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"Flying Honu" by Clark Little is on display at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point and at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Little won the 2010 Oceans Photography Award and distinction as a Highly Honored Photographer of Endangered Species for his photos of sea turtles.
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Award-winning sea photos on display at Ritz-Carlton


Clark Little is lucky he likes to get tossed around, because that's how he spends most of his days.

Little has been photographing shorebreak waves since 2007, often taking his camera to the foot of large waves on Maui's North Shore where other photographers don't want to go.

"My comfort zone is in the shorebreak," Little said at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel resort in Dana Point, where 20 pieces of his work are hanging throughout the hotel through August.

The free exhibit coincides with one at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Last month, some of Little's photos were hung there after he won the 2010 Oceans Photography Award at Nature's Best Photography magazine's Windland Smith Rice International Awards. The Smithsonian display runs through Sept. 25.

"I get the same fix taking pictures as a surfer would surfing," Little said. "We both see the same tube, but they only get the picture in their mind. I get to share it with people."

One of Little's favorite pieces, called "Twister," is hanging at both The Ritz-Carlton and the Smithsonian. The photo shows small water twisters wrapping around a crashing wave.

"It's a magical wave," said Little, whose photos of waves often are described as "inside-out."

"This is definitely a departure from your normal hotel art," said Deanne French, a Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman.

"Flying Honu," a photograph of a sea turtle diving under a wave, also is in both exhibits. Little was one of six photographers named a Highly Honored Photographer of Endangered Species for his pictures of sea turtles.

Little lives in Hawaii and has a gallery in Laguna Beach. Before becoming a full-time photographer, he worked at a botanical garden. He began shooting shorebreak waves after his wife asked him for a picture of the ocean to hang in their home.

Little's photographs can be viewed in the Ambassador's Hallway at The Ritz-Carlton, immediately on the left as you enter the hotel on the lobby level. They also can be seen on the banquet level (first floor) and at Raya, a restaurant on the third floor.

Parking at the resort is valet only and costs $15.

Contact the writer: blevine@ocregister.com, twitter.com/danapointnews or 949-492-5135

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