How One Photographer Found Her Safe Harbor

"Safe Harbor" Photo Credit: SAK Photography

"Safe Harbor" Photo Credit: SAK Photography

Thanks to the generous contributions of over 125 photographers, we’ve gotten to see some of the most awe inspiring photos all in one spot on our Facebook page.

One of those photographers is Amy Peterson of SAK Photography. We contacted her in April of 2014 after we came across her “Safe Harbor” photo. Little did we know, this was also right around the same time Amy’s mom went into remission and Amy was diagnosed with a completely different type of cancer. “Safe Harbor” was her outlet.

Amy was down at the pier with some girlfriends wrapping her mind around the news of being diagnosed with breast cancer. While they were there, Burns Harbor came into port. It was an icy, cool, and dreary April day after one of our coldest winters on record. Everything about that photo was reminiscent of what was going on in her life right then. But it might not be what you think.

Standing at the pier when a 1000 Ft. Laker comes into port is unlike anything you’ll ever experience. It’s like watching a skyscraper float silently through the water on its side. As it approaches you’re sure that there’s no way the ship will fit the narrow entry of the canal. Watching it glide by, it seems the captain has effortlessly and perfectly alined the boat between the cement walls of the canal.

Photo Credit: SAK Photography

Photo Credit: SAK Photography

Standing so close you could almost touch the boat, it’s completely soundless as it glides by. Everyone watching with you is speechless. Until you see the crew. The real live men and women it takes to keep our shipping industry active. They wave at the crowd gathered and in unison, the land lovers wave back and cheer, happy for the safe return of the men and women on the ship. In the midst of our celebration the massive, bellowing, bone shaking ship horn blows three times; one long and two short. After a moment's rest, the Aerial Lift Bridge blasts its familiar voice in response, reassuring that, yes, the seamen and women have safely arrived in Duluth.

Gathered around her friends, and taking in this symbolic, iconic event that sets Duluth apart form any other city in the world, Amy realized that she was in a safe harbor of her own. It was in the warm embrace that moment gave her on that chilly April day that made Amy choose joy. It was love, joy, and happiness that were going to help her through her recovery and it shows through in her work.

I had no idea of the back-story when I bought this print at a Destination Duluth silent auction. But there was something about the photo that spoke to my husband and I. And so, now in our home, we can relive the moment of a ship coming into port every day. And that’s the part about living here we love most.

If you'd like a print of your own, simply send Amy a message via her Facebook page.

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