Why They Come To The End
Although I was born and raised in Long Island I never had the opportunity to visit Montauk. Montauk is known by many Long Island residents as "The End." This is because it is the easternmost point of the island and New York state. As I got older over the years, several of my friends would venture out to the Hamptons and Fire Island and would ask if I wanted to join. I generally opted out as I typically try to avoid being in the ‘scene’ and prefer to be in more laid back settings and doing something active.
A friend of mine, Peter, invited me out to Montauk a couple of years ago. He’s originally from Long Island as well and has been renting a house every summer in Montauk for the past 20 years or so. He had nothing but good things to say about the place and I was definitely interested at this point. Once I had a quick chat with the wife it was a done deal.
No Car Needed!
We caught the Long Island Railroad from Brooklyn out east and just over three hours later we reached the last stop, Montauk. Peter was there to pick us up and we were off on another weekend adventure.
During that trip in 2015 we rented bikes from Montauk Bike Shop and explored Montauk using leg power which included the famous Montauk Point Lighthouse. Additionally we went to lots of restaurants and rode through neighborhoods and parks along the way. There was a nice hike along the beach and I heard there were some good bike trails. I brought my camera and took a few shots but I didn’t get what I wanted back then. Peter had told me about how Montauk had changed a lot during his time visiting. It had gotten a lot more crowded and trendy and things were becoming much more expensive but he did follow up by saying things are still very chill overall; you just have to know where to go and when to go.
It was during that first trip to Montauk that I came across its surfing culture. The first morning there I woke up early and walked to the beach while everyone else in the house was still asleep. There were no beach crowds early in the morning and the locals were out walking their dogs and getting in their exercise. Additionally, there was a throng of surfers that caught my eye. I walked down to get a better view of them and ended up grabbing a seat in the sand and watching them for what seemed like hours. At that time I didn’t have a long enough zoom lens so I put the camera away and just relaxed.
Fast forward to August 2017 and I was prepared this time around. Armed with a 70 – 200mm lens and a determination to get up early, I was ready to hit the beach again hoping the surfers would be out in full force like the first time.
Walkers & Wave Riders
I set the alarm on my phone and was up by 5:30am even after consuming a number of beers the night before and out walking to the beach around 6am. By the time I had gotten to the beach a contingent of the surfer community was already present along with a few people walking the beach and the sun was beginning to glow providing great light.
It's a Mystery to Me
The next day brought about a different set of weather conditions. The morning was full of fog and made the entire beach appear to be full of mystery and suspense. It was quite a magical experience and I was snapping photos the whole morning. The surfers were also out even though the visibility wasn't good but the beach and the waves are why they come.
The Burn Off
Although that morning was filled with mystery and low lying clouds they burned off later in the morning. The evening provided a great sunset and of course I was out getting more photos.
Needless to say I plan to go back to Montauk hopefully next summer. You can see more photos of Montauk in the Scapes section of my site under New York. The first set of photos are from the NYC area and second half of those photos from Montauk. Click here to view those photos.