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Gerard Romano

‘Dingy Boat Rack’ (Brookhaven Town Marina, Mount Sinai) Photo by Gerard Romano

By Melissa Arnold

If you ask Gerard Romano how he’s feeling about his first ever photography exhibit opening this weekend, he’s quick to admit he never imagined this would happen.

“It seems like one minute I was submitting pictures to the local newspaper, and now there’s going to be an exhibit for [my pictures],” said the Port Jefferson Station resident. “I wasn’t expecting to do anything like this — the thought never crossed my mind before — so there was a lot to learn.”

Last year, Romano began to submit his photos to Times Beacon Record News Media’s weekly Photo of the Week series. Several of his photos were chosen over time, and eventually he was invited to submit a collection of his favorites for a two-page photo essay in the Arts & Lifestyles section. 

Now, Comsewogue Public Library in Port Jefferson Station is featuring Romano’s photographs in an exhibit he’s entitled Visions of the North Shore. The presentation will be on display in the library’s gallery throughout the month of July and will showcase images of this beautiful part of Long Island that we call home.

‘Low Tide’ (Stony Brook Harbor) by Gerard Romano

Romano’s interest in photography began more than 50 years ago, when he acquired a 35mm camera soon after he left the Army. “I enjoy creating images and seeing things differently through the lens of a camera,” said Romano, who went on to work as an engineer and auxiliary police officer for Suffolk County. After his retirement he became active in digital photography. “I find it very satisfying to share those images with other photographers around the world through the image sharing website Flickr,” he said.

That desire to share his work would become the spark leading to this exhibit. One day, while visiting Stony Brook Harbor, he met Donna Grossman who was instructing a plein air class through the Atelier at Flowerfield art school in St. James. He snapped a photo of the artist, and Grossman offered to critique his work. “She suggested doing an exhibit, and I thought it might be fun,” he recalled. 

Reached by phone, Grossman said that Romano was a talented observer of life on the North Shore. “I am happy that his work will finally be brought to the attention of the residents of this beautiful area. His show at Comsewogue Library is not to be missed,” she said.

Romano is happiest photographing the area he knows best — the landscapes and waters of the North Shore, especially its bluffs and beaches. Taking inspiration from Norman Rockwell, he also enjoys taking candid photos of people interacting with one another and recently began focusing on taking close-ups of flowers.

“I like to go out with a plan for the kind of photos I’m going to take, but mostly it depends on the weather,” Romano explained. “Stony Brook offers a beautiful harbor, a wonderful museum, the Village Center, the grist mill, Avalon Park and Preserve, and nearby Harmony Vineyards. I also love to take photos around Setauket’s historic district, Port Jefferson and Mount Sinai Harbor with the lobster boats.”

‘Seabird’ (Port Jefferson) by Gerard Romano

One of the photographer’s favorite images in the show is “Seabird,” an image of a seagull perched on a piling in Port Jefferson Harbor. “The gull let me get within three feet of him before flying away,” said Romano in disbelief. “It was very unusual.” 

To create his images, Romano uses two Nikon DSLR cameras, both equipped with BMP sensors. One camera has his all-purpose “walk around” 18-200mm zoom lens, which he uses most of the time. The other camera usually has a wide-angle lens. The photographer’s favorite is a 10.6mm fisheye lens for up close and personal shots. “It creates great special effects,” he explained.

Featuring over 45 images, the exhibit will display a variety of subjects, giving visitors a chance to find something that resonates with them. Its six sections will include seasonal landscapes, nautical photos, classic cars, Norman Rockwell-style color candids, black and white photos, and more.

Loretta Holtz, exhibit coordinator and head of adult services at Comsewogue Library said the library was happy to be showcasing the photographer’s work, adding, “Gerard Romano has captured so many wonderful scenes of our local area and we hope the community will take the time to visit the library gallery in July to see this exhibit.”

As he prepared for the exhibit’s opening a few weeks ago, Romano said that he didn’t realize how much work went into this kind of project. He and his wife Barbara Ann printed and framed each photo themselves, which had its own learning curve. It’s been hectic getting to this point, he said, but “it has also been a rewarding learning experience that has extended well beyond photography.”

Comsewogue Public Library is located at  170 Terryville Road, Port Jefferson Station. Viewing hours for the gallery are Monday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-928-1212.

‘AND THEN MY HEART WITH PLEASURE FILLS, AND DANCES WITH THE DAFFODILS’ – William Wordsworth 

Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station spotted these daffodils during a drive through the Village of Port Jefferson on April 30 and stopped to snap a photo. He writes, ‘I was delighted to see these beautiful flowers growing in the west retaining wall along Village Beach Road. The sun was behind them and they literally glowed in the afternoon sun.’

SEAWORTHY SKIFFS

Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station took this photo on March 25 using a Nikon D3300 with a Nikon 18-200mm lens. He writes, ‘I took a walk down by the Brookhaven boat ramp at Port Jefferson Harbor. The little skiffs pictured have been readied to be sailed by the young students of Stony Brook School this spring. For this photo I propped up a nearby life preserver and framed the picture.’

Send your Photo of the Week to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com.

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD

Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station took this surreal shot of Crystal Brook Hollow Road as it snakes south along Mount Sinai Harbor on Jan. 11. He writes, ‘Low lighting required a handheld exposure of only 1/30sec. Walking along the road this day proved to be too much of an adventure as you can see the normally narrow shoulder was snow covered, and the occasional car passed too close for comfort. We wisely retreated back to our car.’

UNCOMMON BEAUTY Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station captured this image at Satterly Landing Park in Mount Sinai. He writes, ‘I stopped by the area to see my friends fishing and I noticed how nice the common reeds looked when the sun shined at a 45 degree angle so I framed the abandoned shack across the harbor with them.’

Send your Photo of the Week to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com.

AUTUMN HARVEST Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station stopped by the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational & Cultural Center in Stony Brook Village last week and snapped this photo. He writes, “At the entrance were the nicest pumpkin decorations. I was drawn to the color and arrangement.”

EN PLEIN AIR: Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station captured this image of an artist painting plein air, a French expression meaning ‘In the open air,’ at Setauket Harbor in May using a Nikon D7100 with a Nikkor 18-200 zoom lens.

Send your Photo of the Week to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com.

COUNTRY LIVING Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station took this photo of a Farmall tractor on May 2 using a Nikon D3300 and a 11-20 mm lens. The tractor, which was produced between 1932 and 1939, sits on the front yard of the historic Sylvester Randall home, circa 1853, in Miller Place.

Send your Photo of the Week to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com.