101215_BURKARD_22838I’ve been a fan of his for a while. When I stare at his photographs I can almost feel the wave pounding on him as he sacrifices his body for a killer shot. I can sense the absolute chill as he bobs in the waters of some of the most cold ocean bodies. And I can imagine the incredible sense of accomplishment he receives when he frames and captures the perfect action photograph in the most physically taxing circumstances. When action shots meet colorfully vibrant compositions of art, an applause must be awarded. And today, I’d like to stand and applaud the self-taught photographer and artist, Chris Burkard.

Based in Central Coast California, Burkard’s portfolio is layered by surf, outdoor, lifestyle and travel subjects. His images are punctuated by energized landscapes and moments of bliss, by adventure seeking and the lifestyle that ensues, by movement and intuitive light-working capabilities. With ocean as his main muse, Burkard has consistently captured this subject in timeless and expansive photographic impressions, utilizing the tool of surfing to approach the oceans intricate personality and then extending out to include the human personalities that draw meaning from this same source. Searching for wild, remote destinations and offbeat landscapes, Burkard portrays the humble placement of the human in contrast to nature.

There are many that have expressed a great sense of jealousy for his “office” which clearly possesses some of Mother Nature’s finest work. At the young age of 26, Burkard has established himself as a well-known name in the surf and outdoor industries. With his beautifully packed portfolio, he has driven himself into staff and senior photographer positions. Currently, Burkard serves as the Senior Staff Photographer for Surfer Magazine and also the project photographer for Patagonia and other respected brands. You can also scroll through more inspiring images from his two book projects, The California Surf Project and Plight of the Torpedo People, accompanying Patagonia body surfing film, Come Hell or High Water. With multiple awards and continual awe-inspiring projects, you can see where these jobs have taken him in some of his self portraits below.

“One thing that I believe is crucial in photography is to begin to develop a unique style while shooting. Getting people to see an image and immediately know who took the photo or have an idea that it belongs to a specific artist is the goal. This takes time to develop and it really depends on the individual how they find their own style. Besides constantly shooting to improve your portfolio my best advice in progressing in photography would be to find a professional photography near you, whether they are in an industry you are interested in or not, and try and intern/ assist them in anyway possible. Being exposed to the business side of the industry will give you a huge leg up as you progress in your own photography. Being able to see how a professional handles jobs, and shoots their own photos is a great experience. I also took some art classes in the beginning of my career to learn more about composition and what creates and interesting pieces of art in general. A lot of those basic elements of good art apply to everything from painting to photography. Besides that as you shoot more and more your work will progress and as this happens people will begin to take notice.”

Chris’s favorite gear:

“I shoot a combination of Nikon and Sony gear. My Nikon D300s is my tried and true. It is my workhorse and doubt I would ever part from it. I have been using the NEX-6 &7 though and loving them. They are small and compact and really fit in line with the type of light gear traveling that I try to do. Other than that I try to keep my lens kit pretty simple with a 50mm, 24mm, 70-200mm, 80-400, and a fisheye.”
Equipment Chris never leaves home without:
Gerber Knives
Goal Zero Solar Charging Equipment
Fenix Headlamps
Induro Tripods


For daily inspiration, I encourage you to find Chris on and see more of his portfolio at www.burkardphoto.com.