The Saltmotion Photographic Journal


Many of you have been following my journey online for many years, the Monday to Friday blog posts from Manly and my regular travels abroad. Over the last year I started to feel constrained by the routine of the daily blog post and email format, so I started working on a new concept, a concept I am proud to share with you today.

The Saltmotion Photographic Journal is a visual story-telling site that allows me to showcase full size images as well as share the stories that went into creating them. It is a site unconstrained by the limitations of email and designed to be viewed full screen for maximum viewing impact. It is a place where I can take you on a journey, in detail, rather than having to ‘sum-up’ what I want to share into just one paragraph. I encourage you to take your time, revisit, share, comment and engage in this beautiful new platform I have created.

The Saltmotion Photographic Journal has no set schedule. I anticipate a new issue every few weeks depending on where I am in the world and what I have been able to see through the viewfinder or tap out on the keyboard. Whilst the frequency of the updates may have decreased, I promise you, the quality of them will drastically increase.

Myself and my team of surfing, design and website-code wizards have also completely re-built the Saltmotion website and online shop. It is all about the photographs and seeing them full screen in as much detail as possible. It also includes an engine to actually create mock-ups of what my images will look like as artwork on your walls, it’s very cool!


The Saltmotion Gallery in Manly is our physical home and where the best of my work hangs for you to see.  The Saltmotion website and journal is now a true digital reflection of what we have created in that space.

An Adventure in Words


The weather report
The swell
The first text message before dawn

Standing on the cliff
Wind that bites
Freezing fingers
Squinting through the darkness
The first signs of daylight
The disappointment

The phone calls
The conversations
The hint of a secret

Has anyone ever surfed it

The call

The drive

The view

The wave

The excitement
The lack of knowledge
Left or right
The half hour bush bash in the cold
Bush bashing with a surfboard
An 8-foot surfboard
Right was wrong
The light sweat on arrival

Gear off
Wetsuit on

Spray in the face

The first ride
The first tumble

The time held underwater
The next breath of freezing air
The times that make you feel alive

The screams of your mates cheering you
The wind
The cold
Time to go in

The scramble up the rocks

Wetsuit off

Getting dry, getting (almost) warm

The pact to keep a secret
No photos

Left or right

The easy path out
Should have known earlier

Happy that you didn’t

The drive home passed a blown out beach

The reward worth the effort

An amazing sense of satisfaction

An adventure

An incredible life

A stormy day in…

Winter In Sydney

Heron Island

An old friend of mine from high school heads up an oceanic research team where they maintain an array of underwater ‘receivers’ throughout the worlds oceans that track tagged marine life. The depth of knowledge Andrew and his team have of the marine world is incredible and I could listen to them talk for hours about the work they do. In August they happened to be a person short for a dive team headed to Heron Island to do some work on the array of receivers, so they asked me to join them. For me, the lure of being able to photograph inside some of the ‘green’ zones on the Great Barrier Reef was enough to get me to volunteer to do some diving work.


Heron Island is split into two halves, the University of Queensland Research Station occupy half the island and the Heron Island Resort the other half. It is a mecca for SCUBA divers, whale watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Personally, I was just hoping for some clear water, something beautiful to point the camera at and a sunny break from winter in Sydney. Heron delivered on all three.

Blue Water Hunting

I spent an afternoon with a group of spearfishermen and was expecting to see a boatload of easily caught fish at the end of the day. It was not to be. The blue water hunters I was photographing were out to target certain species, over a certain size, the ‘good eating’ fish and anything else was not even a consideration.


Practiced properly, this form of fishing is 100% selective, produces no bycatch and does no harm to anything except what was targeted for food. Given I eat fish, I can’t claim to being this selective and careful about what I take from the oceans myself.

I often buy from the local fish market, knowingly supporting unsustainable fishing methods, feeling guilty about it, but stopping there.


For me, watching these spearfishermen swim past so many fish, fish they could have taken for the table, yet leave them, was an elegant and respectful thing to witness. They would rather go home empty handed than lower themselves to taking a fish that was not going to provide food in a sustainable manner. Environmentalists have often spoken about spearfishing in less than kind tones. I understand that, if abused, it can be destructive, but if respected I think it is one of the most sustainable forms of fishing.

