Liquid Mountains of Lake Erie
I chose to focus on Lake Erie at a time of year when the Great Lakes often act more like oceans than lakes.The warm sunny beach days of summer behind, it is some of Autumn’s darkest, coldest & windiest days that transform the Great Lakes into wickedly wild and treacherous bodies of water.Masses of colder arctic air pushing southward collide with the warmer air above the lakes creating the perfect conditions for massive wind storms.These conditions are often referred to as 'The Gales of November' or 'The Witch of November' The waves at this time of year can be an amazing display of mother natures power and a photographers dream to capture.I can best describe the scene like a giant washing machine.There is no pattern to the waves, they move and explode in unpredictable ways often colliding into one another creating spectacular explosions of water.With winds reaching speeds about 70mph (category 1 hurricane status) these powerful wind generated waves often reach heights of 20'-30'. Powerful & large enough to send ocean freighters to a watery grave at the bottom of the lakes.
It is often a challenge to capture these brief moments in time,but a welcome challenge. You have to anticipate, if you try to react the moment is gone.With water temperatures just above the freezing point & air temperature not much further above freezing as well.Sand rips through the air like Mother Nature is using a sand blaster on you.Waves come at you from any direction without warning. You not only have to be outfitted with the proper gear to protect you from the elements, you have to be mentally prepared for for the battle at hand. Leaving home at 5 a.m, returning 8-10 hours later being exposed to the elements all day long.Mind over matter is a major component in dealing with it all. If you aren't in the right frame of mind the elements can beat you down.When you work hard,persevere & come away with some very unique captures of waves it makes every bone chilling moment worth the effort!