by LINDA FRABL | photos by Soul of Photography

Oceanic Photographer

Many of us who live in San Diego delight in its awesome beaches, getting our thrills from the waves, the sand, and the overall surf scene. Those wonderful seaside memories make us wish we could capture those moments forever, and indulge in them even when we’re away from the ocean’s pull. Clayton Burns, a 16-year-old Encinitas born-and-bred beach aficionado, has indeed found a way to permanently capture the essence of the ocean through his photography.

It was during his freshman year at La Costa Canyon High School that Clayton discovered his skill with a lens. While enrolled in a photography class, he entered one of his prints in the Del Mar Fair’s photography contest, and placed second overall. He recalled, “I got my first camera for my birthday when I turned 14, and I’ve since upgraded to a Canon 7D. During the summer of 2012, I worked almost every day to save up for my camera, my fisheye lens and my water housing, and I have been shooting ever since.” Clayton also acquired his GoPro camera by winning a KPRI radio station contest for photography.


The vibe at Seaside Reef is what motivates Clayton’s urge to photograph. He proclaimed, “I go to Seaside Reef almost every day to get in the water, whether it be to shoot, to bodysurf, to surf or to hang out. It is my favorite spot to shoot pictures because there is a lot of diversity, and you can sit in the channel on big days.”

Clayton cites professional photographer Chris Burkard as a major inspiration. Clayton exclaimed, “His landscapes and water shots are out of this world. He travels to the most remote places in search of waves, and my hope is to also do that one day.”

Upon graduation, Clayton of course wants to become a professional surf photographer, but in the meantime this high school junior indulges in his other studies, especially his Surf PE class. Clayton admitted, “It is my favorite class. We meet at Moonlight Beach every other morning, and it’s fun to get in the water before school with my friends.” When he is not at school or taking breathtaking oceanic photos, Clayton loves to surf, bodysurf and snowboard. He also enjoys frequently updating his website and Instagram site. Feel free to check them out: Clayton’s Instagram is claytonburnsphoto, and his website is

Meet Clayton

Name: Clayton Burns (16)clayton03
School: La Costa Canyon High School
Grade: 11
Parents: David and Susi
Siblings: Lindsea (24) and Emily (18)