PHOTO STORY: New Beginnings

Hero Image - West Beach Pier at sunrise

When is the last time you watched the sun rise? For most of us, the answer is "too long ago to remember", and that's a shame. While sunsets are much more commonly romanticized, sunrises don't get the credit they deserve. There's something magical about being out in nature for the day's first light when much of the world is still asleep. I've found myself really gravitating toward shooting at sunrise over the years, and while it's definitely an effort, the reward is almost always worth it - even when the shoot itself doesn't pan out.

I chased a lot of sunrises in 2020 because they they provided me with a creative outlet during quarantine that was naturally socially distant. With one week left in the year, I knew I wanted to get out for at least one more, so I started planning a shoot. I decided on West Beach in Beverly Farms, MA because of its southern facing shore and the fact that it wasn't a hot spot for visitors in the winter months. 

I hadn't previously visited the area to scout any locations (I need to get better about this), so I was kind of flying blind. There's a nervous excitement that comes with shooting a new location you've never seen in person, but it comes with a lot of variables that can go wrong. Sure enough, when I arrived at the beach I found the gate to the parking lot locked until sunrise (this happens to me a lot). After a panic-filled 10 minutes or so, I found a side street without parking restrictions and made the 5-minute walk to the beach. Not too bad.

Once on-location, I knew my subject would be the remains of this old pier, which was once a private boat dock for the wealthy landowners in Beverly Farms. It was later destroyed by a blizzard in 1978 and hasn't been rebuilt, leaving behind these pilings. There are a dozen different compositions that could be framed around this spot, but I settled on a pretty simple one, looking straight down what would have been the underside of the old pier. I love how the now barnacle-covered pilings draw the viewer's eye out to sea and directly toward the rising sun.

The sky that morning turned out to be cloudier than I expected with a dense front hanging over North Shore (this also happens to me a lot). Fortunately, after about 40 minutes waiting in the cold (and wind!), the sky began to streak with intense pinks, oranges and yellows, along with a light purple cast. Worth the wait!

I ended the morning with a stupid grin on my face, a short walk back to my car, and a delightful breakfast from the Bagel Shop just down the street. Peppermint hot cocoa hit the spot after a chilly morning!

I hope you enjoyed this story. Below are some images I took that morning. Stay tuned for more sunrises in 2021.

West Beach Pier at sunrise
West Beach Pier at sunrise
West Beach Pier at sunrise
West Beach Pier at sunrise