In all reality, Winthrop is one of the first communities in the United States to see the sunrise every single day, and even though many don’t have the will to drag themselves out of bed to see it, Winthrop’s Richard Honan has unexpectedly made a cottage industry out of capturing those sunrises for others.
His daily sunrise walks have gone from good exercise and inspiring views to a surprisingly successful calendar business and an upcoming gallery show.
“It’s just me sharing something that we can all see out there on Winthrop’s shores every day, but not everybody is up and as eager to get at it as I am,” he said. “I am an early riser. I get up around 3 a.m., so by the time the Sun comes up, my day is pretty much half over.”
Soon, he discovered how beautiful the sunrises in Winthrop are – something that many tend to forget after being exposed to it for so many years. So, taken by the beauty, he decided to start bringing along a little camera.
As time went by, he started sending out his photos via e-mail and Facebook to friends, relatives and acquaintances both far and near.
“I’m basically an amateur photographer and I just really enjoy doing it,” he said. “The more photos I took and with the ease of sharing them on e-mail and Facebook, I started sending out the best ones to a lot of people on my computer. They are mostly people who would like to be there, but can’t for various reasons. Some of them are people who used to live in Winthrop and now are in other areas of the country where there is no ocean sunrise.”
For the past two years, Honan’s morning e-mails have become a staple for the 300 people on his e-mail list and the additional hundreds that view his Facebook page.
He will sometimes focus on the way the light hits rocks on the Beach, or the way the orange rays of the Sun might reflect in small pools. Then, there are the magnificent shots of the Sun rising out from behind the Atlantic Ocean, sometimes with silhouettes of seagulls flying in front.
Oftentimes, he turns to his dogs as subjects as well.
“My daily pictures must go out to 3,000 or 4,000 or 5,000 people all told,” he said. “When I put a really good photo on there, I can often get 200 or more comments and replies from people. Many of the replies tell me that they are homesick and want to come back home to Winthrop.”
With all those photos sitting on his computer, and more piling up each day, Honan wondered what he would do with them.
Some, certainly, were very good.
That’s when he began to get the nudge to put together a calendar of Winthrop sunrises – organized by season and month.
“The calendar came on because everyone started encouraging me and it’s been more successful than I ever thought it would be,” he said. “People have really responded to the idea. Without really telling anyone, I’ve sold 150 of them at $20 a piece over the last two weeks.”
He said many of the calendars are headed for far-away destinations.
“Just this morning I had nine checks in the mail to ship calendars,” he said. “They went to Florida, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Maine. They’re all people who used to live in Winthrop. Some are my friends and my family and others have just seen them on Facebook.”
Now, Honan is set to have a photo show of his pictures at the gallery in the E.B. Newton School in March, and he said he also plans to begin offering note cards of his sunset photos as well.
“I cherish going down there every day and walking and taking pictures, and it’s great that I can share them with people and that they want to see them,” he said.