Stop action photographer helps stop spread of novel coronavirus

Stop action photography by Mark Nicholas, the owner of Manhattan Beach Studios

Photographer Mark Nicholas is best known for his stop action photography. He freezes bullets and liquids at less than a millionth of a second in his studio at MBS Media Campus.

Since production at MBS Media Campus stopped in early March, he has been focusing his efforts on helping to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading.

“We are people who can’t sit still,” says Nicholas. “We have acquired a lot of gear through the years. Why not put it to use?”

The equipment includes 3-D printers and laser cutters he uses to make masks, face shields and ear protectors for nurses at Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital and workers at elder care facilities, including the Sunrise Senior Living facility on Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach. 

Photographer Mark Nicholas holds on of his face shields he made on his 3D printer. Photo

He has given away over 100 masks and over 1,000 ear protectors while spending several thousands of dollars of his own money on materials.

“If the first responders were going to risk their lives, I could donate my time,” he says. 

Explosions at 1/200,000th of a second by Mark Nicholas of Manhattan Beach Studios –

Nicholas is a former sound engineer. He worked with 10,000 Maniacs and went on the road with singer Meatloaf. He subsequently obtained a law degree at Syracuse University and practiced law with ING and the Cetera Financial Group. 

In 2013, he quit law to pursue photography, becoming the on-site photographer at MBS Media Campus.

Photographer Mark Nicholas shows off his mask that he made with his photo gear at the Manhattan Beach Studios. Photo

Learning to make masks with a 3-D printer wasn’t difficult, he said. He found designs online, tweaked them and let his printer roar. 

“I don’t think I could have ever imagined what 3D printing would be able to do,” he says. “It’s mind-blowing.”

Nicholas is a descendant of Jewish Holocaust survivors. He says that while living through this pandemic is hard, it’s nothing compared to what Jews in WWII Germany had to endure. 

“We’ll get through this,” he says.


Anyone who needs a mask can request one by emailing Nicholas at

Click the link above to listen to our complete interview with Mark Nicholas. ER

Mark Nicholas holds the face shield he made with his 3D printer at the Manhattan Beach Studios


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Written by: Jefferson Graham

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