Christian Dalbec's work: All Work » Photography

Christian Dalbec

Photographer Christian Dalbec takes photos of Lake Superior from an unusual vantage point: from the lake itself—while he’s swimming in her cold waters. “It’s not the easiest kind of photography,” he says.

Gallery owner Jan Sivertson says Dalbec’s close-up photos of Lake Superior are an intimate, rarely seen view: “He captures the essence that hardly anyone sees.”

Lake Superior is cold…really cold. Especially in December or March, when Dalbec gets in the water and uses his camera to catch a fleeting image of water, light, and motion that no one else has captured. It’s difficult and dangerous work—Dalbec swims amidst the the cold currents without the safety of a surfboard to keep him afloat.

In his time photographing Lake Superior, Dalbec has swum off Tettegouche and Split Rock State Parks, around shipwrecks in the Grand Marais harbor, in the rolling waves off Stony Point, and beneath the Witch Tree near Grand Portage.

He wears a helmet, wet suit, snorkel, fins, and masks while swimming; his Nikon camera is in a waterproof housing. Sometimes he suits up and gets in the water twice a day to catch a sunrise and a sunset. Split Rock State Park is his go-to spot because of the iconic lighthouse, which is a popular subject for those who enjoy his images. His view of Lake Superior is more like that of a fish’s perspective, rather than a human’s.

Dalbec lives in Two Harbors, Minnesota, and has lived his whole life on Lake Superior.

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