Wollongong photographer Warren Keelan has picked up a lifetime's worth of accolades in just a few short years.
Keelan has just been named winner of the prestigious International Photography Awards in the Nature: Underwater category for his picture, Silver Helix.
Mr Keelan said he had tried for months to capture this specific shot - an underwater image of a wave breaking on North Wollongong Beach - and had been trying to recreate it since.
"It was at sunrise a few months back. When a wave rolls over, it traps air and creates rings and circular patterns, for a split second," he said.
"It was just luck. It was the shot I was striving for, to frame it with those colours and patterns, and I felt worthy enough to enter it in the competition."
The awards attracted more than 10,000 entries from around the world. Keelan also had four other photographs attract "highly commended", but this was not his first success in the competition.
In 2012, he won the Nature: Sunset category with an image of a glass-like wave just about to break, called Sea Hawk.
Not a bad effort from a guy who has only been taking photos for four years.
"I started doing photos to help my business website. Then I got into fishing journalism, which meant I had to take my own photos, and it just went from there," he said.
Only starting to take photos professionally in 2009, Keelan is now a full-time ocean and nature photographer.
Hitting the water almost every day to capture images of the Illawarra coastline, he said he wouldn't trade his job for anything.
"My job is seeing the ocean, surfing and creating art from the ocean's natural canvas," he said.
"A lot of things go on under the ocean, so much movement and light. Once you go under the surf, anything can happen. A lot is luck."
Aside from the international plaudits, Keelan has also racked up achievements at home. Since moving from Shellharbour to Wollongong a year ago, he has opened his own shop and gallery space in Kembla Street, its success reaffirming his choice to throw all his effort behind a career in photography.
"I'd been exhibiting for years but I said to my wife that my dream was to open my own gallery," he said.
"An opportunity came up and I took it. I've been overwhelmed by everything so far; it's been such a huge journey."