October 9, 2021

Sea Smoke, See?

Way back in the winter of 2016, New England was hit with a cold snap that brought us the coldest temperatures since 1958. Since 1958 was the year of my birth, I felt obliged to mark the occasion by venturing into the bone-chilling cold and taking some photographs.

I’m kidding of course. I would have been content to stay in my warm bed under a mountain of blankets, but my friend, Steven Perlmutter, had other ideas.

Steven recognized that the predicted air temperature was going to dip far below the water temperatures off the New England coast, setting the perfect conditions for the creation of sea smoke. Or sea fog. So Steven coerced me into waking up way too early on a Saturday morning to drive to Rockport, MA to photograph sea smoke.

How cold was it, you ask? The air temperature was (if I recall correctly) -10°F. But the wind brought the chill down to around -40°.

We started at Rockport Harbor, where we could stay outside for about 30 seconds.

“It is too cold here,” Steven said, “Let’s go someplace warmer to shoot… Like, maybe the right on the ocean, where is no harbor to help shield the extremity-numbing cold and wind!”

“Now you’re talking,” I replied!

So we foolishly made our way down to an open-ocean facing area with a view of Thacher Island and its twin lighthouses. We managed to find a spot on the rocky shore that formed something of a bowl, which partially blocked the wind.

From there we spent a few bone-chilling minutes frantically photographing what was unfolding before us — a wall of sea smoke between the shore and the island, drifting across the water, backlit by the rising sun.

This is one of the images I captured that morning, obviously. Hope you like it.

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