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'Blown away:' Ingersoll, Ont., photographer captures more than just a storm in 'perfect' shot

Windy days and stormy waters on the beach are no problem for Cody Evans, the Ingersoll, Ont., photographer who goes to Lake Erie in Port Stanley with the mission of capturing the perfect shot. And last Friday was his lucky day.

Waves were a result of gales that are common during seasonal transitions, meteorologist says

Photographer Cody Evans of Ingersoll, Ont., captured wave action that resembled a famous Greek god. (Cody Evans)

Most people avoid the beach on a stormy day. Not Cody Evans. 

The howling wind and churning waters are what draw the Ingersoll, Ont., photographer to Lake Erie regularly, with the mission of capturing the perfect shot — and on Nov. 18 was his lucky day. 

Of the more than 10,000 photos he shot, one appeared to look like a face.

Evans said he believes it resembles the face of Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea and storms.

Evans is from Ingersoll, south of London. (Submitted by Cody Evans)

"I was kind of blown away," he said. "You see a lot of stuff like that in waves and in clouds, but to have it clear like that was just unreal. That photo sure stood out of all the rest."

Since 2020, Evans has used his Nikon Z9 camera to catch the wave action at the lake, but this was an image he was not expecting to see, he said.

"It was just crazy. It was like the perfect day. I've been going there for three years, trying to get good shots and that was by far the best day I had there," Evans said.

So, what was in the air that caused this phenomenon to happen?

Strong winds and enhanced waves

According to Environment Canada meteorologist Daniel Liota, the short answer is "November gales," strong winds over marine areas that go faster than 64 km/h. 

"The lakes this time of the year are relatively warm compared to the air above them, especially with the cold air mass that came into the Great Lakes this past weekend," Liota said. "So that resulted in the very gusty winds over the water."

One of the many photos Evans took of Lake Erie's waves. (Cody Evans)

Gales are especially common during the times between the fall and winter seasons, Liota said. In this case, southwesterly winds travelled a long distance over the lake and built up those waves over the water, he added. 

Evans admits windy days can be difficult on the beach especially with cold weather and sand blasts, but he made sure to wait out the snowfall to see the waves crash.

"The waves were crashing pretty good because the pier pushes the water back out into the lake so when the water is pushed back out, the waves collide and they cause those peaks," he said. 

This was due to the cold air that was prominent in the Great Lakes region that came through behind a cold front, making for unstable conditions causing some lake-effect snow. 

"We usually have an active storm track that runs through the lake this time of year especially in the wake of these stronger systems that bring in cold air masses," Liota said. 

High winds causing for strong winds and enhanced waves at Lake Erie in Port Stanley, Ont. (Cody Evans)

"So we get the strong instability over the waters which results in a long of strong winds and gustiness over the great lakes hence the gales."

Liota said there's not much peculiarity behind these kinds of waves and they happen every year. 

But Evans is determined to continue his streak of catching more of these stills at Port Stanley. "I'll have a camera in my hands till I can't hold one anymore honestly, I love it," he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isha Bhargava is a multiplatform reporter for CBC News. She's worked for Ontario newsrooms in Toronto and London. She loves telling current affairs and human interest stories. You can reach her at isha.bhargava@cbc.ca or on Twitter @isha__bhargava

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