The shallow, sandy waters off Port Stanley, Ont., are packed with tourists during the summer. But professional photographer Dave Sandford waited until late autumn when the shores of Lake Erie are empty. It’s then that winds gust onshore at more than 100 km/h, creating towering waves that crash and rip into each other. “It was an awesome display of power,” he says.
When shooting offshore, Sandford stands in the cold water—sometimes up to his chest 100 m from land—where he is bruised by waves that repeatedly slam him down to the lake bed. Even with proper gear (and a friend there for safety), he lasts only 60-90 minutes. Still, the London, Ont.-based photographer keeps returning, mesmerized by the water. “It was the anticipation,” says Sandford. “That perfect moment, when you’ve got that perfect wave with that perfect light.”