Onne van der Wal

Onne van der Wal is one of the most prolific and talented marine photographers in the world of sailing. He was born in Holland on February 24, 1956 and raised in Hout Bay, South Africa. Before he learned to walk, he learned to sail aboard his grandfather¹s boat. After he progressed through youth sailing training programs, he discovered his passion, ocean racing.             

As the bowman and engineer aboard the Dutch maxi-boat Flyer II, van derWal won all four legs of the 1981-82 Whitbread Round the World Race. Along the way, he took his camera with him everywhere he went, even to the top of the mast and the end of the spinnaker pole.

In addition to editorial work, Onne, who is based out of Newport, Rhode Island, has shot for blue chip commercial clients, including Hinckley Yachts, J Boats, North Sails, and Harken.

While he has an artist¹s eye for composition and color, Onne is also a

perfectionist when it comes to the technical aspects of his craft. As a member of the elite Canon Explorers of Light, a group of the most influential photographers and cinematographers in the world, he is always pushing the equipment and the technology forward.

He was one of the first marine photographers to go all digital, and is an early adopter of shooting with drones to get that unique perspective that is higher than a stepladder, but lower than a helicopter. He often works with equipment manufacturers to improve their gear, and shot the 2013 America¹s Cup with a prototype Canon 4K video camera.

Gary Jobson, who won the America¹s Cup as tactician aboard Courageous said, “With Onne’s pictures, you feel like you are either on board or you want to be on board. The cool thing about our sport is everything changes, all the time: the wind, the waves, the light, and the sail trim. Onne anticipates those changes to capture beautiful images.”

Despite all of the accolades and accomplishments over a career that has covered more than three decades and all seven seas, Onne van der Wal is always looking forward to the next assignment. With a smile, he said, “There are two things I need to do great work. One is wind and the other is sun.” 

 


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