We're experiencing yet another winter storm here in Montauk. So, it seems like a good day to relate the story behind a recent photograph.
One day back in January, I received a phone call from a lady who had been referred to me by the Montauk. Chamber of Commerce. Joan is an elderly woman who lives somewhere back towards the middle of Long Island and she had, as she put it, a “crazy idea” for a gift she would like to give to her son in celebration of his upcoming retirement. She was wondering if I might be able to help. Since she knew her son loved Montauk, her idea was this: would it be possible for me to go out to the point and get a photo of the Lighthouse just as the dawning sun peaked over the horizon, here’s the catch, on the exact first day of his new post-work life? I could only smile as a I scratched my head at this wonderfully whimsical notion. “Everyone thinks it’s kinda silly,” she said in her very cheery, optimistic voice, “but I really like it. Don’t you think it’s a neat idea?” Joan had no way of knowing that she was asking this question of a guy who, shall we say, has a lifetime of experience with pursuing crazy ideas. I knew immediately that this commission was not going to be the job that would pay for my new ‘whatever’ but, just as immediately, I said, “YES!”
Now, of course, I had to give Joan a few caveats. “Joan, I have to remind you that, while the sun does still come up every day, we don’t always see it. Especially in Montauk. Especially in February.” And, wow, this winter has been a doozy of drizzly days, storms, blizzards, etc. We’ve had five days of overcast skies and rain, followed by a day of “mixed sunshine” followed by a fives days of overcast skies and rain. I wondered if she wouldn’t just be as happy to take one of my photos from previous, fair weather dawns that I already had in my library of the sun coming up out at the point. She liked what she saw, but, no, the idea was that it had to be THE day. “Okay,” I said, “We will make it a date and cross our fingers.”
Then: the day of her son’s retirement shifted back a few days. Oh, no! That day and the next were “on hold” to photo a corporate event in the City. I checked quickly with my corporate client to see if there had been an update. A day later the news came back that . . . the corporate presentation to be photographed had been pushed back a week. Whew! Joan’s new date was free! Bullet dodged.
Of course, the weather on the run-up was the worst. The original day that had been scheduled was a TOTAL washout, but . . . the forecast was improving.
And wouldn’t you know it? February 27th, the Tuesday we had secured, dawned with mild temperatures and not a single cloud in the sky. It was like magic. Not only were the colors spectacular but with all the rain, they were also clear as a bell. In addition to Joan’s requested composition, I was able to achieve four other keepers of my own, which of course I emailed her in case she wanted an option. But she stuck true to her original notion -- the lighthouse with the sun just on top of the horizon line. We also decided then to add a line of text on the image so that her son would know that the image was created, as Joan like to put it, “that exact first day of the rest of his life.” The next day, the sky began to cloud over again and the forecast turned dim. We quickly consulted with her local lab and delivered the image file which was immediately printed up as a giant poster and ready for Joan by Friday morning. By that afternoon, a northeastern storm began to rage through all of New England and the mid-Atlantic.
When Joan got home, though, she called me. She said with a big smile that you could hear over the phone, “Oh, Ric, you should see your work. It’s beautiful!” And that brought my own big smile. Sometimes there’s nothing like “a crazy idea.”
And here's another crazy idea -- you can have your very own image like this one if you head on over to "Hat Tricks For Sale" & check out the items I have for sale there. Who knows? You might even get a crazy idea of your own.