'One of natures most beautiful and inspiring moments'
What inspired you to start photographing waves?
As a photographer I like to shoot subjects that I find beautiful, interesting, intriguing or inspiring. I have loved the ocean all of my life and started wave riding when I was very young. The beautiful form of waves as they curl over to break is, to me, one of natures most beautiful and inspiring moments. That explosion of energy, which may have traveled hundreds or sometimes even thousands of miles, as the wave dies on the beach is as unique and different with every wave as are snowflakes' variety.
Were all the wave photos taken at a particular beach
All were taken in Delaware but I have shot waves from Cape Henlopen to Fenwick Island.
How do you go about taking your wave photos?
I pay attention to weather conditions that make the kind of waves I like to shoot. When surf and light conditions are right I'll pack up the gear I want to use for that shoot and head to the beach. I like early and late day that either back lights the wave or fills the face of it as it begins to break. I shot waves at the end of the day following the passing of a hurricane along our coast. Wind came up out of the west which held the wave front up and blew spray off the tops as they broke. All I needed was sweet, late day light to put a nice glow on the waves. I waited an hour for the sun to peak under a small break in the clouds on the western horizon before it set. I had about 10 minutes of shooting and it was spectacular.
Did you use a underwater housing for your camera?
Yes for the close up shots I get right into the surf. I also use long lenses and a tripod to shoot from jetties.
What are some of the challenges about photographing waves?
The challenges of shooting waves are
plentiful. From having to go out a lot to get the right conditions to the not so occasional salt water spray on one's very expensive equipment (not good at all) to carrying heavy, awkward gear over slippery rocks there are many challenges. But the biggest challenge I face is getting right into the breaking wave with heavy underwater housing pressed up against my face as the wave crashes over me and then holding the grip with all my strength so thousands of dollars worth of equipment is not ripped from my grasp by the wave force.
What subject are you hoping to photograph in the future?
I want to explore more of the underwater world of coastal Delaware. There is so much beauty there we seldom see.
Tony Pratt, probably better known as the administrator of the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section of DNREC, is a lifelong photographer who enjoys shooting landscapes and wildlife as well as taking portraits. Based in Lewes, his landscape work is often coastal subjects. Because of another of his passions, the ocean and ocean waves, he spends a lot of time in the surf with his Aquatech underwater camera housing shooting waves as they break on Delaware's beaches. You can see more of Tony's work at www.tonypratt.com or on his Facebook page.