Tim started photographing sunrise over the ocean a couple years ago when he wanted to give something back to Charles, an 18-year old Marine thousands of miles from home. With barely a clue what he was getting himself into, he set the goal of shooting a sunrise and posting it to Facebook for Charles every day.
He decided to go for it when Charles sent a note home. Tim decided to just do it and set a goal of 1 year of Island Sunrises. Now celebrating his 2nd Island Sunrises anniversary, the obsession has changed Tim’s life.
Every morning when the alarm rang, he jumped up, threw on a pair of swimming trunks, and, camera in hand, waded out into the ocean just as the sun began to light up the sky.
Getting into the water is the only way he can catch the shots you see on Island Sunrises. Of course, he’s had to replace his camera a half dozen times because the waves smash into them and the salt water is very corrosive. But the view is different in the waves. Much of what he catches in his camera is simply not visible from shore.
Marla was his first canvas buyer. That sale sparked the Island Sunrises Facebook page. Since then,Tim’s sunrise prints have gone to South Africa and to Asia. He’s done two sold-out calendars. Songwriter Ellen Chang, @for3v3rfaithful, was inspired and composed and recorded her own song, “Island Sunrises”. Tim added a slideshow of sunrises.
Gabe Gomez, @gabegomezmusic, enjoyed Tim’s images so much that he allowed Tim usage of the music in his 2013 CD “In My Island”.
Almost from the beginning, Tim knew that he needed photographic training. One of the world’s most popular photographers, Patrick di Fruscia, who happens to live in Canada, agreed to mentor him.
Camera lenses are a huge part of excellent images. Because of Island Sunrises, Tim snagged a shoot at a Resort. He’d researched his needs and decided that many of the shots required a special lens, a Tokina 11-16, at the cost of about $1000. It just wasn’t in his budget for this shoot.
On the last morning sunrise at home before traveling to the shoot, a stranger walked up to Tim and began asking about his equipment. Tim was polite, but the sun had just crossed the horizon; and he continued to shoot. Then he heard the man say – without any questions or prompting from him – “I have a Tokina 11-16; and, I never use it now.”
Tim shook his head, thinking “What did I just hear? A Tokina 11-16? Dare I ask him if I could use it?” He DID ask the man if he could borrow it. “Certainly, if it will help you.”
Tim was still shaking his head over the coincidence when the man called from Tim’s driveway to hand deliver the lens.
Later, Tim’s benefactor shared that due to his health, he was actually unable to get out of bed that morning and told his wife to go to the beach without him. As she was leaving, something allowed him to jump up and go with her despite the pain.
Posts under each of his Island Sunrises tell the stories of people around the world and how much Tim’s work resonates with their situations. Barbara told him “All of your photographs are amazing and they give me such a feeling of peace & comfort admiring ‘God’s Art’. How can anyone not believe in God and Heaven when they look at the beautiful images that you capture?”
The Marine’s Dad said that “When Charles was deployed to Afghanistan, my wife & I found ourselves constantly on our knees praying for safety for him & his fellow Marines. The photos that you post are a constant reminder to us of God’s daily faithfulness, creativity and majesty.”
An attorney in California wrote “If I need to get back to my quiet place, I know I can always enjoy one of your island sunrises and remember how the day started and remind myself to be grateful of the beauty that life has to offer.”
Tim told me that although his ocean snapshots are somehow magical in the lives of many, his guess is that they are incredibly more so in his own.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Tim Forrest and Island Sunrises! You enrich and nourish us all.
Images for online and print, Tim in Action, and Video
10 Images from Island Sunrises.
3 Images of Tim Forrest taking his daily Island Sunrises photo.
1 Video collage of various mornings with music.