Beautiful Photos Capture the Majesty of Waves Cresting and Crashing


All of his life, French photographer Pierre Carreau has been fascinated by the shape and movement of waves. It makes sense, then, that much of his photography revolves around the project “AquaViva” — a series that captures the majesty of waves in action.

Raised in a family of photographers, painters and sculptors, you would think he always knew what he wanted to do, but Carreau wasn’t always a photographer. He started his professional life a business major working in the IT industry, and only later gave in to his dual passions: photography and the ocean. Now he and his wife live on the Caribbean island of St Barth where he spends his days taking beautiful photos of waves big and small.

Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of the subject, however. The “liquid sculptures,” as he calls them, take a lot of work to get right. Each photo is the result of great gear and hundreds of tries, eventually leading to the perfect combination of shapes and light reflection. In his words:

Digital photography and the best camera/lens are absolutely necessary to create my images. Technology allows me to make it possible

Broken down into Microwave, Multiwave and Waterpower categories, each of the many pictures showcased on his website look as much like glass sculptures as they do photographs. Here is a selection of photos from each of the three categories:
















To see more photos of Carreau’s majestic waves frozen in beautiful shapes, head over to his website by clicking here.

(via Colossal)

Image credits: Photographs by Pierre Carreau and used with permission

  • John


  • chubbs

    Awesome, so much power and intricacy in the small details of each wave.

  • ealth

    Great work. Positive performance, personally perceived. No negative comment necessary. Except for those carrying negative energy.

  • Sam Agnew

    What astoundingly inspiring work. Such simple subject matter. Such powerful images. Amazing how none look like the other.

  • xensin

    Mind linking us to some of your work? Thanks.

  • mooboy

    If someone says they don’t like the movie they saw last night, do you ask for an example of what film they’ve made? People are allowed opinions on things, even if they cannot do better.

    I personally find these beautiful, but I don’t need to see an example of John’s work to validate his opinion. If he said, ‘I can do better’ it would be a different story.

  • Sterling

    Beautiful. Looks like glass sculpture.

  • xensin

    I just thought it was a very lame comment. Zzzz’s? really?

    True, I agree that asking to see his work is stupid… but I just get annoyed sometimes at how awful and nonconstructive some of the comments are here (not just this post, every post). Wish there was more of a discussion here.

  • Jack Long

    Astute visual perspective and capture.

  • Fullstop

    I like how he gives the technology all the credit.

  • beachbum

    Beautifully detailed, textured and the reflections make these superb.
    The images are impressive.
    I like how some look like glass. I can only imagine the patience it takes to get the right photo.

    I don’t want this to sound negative, but it may sound that way via text. After a few of these images, they tend to look the same, beautiful and great, but too much the same. I guess when they are macros, it is hard to change up the backgrounds to much.
    Not saying I could do any better, would love to try this, just to see

  • lidocaineus

    I agree – his comment was dumb. Yours however was barely any better; in the future, you come off far better if you point out the original poster’s lack of proper critiquing rather than resorting to personal attacks, and encouraging an actual discussion, instead of furthering pointlessness.

  • Erik Lauri Kulo

    Mind linking us to any of your comments?

  • xensin

    Looking through your comment history… seems like you make it your primary goal to argue with people here and add nothing but dribble regarding how other people comment.

    Calm down. This is the internet.

  • Herschel

    She has, click her name.

  • Wander Bester

    would like to know some settings and focal lengths used for these. beautiful.


    Pierre Carreau picked a simple subject, that apparently quite a few people find boring, and completely mastered it. I wish i could be that good for just one subject instead of being an average photographer at everything.

  • miah8000

    There is some beautiful work here, I particularly like the shots with no leading spray but overall they are all very detailed and interest.

  • MattB

    The EXIF on the images say shutter priority, 1/2000 or 1/2500 shutter, 600mm/f4 USM on a 5DmII anywhere from f/5.6 to f/11 and various ISO from 800 to 3200.

  • MattB

    The EXIF on the images say shutter priority, 1/2000 or 1/2500 shutter, 600mm/f4 USM on a 5DmII anywhere from f/5.6 to f/11 and various ISO from 800 to 3200.

  • lidocaineus

    I stand by my comment history 100%, because nothing I’ve posted is argumentative for the sake of arguing – it’s active discussion on points that I agree with or disagree with, criticism on photos or projects posted here backed up by examples, and calling out people like you who make comments which add nothing or detract from actual discourse. There are no comments like yours or telling people they suck, etc.

    It’s ironic that you’re the one saying calm down – I am calm. You’re the one issuing forth nonsense. Even more ironically – you’re the one asking for proper conversation, and if you read my comment history properly, you’d see that what you see as arguing is actually defending or asserting points I’ve made, not personal attacks on other commenters. And we’ve now drifted completely off topic, so unless you have something to add with relation to the actual article (doubtful), I’m done.

  • beachbum

    Clark was the example I was thinking in my head when I posted my comment, I just could not remember who the photographer was.

    Thank you.

    Pierre does great work, really great, but for me it falls slightly short. Again, I don;t mean any disrespect or negativity. Two different photographers, two different styles, but Clarks is the one I would gravitate towards if it were in a gallery.
    Sorry Pierre. :-(

  • David Guerra

    How did you get access to the digital files??