Photographer Waits Years to Capture Rare Waterspout


Photographer Casey Robertson captured a dramatic waterspout off the coast of Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, a set of pictures he had waited “years” to capture.

Robertson tells PetaPixel that he had wanted to capture the rare columnar vortex for a very long time before finally achieving it over the weekend.

“Waterspouts would form but I would always just miss them, they would dissipate before I got there, or I would be off the island,” he explains.

“I’m pretty happy with the results. Though a few shots I would have liked to get were rained out. It’s definitely been the largest reaction of any photos I’ve done yet.”

The remarkable images, a mixture of color and black-and-white, show dark brooding clouds with the tornado-like column spinning down to the water to create an apocalyptic scene. A throng of people is also present in some of the pictures, capturing the event on their smartphones. Robertson used a Canon 80D with an 18-135mm kit lens attached.

The photographer, who is also a school teacher, reports The Virginia Pilot, says that he’s no “weather expert” but there are usually a couple of waterspouts every year on Ocracoke Island.

“I ran out of the house, left my phone, taking pictures like a madman,” Robertson tells The Pilot.

Robertson operates Actively Awkward Photography and Digital Art Facebook page and lives on the Outer Banks, located off the coast of North Carolina.

Photography is a side hustle for Roberston who teaches computer and business at the Ocracoke School, a campus of about 165 public school students. He’s been living on the island of Ocracoke for 10 years.


Waterspouts tend to pop up due to a mix of warm water and high humidity in the air and typically last between two to 20 minutes. They are similar to tornadoes but take place over a large body of water and tend to be less intense.

Waterspouts have appeared in a few places across the United States in recent days with one developing in northern Ohio’s Lake Erie and Wrighstville Beach, also in North Carolina but further south.

To see more of Robertson’s work visit his website and Facebook page.

Image credits: All photos by Casey Roberton.