manfrotto_interview_081314Manfrotto recently posted an interview I did with them on the School of Xcellence website. I have worked with Manfrotto for quite some time now and in this interview they asked some very interesting questions about my career, a few specific images, and about my workshops and upcoming projects. You can find the interview via the link above.

My thanks to Lisa Furgison and the Manfrotto School of Xcellence for tracking me down and the interview. If you would like to see the Manfrotto gear I use check out the Camera Bag page on my website, which has links to each piece of gear. 


summer_2014_smThe Summer 2014 issue of the Michael Clark Photography Newsletter is now available for download. If you’d like to sign up for the Newsletter just drop me an email and I’ll add you to the mailing list.

This issue includes an editorial about why there was no Spring 2014 Newsletter, a review of the SmallHD DP4-EVF external video monitor, an article my recent expedition in the Amazon with the CauseCentric Production crew for the documentary film Tribes on the Edge, an interview with Peter Dennen of Pedro + Jackie photo consultants, a book review of “The Rise of Superman,” an editorial entitled “Great Advice and Hard Truths,” and much more.

The Michael Clark Photography Newsletter goes out to over 6,000 thousand photo editors, photographers and photo enthusiasts around the world. You can download the Summer 2014 issue on my website at:

If you’d like to check out back issues of the newsletter they are available here.

Please note that the newsletter is best viewed in the latest Adobe Acrobat reader which is available for free at

A few months ago, the popular photography website posted an interview with yours truly entitled, “Getting into the Action with Sports Photographer Michael Clark.” I was traveling non-stop for five weeks when this interview went live but here it is just in case you missed it. To read the entire interview head on over to the website.

This interview covers a variety of topics including: how I got started, how shooting adventure sports is different than shooting “normal” sports, how I prepare for shoots, my favorite sports to shoot, what gear I use and also how I work with video. The interview starts out with the following:

“In sports and action photography, it’s almost always the subject themselves – the athletes – that get all the glory. Rarely do the men behind lens, who in actuality get into the action themselves, get any recognition for the exhilerating shots they capture. So for this month, we here at the Phoblographer are seeking to give the floor to the sports photographers, without whom the best and greatest moments in sports would never be documented.

We recently chatted with sports photographer Michael Clark, whose work has been featured in several photography magazines including Outdoor Photographer and Digital Photo Pro, to get  insights on what it’s like to be an adventure photographer.”


My thanks to Phoblographer and Michelle Rae Uy for the interview and for featuring me on the website.

Dates: February 19-22, 2015

Workshop Leaders: Brian Bielmann and Michael Clark

Location: Turtle Bay Hilton Resort, Oahu North Shore, Hawaii

About The Workshop

Join legendary surfing photographer Brian Bielman and adventure sports photographer Michael Clark for an exciting one-of-a-kind workshop that delves into the world of surfing photography. Brian is a top surfing photographer who has been shooting the sport for more than 25 years. Michael brings his adventure photography skills and knowledge as well as his in-depth experience with digital workflow to round out the workshop.

This 4-day workshop combines daily photo shoots at world-class surfing locations and classroom instruction. We will be spending half of our time shooting in the early mornings and in the late afternoon and evenings when the waves and the light are at their best. The other half of our time will be spent in the classroom. All of the classroom instruction will be centered around image critiques, discussions on gear, strategies and the business of photography as well as in-depth discussions on shooting surfing. We’ll also cover digital workflow in detail using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Version 5.X.

The workshop is scheduled during a period where large waves hit the north shore frequently. Though we cannot predict or guarantee the wave size or surfing conditions, the north shore of Oahu serves up sizable waves on a nearly daily basis.

Workshop Schedule

Day 1 – Morning
Introduction to surfing photography, gear selection, camera setup and shooting options.

Day 1 – Afternoon/Evening
Cover basic digital workflow and then head out to shoot at the world-famous Pipeline on the north shore of Oahu.

Day 2 – Morning
Dawn Patrol: Early morning surfing shoot on the north shore of Oahu – actual surf break to be determined depending on conditions.

Day 2 – Afternoon/Evening
Group critique of previous days images, discussion of underwater photography and shooting from the water. Evening shoot with strobes on the north shore of Oahu – actual surf break to be determined depending on conditions.

Day 3 – All Day
Dawn Patrol: Early morning surfing shoot on the north shore of Oahu – actual surf break to be determined depending on conditions.

Day 3 – Afternoon/Evening
Group critique of previous days images, portrait shoot on the beach with male and female surfers.

Day 4 – Morning
Dawn Patrol: Early morning surfing shoot on the north shore of Oahu – actual surf break to be determined depending on conditions.

Day 4 – Afternoon
Group critique of previous days images, wrap up and discussions on the art of surfing photography.

Please note that locations may change depending on conditions.