Spring on the East Coast

A weekend down south

Thanks for taking the time to look through the first issue of my Journal, I really hope you enjoyed it.


I am heading off on a few adventures now, I’ve spent a lot of time at the computer getting all of this done over the past few months and I feel a little deprived of saltwater and sunshine. I’ll have the next issue ready for you soon, until then please have a look at our new website.


A massive thank you to the team involved in this project, you know who you are.

Enjoy your day,
Joel Coleman…

  • Mick Free
    Posted at 11:28h, 29 September Reply

    Congrats looks unreal!!!!

  • Craig Brokensha
    Posted at 12:44h, 29 September Reply

    Great layout and super smooth.Love the full screen images!

  • Bruce (The Rev)
    Posted at 00:26h, 30 September Reply

    Well done Joel – excellent look and feel

  • Mark
    Posted at 05:59h, 30 September Reply

    Nice! Great mobile experience

  • Ivan
    Posted at 23:30h, 30 September Reply

    Awesome new site mate your developer must be a genius!

  • Beady
    Posted at 02:04h, 01 October Reply

    My monitor isn’t doing this justice. Love the UX of the site and the imagery is as always awesome!

  • Andy
    Posted at 02:26h, 01 October Reply

    Great new site , works well on desktop and mobile device . Hope we get your daily blog in the same slick looking presentation …

  • rupert
    Posted at 02:37h, 01 October Reply

    Beautiful stuff Joel. Well done!

  • Aidan
    Posted at 02:53h, 01 October Reply

    Love your work Joel. It’s great to see your images in a larger format – don’t worry about regularity, it’s quality that matters.

  • Ginette
    Posted at 03:13h, 01 October Reply

    I miss the daily emails but having looked at what you have produced here, you are forgiven!! These blogs are fabulous. Thank you.

  • Chris Daley
    Posted at 03:29h, 01 October Reply

    Simply stunning

  • garry beath
    Posted at 04:30h, 01 October Reply

    wonderful Joel- superb images and nice text. well done.

  • Joel
    Posted at 06:04h, 01 October Reply

    Hey @andy the daily blogs are a thing of the past now – moving in a new direction with The Journal – I will still be around photographing in the mornings so keep an eye on my Instagram and Facebook feeds for those images. Have a great day and thanks for the support, Joel.

  • Mark
    Posted at 06:08h, 01 October Reply

    Great work mate as usual, just shared with all the pommie crowd back home!

  • Chris
    Posted at 06:37h, 01 October Reply

    Awesome Joel! Love it! Looking forward to future work of yours.

  • James
    Posted at 07:19h, 01 October Reply

    Joel (aka “Master”),
    Great stuff mate!
    I will forever cherish the photography course last year. The wonderful skills you passed on to me have opened up an appreciation of the endless appreciation of what goes on behind the lens.

  • Leighton
    Posted at 07:52h, 01 October Reply

    Amazing! I love the look and feel of this journal.

  • Kirsty
    Posted at 10:30h, 01 October Reply

    Absolutely awesome – love your work !!

  • Mark
    Posted at 11:21h, 01 October Reply

    Very cool! Love the format, and stories. Great job!

  • Planet
    Posted at 09:09h, 02 October Reply

    Superb Joel – so great to revisit your beautiful work.
    Your jjournal is like a visual jewel – so wonderful you share it with us
    Planet x

  • Patrick
    Posted at 02:12h, 03 October Reply

    Fantastic new site and amazing photos as usual! Bigger is better!

  • Ray
    Posted at 08:18h, 07 October Reply

    Love the new site Joel

  • Caz
    Posted at 11:37h, 07 October Reply

    Stunning. Love the combo of underwater and on-the-water images. Makes me fall in love with the ocean all over again!

  • James Cooke
    Posted at 22:39h, 07 October Reply

    Renewed sense of awe regarding the sea!

  • Sonia
    Posted at 09:40h, 08 October Reply

    Simply beautiful ! Thank you for sharing this beauty !!

  • Sonia
    Posted at 09:41h, 08 October Reply

    Simply beautiful ! Thank you for sharing this beauty as you do so well.

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