Photo-a-day habit inspires book

Photographing sunrises every day from his condo has given Patrick Curtiss quite a collection of images that he’s now sharing in ‘Good Morning Port Washington’

PORT RESIDENT PATRICK CURTISS so enjoys the lakefront views from his home on the lakefront that he takes a picture of the sunrise every day and posts it on social media. Prompted by his followers, he compiled more than 80 of his favorite photos into a book, “Good Morning Port Washington.” Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Patrick Curtiss has witnessed magnificent sunrises from the deck and living room of his condominium overlooking Port Washington’s lakefront — and he’s been recording them for some time.

He posts a sunrise photo on social media almost every day — while out of town recently, he posted a picture of the lakefront with a rising sun drawn in — and has garnered a following.

Now, Curtiss has gathered 18 months worth of his sunrise, moon rise and rainbow photographs and published his favorites in a book, “Good Morning Port Washington.”

“I had all these really nice pictures. Rather than have them sit on a thumb drive in a drawer, why not get them out?” Curtiss said.

The book was his way of doing just that, he said.

Curtiss didn’t set out to take a picture each day, he said, but discovered that if he didn’t post a photo on social media in the morning people would comment on that fact.

Most of the photos are taken from his deck, “so I figured as long as I’m up, if it looks nice I’ll take a picture,” Curtiss said.

After a while, he said, he decided to take a picture even if it wasn’t stellar outside — and so “Good Morning Port Washington” was born.

“People who followed me have encouraged me to put out a book,” Curtiss said.

The sunrises and moon rises intrigue him, he said.

“They’re all different,” he said. “You get clouds, and there can be layers of them or just a few. You get oranges and reds throughout the sky, or if it’s clear you just get a big orange ball.”

Rainbows have a special place in the book as well. Some of the most dramatic form an arch over the marina, giving the effect of encasing it in a bubble.

Curtiss has been looking at the view over the lake for much of his life. He grew up in Port, graduating from Port High in 1960.

Photography was a hobby that he occasionally used at work, Curtiss said, noting that he served as an in-house photographer at Bolens for a time and later, while working for Honda, the company used some of his shots as well.

For a time, he set his hobby aside but then a friend in Japan, Jun Furukawa, rekindled his interest in photography and introduced him to the Old Lens Club, a group of photographers who take their photos with lenses made prior to 1987.

Curtiss doesn’t limit himself to older lenses, instead taking most of his photos with his Nikon Z5n camera or iPhone.

“I use whatever I have at the time,” he said.

And, he added, he doesn’t alter photos in Photoshop, preferring the actual image to shine.

Sometimes he will set up his tripod on the deck, especially when large ships are on the lake and he’s going to use a long lens.

“Then after I take it down, something happens,” he said, chuckling.

This isn’t Curtiss’ first book. He wrote “The Light on the House at the Top of Stairs,” which tells the story of the four lighthouses that have been in Port Washington and the men and women who tended them from 1849 to 1935.

Proceeds from that book went to the Port Washington Historical Society.

He got help putting the book together from Beth Dippel of the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center in Sheboygan Falls, who Curtiss said helped him organize his computer files and put them into a publishing format.

There are more than 80 photos on the 76 pages in his latest book, which is sold at a number of local stores, such as Eclectic Avenue, Shops of Port, Locally Inspired and DreamPort Harvest Market, as well as on Amazon.

The $20 cost covers his expenses in printing the softcover book.

“I’m not doing this for money,” Curtiss said. “It’s a hobby.”

He’s working on two other books — one about Margarethe Schommer, who was the first lightkeeper at the 1860 Light Station, where Curtiss has volunteered as a guide, and the other on the historic buildings that line Franklin Street.

“I keep hoping someday the New York Times calls and puts me on their best-sellers list,” Curtiss laughed. “I’m not holding my breath.”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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