I’ll always remember this moment!
There are some moments that because of the very nature of it, impact us in a very personal way. This is one for myself.
I shot this back in 97. I was using film at the time and had been shooting all day.
That distinctive dark cloud at the top of the shot was a mystery and a pain! The best way I could describe it, would be to say that it looked like a plume from a Volcano! It would be as if that Volcano was out in the ocean to the West of me and this plume was drifting to the east and snuffing the light for me! I needed that light!!
Because I had been shooting all afternoon,I realized after checking my film stock, that I didn’t have anymore rolls of film left and as a matter of fact, I only had 3 shots left on my roll in my camera !
This plume was constantly heading right towards me and was blocking the sun. I decided to take a break and because it was very windy,I pulled my hood up and went into the forest to stay warm. I just wanted to get out of that heat stealing wind and wait for that dam cloud to move!
It took almost a hour,but it shifted to the north enough to allow the light to begin to stream in !
I walked out onto the plateau (which is about 50 feet above the ocean) and saw a new set coming in.
The first wave in a set has more resistance against it and will because of this, tend to slow down because of that resistance and the second wave catches up to it and the two merge. This makes the wave much larger than it would normally be!
This is what happened here.
I realized that the wave was going to be a really large one and got ready. I pre-focused/exposed and waited.
When this monster goes off,you can literally see,hear and feel the concussion! I was still about 300 feet away from it! The concussion moves through the rock and the air. You can feel it under your feet through the rock your standing on! The air carry’s the concussion as well and I describe it constantly to people as if you were at a Military cannon demonstration. The sound and concussion hits your entire body! It most certainly got my attention and scared me when I first came across this beast in 91!
It’s a very scary thing to experience the first time! Two people have died here and I got hit once myself. No injury’s ,but I did lose my hat!
At any rate,the wave hit and I got the shot!
I not only got the shot and but still had film to spare!
I’ve been studying this location for almost 20 years and it is constantly surprising me! The best time to go is at LOW tide with a strong westerly after two days of a big wind storm!
A SW or SE wind can be big as well,but the westerly wind blows the clouds away and you get much better light!
It hasn’t gone off really big for several years now! Keeping in mind that I’m talking about photographically !No clouds. I’m sure during a huge storm that it would be going off…………….but how are you going to shoot it,or more importantly ,Why? Poor light ,is poor light and does not a good picture make.
It’s the cross light that produces the texture inside the explosion that sets this shot off. You know instantly that this is huge!
I estimate this wave explosion to be about 25-30 meters. I have seen bigger,but not in excellent light. I will get another,that will be better. I want one bathed in pink light right at sunset!
Right about now,your waiting for me to tell you where the hell this location is? Because people have died here and knowing how dangerous it can be,I’m sorry, but I do not feel it would be a good idea to give the location away. Not all locals even know about it.
There is something else for you to consider. Remember that at high tide with a storm surge ,the beaches are wiped clean of all those logs and are all floating out there! I have seen logs being shot out of here that would snap a man in half if they were hit! I know where some tree limbs have been snapped off,and the forests edge is several hundred feet away! It must of been debris from the Blow Hole!
There are several Blow Holes along the coast………..but none of them can compare with this monster.