Apr 202016

Lately I’ve been interested in wave photography.  I’m still a beginner when it comes to this photography medium, but I’m hoping to hone my skills to produce some interesting images.

A wave crests over Bachelor's Beach, Bonaire

A wave crests over Bachelor’s Beach, Bonaire

Speaking of honing my skills, I thought it would be helpful for me to delve into the world of waves for a bit.  What exactly are waves?  How are they generated?  Why do they always knock us down at the worst times?  These are basic concepts that I knew a bit about, but a refresher was definitely in order.

Another view from Bachelor's Beach

Another view from Bachelor’s Beach

The majority of the waves we see in the ocean are wind-generated, and they are caused by the wind blowing across the ocean’s surface.  There are three major factors that determine a wave’s size: 1) how long the wind blows, 2) how strong the wind blows, and 3) how far the wind blows (called fetch). The highest part of a wave is the crest, lowest part is the trough.  The wave height is the distance from the trough to the crest.

A wave spills onto Te Amo Beach, Bonaire

A wave spills onto Te Amo Beach, Bonaire

A particularly cool fact about waves is that water does not travel through the ocean via waves. Energy is what does the traveling.

A shimmery wave at Bachelor's

A sunlit wave at Bachelor’s

On the verge of a crest at Te Amo Beach

On the verge of a spill at Te Amo Beach

Here are some other facts about waves.

-The tallest wave ever measured was 1719 feet (523m)  at Lituya Bay, Alaska.

-The tallest wave recorded in the open ocean was 95 feet (29m) during a storm near Scotland.

-Other causes of waves aside from wind are – gravitational pull (tides), earthquakes, volcano eruptions and landslides.

-A tsunami wave can travel 500 mph (804kph) in deep water.

If you know a thing or two about photographing waves, care to share any tips?

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  2 Responses to “What’s in a Wave?”

  1. I just love waves!! Thanks for posting the great facts and gorgeous photos! You appear to be an expert photographer of waves already!–Sue

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