Warren’s wonderful Wollongong a watery winter wonderland

Keelan magic: Warren Keelan's internationally acclaimed Silver Helix shot off North Beach, Wollongong. Picture: Warren Keelan.

Keelan magic: Warren Keelan's internationally acclaimed Silver Helix shot off North Beach, Wollongong. Picture: Warren Keelan.

Blue sky days this winter are helping Warren Keelan showcase Wollongong as a wonderful winter wonderland to the world.

Cold mornings don’t stop the multi-award winning internationally recognised photographer from getting out before dawn daily to promote his hometown as a great place to live and visit.

Ocean photographer Warren Keelan on North Beach Wollongong at dawn. Video: Greg Ellis.

Most nights he is up late editing his images from the morning before. Then within five hours he is often putting on the same damp wetsuit dried again and venturing back into the water in darkness ready for another sunrise.

“I generally go to bed after midnight. Then I can’t sleep because I am just too excited about the ocean. You’ve just got to get up every day otherwise you might miss something,” he said.

I can’t sleep because I am just too excited about the ocean - Warren Keelan

“I travel up and down the coast. I’ve got 27 beaches to choose from. I am in the water by first light every day. It is a beautiful place to come down to.” 

It only takes one great image a day for Mr Keelan to be happy. And his global success has inspired many others like him such as Paul Grossmann, of Dapto.

Mr Keelan is internationally renowned as an Instagrammer with more than 70,000 followers of his ocean and wave photography. Many images are seen by more than 100,000 sets of eyes.

It may seem a lonely existence being in the water alone in the dark many mornings but Mr Keelan has become one of Wollongong and the Illawarra’s most successful tourism ambassadors. And he is regarded one of the best in the world at capturing the majesty of waves above the water and below. He is an artist who works in a wetsuit and every day produces new colours and shapes to work with.

Watery winter wonderland: Warren Keelan and Paul Grossmann at North Beach early on Thursday morning. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Watery winter wonderland: Warren Keelan and Paul Grossmann at North Beach early on Thursday morning. Picture: Greg Ellis.

No two days are the same for Mr Keelan who in 2013 was named a winner in the prestigious International Photography Awards in the Nature: Underwater category for his picture, Silver Helix.

In 2012, he won the Nature: Sunset category of the same awards with an image of a glass-like wave just about to break, called Sea Hawk. In 2015 three of his photographs were named among the top 101 finalists from 2600 entries in the International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards.

Mr Keelan has only been photographing the ocean for six years but has won many gold, silver and bronze awards in international competitions.

And what motivates him most to get out into the cold water year round is the attention he is bringing to the South Coast by interpreting what he sees with his lens.

Many of his images are on display in the gallery he opened in Kembla Street, Wollongong in 2013.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF WARREN KEELAN

What are the challenges of doing what you do every morning in winter?

Warren Keelan interview by Greg Ellis.

What is the motivation for what you do?

Warren Keelan interview by Greg Ellis

What do you do with the photos you take daily at dawn?

Warren Keelan interview with Greg Ellis

Do you go to the same beach every morning?

Warren Keelan interview with Greg Ellis

Is it unusual to be out every morning before dawn?

Warren Keelan interview with Greg Ellis

What is one image that really stands out in your mind that has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people around the world on Instagram?

Warren Keelan interview with Greg Ellis

Is getting that one great shot what makes it worth getting out in the cold every morning?

Warren Keelan interview with Greg Ellis

WARREN KEELAN AN INSPIRATION

Paul Grossmann – Is Warren Keelan the reason why many people like you are getting into ocean photography?

Warren Keelan interview with Greg Ellis

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