Behind the lens

Morgan Maassen: A Life-long Dream in Motion



Where are you based?

Santa Barbara, California

How do you make a living?

Photography & filmmaking

What camera do you use?

Red Weapon & Nikon D4s

How has travel made an impact on your life?

I spent my years in school dreaming of how to travel, so as soon as I formulated a plan, I did everything in my power to escape and hit the road. I find myself constantly in situations where I am learning both of the world and myself, and have based my life around being able to visit the places that inspire me.

What is your relationship to travel/adventure, and what does it mean to you?

I cannot imagine a life without traveling. Experiencing the world’s beauty and cultures has been a lifelong dream, and something I work tirelessly at continuing to achieve.

Tell us something you wouldn’t a stranger?

I love tennis, my dog and reading, and decisively meter my ridiculous schedule with bouts of zen-like meditation to do those passions.

While sailing around Fiji, we’d often jump off the boat into the endless abyss to cool off. Swimming in the crystal clear water always had an eeries feeling to it, as there was nothing in any direction for as far as the eye could see.

My friend Kyle Albers, surfing on one of his self-shaped surfboards. He has a surfboard line called @deepestreaches, and surfs with such a peculiar yet timeless style. This was taken on another perfect evening in the cove at Rincon point, California.

Swimming with Humpback whales in Tahiti. They silently swam right past me, grabbed a last breath, and dove straight into the darkness again. Without question the most beautiful, profound moment of my life.

Watching the sunrise from below, out in the lineup at Cloudbreak, Fiji. Alternatively, this can be described as a shark’s point of view.

Underwater exploration in Waimea Bay, Hawaii.  We were searching for the pods of Spinner Dolphins that cruise through lazily on summer days, but didn’t see a single fish this time.

Watching the lightshow while stealth-camping off the road in Central California, avoiding Highway Patrol and drug smuggler lookouts that frequent the area and that time of night.

Hanging out on a scuttled sailboat that washed ashore in Santa Barbara, California. Since the semi-homeless owners had abandoned the boat on the beach, we would go down and climb around on the sails until the city would come around with bulldozers and chop it up to be hauled off.

@isabella_nichols, relaxing after a long day of surfing in Moorea, Tahiti. On this trip, we’d surf all day, only taking breaks to chow down on Poisson Cru (ceviche in coconut milk).

Another amazing evening of surf at Rincon point, California. I captured this on 35mm film, which I later accidently exposed to salt water when my camera got soaked at the beach, thus creating the crazy-looking effect on the sky.

Often times I find myself in transit completely alone and witnessing something profoundly beautiful. Normally I’m able to photograph it and move on, but sometimes I throw myself into the mix to add scale or just a touch of the human element. Ergo, this selfie.

I saw this wave breaking out to sea once every hour while on a lifestyle photoshoot in north eastern Australia, and waited three days to get a shot of it breaking again. As luck would have it, my patience was rewarded with a massive squall approaching from the behind, making one of my most labor-intensive photos yet.