Tumultuous Lake Erie inspires “liquid mountain” photo series

Lakes are usually beloved for being peaceful or placid, but Lake Erie is no normal lake. The thirteenth largest lake in the world, Erie is huge and powerful, generating giant, ocean-like waves. And now, a London, Ontario, photographer has made those waves famous with a photo series he’s dubbed “Liquid Mountains.”

The waves, often caught mid-crest, do look something like mountain peaks. Yet even in these still photographs, the force behind them is apparent. On Bored Panda the photographer, Dave Sandford, wrote that he decided to take his photos in the fall because that’s when the water is at its stormiest, noting that fall days “transform the Great Lakes into wickedly wild and treacherous bodies of water.” He backs this up by noting that Lake Erie’s depths are home to hundreds—possibly thousands—of shipwrecks.

Lake Erie has also been plagued by pollution problems. In the 1960s, many proclaimed, “Lake Erie is dead,” and even Dr. Seuss cited the Lake in his environmental cautionary tale, The Lorax. Yet in the 1970s, new regulations were put in place to revive the lake, and the situation greatly improved. Nevertheless, pollution problems have returned in recent years—plastic particles have filled the water, and agricultural runoff is leading to the growth of suffocating algae.

Lake Erie’s issues have been widely documented, yet Sandford’s photographs capture another side of the lake—the side that is still firmly in nature’s grasp. To capture the photos, Sandford drove to Lake Erie daily and spent hours in the water, even on days when the winds were gusting and the waves were nearly 25 feet high. “It is days like these that most people stay away from the lake,” he wrote. “It’s days like these, when Erie comes alive, showing its true power.”

To see more of Sandford’s photos, go to his website, davesandfordphotos.com.