Photographs and text by Ben Whelan

In-water ocean photography became an interest of mine through a progression of doing general landscape photography. Kayaking in the ocean is one of my favorite activities and I am always in awe of how the water looks when the light hits its surface, especially when I’m out in the middle of the ocean. Not surprisingly, the ever-changing water magnifies light, refracts it, and displays incredible colors all of the time. Photographers are always chasing light and there is no better place to look than in the water.

Initially, I tried taking photos from my kayak. Then I bought waders, and a friend gave me a wetsuit and some winter swim gear to really go all in. I added camera equipment, such as a smaller and lighter mirrorless camera, and a waterproof camera housing that is able to go underwater for up to 40 meters. From initially capturing sunset reflections and ripples, I progressed to wave crests and barrels.

“Distant music he would call the picture if he were a painter.”

— Irish novelist, James Joyce

My two favorite places to capture waves on the Cape are Nauset Beach in Orleans and West Dennis Beach. On the cover of this issue is a photograph of a wave taken at Nauset in February 2021. 

For more information on Ben Whelan, visit Instagram @distantmusicphoto. His fine art prints are available at


Ben Whelan Photos:

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