Hobbyist photographer Josh Povec captures Gatsby-esque green light across the water

The story behind this stunning photo

Thu, 12/30/2021 - 9:45am

    CAMDEN—There’s a passage in “The Great Gatsby” where the narrator Nick observes Jay Gatsby reaching his arms out at the end of a dock to embrace what looks like green light across the water. The literary device symbolizes Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for a brighter (less depressive) future.

    A digital photograph that film producer Josh Povec took with a Sony A7iii across the bay in Camden 90 minutes after sunset in October is the green light we all need right now. It is from the vantage point at an overlook off Bayview Street looking out to Curtis Island where the flash of green from the lighthouse spills across the dark, calm ocean.

    “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been at the end of a dock.”

    —The Great Gatsby

    “It was late dusk, the late blue hour when I stopped in Camden,” said Povec. “I think I was headed later to dinner at my parent’s house that night. The full moon is rising directly behind the island backlighting the clouds. The image was made using a 13-second-exposure, so all the motion of the water blurs to look almost like frozen ice and makes the green reflection from the lighthouse more pillar-like.”


    Povec, who calls himself a hobbyist photographer, often checks his phone apps to find out when the moon will be full, or the Milky Way will be present, to capture images such as this.


    “What was happening in this image was just so beautiful, but sometimes you really can’t see with the naked eye how it will come out,” he said.


    A native of Camden, Povec traveled and worked as an associate producer and video editor in several states as well as in New Zealand before moving back to Camden in 2003. Povec joined Compass Light from 2004 to 2013 as the senior editor on the 64-part Discovery Channel series SUNRISE EARTH. After that, he moved to Colorado for five years and returned home to Maine three years ago.


    Ironically, Compass Light, the producer of science, history, and expedition/travel films, has direct ties to Povec’s photograph. Its founder, David Conover and his extended family, have been the seasonal caretakers at the Curtis Island Lighthouse for nearly 40 years.


    Povec continues to make films for various clients, and as senior producer at Compass Light Productions in Camden, he and his team just finished 13 short character-driven documentaries in 11 countries this year. In his own time, he continues to get behind the camera, working on adventure films that reflect his deep interest in the outdoors, with his most recent film about a friend of his who tracks animals in the snowpack on Criehaven island.


    He’s also building a website to showcase some of his best nature photographs.


    “I’d like to sell enough photography to generate revenue to buy a new lens,” he said. “I'm also gearing up to do more gallery work with both my photos and video.” 


    You can see more of his work on Instagram.


    As we head into 2022, leaving the darkest month of the year, let’s all keep our eyes on that green light in Povec’s photograph.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com