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Stage Harbor Marina: Chatham, Cape Cod, MA

Published July 22nd, 2012

Normally while on the Cape I try I leave the house just after sunrise with my camera and a healthy dose of curiosity. Not only is this one of the best times of the day in terms of soft light, it's also one of the rare points of the day when one can drive on the Cape without lots of traffic. I also use the time to collect my thoughts, get a cup of coffee from Duncan, and listen to NPR as I try to find a quaint something to photograph. The interesting individual is better the picturesque landscape, but that's my preference for shooting. For me, a good story and a portrait will always trump the sun reflecting off the ocean.

This particular morning I rounded the corner at the Chatham Lighthouse without any particular destination in mind. I simply wanted to see where the road and the Subaru would take me. I came upon a wooden drawbridge that looked very old and sounded like thunder every time a car rolled over. See the photographic opportunity, I drove on a slight distance until I arrived at an area that looked promising. On my right side was a lush, green marsh with ponds that dotted the landscape. On my left was a classic New England marina that wreaked of leisure time and privilege. I ventured over with my camera in hand, and these are the images that I came away with.

I had the opportunity to meet one of the managers of the marina who actually lives on his boat docked in the harbor. I think his name was Drew, from here on I will refer to him as such. Drew gave me a brief background of the marina and Chatham in general. I learned that Ted Kennedy stop through the marina several times on his boat, docked, and hit the several watering holes throughout the Chatham area while he was living. Drew explained that several members of the Kennedy family would dock at the marina and party in Chatham. He added that recently they hadn't seen the Kennedy cousins since Ted's death, and that the family members may be keeping a low profile these days. Seeing the richesse of Chatham, the characterization of a stopping ground for the young Kennedys didn't really seem far off the mark.

I was also fortunate to meet Winston, the fellow that washes the some of the boats in the morning. Drew said that it's a dirty job and that Winston was the hardest working man at the marina. Winston told me he spends his nights busing tables at a local dive in Chatham, which was not like the typical restaurants in the area. No manicured lawns, no "Resorts" in the title, just a clapboard shack with a parking lot in the front.


Stage Harbor Marina

  • July 17th, 2012
  • NIKON D7000
  • 24mm / f/3.2 / 1/500 sec


A workshop at the marina with a derelict phone booth. All these items where headed to the trash heap.


A peek inside

A detail of the workshop locating out onto the harbor.


Shoreside marsh

  • July 17th, 2012
  • NIKON D7000
  • 24mm / f/11 / 1/250 sec


Drew coming around the workshop. I didn't initially see him walking into the frame as I was making the composition. I fired off several shots seeing him teeter as he walked through the frame.

  • July 17th, 2012
  • NIKON D7000
  • 24mm / f/10 / 1/250 sec


After a five minute conversation about the functions of the marina, I wanted to get a portrait of Drew in this doorway. The colors clothes and coffee cup matched the colors of the marina.


Nautical gear


Marina equipment

  • July 17th, 2012
  • NIKON D7000
  • 24mm / f/5 / 1/1600 sec

Morning at the marina

  • July 17th, 2012
  • NIKON D7000
  • 24mm / f/8 / 1/1600 sec

Drew looking out on the water at Stage Harbor

  • July 17th, 2012
  • NIKON D7000
  • 24mm / f/8 / 1/400 sec

The dock at SHM


Friends at the marina

  • July 17th, 2012
  • NIKON D7000
  • 24mm / f/8 / 1/500 sec

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