On August 28th 2011, Hurricane Irene made landfall over New York’s Coney Island with winds at 65 mph. It hit New York City at 9 a.m. ET bringing with it a storm surge that sent 3½ feet of water into New York Harbor. Although downgraded to a tropical storm, it still flooded low-lying areas, which left millions of homes without power all along the Eastern Seaboard.

Fascinated as I am by the ocean, that afternoon I took a drive out to Jones Beach to shoot the surf. The resulting images are a study of waves during high winds, but they are also a study of power and of contrasts. For while the wind whips the surface during this spray-heavy storm and vast swathes of water are forced to fold in on themselves, there is, deep down, a sense of calm — a place where the ocean remains untouched.

Unlike me. I am in awe. While I take pictures, calmly framing each shot, the sight moves me beneath the surface in a way I can’t explain.

Perhaps that’s why I photograph it.