First winter-storm on the way to the European coasts

This is the first Atlantic winter-storm heading towards Europe, he will hit the European cost on Wednesday.
At the first sight, it looks like a big storm for the start of the season. Will be interesting to follow the evolution, is this an exception or the beginning of a strong winter.
Would love to travel to Nazaré tomorrow to be on time for Wednesday and photograph the first giant waves of the new winter but two weeks of quarantine on the way back home is too long
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Read more on http://www.bigwaves.art

Big Waves Project

Big waves have a many similarities with my other outdoor Project glaciers.today, the unleashed natural forces are simply fascinating.
The glaciers move slowly but unstoppable trough the valleys and the waves roll over the water and we have no chance to stop it.

Big waves have many similarities with my other outdoor project glaciers.today, the unleashed natural forces are simply fascinating.
The glaciers move slowly but unstoppable trough the valleys and the waves roll over the water and we have no chance to stop or alter their course in any way.

Both natural forces are a strong source of inspiration and show me every day the vulnerability of the balance of our natural habitat. The glaciers are melting more and more with the climate change and the storms are are getting more frequent.

In the next days I’m traveling back to Nazaré the home of big waves. A new and strong storm system is approaching the Atlantic coast, this system will last for 3-4 days. I’m really looking forward to see and photograph this natural forces.

Click on the images to see more:

The story behind the photo

What it takes to shoot big waves.

Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves
Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves, November 2018

You just need to be in the right place at the right moment.

Some time ago during a meeting with an agency, we talked about photos of big waves and how to produce them. With CGI, “computer generates image” you can create one within a week or two, assuming that you find the right team capable of doing it.

Shooting this kind of waves turned out a bit more complicated. I heard about Nazaré a peaceful, quiet fishing village on the Atlantic coast of Portugal. They have big waves, actually famous for it. Since that day started to follow the weather, tide and wave forecast of Nazaré.
In the winter time you get almost every week 5-7 meter high waves, but very seldom you get 20 meters or move waves. It took me nearly 2 years to get the chance for such a wave.

There is a detail in this photo, who at first sight doesn’t look so obvious.
Look at the spray over the wave. It’s a perfect Fibonacci curve. The natural beauty defined by the mathematical formula which also has a lot in common with the golden ratio.

Here is the tricky question. What does it take to get this spray and big waves?
The wind must come from the opposite side of the wave. 90% of the time the wind pushes the water for miles on the open sea and when the wave comes closer to shore the build up. That’s the difference. The wind is coming from the opposite side.

When I saw that fact in the weather forecast, I knew its time to book the flight to Lissabon and a rental car which brings me to Nazaré. It took two years from that meeting in the agency until the day I booked the trip.

The evening when I finally got to Nazaré in complete darkness I drove down to the lighthouse, no moon no light. Whatever scary movie you imagine, there is nothing so impressive as the rumbling of the waves against the cliffs right below the Nazare Lighthouse.

The next morning with the first light I was back on these rocks, this time with my camera and a full set of lenses.

Please let me say this, as I heard that so many times:
You just need to be in the right place at the right moment.
Think about what it takes to be at the right place and the right moment?

The next morning during breakfast in the hotel, the lady serving the coffee looked at me and said; you got the right day, today the waves are not big anymore.

It’s over a year ago and I still checking every week the forecast of Nazaré, hoping to get one more chance to shoot this kind of big waves.

Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves
Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves, November 2018

Nazaré Big Waves

JK_BIG_WAVES_4823

Portugal Atlantic coast in Nazaré, that’s as big as it get’s. Thank’s to a big underwater canyon finishing right in front of the Praia do Norte, the swell comes to the shore and the end of the canyon will be build up the wave to what we know the Nazaré wave.

This waves are from the crazy Wednesday in November 2018. Over night the waves were building up. Right before midnight I drove down to the faro the lighthouse from Nazaré, it was dark no light no stars and no moon. No horror movie will ever be as impressive as the noise of the waves crashing in the rocks below the lighthouse.
The next morning with the first light I finally could see with my eyes the Nazaré waves.
See more photos

Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves

Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves

Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves