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Hold on to Sixteen

Ben Skaar has found a true talent for photography and his fresh, youthful perspectives bring to life everything there is to love about the region in each striking image he captures.  

Gray’s Beach boardwalk, Yarmouth Port

“My first drone was an impulse purchase,” explains Ben Skaar. Inspired by a family trip to Norway and intrigued by the opportunity to capture the unmatched natural beauty of the coastal fjords and sparkling glaciers of Scandinavia, Skaar decided there was no better time to take up photography. Three years later, at just 16, he describes purchasing that first drone as “the best decision of my life.”

“There’s so much to love about being a photographer on Cape Cod,” says Ben who spends his summers in Harwich Port. His drone photography provides a new perspective of the classic, dune-riddled landscapes and breathtaking ocean views that are so beloved across the Cape. The images that he creates are thought-provoking peeks into the area’s incredible natural beauty and wholly unique identity through the dreamy eyes of a talented young artist, and it’s a true gift to see the vibrancy of youth intertwine with the timeless character of the region.

Ben has also honed his skills in ground photography as well as videography. “In the beginning, I had little to no clue about the rules of photography or how to make the most of the gear I had. I feel like my eye for composition, color, and interesting photos has improved immensely.” Ben says he loves to capture the unique culture of each of the Cape’s towns and the precious, exhilarating moments when he discovers “hidden gems;” He describes special seconds when the lighting is just right. For instance, his image of a sailboat traversing the shoals of Chatham brings the land and sky together in captivating shades of blue. Then, there’s his photo of Wychmere Harbor that makes it easy to imagine being there, watching the dinghies rocked to and fro by gentle wakes and a warm summer breeze.

“My favorite part about being a photographer would have to be that it constantly challenges me,” says Ben. “Each and every time I go out to shoot I’m faced with new situations, new lighting, new obstacles, and new ideas I want to put to the test. There will never be a time when I have a camera in my hand that I will be uninterested. Photography makes me think differently about my surroundings in a way that allows me to live life a little more and notice the small things. I always find myself focusing on little details while also paying attention to the big picture. I’m thankful for photography for pushing me to always try my best, get outside, explore, and strive for quality.”

“Having a driver’s license will enable me to explore every part of the Cape I haven’t seen yet, which is very exciting,” laughs Ben. John Mellencamp famously sang “hold onto 16 as long as you can,” melodiously immortalizing the sentiment in his 1982 song “Jack & Diane.” He once explained, “What I meant was keep doing whatever makes you feel alive.” It’s a feeling that shines through every one of Ben’s photos, making it clear that he’s discovered a true passion—one that will shape his life and relationship to Cape Cod well past 16.

To see more, make sure to follow Ben on instagram @benskaar and for more Cape photography, check out our other photo portfolios here!

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