There may not seem to be many rewards from putting on a damp wetsuit before sunrise and venturing into the water in complete darkness. Especially when you were out there after dark the night before.
But it only takes one great image to inspire you to do it all again.
Being an ocean and wave photographer can be a lonely existence.Warren Keelan is regarded by many as one of the best in the world at what he does, but it's subjective work so when he learnt this week his photographic peers around the world had judged three of his seascapes as worthy of the finals of a prestigious global photographic competition, it was a wonderful feeling.
Mr Keelan has turned photographing waves and the world beneath them into an art form.
In 2013 he was named a winner in the prestigious International Photography Awards in the Nature: Underwater category for his picture, Silver Helix.
And 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.
Now he has done it again. Three of his photographs have been named among the top 101 finalists in the International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards.
It came after a team of judges, including many of his photographic heroes, scored the 2600 entries.
"They don't have an ocean category so I submitted them under landscape," he said.
"So far it looks like they are the only ocean images. Some of the judges there are people I have been following for years. I am over the moon."
The final list including Mr Keelan's photographs named Kryptonite, Teal and The Great Beyond can be seen in random order at www.internationallandscapephotographer.com/Top101-15.php.The results are particularly significant considering he has only been photographing professionally under his own name for five years and only opened his Wollongong gallery two years ago.
That in itself was a challenge.
As is the case with many artistic pursuits, exhibiting your work is like baring your soul.
And Mr Keelan said no one else knew how much work and planning went into each shot or how personal they were.
"But the hardest bit is getting out of bed knowing I have got a wet wetsuit to put on in freezing cold winter and then swimming out in the dark by myself off the beach waiting for the sun to come up," he said.
Generally he only gets a few minutes to capture what he really wants and every time he learns something new.