About the Instructors

Brian Bielman is a legendary surfing photographer. He has shot everything from fashion, to rock stars, to surf. From world champ surfers Mark Richards to Andy Irons, he has captured them all and just about everything else important that has happened on Hawaii’s North Shore since 1975. He was there to document the early days of Teahupo’o (Tahiti) and put a fresh perspective on it ten years later with his underwater images. He is well known for not only his above water surfing images but even more for his stunning underwater images of surfing. Able to shoot more than just the action Brian also captures the spirit and faces of surfing. You can see more of Brian’s work at

Michael Clark is an internationally published outdoor photographer specializing in adventure sports, travel and landscape photography. He produces intense, raw image of athletes pushing their sports to the limit and has risked life and limb on a variety of assignments to bring back stunning images of rock climbers, mountaineers, kayakers and mountain bikers in remote locations around the world. He contributes to National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Men’s Journal, Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photo Pro, Climbing, Alpinist, Rock and Ice, Bike Magazine and The New York Times among many others. You can see Michael’s work at

The Cost
The cost of this workshop is $1,295.00 per person. The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography and participating in the workshop, or not. A deposit of $500 is required to secure your spot on the workshop. Final balance will be due no later than January 15, 2015.

Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions, such as bad weather, may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserve the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary.

The classroom portion of the workshop will be held at the Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore of Oahu. We have negotiated a group rate that is discounted from their advertised prices. To receive the discounted rate, please mention the Surfing Photography Workshop. Please note that there are few if any other hotels on this side of the island. If you would prefer to stay elsewhere there are also hotels in Haleiwa, which is 12 miles south of the hotel and approximately a 30 minute commute.

Most major airlines service the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Honolulu, the major city on the island is approximately one hour south of the north shore and our hotel. The Turtle Bay Reset is located on the northern tip of Oahu and is somewhat remote. The hotel has a restaurant, golf course, tennis courts and of course is located right next to the beach.

We do not provide transportation during the workshop. Please plan ahead and reserve a rental car. Rental cars are available in Honolulu. Of course, we will share vehicles and car pool to make life easier for all of us. We are not responsible for reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets in the event of a workshop cancellation.

Workshop Materials
All participants will be given a copy of Michael’s e-book entitled Adobe Photoshop Lightroom:
 A Professional Photographer’s Workflow, which details his complete workflow from start to finish.

You will need to bring the following equipment with you:
• a 35mm digital SLR camera with interchangeable lenses
• a laptop computer with a USB memory key, DVD or external hard drive. Instructors will be using Apple Computers.
• Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software installed on your computer (you can download the 30-day trial version of Lightroom before the workshop if you don’t already have the software.)
• Digital memory cards with a card reader (preferably CompactFlash or Secure Digital Cards)
• power adapters and cables for laptop and digital camera
• camera manual
• batteries and charger for rechargeable batteries

It is expected that you know how to download images from your camera to the laptop, know basic editing techniques using your software, and are able to organize the edited images for critique.

Telephoto Lenses and Underwater Camera Housings
Also since surfing photography relies on large telephoto lenses, each participant will need to bring a telephoto lens that is at least 400mm. A 500mm or 600mm lens is preferred. If you don’t own one of these lenses please rent or borrow one to bring with you. Please contact Michael or Brian with any questions about lens selection and rental options. Both B&H and Samy’s Camera in the USA have rental houses that can rent these lenses. We also have a special deal with Hawaii Photo Rental Oahu who have 500mm and 600mm lenses for both Canon and Nikon and will be renting these to workshop participants at discounted rates ranging from $323 to $550. Call Josh Strickland at Hawaii Photo Rental Oahu at (808) 735-3838 for more information on renting one of these lenses.

Also, if you plan to shoot in the water please bring your underwater camera housing. Brian has several underwater housings for Canon cameras and will have these available for those that want to try them out.

If you’ve always wanted to shoot the amazing sport of surfing, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop. When they’re spoken for, that’s it. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to To register for the workshop send me an email and I’ll send you a payment request for the deposit and a packet of information about the workshop.

I am honored to announce that one of my images, shown above, was recognized in the 2014 Photo District News (PDN) Great Outdoors Photography Contest as one of the top adventure images of 2014. The image was the runner up in the “Outdoor Sports & Activities” category. It was created in January 2013 in Ouray, Colorado at the Ouray Ice Park with ice climber Dawn Glanc.

My thanks to the judges including Amy Silverman (Outside), Gaston Lacombe (ILCP), Keith Jenkins (National Geographic), Grant Ellis (Surfer Magazine) and Jon-Paul Harrison (Tandem Stills + Motion) for choosing to include my image alongside those from my peers Keith Ladzinski and Jimmy Chin. And of course, my thanks to PDN for putting on this photo competition and including my image in the latest issue of PDN and on their website.

