Hawaiian Wave Photographer Captures Art in Motion

Photographer Kenji Croman risks his life in pursuit of the perfect wave in his native Hawaii. Take one look at his photos and you’ll understand why he keeps heading back into the dangerous surf.

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Photo By: Kenji Croman

Art in Motion

Photographer Kenji Croman risks his life in pursuit of the perfect wave in his native Hawaii. Take one look at his photos and you’ll understand why he keeps heading back into the dangerous surf.

Getting the Shot

Croman, a competitive bodysurfer, explains that there is a lot that goes into getting the shot in big wave photography, including strong swimming skills and a lot of patience. Croman also advises wave photographers to have a solid understanding of the ocean: “How it breaks, where it breaks. The tides, the rips, the undertow. It’s dangerous, but knowledge is key.”

Waimea Shore Break

Glassy Wave in Slow Motion

How does Croman capture waves in slow motion? “I used a slow shutter speed for this image, the sun was positioned in a way that made the wave look very illuminated, plus the motion of the wave all came together for this photo,” he explains.

Diamond Head Sunset

Croman recalls the happenstance of some of his photos: “I thought the camera’s focus looked really cool in this shot. I didn’t alter or do any tilt shift effect for this photo. It was accidentally taken this way and I liked it.”

Duck Diving a Passing Wave

“I saw a bodyboarder ducking through a wave when I captured this shot. The colors looked very refreshing,” says Croman.

Green Wave North Shore

As the sun was setting, Croman captured this mesmerizing green wave at Keiki Beach on Oahu’s famed North Shore during a very big swell.

Keiki Beach in Slow Motion

One of Croman’s favorite beaches on Oahu is Keiki Beach. “This was taken after the sun set behind the mountains. I used a slow shutter to create the movements of the man walking and the waves.”

Milky Wave Beach

Croman remembers another instance when patience (and a bit of luck) paid off: “I made so many attempts over the years to photograph the Milky Way here in Oahu, but found it very challenging since there’s not too many very dark places that do not have a lot of cloud coverings. I got very lucky on this clear night.”

Pipeline Breaking

Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Pipeline is considered one of the most famous and dangerous surf breaks in world. “This shot was taken in April when ‘Pipe’ was going off. This was a big set that rolled in that I happened to snap while in the water,” Croman remembers. “This was the same day, just hours earlier, where the famous whale surfing photos at Pipeline went viral.”

Swimming With Sharks

“I took this shot while free diving with sharks on the North Shore,” recalls Croman. “Amazing experience swimming with dozens of sharks with no protection.”

Flying Turtles

A less daunting animal to swim alongside than a skark? A “honu,” which means “turtle” in the Hawaiian language. “These beautiful creatures look like they are flying under water. They’re very graceful,” expresses Croman.

Underwater Vortex

“I love this photo,” shares Croman. “ I took it while the sun was in a perfect position above me and it just really lit the wave up well. You can see the vortex bands in the wave. Not many people know they exist, and if you don’t have goggles on you won’t see it either.”

The Spit Effect

“Spit, that’s what surfers call it,” explains Croman. “When the wave is so big and the wind that follows it passes you, it creates this effect.”

Wave Falls

Croman captions this shot: “A wave crumbling to create a waterfall effect; the sun was positioned perfectly to illuminate the wave and the falls.”

Maui Dolphins

Another instance when Croman says patience paid off for him: “I made so many attempts to catch this school of dolphins when I lived in Maui. I would wake up early so many mornings to try and catch the school of dolphins. The morning I moved back to Oahu, I gave it one last attempt. I was successful and swam with the dolphins for a few hours. A great experience.”

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