By Mike Busch

I met my friend and fellow photographer Trish Minogue Collins at dawn on January 4, 2014.  The reason I remember the date is we met at Smith Point Beach for the first time right after a snowstorm dumped a foot of snow and left the temperature at zero.  When I arrived at the bridge I could see it was closed for the storm but rather than walk over the bridge as Trish did, I cheated and drove around the barriers.  It turned out we were the only two people at the beach as an incredible morning developed with sea smoke rising off the ocean and the sun lighting up the storm surf and snow on the beach. Trish walked past my truck as I thawed out my fingers and introduced herself.  I knew right away this was one tough lady and we have been friends ever since.

Sea Smoke Surf 1-4-14


When I saw the weather report for last Monday with temperatures plummeting to single digits after a storm, I predicted another wild morning.  As soon as I mentioned Montauk to Trish she was in.  Luckily we were both off for Martin Luther King day.  The weather report was correct, with low single digit temperatures and wind out of the north gusting to 40 mph, pushing my truck around on the highway on the way there.  We arrived at the Lighthouse around 6:30 a.m. and took a quick look at Camp Hero to see the Ocean.  Even at this early time, about 40 minutes before sunrise, seas smoke was visible all over the sea surface.  There was also some great low clouds racing north, perfect conditions for photography.

First shot of day at Camp Hero

We then headed to the Montauk Lighthouse.  Luckily a large bluff just to the north provided some shelter from the wind.  Just offshore the wind was much stronger, blowing spray and sea smoke past the point in a thick cloud.  If the went were out of the East it would have been impossible to not only stand but to keep mist and spray off the camera equipment.  Although the video above does not do it justice, you can get an idea of what was going on.  Islip reported a wind gust of 44 mph and I would not be surprised if we had winds close to that.  Combined with the 7 degrees air temperature the windchill was below -20.

More Photos on Page 2