Wild Waves: 14 Photos of the Ocean Overtaking the Earth

We look at so many gorgeous images every day that it takes something really unique to make us stop and say, “Whoa.” For me, that “wow” moment came while exploring images of sharks (because of Shark Week, of course), when I came across a series of larger-than-life waves by Zacarias Pereira da Mata.

The Portuguese photographer is just one of several Shutterstock contributors who document the beauty of the ocean, capturing terrifying-but-fascinating images of waves exploding onto shores, piers, and lighthouses. Many of the photos were taken at harbors around Portugal, particularly on the Douro river, which runs through both Portugal and Spain. In one image, the contributor even wrote a caption describing winds up to 150 km per hour.

Below, you can explore a dramatic collection of images captured by four different Shutterstock contributors. Each photograph shows an enormous wave frozen in time — some look like fluffy clouds; others look like pillars of smoke; and a few even appear to be explosions beneath the ocean’s surface.

Sea storm at the mouth of the Douro River by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

Ten meter waves in Porto Lighthouse by Bruno Ismael Silva Alves

Wave at the entrance of Douro Harbor River at dawn by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

Big wave against a lighthouse in the north of Portugal by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

High wave breaking on the rocks of the coastline by Peter Wollinga

Waves on a stormy, overcast evening in Portugal by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

Storm waves over the beacon of Portugal's Douro Harbor by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

Dramatic wave during stormy weather by Marafona

Stormy waves crashing over the Portuguese coast by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

Old lighthouse during a winter storm sunset by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

Sea storm on a sunny day by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

Waves on the harbor of Povoa do Varzim, Portugal by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

Storm waves over the Douro River lighthouse by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

Top image: First big storm of the year at the Douro River by Zacarias Pereira da Mata

Fascinated by what’s happening below the surface of the ocean?
Explore our “Deep-Sea Dwellers” collection: