When Serendipity Meets Luck - My Favorite Image of 2018

My family and I were fortunate to be able to spend a couple of weeks in Avalon, NJ this summer. Located on the beautiful New Jersey coastline, Avalon sits on the north end of 7 Mile Island where it neighbors Stone Harbor.

Both Avalon and Stone Harbor are fantastic places for vacation. The main attraction, the beaches, and shoreline are sublime for family beach fun, swimming, and surfing. The sand is soft and the water is a comfortable temperature in the summer and fall months. This area has been a go-to for us ever since we moved to the Philadelphia area.

It was Friday the 27th. As usual, I was up before the sunrise to capture some images but, this day, I did not go to the shoreline. I grabbed an extra-large Wawa dark roast and explored the marshy areas of the bay. After shooting a few images and enjoying the sunrise, I headed back to our rental to get ready to go for a run.

It was about 8am when I headed out. The tide was low and I decided to run on the beach. Even though the sun had long since risen, it wasn't too hot because of an ultra-thick layer of fog. I ran two and a half miles south and returned back for a total of five. It was now 9am...not typically considered the best time for photography.

However, when I finished my run, I saw a scene that was too perfect not to be captured.

The thick layer of fog had persisted on the ocean side during my run...I wasn't able to see but 200ft in front of me. Sitting next to the lifeguard stand where three colored beach chairs and a drawn umbrella where an ambitious family had staked out their piece of beachfront real-estate. Most importantly...there was nothing else! The usually busy beaches were quiet. I had to capture this image.

I ran back to the house, grabbed my gear as quickly as I could, threw it on my back, and jumped on my bike, pedaling furiously back to the beach. My daughter Sam, thought I was nuts by the way - Luv u :-).

When I arrived it was still as perfect as when I saw it. I located the ideal spot for the composition, quickly assembled the tripod, and dialed in my camera settings. Breathe...take the shot. Take another for good measure. Wait a minute...there are people entering the frame at the same time from either side...wait, wait, wait, click!

I knew I got a good shot but didn't pay too much attention to it at that moment because there were other compositions to consider as well. I took a few more images and headed back home where I met the fam.

After spending some time at the beach that afternoon, I uploaded the images to my laptop and started looking at the digital negatives, I came across this one and was personally blown away...I knew immediately it was one of my favorites of the year. Now, having looked at it dozens of times for the past month, I can confidently place it as one of my favorite images, ever. I simply love it.

It just all came together that Friday...the minimalist scene, the simple color palette, the atmosphere, the beach-goers, the perfectly situated beach chairs, and umbrella...all at once, serendipitously. Part luck...absolutely but I was prepared and a acted on it. That's how I got the shot.

If you're interested in this image for your home or office, I am making prints available in a limited edition run of just 25. Click HERE for more information.

Until next time.



‘24th Street Beach’ - ©johnguillaume

‘24th Street Beach’ - ©johnguillaume

‘24th Street Beach’ - Printed on Archival Paper and Framed ©johnguillaume

‘24th Street Beach’ - Printed on Archival Paper and Framed ©johnguillaume