Summer Snapshot: Marcus Paladino

My name is Marcus Paladino. I grew up on Vancouver Island and now live on its western shores in the coastal village of Tofino. I admire the power of the area and the affect it has on the people who call this place home. I capture moments in time that most of our country doesn't even know exists. I draw inspiration from other fields into my work in the hope of it not becoming labelled. Whether it’s people, places or passions, I want simple descriptions like “surf photo” or “nature shot” to fall short. I think that’s when my work becomes art.

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Q & A ...

How long have you been shooting and what inspired you to first pick up a camera?
I started shooting when I was 16 years old (Wow, it’s been 10 years!) and I was inspired by my grade 10 film & darkroom class in high school. I originally took the course because I thought it would be an easy A, I ended up loving it and signed up for back-to-back semesters.

Aside from your camera, what is the most important tool of your trade?

My wetsuit is vital to my work, especially in the winter when I swim with my camera for over three hours. If not for the latest wetsuit technology, I’d probably stick to shooting from the beach.

Do you have any quirky/funny pre or post-water rituals?
When the waves are really big and scary during the winter, before I swim out I’ll unintentionally start to dry heave. It’s more of a nervous excitement, but nothing has ever come out. Yet…

What is your favourite thing about the ocean?
I love how powerful it is. Being in the water or storm watching here is amazing, it just makes you feel small in the grand scheme of things.

What is the most important thing you've learned from the sea? 

Respect it, always.

What do you love about surf photography? 
I love how fast it is! Capturing split second moments that most people don’t know exist is such a rush. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Why do you think people love surf photography?
It’s not a very photo friendly sport. You need a water housing or a really long lens to be able to capture it properly. It’s really unique in that way.

Do you remember your first time surfing?
I do. I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, until I finally popped up on my first wave. I was like “Ohhhh, I get it!” It was such an amazing realization; the work for the reward is definitely worth it.

When the waves are good, how do you decide between shooting and surfing?
Light plays a big roll. I love the hours around sunrise and sunset, that’s my favourite time to shoot. So the weather plays a big factor in my decision-making. It also depends on the surfers. If the people I shoot are really excited to surf, it gets me really excited to capture it!

For someone who is nervous about being in front of a camera, what advice do you have for them? 
Act natural and be yourself. For me, I like to document subjects instead of directing them. I’ve always found that candid moments look better than forced poses. So just relax!

Do you wish someone had captured your first time riding waves and if so, why?
It’s always helpful to see what you look like surfing. You can change your body position or make notes and adjustments for next time. For me, it would have been great to look back and see how far I’ve come in surfing. But for others who might not get a chance to do it again, it would be great to re-live this once in a lifetime experience and have proof that you went surfing in Canada.



Allow Marcus to capture YOUR surf experience...

You'll find him at the beach with camera in hand, snapping memorable moments of your surf lesson with the Long Beach Lodge Surf Club & Adventure Centre. From practicing your paddle on land to catching your first wave, he’s there to capture your day.

At the end of your session, you’ll find a gallery of epic images available for purchase. Choose from single shots or the whole portfolio for your scrapbook. With prices starting at only $20, you’ll head home from your Tofino getaway with an album full of priceless experiences.

Book your surf lesson & photography session today

See more of Marcus Paladino's impressive portfolio or purchase prints at 

Tofino Live