New York, Photo By Matt Clark

Long Island, New York. Photo By Matt Clark

How do you choose a cover photo, in an issue dedicated to, well, cover-worthy photos? It’s a question we’re forced to consider every time we compile our Photo Annual, and the deliberation over this year’s issue, full of the year’s most stunning surf imagery, was every bit as difficult as always. But the vivid, contemplative water photography of New York’s Matt Clark earned a special place as this month’s showcase, and one particular image of a hollow dusk beauty, glistening under a ripe orange Long Island sunset, was a unanimous favorite. Managing Editor Ashton Goggans reached out to Clark and asked him to describe the cosmic Atlantic cylinder that you can find gracing newsstands now.

"In New York, these super intense fronts come through, then it calms down through the day," Clark says. "Just before dusk you'll see this tiny break in the front, on the horizon. As soon as the sun dips below that, the sky just explodes with color. It might only last for 15 minutes, but you can get these incredible moments where the sun is beaming through these barrels."

"For me, the curve of a wave's lip is the most gorgeous thing," he adds. "I'm really into slow shutter work, and capturing that movement in the right light can make photos look so beautiful, almost like paintings."