Saltwater Portrait

Patsy Cicala's passion for natural world inspires art

Panoramic views of Prime Hook win awards
Patsy Cicala Jr. stands by one of his panoramic pictures during the Milton Outdoor Art Show. BY RACHEL SWICK MAVITY
November 14, 2011

Patsy Cicala Jr. fell into his passion for photography during prep school. His roommate in 1964 was a member of the yearbook staff and would hang film across the shared room. Based on what he could see, Cicala decided he could do better.

“Of the 24 pictures on the roll I took, 18 were used in the yearbook,” recalls Cicala, 63. “I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Cicala can often be found sitting on a stool at his favorite Milton coffee house, or boating down the Broadkill with friends and family. Some of his favorite moments come when he rides out to Prime Hook to capture nature’s finest moments on film.

He and his wife, Diane, moved to the Cape Region more than a decade ago, and since then Cicala has drawn inspiration from nature, sharing his vision with others through photographs and paintings.

“It’s just something I really enjoy doing, and I hope to continue taking pictures for a long time to come,” Cicala said.

His latest inspiration comes from the broad landscapes he seeks out in the Cape Region. While following a fox over the dunes at Primehook Beach, he came across a large flock of geese. As the fox ran down the dunes, the geese rose into the air. Cicala captured the moment in a series of shots, which he later digitally stitched together into a single, panoramic photo.

This unusual and stunning shot has received recent praise. Just this month, Cicala won a prize in the Prime Hook Nature Photography Contest as the photograph that best shows the beauty of Prime Hook. He also won first prize for a similarly inspired photograph in the Milton Arts Guild contest.

An educator, Cicala also used his photography hobby to provide sports pictures for school yearbooks.

When he moved to Delaware, he shot sports at Indian River High School. After 31 years as an environmental science teacher, he retired, but he continues taking sports photos as a hobby and still shoots team photos for area schools.

He describes himself as retired and retarded, because although he is retired from teaching, he still works. He's now doing construction and recently helped renovate an 1888 home.

“I have more energy than most 30-year-olds,” Cicala said with his trademark chuckle.

The couple lived in Milton for eight years before moving into a bigger house in Millsboro nearly three years ago. They have three grown children and four dogs. In their free time they enjoy boating, as well as entertaining friends and family. Cicala enjoys showing off his favorite scenes in the woods and swamps of Delaware.

“We were always having lots of company, so we needed a bigger house,” Cicala said. “But you can still find me in Milton with the Milton Art Guild or every morning at Federal Street coffee house.”

Besides photography, Cicala also paints. He often uses acrylics on canvas, but he has also branched into a more unusual art form: he paints enamel on glass, including popular local scenes such as the Lightship Overfalls in Lewes.

“You could say that we are an artistic family,” Cicala said. Diane does one-stroke paintings on wine glasses and decorates glass pieces for the holidays.

Originally from Connecticut, Cicala has always loved nature, so he chose to study oceanography and limnology at Western Connecticut State University.  His knowledge of science and the ocean draws him to the outdoor world, which is part of the reason he moved to the Cape Region.

In Delaware for more than a decade, Cicala now owns and operates Delmarva Scapes, a panoramic photographic service in Millsboro, which he opened in order to share his love of photography with others.

To see Cicala’s work, go to


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