Few things are as inspiring as Ocean Photography. The Ocean is such a raw and powerful element of nature. It’s hard not to be in total awe seeing massive waves crash against the shore, or be lulled into stillness by the rhythmic ebb and flow of the beach tides. And then you can’t forget the sea-life! In Hawaii we have all kinds of fish, Dolphins, Turtles, Whales and even Sharks! In this post we’ll get to take a peek under the waves with Ocean Photographer, Jay Greiner.

The Ocean is one of the most precious resources we have. With 70% of our planet covered in water, our health is dependent on the health of our oceans. It is an ecosystem providing a huge part of our world with food, producing oxygen, and all kinds of life.

The Makai (“Ocean” in Hawaiian) has played a huge role in everyday Hawaiian Culture and still does to this day. Water directly contributed to a thriving community, and as such, Hawaiian’s had a respect for the water (“Wai” in Hawaiian) as a precious resource, taking from the water only when needed. Everyone had an equal share of the Wai, and its concept of equity formed the word for law known as “Kanawai” or the “equal sharing of water.”

And in that spirit, Jay Greiner shares a bit of the Ocean through his Photography.

Sun through a crashing wave on Oahu
This is one of my favorites. The conditions were perfect for this shot. It was the first wave in the set so it was as clean as it could be–the water untouched by sand allowing the sun to shine through. What I love about it are the aspects that I was able to capture: the sun, the shoreline, and the sky shining through the wave.

Jay was born and raised in New Jersey, moving out here to Hawaii as part of a two year Orthopedic Residency program. And thats when his world got turned upside down. 7 months into living in Oahu, Jay got into a critical moped accident, almost loosing his life. He woke up one day from a coma in the neurological Intensive Care Unit. After taking four months to recover in the mainland, Jay decided to move back to Oahu.

“Since then my perspective of life has changed dramatically”

“Part of the healing process has been spending time in and near the ocean. It’s as if it somehow embraced me—providing a healthy escape from the surrounding commotion of life, and living in that exact moment. The more time you spend with something, you develop a connection. My love for the ocean began to grow and has been fostered by the the time I’ve spent enjoying all it has to offer. I began wanting more. To know more. To see more, and to understand more. That was when I began to explore with a camera.”

Jay’s Photography has taken off in Hawaii as a fresh perspective on Marine life. His work can be viewed in many places across Oahu, including The Four Seasons at Ko Olina.

A pod of Spinner Dolphins off the coast of Oahu
What I love about this image is the little pup tucked below a fully committed pod of spinner dolphins just off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. They glide so effortlessly and stayed with us for 2 hours. There is something special about experiencing that.

“I love spending time around and photographing humpback whales, Hawaiian spinner dolphins, and various shark species. The more time I spend around them, the better I understand them and their role in keeping our oceans healthy and balanced. I’d have to say that my favorite moment so far was when I got to see a mother humpback whale caring for her calf by escorting it to the surface and tucking it underneath her pectoral fin to rest. Those awesome moments make want to put the camera down and just sit back and watch. ”

Reflection of dolphins under the waters glassy surface in Oahu
This was a morning session with no wind and calm seas. The dorsal fin pierced the surface and emitted a reflective pattern in absolute symmetry. The details are so crisp.

“With nature we have very little control and that can be really frustrating at times when things don’t go as planned with the visibility, lighting, or when the dolphins never show up. But at the same time, not being in control can be so rewarding when they surprise me with an approach and interaction so perfect that I could have never scripted it any better. The intelligence of these ocean residents goes beyond what we will ever truly understand. A sense of adventure and unpredictability. There’s something special about that.”

Spinner dolphins dive under the waters surface with the mountains in the distance on Oahu
It’s difficult to get the “over/under” photographs in the ocean with the varying winds and swells. That morning was different and it was so calm out there. The spinner dolphins stuck together and came to the surface for a quick breath and I happened to have the correct settings for this shot. What I love about this shot is the blending of the mountains in the background and the dorsal fins of the dolphins almost mirroring each other.

“I always begin my sessions with the mindset that these are wild animals and this is their home. Understanding their patterns and doing my best not to interrupt that is very important. If that means that I keep my distance in order to respect their space and not get a good photograph, then so be it, tomorrow is another day. Splashing at the surface with fins is never a good idea. It’s important to remain confident and calm to refrain from distracting them or posing any threat.”

Sharks swimming below a boat in Oahu

“A healthy ocean begins at the top with our apex predators sharks. They are such incredible creatures, and as a photographer collaborating with One Ocean Diving here on Oahu, I am able to join them and help educate people by experiencing them first hand—in the ocean with no cage—opening up minds to have a newfound love and respect for these sharks. That makes me feel good and that I am helping make a difference.”

diver swims close to a shark in Oahu

“I try to always be mindful of how my impact is on the environment. Simple things like beach clean-ups., I love taking people out with me during session, especially with the sharks, to show them the beauty of our oceans shed light on various issues. Once people see things and get to experience these moments with the apex predators, it has the power to change their perceptions and that become contagious.”

Wave barrel at sunset on Oahu
There is a certain time of the year when capturing these shots are possible from the east side of the island. The sun rises and sets at different areas during the summer/winter months, and I usually have a 2 month window when the sun is positioned perfectly. As long as the waves form at the right angle, the sky stays clear, and conditions are just right, I am able to capture a pure display of true beauty. This is why I love images like this one.

“I believe that creation is able to tell us a story and expose attributes its Creator in a tangible way. There is a lot that I can learn from that and I believe that is a large part of what motivates me. From what I have been through while recovering from my accident, I try my best to treat each day is a gift and to be thankful each morning that my eyes open up for a new day. I am so grateful for the privilege of experiencing moments that I can’t help but to share with the hope to make a difference and to inspire.”

You can see more of Jay’s work on Instagram @JayGreiner his website www.jaygreinerphotography.com or follow his page on Facebook: Jay Greiner Photography

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