Dave Sandford is a professional sports photographer from London, Ontario. For nearly twenty years he’s been capturing people’s reactions during great sporting moments, but now he’s pointing his lens in a different direction. He took some time away from his job to spend two or three days a week — over a four-week span — capturing the raw power and force of one of Canada’s Great Lakes.
Lake Erie is well known for its pollution — once so contaminated that it caught on fire, and last year it saw a toxic algae bloom so serious that it threatened water supplies. However, Dave has managed to find the beauty in its waters. He recently posted some stunning photos of the lake’s frigid waves from his photo essay, Liquid Mountains: I Captured Lake Erie On The Day It Came Alive And Showed Its True Power. They quickly went viral, drawing over 300,000 views, and he’s received positive comments from around the world.
“I’m blown away. I’ve never, I guess maybe in my photography career I’ve always hoped something like this might happen,” he told Global News in reaction to the viral success of his work. “I’ve been shooting professional sports for 18 years… sports pictures go viral but the big part of that is because of the famous athlete in the picture.”
Dave goes on to explain that oceans and lakes beckon him and that he focused on Lake Erie at a time of year when the Great Lakes can act more like oceans than lakes.
He takes a 45 minute drive from his London home and spend upwards of six hours a day photographing the lake. To capture some of his breathtaking liquid mountains, Dave would wade out into the lake some 500 feet from the shores of Port Stanley. With the temperature ranging from -2˚C up to 14˚C, some of the waves would reach up to 25 feet in height.
Dave has said he plans to continue his project and is already looking ahead to next week’s weather forecast to get back in the water. You can view more images of his liquid mountains below and more of his work on Instagram here.