These photographers may take pictures of surfers, but their photography goes far beyond that.  They collectively express a love of the ocean and the desire to capture it in their unique vision, no doubt, but perhaps also an attempt to understand it as well as tame it, that powerful and relentless beast that has mystified humans since the beginning of time.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I swear these guys post some awesome photos.

Whether you love the ocean, appreciate the jaw-dropping beauty of nature , or maybe just want something on your Instagram feed that isn’t your friend’s new baby, you’ll find something to appreciate here.

1. Ray Collins

Ray Collins takes pictures of the waves in such a unique fashion that at times it takes a moment to understand what you are seeing.  The lighting and color create dark and ominous images that, along with his choice to shoot massive and powerful waves on the brink of breaking, hint at a more malicious side of the ocean, perhaps its true nature, even.

2. Chris Burkard

Chris Burkard might be a well known photographer outside the surf world, but taking pictures of the ocean is where he got his start.  So even if you won’t see as many images of the ocean as you would with anyone else on the list, his shots of beautiful and powerful landscapes from all over the world are nothing to complain about.

3. Clark Little

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🌊 #clarklittle 🆑

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Clark Little calls himself  a “shorebreak photographer” in his Instagram bio, so you can expect a lot of his images to have the distinct composition that stems from a wave breaking directly onto the sand.  That being said, he is much more than that, and you’ll see everything from sea life to surfers to sunsets and pretty much anything else that has to do with the ocean.

4. Robbie Crawford

Robbie Crawford is known for legitimizing the GoPro.  Though that might not normally be a photographer’s first choice in equipment, Crawford still manages to capture awesome pictures with a striking and special look.

5. Ted Grambeau

Ted Grambeau takes a lot of pictures of massive barrels in tropical places.  This might be what you’d typically expect from a surf photographer but Grambeau is unique in that he captures beautiful waves that, in the absence of a surfer, make them seem approachable and appealing, but that, on further investigation (and images with a surfer), prove to be brutal and deadly.

6. Morgan Maassen

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9:21am at Dbah, 3 of 3.

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You’ll see here the typical, stunning surf photography from Morgan Maassen.  But the photos that really stand out are his images where the ocean meets the horizon.  The somber sky meeting lines of unbroken swell, like corduroy, create a interesting blend of color and texture, with a soft blur to it all, almost the work of a painter’s hand,

7. Woody Gooch

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Closure of some sort.

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Woody Gooch creates beautiful and stark imagery that seems the exact opposite of what people probably image when you say “surf photographer.”  His pictures are stunning, nonetheless, and remind us that every aspect of life has a dark side.

8. Luke Shadbolt

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What a world we live in @take3forthesea

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Like Ray Collins, Luke Shadbolt has a talent in capturing waves in a unique way.  But where Ray Collins takes photos of waves in a calm just before brutality hits, Shadbolt takes them in the midst of the chaos.  He finds massive waves in storm-ridden weather, plagued by backwash and severe wind, their shape radical and undefined.