Categorized | Publisher's Letter

Birth of an entrepreneur

It seems my letters from the publisher have taken on a life of their own. The warm comments I get around town give me great joy and inspiration. I find bringing attention (and hopefully good fortune) to small businesses not expecting it is fun and very rewarding.

One of my fishing buddies recently sent me a link to a remarkable photo. Some discussion ensued among the recipients of the photo about its origination. As it turns out, the photo was taken locally. The picture was so well done, I had to know more. After a few calls to get to the source, I learned the story. To me, it’s fascinating, because it pinpoints the moment when an entrepreneur was born.

Not many of us can isolate the day—let alone the minute and place—we started life as an entrepreneur. For James Vernacotola it was February 8, 2010, at 4:41 a.m., atop the Palm Valley Bridge.

James has always loved photography and sharing pictures of family and friends through Internet-based sites. He even dreamed one day he would turn professional, and people would actually pay him to take photographs. But the time and risk involved to make that dream come dream always pushed it into the background. He didn’t think it would ever happen. But, then, along came February 8.

In the early morning hours, when it was still dark and only 31 degrees outside, James hauled his equipment to the Palm Valley Bridge and climbed up to the exact spot he had planned for the photo shoot of NASA’s last scheduled space shuttle launch. With just seven minutes to spare, he made final preparations. As the countdown ended, he opened the shutter.

The click of the camera was the start of his professional photography career.
“Three times before I had been through this exercise—two other rocket launches and a scrubbed shuttle takeoff. “Each time I learned a little something as I practiced for this shot,” he explained to me. He learned a lot. The shot came out spectacularly—so much so it took on a life of its own as he sent it to friends and family, thanks to Internet technology.
As we continued our chat, I congratulated him on the photo’s celebrity status. He explained he has received comments, compliments, requests, and suggestions from around the world. “It’s been amazing” he said. NASA even posted the picture on its homepage and named it, ‘Waterway to Orbit;”

As we spoke, I couldn’t help but think of Woody Allen’s famous quote “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” How literally true that was for James. If he had been just seconds late or if he had decided it was too cold outside and too early to get out of bed that morning, his rendezvous with fate would have passed him by.

“I didn’t know this photo would launch my professional second career, but with all the notoriety, the time is now!” he told me.
So, with his signature piece published here, we are proud to introduce to our readers James Vernacotola Photography. High resolution images can be purchase at

Congratulations, James. Way to go, creating your own luck!

Until next time,

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