Photographer Braves Intense Storms to Take Dramatic Photos of Waves on Lake Erie

Lake Erie Wave Photography by Trevor Pottelberg

When most people see that a storm is coming, they hunker down inside their houses to wait it out. But not Trevor Pottelberg. The Ontario-based photographer specializes in landscape, wildlife, and astrophotos but is particularly enamored with waves. His location close to Lake Erie makes it easy for him to zip over anytime he hears about an impending storm, as he knows he'll be in for an adventure.

To take these photos, Pottelberg has faced winds of up to 60 miles per hour. By staying down low to the ground with his equipment, Pottelberg digs in and braves the elements. All this is for a chance to capture the power and beauty of the enormous swells that emerge from Lake Erie.

“The more intense the storm, the more excited I am to get out there and capture new artwork,” Pottelberg tells My Modern Met. “Most people head for cover during these times but I embrace the opportunity to take these storms head-on.”

Over the course of different storms, Pottelberg has managed to capture the waves at different times of day, including the sunset. In these cases, the fiery orange sky provides a fascinating contrast to the icy blue spray. These images create an interesting juxtaposition with other photographs, where the sky takes on a menacing deep blue hue.

While Pottelberg acknowledges the risk behind taking these photos—he suffers permanent nerve damage due to his storm chasing—but for him, it's well worth it to expose the beauty of nature to others. “The biggest compliment for me,” he confesses, “is when people see my work and thank me for enduring the elements so that they can witness Mother Nature’s fury from the safety of their own home.”

Photographer Trevor Pottelberg loves capturing Lake Erie's incredible waves during storms.

Waves Crashing on Lake ErieWaves Crashing on Lake ErieBreaking Waves on Lake Erie

He's photographed storm waves at all times of the day, sometimes enduring winds of up to 60 miles per hour.

Breaking Waves on Lake ErieWaves Crashing on Lake ErieBreaking Waves on Lake Erie

For him, the risk is well worth it in order to show off the power and beauty of mother nature.

Lake Erie Wave Photography by Trevor PottelbergWaves Crashing on Lake ErieBig Waves on Lake Erie

“The more intense the storm, the more excited I am to get out there and capture new artwork.”

Big Waves on Lake ErieBig Waves on Lake ErieLake Erie Wave Photography by Trevor PottelbergBig Waves on Lake Erie

Trevor Pottelberg: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Trevor Pottelberg.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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