#BeYourOwnIcon: Don Parkinson

Don PArkinson and CapePhotos.net


A relatively modest-sized sliver of sand that juts out and curves like an arm at the Southeastern edge of Massachusetts lies a vacationer’s playground, at least for roughly three months of every year.

Better known as Cape Cod, this peninsula is what we call home.

The Cape is marked by the smell of salt air and its close proximity to the ocean. Wherever you are, a beach is not far away. There are quaint villages – Chatham, Falmouth and Osterville, to name a few - scenic rides and a connection to nature that make this part of the world unique.

Its special character makes Cape Cod a photographer’s paradise. One only need look at Vineyard Colors to see the type of images that can capture the beauty of this region.

Perhaps no genre of photography screams “Cape Cod” more than that of the sunset. And perhaps no photographer is more adept at taking them than Don Parkinson, a jack-of-all trades whose other talents include web design and glass blowing.

You can see some of his stunning work on his Capephotos Facebook page or by following him on Instagram. We caught up with him before Christmas, not long after he had sold a print of a sunset over Wing’s Neck, the orange and red hues creating a remarkably stunning contrast with the darkness settling in over the shoreline.

Parkinson’s foray into photography started, at the age of 23, out of necessity. He wanted to capture images of the glasswork he was making here on Cape Cod.

When he moved to Iowa, his interest became more serious. “I started taking pictures of barns and things like that,” he said.

A move to the Florida Keys followed before Don eventually returned to Cape Cod, purchased a better camera and started freelancing for the Enterprise newspapers. He worked there for nearly eight years, serving as the paper’s photography and web editor.

Now 15 years after he first picked up a camera, Parkinson’s passion for photography continues, whether he’s shooting sports, landscapes, people, sailboats and of course, sunsets.

As to what he likes about getting outside of his house at the end of the day and immortalizing the sun setting over Cape Cod waters in jpeg format, Don said, “I like them because everyone is different. Even if I take it from the same place, it can be a different shot using different perspectives – shooting low or putting something interesting in the foreground or using a long exposure to make the clouds blurry and the water nice and smooth.”

While some photographers can be protective of their work, Don sees no harm in sharing them with the outside world, regularly posting his work on social media.

“To a certain extent it sort of validates why you do it, if people like it,” he told us. “Also, what good is taking the photos if other people don’t get to see it? A lot of people, and I used to be the same way, wouldn’t really post their photos online or post really small versions of them because you don’t want people to steal them. I sort of changed my mind maybe 10 years ago that they are really doing no good sitting at my house on a hard drive so they should just be out there and people should be able to enjoy them.”