Stormy Rock Pool (1X1C3445)


Windmills rock pools at sunset, Windmills, Cape Naturaliste, South West. Western Australia.

This image was captured during a powerful storm that hit in the area locally known as the “Other Side of the Moon” on Cape Naturaliste, in the South West of Western Australia in the late afternoon. A 5m swell was running, driven by the high winds of the passing cold front. Rain squalls were frequent and often had me having to cover my gear.

Given the conditions it probably wasn’t the smartest idea to be perched on slippery rocks as large waves rolled through into the many little rock pools, protected by rocky outcrops which took the bulk of the impact from the rolling waves as the sun began to set. Later that evening a larger wave came through and nearly swept me and my gear out to sea from a rocky vantage point not more than 10m away. Luckily I managed to hold my footing and hang onto my tripod until the waste high white water subsided around me. Then I called it a night for that vantage point and retreated to safer drier ground, soaking wet, but happy to be ok.

However whilst taking this shot I remained nice and dry out of harm’s way. I wanted to compose an image that highlighted the clarity of the rock pool at my feet and the colours of the sky as the sunset tried to come through the thick clouds. I composed the image to focus on the gap between the rock outcrops which broke the full impact of the raw ocean and the resultant flow over into the clear shallow rock pool in the foreground, creating a spa like effect. What you can’t see unfortunately was the little fish that were swimming around between the rocks at the time, seemingly oblivious to the storm and raging seas above and beyond the outer rocks.

Titled “Stormy Rock Pools” to reflect the foreground rock pool during a winter storm at sunset.

Cape Naturaliste is the northern most headland in the South West region of Western Australia, famous for its world class wines and surf. It separates the relatively sheltered waters of Geographe Bay from the often wild and rough Southern Indian Ocean. Geographe Bay was named by the French navigator Nicolas Baudin in 1801, after the French exploration’s ship Georgraphe, whilst Cape Naturaliste was named after the expedition’s second ship, the Naturaliste. On the tip of the cape is the 20m high Cape Naturaliste Light house, activated in 1904 which provides a warning to passing ships of the rocky dangers that surround it.

The western side of the Cape is often wild and rugged, battered in winter by huge waves driven by powerful storm systems, whilst in summer things are far more subdued and a popular tourist destination, with many frolicking in the clear water bays that line its shore. The eastern side is typically clear, calm and inviting in summer and post card perfect on clear winter days. Both sides of the cape are heavily photographed due to their natural beauty in all of nature’s varying moods.

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