . . . ? You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.” (v. 8-9)
When he was younger, Little would surf the shorebreak waves, something few people dare to do. But Little says even he gets into trouble in these conditions.
Little isn’t the only one to explore the beauty and danger of waves. You may recognize the woodblock print Under the Wave off Kanagawa, also known as The Great Wave. Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai created the artwork around 1830-1832. This print is one of the most well-known works in the world. It captures the elegance but also the peril of the sea.
Hokusai’s print also helped inspire Claude Debussy’s orchestral composition “La Mer.” (The title means “the sea” in French.) In fact, Debussy even used part of the image on the cover of the score. Debussy had fond childhood memories of visiting the seaside. He incorporated them into his piece, which he composed between 1903 and 1905.
Many other artists, including Ansel Adams and Claude Monet, also take great inspiration from nature. What features of God’s creation might inspire you?
Why? Humans are made in the image of the Creator. As J.R.R. Tolkien put it, we are sub-creators. God’s beautiful world can inspire our own works of art.
Pray that you will glorify God through your art and other work.