  • Johna225 - Awesome article post.Thanks Again. Much obliged. ekbkedgdeecd

With the introduction of the Nikon D810, I have gotten quite a few emails from folks wondering what my thoughts are on the new camera. Having taught several workshops on “how to get the most out of your Nikon D800,” and having written a glowing review of the D800 in my Spring 2012 Newsletter a few years ago, I am not surprised by the emails. Hence, to save me time responding to quite a few e-mails I thought I would work up this blog post and go on the record.

Since I haven’t actually shot with this camera, please keep in mind that my thoughts on the new D810 are sheer speculation. One thing I am sure about is that the D810 is going to be a stellar camera and includes some excellent updates to the already phenomenal D800 and D800E. Should you upgrade to the D810? Well, I am not going to advise anyone on this question here. The D800 and the D800E are still excellent cameras and will be for some time to come. The D800-series cameras, in my mind, were future-proof to some degree when they came out. Hence, I will leave the question of whether or not you need to upgrade your camera to you and your wallet.

The D810 definitely has some new features that make it a more useful camera than the D800. I won’t list the full specs here in this blog post as there are plenty of sites [check out DP Review's hands-on preview] that have given a full description of the new camera. Among the new capabilities that interest me the most are the faster framing rates for still photography: 5 fps in full frame (FX mode) and 7 fps in DX crop mode. As a sports photographer, the framing rate was always a sticking point for me with the D800, which is why I also own the Nikon D4. Seven frames-per-second in DX mode is respectable. That framing rate along with the DX mode would be very useful when shooting surfing, where having a longer reach with my Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 VRII lens, without having to use a tele-convertor, would be a bonus. If there is a compelling reason for me to upgrade, the framing rate alone might push me over the edge.

Other new features that grabbed my attention are the new Group Area AF, the flat picture control for video, the zebra stripes feature in Live View for video, and the redesigned shutter and mirror mechanism. There are also some very useful video features that have been upgraded in the D810, like being able to use Auto-ISO to smooth out lighting changes while recording. All of these new features are notable upgrades that will help make a great camera even better. Image quality wise, I am sure the new D810 is slightly better than the D800E, but from what I can tell, and reading what others have said, this is a matter of splitting hairs. The D800 and D800E still have stellar image quality. I am sure the D810 will set a new standard but the image quality difference isn’t enough to make me upgrade sight unseen. Don’t get me wrong, even though this is an incremental upgrade to the Nikon D800-series, there is a lot more here to get excited about than there was with the D4s.

As of yet, I have not placed a pre-order for the D810. My D800 is working just fine for most of what I do. If anything, at some point I will add a D810 to my kit and hold onto my D800 and D4. The D4 is still my main camera for low-light situations and sports photography. It is an incredible camera. I only wish it was a 24 MP camera that shot at 8 or 9 fps. As for the D800-series, no matter which D800 version you have, it is still the best camera I have ever used in my entire career. It is unmatched by any other DSLR on the market, for now. If Nikon had included 4K video in the D810 I would have already placed a pre-order. We’ll have to wait for 4K video in the D900 down the road. Here’s hoping it includes raw video capture in full 4k.

For more information on the Nikon D810 check out the full specs and sample photos and videos on the Nikon website. You can pre-order the Nikon D810 through B&H Photo & Video.

While teaching a photography workshop in Los Angeles recently, I photographed the Walt Disney Concert Hall, along with the workshop participants, on a cloudy morning in downtown LA. As it turns out, the optimum conditions for photographing the concert hall are dark, cloudy days, as can be seen by the images in this blog post. I felt like a kid in a candy store while photographing this incredible building. As many of you know, I don’t fancy myself as an architectural photographer, but with this building it was incredibly easy to get phenomenal images, especially abstract architectural images.

I will say that these images were heavily processed. I created a dark and eerie mood with the processing, which is a bit darker than it actually was when I photographed these buildings but the tone I set in the processing seemed fitting for the building. The concert hall has to be one of the most interesting architectural wonders in the United States. It has been photographed a lot, and many of the images created of this concert hall have won awards in the photo industry. My images were nothing more than a personal experiment. I have wanted to photograph the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles for a long time, and I have even shot it before this excursion, but never with the right conditions.

Taking the time to create photos for myself is always a luxury. I am usually on deadline and under pressure to come up with images the client needs, or what I really aim for are images that leave the client speechless. The hour and a half I spent in downtown Los Angeles photographing this building, along with the participants, was just sheer fun and they all got stellar images as well. To see more images visit the Disney Concert Hall web gallery on my website.

All of these images were shot with a Nikon D800 so that they can be blown up as enormous prints. If you would like a print of any of these images please contact me.

  • Richard Khanlian - Nice work, Michael! The Disney Hall invites being photographed from so many angles, but these are some of the best shots I’ve seen.

  • Karen Novotny - I love these shots. Have to go back to look at what I did 8 years ago and see if I have anything that I still like. Beautiful perspectives.