Artists have wrestled with the raw, majestic, natural power of the sea for hundreds of years, but Australia-based photographer Ray Collins is one of the few who really gets it right. Collins’ epic ocean wave photos seem to freeze and capture all of the sea’s power, casting it in the respectful and majestic light that it deserves.

Collins writes that “feels more at home floating in saltwater with his camera than anywhere on land,” and this comes across in his beautiful photos. He is an accomplished surf sports photographer as well, but his most powerful ocean photography shots are of the seascapes as a subject or even as a character.

Be sure to check out more of his nature photography shots on his site, and read on for his answers to Bored Panda’s questions about his work!

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“I have always lived near the Ocean, and always had a fascination and deep respect for it,” Ray Collins told Bored Panda. “I surfed all my life and wanted to show exactly what goes on out there sometimes”

“It’s very hard to describe what I see to someone without a visual representation of it”

“I actually work in a coal mine, believe it or not. I work there 3 days a week and I shoot my ocean photos for 4”

“Some of my images take months of planning. Airfares, accommodation, swell forecasting, reading weather maps, talking to locals, getting the right gear for the climate and then patiently waiting for it to unfold”

“On the other hand, I can walk out of my front door, cross the road onto the beach, swim out and shoot a beautiful image of a wave as the sun rises over the sea. Every nature photo has a different story”

“I just want to keep improving and keep challenging myself​ -​ physically as a human being​ swimming​ in the ocean and​ constantly evolving and pushing my own limits​ as a​n image​ maker”

“At the moment I’m mainly shooting with a D4 and D810, and the lenses are usually fixed mid length primes from 14mm all the way to 400mm. I also use Aquatech waterhousings to keep my cameras and lenses dry”

Thank you, Ray Collins, for talking to Bored Panda about your work!