When the weather starts to get colder, Lake Erie comes alive. And when it does, you'll often find Canadian photographer Dave Sandford there in the freezing water, photographing the powerful, arching waves as part of his "Liquid Mountains" series.
From mid-October to early December, as some warm air lingers but colder air is moving in, the conditions are prime for creating the towering waves, according to . Wind speed and direction are the most important factors for capturing the best photos. "At the high end of it, you're actually getting into Category 1 hurricane-level winds, over 70 miles an hour," Dave said . "That's when you're getting these waves that are upwards of 30 feet."
Unlike the ocean, the Great Lakes don't have strong tides, , so any waves are created by changes in wind and barometric pressure. Wind and weather conditions on the lakes can form a massive, dangerous wave known as a , which will oscillate back and forth across the lake for hours or days. Lake Erie is particularly known for seiches, which have breached sea walls, caused flooding, and even caused fatalities in the past.
"Water is very powerful, it's very deceiving, and you have to have great respect for it," Dave said in the film. "It's obviously much stronger than you are."
"[The waves are] a phenomenal thing to see," Dave said. "It's building this massive, liquid mountain that literally lasts all of a second, if that. Sometimes it's a fraction of a moment in time. That's one of the things I love: the challenge of capturing that moment."
Dave sells prints of his photos , and you can follow him on Instagram to see more of his epic nature photography. Check out more of his breathtaking "Liquid Mountains" series below.
Want to learn more about how Dave captures these magnificent shots? Watch 's film on his work below.