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The Big One

The Big One
Photo Information
Copyright: Robert Shannon Sr (eqshannon) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2458 W: 216 N: 10292] (31141)
Genre: Monera
Medium: Black & White
Date Taken: 1983
Categories: Ocean
Camera: Pentax 35mm
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-09-28 7:16
Viewed: 3948
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 36
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
You cannot imagine my surprise and delight...when this morning quite by accident I found a photo of the El Nino of 1983 which I have not seen in 20 years and thought it was gone forever...so I quickly scanned and repaired it to upload right off...

Scenario: I left in the image in the right hand lower corner under my signature, the rear view car door mirror to give perspective. I did NOT exit the car for this shot. The winds were about a steady 40MPH and although it wasn't raining, the moisture from the ocean made it feel as though it was...and even opening the car window was tricky as my small compact car was being buffeted about.

This was the ABSOLUTE peak of the El Nino Storm. The edge of the ground is 125 feet of straight down sheer rock cliff with no rails at all..the ground from my car to the edge was soaking wet and parts of the cliffs were falling off. The incoming waves are 35 feet high on top of a high tide and large surge. When these waves hit the cliff wall..I felt the moisture enough to scare me out of my wits...I felt the ground shake under me...and I made a quick...quick...getaway before it was too late...

My heart is almost pounding right now as fast as it was back then and as I remember...I honestly thought this was the end...

Pentax K1000
Hand held
NO NOTES on speed
B&W film...probably Tri-X at 400ASA
Developed in darkroom
Printed in darkroom...
It once was lost, but now is found:-)
Scanned 2008

matatur, jaycee, EOSF1, nglen, CeltickRanger, tuslaw, Adanac, ramthakur, Heaven, oanaotilia, JoshLewis, uleko, oscarromulus, Yeoman has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

A beautiful scene with surging high seas Bob, I can almost hear the thunder of the crashing waves. A fine capture in gray tonal scales and a perfect scan, TFS this dynamic image my friend.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-09-28 9:54]

Hi Bob,

And I bet you were the only one out there taking pictures! Another magnificent black and white shot. You captured the fury of the waves so perfectly that I can almost hear them. I actually can feel the wind - I came in from outside and said it feels like a hurricane out there. I took a look at the weather report to see just how strong they were and all it said was strong winds tomorrow. That's Tucson!


  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-09-28 10:59]

Great shot Bob! Very impressive image full of power, well done. Good note too,


Hello Bob,

Very impressive and great shot!

Thanks for sharing!Thierry

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  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2008-09-28 20:25]

Beautiful B&W action shot BOB,
Must say you have more nerve then I do when it comes to standing that close to a drop off, especially in this type of weather.
Love the wave action and the misty spray which is very evident in your photo. I'm sure you will always remember this particular day and what it felt like and sounded like as you were standing there. TFS.

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  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-09-28 21:46]

Hi Bob,
Black and white makes this image even more menacing looking. Fantastic moment captured by your talent.

Bob, you dare-devil! You almost lost your life to the vicious El Nino 25 years ago. I can feel the fear in my when I look at those gigantic waves. The noise too must have been deafening, right?
This is once-in-a-life time capture and we are fortunate to see it so well preserved.
Thanks and take care.

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  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2008-09-28 23:36]

Hi Bob!

Beautiful, impressive and wild... this black&white picture is moving. It transmits the power of the storm at best and makes us feel small and humble... A precious witness of passed years.

Kind regards


Hello Bob
I was 3 years old then, but only in the last years I heard about that devastating ElNino.I admire your curage to stop and to take some soots. Problably, I would not dare to stop...I suppouse that This black and white picture is more dramatic than a colored picture...
All the best, Oana

Hi Bob,
Thats funny. I just uploaded a black and white seascape and went for a quick look in the critique tab of the gallery and saw that you've posted this beauty. I whish I had such great waves when I visited my spot.
I can imagine your delight to find such a gem hidden in your archive. I whish I had them somewhere in a shoebox. You really captured the essence of the storm in this photo.

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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-09-29 10:22]

Hi Bob. This was the big one and you were there just at the right time. looks good in b/w. Well done tfs.

Hi Bob, great power fron sea in your superb B&W composition, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

Wow, what an event! What a storm! Sounds more frightening then I have ever had. What a great photo too! The black and white adds a dramatic effect. I'm so glad you made it out safe! It's not safe to go to the ocean during storms like these. Anyways, you made it, and everything was ok. Thank you very much for sharing this story with us, it is something to remember for a life time! Cheers Josh Lewis.

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-09-29 22:31]

Hello Bob,
Wow, those gigantic waves rolling in look very fierce indeed! I'm glad you escaped but no doubt press photographers have to take risks to get those special shots! Very well done! (I look forward to tomorrow's insect!!)
TFS and kind regards, Ulla

What an ADVENTURE!!!
Am so happy you have shared this one with us.
Bob, this is your pal from up north....eh!!!.

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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-09-30 8:45]

Wow! Look at that sea! It looks like distant mountains :-)
Very good capture Bob. You bring across the power of the ocean really well.
Superb exposure and composition.
I'm glad you found it again :-)


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  • Yeoman (38)
  • [2008-09-30 12:53]

Bonsoir Bob,

Une très impressionnante photo, tant par les émotions occasionnées par cette vague que par son rendu très particulier. Une ambiance fabuleuse, et une photo exceptionnelle à plus d'un titre.



hello Bob

superb ocean and waves action shot from your souvenirs,
excellent B/W composition with excellent contrast
bettwen those 2 colours, TFS


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