Gracious light-attuned surf photographer from Central California; Surfer magazine senior staffer since 2010. Burkard was born (1986) and raised in Pismo Beach, where he started riding waves on a bodyboard as a youngster. He bought his first camera at age 18, began snapping pictures of his friends, and discovered a natural talent; just two years later won the first annual Follow the Light Foundation Award, given to the sport's most promising young photographer.
Burkard took a staff position at Surfline in 2008 and was hired at Surfer two years after that. His action shots were first-rate, but he became know for stirring, pulled-back views that incorporated the broader landscape—rocks and trees, sky and horizon; these and other elements are often more important to a Burkard image than the surfer and the wave.
A tireless world traveler, always ready to visit remote and rarely-photographed coasts, Burkard has nevertheless done some of best work at breaks near his Pismo Beach home in Central Californian, an area generally ignored by most surf photographers and the surf industry in general.
The California Surf Project, a book-length collection of images Burkard shot in California while traveling with pro surfer Eric Soderquist, was published in 2009. Burkard won the Red Bull Illume contest in 2010, awarded to the best action sports photo of the year.