Swell - Jack Noel Davis

"The magnitude of this swell has been described as a once in a lifetime event.

Over 3 days in June 2016, the East Coast of Australia was battered by waves driven by a significant east coast low pressure system. This series documents the beauty and destructive nature of raw oceanic power."


Why does the ocean inspire you that much?

The most obvious thing is its timeless beauty and its ever-changing ambiance and aura. It’s always dynamic and constantly changing, something that I feel reflects my personal view to keep changing and evolving. Its an endless unadulterated source of joy and inspiration for me as well as a reminder that you don’t really need a lot to be happy.


Which is the best story behind one of your captions?

One of the best times I’ve had shooting was the morning my photo ‘Eruption’ was taken. This huge unprecedented swell was approaching the coast and one of my best mates and I decided to drive to this crazy reef break to take photos at sunrise. As soon as we got there we could just feel this electricity in the air, the power with which these waves were exploding on this reef was something to behold. We were cheering and staring in awe of these monsters approaching from deep water. All of a sudden these 2 waves collided and erupted straight into the air. I had never seen a wave do that, especially with that bright green luminance that’s visible through the wave. It’s been one of my most celebrated photos and I feel really fortunate to have captured it.
There was only one other photographer there that morning and unfortunately he got taken out by a rogue wave while standing on the rocks and it destroyed all of his camera equipment, we saw him limping back to his car pretty beaten up, it could have easily been us. It was a pretty eventful morning.


How is surf and photography connected for you?

Photography was the natural progression for me after I injured my back and couldn’t surf anymore. It allowed me to reconnect with the ocean in a whole new way, not only by being immersed in it and experiencing it but also allowing me to share those experiences with others the way I see them.

I had fiddled around with photography for about 5 years but hadn’t found a subject that really ignited my passion for it until I decided to buy a waterhousing about a year ago and I haven’t looked back. I love shooting female longboarding as well as empty waves, there’s equal beauty and elegance in both.


How did you start working as a photographer? Is there any tip you would give to beginners?

I just started out shooting what I was passionate about, I think there’s an honesty that comes across in someone’s photos when they’re shooting what they love. Other than that, I’ve studied what others have done before me, earnestly seeking advice and inspiration from others. Marketing yourself well is important, managing your social media and online website are important tools to share your work – less is more though. Don’t underestimate persistence and hard-work, shoot what you are passionate about and good things will come.


Which gear, talking about camera and post processing, do you usually use?

I use all Nikon gear. I currently use a Nikon D810 with 50mm 1.4 & 85mm 1.4 in an Aquatech housing. I use Lightroom to edit my photos. I try to edit as minimally as possible.


How do you get this rad look in your water photography?

I shoot only in the early morning or late afternoon when the lighting is horizontal to help create more contrast, by doing this, it creates the feel and mood in my images without having to over-process them. My favourite time to shoot is early morning when there are dark clouds that help to diffuse the sun.


If you wouldn't be focused on surf photography, what would you like to be focused on?

I’ve just graduated from University majoring in Marketing last week, next year will be a balance of pursuing both ventures until ultimately I can call photography my full time profession. Apart from that, just trying to be a good person, I think that’s more important than what you do for a job.


Photographer: Jack Noel Davis  |  Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram