By Michael White
They have similar stories.
Typically, the person was handed a nice camera decades back — either from a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle — and he or she fell in love with the art of taking photos.
For some reason or another, careers and families mostly, photography was shelved.
Then, due to life changes — and the introduction of digital cameras helped — the hobby was picked up again.
These amateur photographers often found themselves taking sunset and sunrise photos at the Smith Point Bridge, toward the easternmost reaches of the Fire Island barrier beach.
But that’s not all they found. They found other people just like them.
And so, they started a club.
“It started on the bridge, during a conversation, and the next thing I know, everybody was asking to join,” said Douglas Kelley of Medford, one of a half dozen original co-founders of the Long Island Sun Chasers.
In less than two years, the Sun Chasers’ Facebook group has well over 1,000 members. It’s attracting people from all walks of life — from professional and amateur shooters with pricey equipment, to people handy with iPhone cameras, to those who just find joy in an endless stream of beautiful photos of the sun, moon, wildlife, insects and scenics.
“We were always shooting the sunrise or the sunset; we were always chasing the sun,” he said of the name. “We also shoot wildlife. People shoot still-life. It’s not just that we’re shooting sunsets. But a lot of our pictures are outdoors because we want to make it more exciting for people.”
FireIslandandbeyond.com interviewed Kelley last week, just as he and about a dozen other Long Island Sun Chasers were getting ready to drive into Manhattan for a photography cruise.
“We like to do excursions as a group,” Kelley said. “It can get boring shooting the same places.”
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