The Plum Island Pink House

If you've followed my work for the last few years, chances are you're familiar with the iconic pink house on Plum Island.  My photographs of the house are found in brochures, presentations, and throughout the website of the organization working to save this house from demolition - Support the Pink House.  I'm pleased to be able to work with the steering committee and donate proceeds from the sales of my pink house photographs to the cause.  The pink house is an interesting structure, and it has inspired works by countless artists.  I began to photograph the house at the beginning of my landscape photography adventures, chasing sunsets and sunrises over the house.  But do you know why it's the only structure to appear more than twice throughout my landscape portfolio?  In the past I've done short write-ups on Facebook and on the Support the Pink House blog, but I've never published the full story.  Read on to learn more!

daytime clouds over the pink house on plum island
The pink house on Plum Island stands under a cloud-filled summer sky.

A Visit to Plum Island

My interest in the pink house began in 2014, when I ventured out to Plum Island to explore the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.  At that point, I was deeply invested in bird photography, but I couldn't help but notice the abandoned house sitting alone in the marsh.  For the rest of that year my focus remained on birds, but each visit to Plum Island renewed my desire to some day photograph the pink house.

The First Attempt

Inspired and intrigued by the pink house, I pulled my 18-55mm kit lens out of storage and began experimenting with landscape photography in the fall of 2014.  Guided by the goal of photographing the house, I learned composition while exploring the beaches of Plum Island.  My photographic journey brought me to the Milky Way, and I decided the pink house would be the perfect spooky foreground for a night scene.  In June of 2015, equipped with a flashlight and no clue what I was doing, I drove over to the house and set up my gear.  Prior to leaving, I researched where the galaxy would be at that time of year.  After a few exposures timed with the headlights of cars passing on the Plum Island turnpike, my work was done and I ventured home to take a look at the results.

milky way over the pink house on plum island
The Milky Way galaxy faintly appears over the pink house. This image is not part of my professional collection, but is still for sale on the Support the Pink House website.

The Next Photo

After the night scene, I was hooked.  My imagination carried me to the house under a layer of storm clouds, and later in the summer I watched the weather for the right conditions.  It happened that the storm broke near sunset, so I waited for some color in the sky and photographed this panorama.

storm clouds over the pink house on plum island
Storm clouds hover above the pink house at sunset.

A New Passion

During the summer of 2015, I upgraded my wide-angle lens collection and decided to begin focusing on landscape photography.  Still a bird photographer at heart, I spent countless hours photographing piping plovers at Sandy Point, but I would always keep an eye on the sunset.  One afternoon in August, I realized the sky was about to ignite with color - this was what I'd been waiting for.  As I drove the few miles out of the refuge, the sky began to turn into one of the most incredible sunsets I'd ever witnessed from Plum Island.  My composition was pre-planned, and the color reached perfectly over the house.  This was the sunset that changed everything.

sunset over the pink house on plum island
The pink house at sunset.

Completing the Collection

In the future months, I immersed myself into different landscape photography techniques, and I had the idea to add a few more images of the pink house to my list.  The next photograph featured the house as the subject under a long exposure sunrise. Then, my final idea for a cloud-filled daytime panorama came together in the months following.

sunrise over the pink house on plum island
A long exposure sunrise burns over the pink house.

The Milestone

In 2016 I went to graduate school and spent my little free time continuing to improve my skills.  Though one day I hoped to be published, it wasn't a priority and I never pursued contact with magazines and publishers.  So, it came completely by surprise when I received an unsolicited request to publish "Pink House at Sunset" as a cover and two-page spread in Northshore Magazine's April 2016 issue!

Moving Forward

The pink house inspired me to explore landscape photography and was the source of my first publication, so I was quite disappointed when I learned of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge's plan to demolish the house.  There was a small group interested in saving the house, and I got involved by sharing my photographs and providing them to various news sources.  Once Support the Pink House was formed, I worked with them to design a website, offering all of my images to be used for anything they needed.

My landscape photography has grown in a way I never expected, and Plum Island's pink house was the beginning of this passion.  It would be a shame to see to the house destroyed, leaving Plum Island without the inspiring icon that has captivated the imaginations of so many artists, designers, and authors.  In the interest of saving the house, 40% from each sale of a pink house photograph on my website is donated to Support the Pink House.

Have you been inspired by Plum Island's iconic pink house?  Tell me your story or share a photo in the comments below!

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