GLOUCESTER, Mass. - He was alone in his boat, his cell phone charged to one percent, but a Gloucester man had it pointed at the right place at the right time, capturing a magnificent display of natural beauty.
"It was just very moving. It was wonderful," said Doug Shatford, who is legendarily inept when it comes to photography.
"He didn't even film my graduation," said Doug's daughter, Faithe.
But somehow, Doug Shatford caught stunning footage Wednesday of a monstrous whale feeding off the coast of Gloucester.
"I tell you, that's the most exciting thing I've seen since my children were born," he said.
Shatford is crediting the photography to his late wife, Shelley, who died almost two years ago from pancreatic cancer at the age of 50.
"She was very polite and very kind and very giving," he said.
Doug believes his late wife gave him something he's never had before, something that would enable him to share this gift of a rare, natural moment: steady hands with a camera.
"I think my wife let me see that to maybe calm me down or something," Doug said. "And say life's going to be okay, look at the beauty all around you. We should all look at it."
And look at it they did, after Doug's daughter posted the video to Facebook.
"And the way he's like, 'I love her, I love her,' that was so sweet," said Kyle Muise of Gloucester. "Such a nice dude. I love him so much."
"It was just such raw emotion," said Ryan Sidlowski of Gloucester. "I felt it."
What Doug and his children are still feeling these days is grief.
"A healing process can happen, and maybe this is it starting to happen here with just this whale saying hello to me and me sharing it with my kids and telling them how I feel," Doug said. "About my wife and how I miss her and how much I love her and she's deep in my heart."
A sign, perhaps, from deep in the ocean that she knows.
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