Wet and wild: Photographer braves intense storms to take dramatic photos of waves on Lake Erie

November 2, 2022

When most people see a storm coming, they hunker down inside their houses to wait it out. But not Trevor Pottelberg. The Ontario-based photographer specializes in landscape, wildlife, and astrophotos—but is particularly enamored of waves. His location close to Lake Erie makes it easy for him to zip over anytime he hears about an impending storm, as he knows he’ll be in for an adventure, reports My Modern Met.

To take these photos, Pottelberg has faced winds of up to 60 miles per hour. By staying down low to the ground with his equipment, Pottelberg digs in and braves the elements. All this is for a chance to capture the power and beauty of the enormous swells that emerge from Lake Erie.

“The more intense the storm, the more excited I am to get out there and capture new artwork,” Pottelberg tells My Modern Met. “Most people head for cover during these times but I embrace the opportunity to take these storms head-on.”

Over the course of different storms, Pottelberg has managed to capture the waves at different times of day, including the sunset. In these cases, the fiery orange sky provides a fascinating contrast to the icy blue spray. These images create an interesting juxtaposition with other photographs, where the sky takes on a menacing deep blue hue.

While Pottelberg acknowledges the risk behind taking these photos—he suffers permanent nerve damage due to his storm chasing—but for him, it’s well worth it to expose the beauty of nature to others. “The biggest compliment for me,” he confesses, “is when people see my work and thank me for enduring the elements so that they can witness Mother Nature’s fury from the safety of their own home.”

Research contact: @mymodernmet