Waves of Emotion; Cape Town Photography

Cape Town, one of the world’s most exciting destinations, popular with travellers, and on everybody’s bucket list. It’s a beautiful city, with a vibrant waterfront shopping, and dining area, nearby beaches, and the stunning backdrop of the iconic Table Mountain. Having travelled so far, with so many attractions on offer, it may seem slightly strange one I’ve chosen to highlight Cape Town photography in an essay of waves.

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Wave watching in Cape Town

Nature has always inspired me, taking my breath away on many occasions. Man has achieved a great deal, designing and building some amazing structures, but none can compare to the sheer majesty of Mother Nature’s creations. She is the ultimate architect, building incredible mountain ranges, over millions of years, stretching the length of continents, and reaching skyward like serrated teeth. Constructing vibrant coral reefs built over a millennia, and home to hundreds, even thousands of  colourful marine life.

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Sea Point promenade

The energetic force of the ocean has fascinated me ever since I was a child. Living on the coast, there were ample opportunities to witness it’s irresistible power, especially when the autumn storms visited. I often watched huge waves crashing against the seawall, mesmerised in fascinated awe with each percussive impact, which seemed to make the very earth shake. The waves pounding the town, with relentless ferocity.

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Following the curve

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Distant wave in Camps Bay

Walking along the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town, which often feels the full force of the Atlantic Ocean, I usually took time to pause. Just watching as powerful waves rolling in, crashing against rocks, and seawall with unyielding force, each successive one almost seeming to gain in ferocious intent.

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Lighthouse on the shore

This is same ocean that has forged the nearby Cape of Good Hope, and stretches all the way to the coast of the Americas. Waves that may have started out as small swells, way out to sea, nature’s great travellers. 

Almost all these images are from Sea Point, as it provided a place where the wave action could be captured, along with the many people enjoying the promenade. Families, enjoying a stroll, friends, and lovers enjoying each others company, runners getting some exercise, and even a rugby team training together.

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Toying with waves

At the risk of being accused of preying on the misfortune of others, waiting to catch the moment they got soaked, I set up a stance and waited for suitable moments to open the shutter. The intention is not malicious, I just wanted to capture the moments where others interacted with the waves. None of these images portray anybody getting soaked, just people enjoying their leisure time in a wonderful place, which like me are awestruck by the powerful force of nature.

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Not the only photographer around

Catching this interaction between people and nature takes careful planning. Finding a suitable spot where waves are especially impressive, and a place where onlookers can easily be included in the frame. A fast shutter speed is needed to freeze the waves, and the camera needs setting to high-speed continuous capture, or sports mode to catch the wave at the apex of it’s power. It’s then a matter of anticipating the wave, and holding the shutter button down throughout the cycle of the wave.

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Close up, and personal

Getting up close, and personal with the power of the Atlantic Ocean is one of Cape Town’s photographic attractions. I love watching waves, enjoy capturing a little of their powerful essence in photographs. It’s just one of the pleasures of travelling, that keeps me catching planes trains, ships, and automobiles around the world.

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Wave walker

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  1. This is an enlightening read for me. As a wildlife tour operator, I very well know, that you can’t be closer to the ground truths.