The Making of I Love this Place - Director's Note The weather moves in ... photo

There's a ferocious, winter storm in 'I Love this Place'. Although Public Warnings had been issued and Sydney's beaches were closed, I wanted to capture the best shots possible of the wild weather.

I might work on my own, but I'd lived on this coast all my life. I knew the tides; I knew the best vantage points; I was geared up for these treacherous conditions.

The talk was that Clovelly was 'going off'. On arriving, I was stunned – huge waves were surging into this smallest and normally most sedate of the four beaches I was filming for 'I Love this Place'. The anger of the sea was compelling.

Armed with my DLSR camera, tripod and my mobile phone, I became like a surfer looking for the ultimate wave, or like a fisherman needing to catch the best the sea had to offer.

Clovelly Bay is long and narrow, with a breakwater at its mouth. A sea level promenade runs at least 300 metres from the beach down to the breakwater.

I work my way towards this breakwater, all the while capturing shots, aiming for a final vantage point towards the end of the promenade. Swirling waves of sand-gritted foam barrel towards me, visually compressed through my telephoto lens. The water is moving and changing fast and appears astounding.

Below my line of sight, I can’t see the swell rising. I'm still shooting, then - Bang! I get swept off my feet into the extraordinary power of the wave. I try and hold the camera and tripod above the water – I'm not letting go of the camera! - but I get smashed into the sea wall. I'm trying to swim with only one arm and kicking frantically. I'm alone. There is no one else around and the churn is like a whirlpool.

I grab a railing visible above me, but then another wave breaks and the backwash smashes my tripod, fists and chest into the sea wall. As I struggle to haul myself out, my knuckles are bloodied like a street fighter's.

I’m breathless and shivering, but I'm sure I’ve got the shot!

Painfully, I realise how the sea can 'pull you in', in more ways than one!

photo The storm!