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The Spectacular Waves of Lake Erie

It’s hard to believe these pictures of gigantic, thrashing waves were not captured in the ocean but on the shallowest of the Great Lakes of North America. Lake Erie may be shallow (just 20 meters deep on average) but it isn’t small. It stretches for 388 km in length and has a maximum width of 92 km, making it the 11th largest lake in the world by surface area. And because the lake is shallow, conditions can change dramatically in just a matter of minutes, with fierce waves springing up unexpectedly. In fact, the tribe of Native Americans who lived along its southern shore called the lake "Erige" which means “cat” because of its unpredictable and sometimes violently dangerous nature. Lake Erie’s nasty storms have claimed no less than 1,400 ships and as high as 8,000 according to one estimate. Some say, Lake Erie has more "wrecks per square mile" than any other freshwater location on earth.


The power of Lake Erie was captured in these dramatic images by Canada-based photographer David Sandford,  over a period of four weeks in November on the shores of Port Stanley, Ontario. Around this time of the year the lake is at its most violent. The wind lashes at 50 km per hour and temperature plunges below zero. On days like these when most people avoid the lake, Sandford drives out to the lake’s shore before sunrise, gets into a wetsuit and wades out into the surf with his photographic gear. If the waves become too rough, he retreats to the shore and shoots with a long lens.

“Oceans and lakes beckon me. Since I was a kid, I’ve loved to be on, in or around water. I’m fascinated by the sheer raw power and force of it, captivated by the graceful movement of a wave and mesmerized by light dancing across it.” he told Washington Post.

David Sandford calls this series “Liquid Mountain”.















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