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Encounter – Experience the Extraordinary!

Each month Clare opens up her photography journal and takes us behind some of her images. This is Encounter, shot at Snapper Rocks in Queensland.

From Clare’s Journal

This iconic location for photographers and surfers has been responsible for fine tuning the fine art of landscape/seascape photography for me. 

Snapper Rocks is located on the Gold Coast, adjacent to the New South Wales border. It smacks of adventure, excitement, pressure to perform under extreme weather conditions, versatility and tumultuous seas. The location also ‘boasts’ a generous rock platform where the ocean smashes against the rocks, at full force. 

It is seldom that this magnificent piece of coastline is placid or calm. I absolutely thrive on the conditions that accelerate my heart beat. Before driving to Snapper Rocks, I ensure the weather is ideal for my photoshoot. It is tempestuous and unpredictable which stimulates my senses as a fine art landscape/seascape photographer.

On the morning of this photoshoot a coastal low was located on the eastern seaboard of Australia. I arrived pre-dawn as I always do, but particularly at this destination. It is legendary with photographers and surfers.

Staying Safe

I surveyed the conditions, knowing in advance the waves were big, boisterous and dangerous. I realised that I was not going to be standing on the rock shelf as I have done so often in the past. 

A concrete wall was built some time ago to withstand the power of the ocean, pushing the waves back to form an artificial shoreline. As I arrived just before first light, I was intentional about securing a good photographic point. Where my lens would be pivotal in offering diverse shots of an angry ocean.

That morning I wore my waders and secured my filter pouch around my waist. The waders were an advantage as the big waves burst into an impressive overflow of sea spray before me.

God sets boundary lines for me, I know where to go and when to stand back. I felt safe on that wall even though the force of the waves accelerated towards me at an impressive rate and size.

I was intrigued at the influence of the impending cyclone, how it almost pulverised everything in its path, across the ocean. Fortunately, it did not impact the land, thus avoiding devastation.

Capturing the Shot

Other photographers packed around me, witnessing the strength of the sea as it raced towards us. I secured my tripod firmly on the concrete wall and heightened it to a point where I could view the activity in front of me. From my perspective I knew I could compose something special. My heart was beating fast with excitement and anticipation!

During photoshoots, I am continually looking at the sky and anticipating what the light is doing and where it is having an impact. It was at that time, I discovered what was evolving to my left, involving the light and the tide.

After capturing the best of the sunrise from the concrete wall, I made my way to the rocks. I recognised the depth of colour in the water, it was intense with whirls of white froth on its surface. Adding interest were the seagull and a touch of humanity on the beach, on a cold day. 

As I walked away from a sea that was throbbing with pulsating power, I was drained from pouring my energy into a photoshoot that resembled energy, excitement and power. My shutter release button was busy during that shoot as excitement unfolded into something extraordinary. 

It was not a negative emotion, but one where I gave it my all. When I packed my camera, filters and tripod into my vehicle I knew God had enabled me to capture something special that resonated with Who He is. All Powerful and all Knowing!