They say you can never grow tired of looking at moving water. There’s just something so fascinating about watching the sea or the ocean, the ebb and flow of the water, how the waves form, how they move. If you’ve ever had a chance to just sit and look at the ocean you probably know the feeling it gives you. It just washes over you completely, whether it’s a calm day when the waves are barely there and the water seems to be just lightly moving back and forth, or if the ocean is feeling stormy and there’s massive waves crashing against the shore.
Luke Shadbolt is a photographer from Australia that is fascinated by the ocean. Having grown up next to it he says that you just get attached to it in a way that you can’t quite put into words. You just find that once in a while, you just feel the need to go back to the ocean to reset. Sometimes you feel the need to see it every day, sometimes it’s once a week, maybe even less than that, but that moment always comes, when you just need to go to the ocean. It just captures your attention like nothing else, and everything else, all worries, they get pushed away from your mind until you feel calm and serene and at one with the ocean.
Luke was always quite an artsy kid, but during his teenage years he was drawn to surfing. The ocean just called for him. So later when he was in college and was figuring out what he wanted to do in life – he took a class on photography and realised he really enjoyed it. He got especially interested in surfing photography. It seemed like the perfect combo of his two favourite things – surfing and photography. But he wasn’t sure if it was even a viable option in terms of work in career.
He worked in graphic design for a couple of years and then ended up becoming art director for a surfing magazine. This was also the time when he bought his first SLR and gear to shoot underwater. This was changed to actually go and take photos of the ocean. He started with surfing photography and quickly realised he loves the process. Just being next to the ocean was bringing him joy and the photos were kind of just the result.
Luke is one of those photographers who likes to have a concept for this photoshoot, so he tries to pick the right locations and conditions and times of day to get the photos he wants. However, as we all know, nature can be unpredictable and that can be frustrating for photographers like Luke, but he knows that that’s just the nature of his work. Ultimately Luke just tries to be flexible and work with what’s happening on any given day.
Luke takes photos of the ocean from above and sometimes takes underwater photos too. He says that it all depends on locations and weather conditions. And when he says weather conditions it’s not just whether the ocean is calm enough to go for a swim, lighting, wind, tide, the waves, it all needs to be taken into account.
When it comes to equipment that Luke uses, he says he’s got a few cameras that he likes, some digital, some film, but most of the time he uses his trusty Nikon D850. When he needs to get close to water or even under water Luke says he’s been using AquaTech underwater housings and weather shields for about a decade now and he’s very happy with it and recommends it to everyone.
Since Luke has to be quite adventurous at times to capture those truly spectacular waves. One of the most memorable things he did to get great photos was traveling to the Aran Islands. He was taking photos from the top of 150ft sheer cliffs with 90km/hr wind gusts and torrential rain – and he was on his own. He says it probably wasn’t the smartest idea he had, but it didn’t seem that dangerous at the time. It’s only looking back that he realises that it was pretty dangerous to be there in such conditions all on his own.
Luke is working towards setting some exhibitions of his work, trying out sculpture and video, looking forward to exploring new media. He’s also preparing to be a father soon, so he’s got quite a lot of things to look forward to this year.