Dan Merkel

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Dan Merkel Photographer

Emmy Award-winning Dan Merkel has been one of the sport of surfing's legendary lens men for 30+ years.

Highly esteemed water cinematographer and photographer Dan Merkel is well known around the world for classics Surf Nazis Must Die (1987), Big Wednesday (1978) and Free Ride (1977).
Gruff and disciplined surfing cameraman from Southern California, best known for the high-impact still photography he shot for Surfing magazine in the ’70s, and as the primary water photographer for 1977’s era-defining surf film Free Ride. “They were intent on reinventing the sport,” Nick Carroll later wrote of the Free Ride surfers. “Dan was as competitive as they were—and just as good at what he does”.
Source: https://www.eos.surf/encyclopedia/merkel-dan

Dan Merkel broke into the world of surf photography more than 30 years ago, at a time when pro surfers like Rabbit Bartholomew, Shaun Thomson, Mark Richards, Gerry Lopez and Buttons Kaluhiokalani were taking the sport to a new level of competition and international attention. A top surfer himself, Merkel had the stamina and skill to get in the midst of the action while working with the cumbersome cameras that were available at the time. Merkel adapted a waterproof housing first developed by fellow surf photographer George Greenough, experimented with gear driven glass housings that allowed him to follow focus, and later went on to design splash housings for the Photo-Sonic brand.urf star Shaun Thomson tells PDN writer Kristina Feliciano, “There were a lot of surfing photographers around who were really great at capturing the action, but [Merkel] captured the action, and he captured the interaction between us and each other and the environment.”

Thomson is the author of the new book on surfing’s glory days, Bustin’ Down the Door, which features dozens of Merkel’s images from the Seventies. In the 1970s, Merkel moved into cinematography. He became an Emmy-winning filmmaker, with the classic surf movies Free Ride and Big Wednesday among his credits. These days Merkel, 62, is not resting on his laurels. He licenses his images through AFrame Media and markets his prints through his website. He spends most of his time traveling and, when he picks up a still camera, it’s usually to shoot panoramic landscape photos- -mostly travel shots, often taken near the ocean. Likewise, he approaches panoramic photography with the same perfectionism and ambition that catapulted him to the top echelon of surf photography.

Anyone who knows Dan knows that he is always looking for a challenge. A year after surfing had its turning point in 1975, Merkel had one of his own when he began shooting his first film. Free Ride, released in 1977 and directed by Bill Delaney, became an instant classic. It was a challenge,” says the self-taught cinematographer, but like anything else that has to do with water and action, Dan approached his film work with the same perfectionism and ambition that elevated him to the top echelon of surf photography.

Source: https://www.kuliana-edition.com/pages/bios




Flotsam International Masters Of Surf Launch
2024 exhibition music panel

Flotsam International Masters Of Surf Launch

Fri, May 3

1:00 pm — 5:00 pm

Kirra Beach House

Flotsam International Masters of Surf Exhibition
free event
2024 exhibition

Flotsam International Masters of Surf Exhibition

Tue, May 7

9:00 am — 4:00 pm

Kirra Hill Community and Cultural Centre