Hello, thanks for taking the time to read this little biography of how and why I think I started doing this whole Ocean/Wave Photography thing.
So my name is Terence Pieters and I am from the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. It all started when was young, 5 or 6 years old. I was at the beach every chance I got. I would spend my time surfing/bodyboarding and taking part in junior lifeguarding. What hooked me first was bodyboarding. I loved to ride the waves, Nothing made me happier. Growing up on the beach was great, it was a really healthy lifestyle.
I learnt a lot about the Ocean and waves in that time. I starting competing on a National level in the bodyboarding scene and I did that for many years. I gained great sponsorships and I could see a clear path for me for my future as a professional athlete.
Unfortunately that came to a halt as my injuries started to take a toll on my body. After my shoulder surgery I never quite felt the same, so bodyboarding started to fade into a weekend activity. I still really enjoy it but I do it more for the fun of it now.
I had been a photographer for a few years already at that time but I hadn't quite found my niche. I ended up working on the cruise ships for a couple of years which was a really great experience. I learnt a lot and I travelled the world and saw many beautiful places.
That all fell away as the Covid Pandemic came crashing down and the whole world stopped working. This was a very scary situation for many including myself. What was I going to do? I knew I liked photography but what could I take photos of? We weren't allowed to go anywhere? Thats when I invested in a camera and water housing and started swimming into the Ocean at dawn, before anyone was awake to rat me out to the police as lockdown was in full swing.
I had a gut feeling that it would come naturally to me because when I was out surfing in the ocean I found myself noticing exquisite moments that no-one else was paying attention to. Sudden glimpses of magic as the wave flared up. I wanted to pause those moments so I could stare at them. I would make a small opening with my hands and peep through to see only the parts of the wave that I thought were interesting. I didn’t think much of it at the time but it manifested into a huge passion of mine.
Something was happening that felt so natural to me. I found peace, meaning, excitement and pure joy out of it and I wanted to share that feeling with the world.
Why the name orange rocks?
Orange Rocks on the coast is a well know fishing spot and for those that know it, know how beautiful and up close the ocean is there, and that’s where it all started for me taking photos of waves. I wasn’t able to take my camera into the ocean back then I would stand on the rocks and capture the immense power of waves crashing from the safety of the land.The Orangey color of the rocks is also quite common on our part of the coastline so I thought the name Orange Rocks Ocean Photography was quite neat.
Documenting the waves inside the sea is a completely different ball game. You have to know the ocean inside out, the currents, the tides, the swell as well as all the surfers and how to navigate through them. Not only are you swimming deep in the ocean without a floating device, you're doing it while holding a heavy and an expensive camera, I also have to think about the right exposure settings and the correct composition to use.
Some days are easier than others, when the waves are smaller and the sea is calmer, those are the days which I'm able to concentrate a bit more on the technical aspect (I have more time to think about my shot). On the other hand on those big scary days, I am focusing more on my surroundings and the movement of the ocean and I might walk away with only one good photo but I walk away with a great story and experience to share with everyone.
The beauty and uniqueness of each wave is endless. Seeing it from land is one thing but being out there up close and personal is absolutely breathtaking and I am so thrilled to be able to share my vision with you.
Here's a short video edit that I made while being in the ocean. It will make your feel at ease, which is what I want my work to achieve.
Song by Bonobo, Titled Second Sun
If you would like to own a piece of my work and bring the Ocean into your Home, Please browse my print store - Choose your wave, size and medium you would like it printed on.
It will then be in production and delivered to your door.
Cheers, Thanks so much