Steven Clarey: Where the action is

Where the action is


Steven Clarey is an extreme sports filmmaker and photographer, as well as a rollerblader, bodyboarder and self-confessed technophile. In February, he made a trip to Mozambique to test the LUMIX GH5 in a surfing shoot with professional surfer Dion Agius.

The beauty of 6K photo is that I can make sure the image I extract is the perfect moment, when everything comes together in the composition.

LUMIX GH4 with Leica 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 shot at ISO 1600 1/250 sec f/5.4

He discovered his passion for photography during his Film & Media course at the University of Wales Trinity St David. ‘I was quite late at starting with photography. During my study, I borrowed a camera from the university and shot a film of my mates surfing. It really felt true to me, I loved it.’

From filming and photographing his mates, he gradually progressed to other extreme sports. ‘It felt like a logical progression. A lot of my friends do extreme sports, like skiing or rollerblading. I used to rollerblade myself and I also bodyboard. So I know a lot of people doing extreme sports. That’s how I came in contact with brands that associate themselves with these kinds of sports.’ Steven explains his success: ‘It’s all about just being there, putting your work in front of people, being at the right place at the right time. It’s also really important to be positive. I see the good in everything and always try to think in terms of solutions.’

I used an underwater housing for this shot, but the compact nature of the GH5 meant it was still easy to handle in the tide.

LUMIX GH5 with LUMIX 7-14mm f/4.0 shot at ISO 200 1/1600 sec f/5.6


A positive view on things really helps in the hectic world of surfing photography. ‘The weather in Wales is really dynamic. One moment it’s sunny and the next it’s pissing down with rain. In addition to the weather conditions, the sport is very dynamic as well. No two waves are the same. However, to get the best shots you have to be able to predict where the next wave is going to be. At the same time you have to foresee what the surfer is going to do. So, there are quite a lot of challenges with this kind of photography. One of them being shooting surfers. They aren’t the most organised people in the world!’

LUMIX GH5 with LUMIX 7-14mm f/4.0 shot at ISO 200 1/320 sec f/5.6


The trip to Mozambique was special for Steven. ‘It was the first time I really visited Africa. I was truly amazed by Mozambique, with its rich culture, friendly and helpful locals and diverse marine life. It’s experiences like these that make you grow as a person. Especially the children we met during the trip: during one shoot some children were standing on a bridge, carrying bottles filled with fish. They were very interested in what we were doing. I told them I used to catch fish too. It’s nice to share stories.’

LUMIX GH5 with Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 shot at ISO 200 1/1600 sec f/4


The trip became even more adventurous when cyclone Dineo hit Mozambique. ‘The roof of the hotel was blown off. Our rental car was also damaged. Luckily we were all right.’

On location, some of the best shooting opportunities happen after dark, so it was great to have a camera that could capture the essence of a moment whenever it hit.

LUMIX GH5 with Leica 12mm f/1.4 shot at ISO 1600 1/2 sec f/1.4


Steven has been working with LUMIX cameras for three years now. ‘Back in 2014 I needed something for both stills and video. The video needed to be broadcast quality. The GH4 ticked all the boxes. It’s good for stills as well as video. The GH5 got some incremental improvements, for example, the 5-axis stabilizer. This makes it much easier to keep it steady and avoid missing fleeting moments.’ The Nimar underwater housing enables Steven to shoot in the water, close to the action. ‘It’s a very solid housing. The company is made up of a small team of people. They really listen to what you need or want from their products.’

Shooting this hand-held in low-light with a long lens just goes to show how well the Dual Image Stabilisation works.

LUMIX GH5 with Leica 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 shot at ISO 200 1/640 sec f/7.1


Steven Clarey grew up in Carmarthen in South West Wales. His passion for imaging developed after enrolling at the University of Wales Trinity St David (Film & Media, 2010-2013). His first film was about his surfing mates. Since graduating Steven has worked with many prominent clients.

[instagram] @stevenclarey