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My “Photo Walk;” Newport, Rhode Island

Goat Island Light Newport, Rhode Island Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Goat Island Light
Newport, Rhode Island
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

This morning I was on foot, and I knew it.  I had not scouted out a spot for a sunrise shot.  So I left the hotel at 7:30 a.m. to walk the street.  I still had some nice light and this day turned out to be one of those partly cloudy days with big puffy clouds that often offer some filtering of the sun and allow extended shooting hours.

From the Hotel Room Newport, RI Copyright 2016 Andy Richards

From the Hotel Room
Newport, RI
Copyright 2016 Andy Richards

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Our hotel was right next to the Newport Shipyard, home to some very large recreational power and sailing vessels.  If you have a few extra $million burning a hole in your pocket, this is a place to shop.  Behind the shipyard is the short causeway to Goat IslandTo my disappointment, there weren’t any goats.  🙂 There is not much on Goat Island except the Newport Hyatt Regency, another private yachting harbor, and a couple restaurants.  Oh, and a very picturesque small lighthouse.  It took me some time to warm up to the thought of this lighthouse as a photographic subject.  But the inspiration came later, in the form of imitation.  But as I have said elsewhere, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” 🙂

Newport Bridge Newport Rhode Island Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport Bridge
Newport Rhode Island
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

I walked over to Goat Island and looked at the light from a distance.  It just wasn’t doing it for me.  Then on our next to last day, I was wandering through the gift shop at the Newport Sailing Center, and saw the image that we later made (the opening image here).  I immediately recognized it as the Goat Island Lighthouse.  There is a walking path around the Hyatt.  But what made this image interesting was the two white Adirondack chairs in the foreground.  The problem was they weren’t there.  But they were just a few yards away in a circle.  So I dragged two of them into the frame and set it up.  Copycat?  Yeah.  Worth it. 🙂

Newport Bridge Newport, Rhode Island Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport Bridge
Newport, Rhode Island
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

But I digress (a familiar failing in my writing).  This morning, I started by walking out to the causeway to Goat Island, knowing the sun would be behind me as the Newport Bridge was west of Newport.  The two images here with the bridge in the background were taken from the causeway to to Goat Island, near the Newport Shipyard.  You can see the Goat Island Light in both of them and perhaps can forgive me for thinking the light, itself, did not lend itself to being a photographic subject.  I didn’t “see” the composition above until I saw someone else’s photograph.  I usually encourage making your own composition with your own vision.  And my image is not identical to the one we saw.  But it was such a pleasant image that I had to try to do it myself.  And over the years I have certainly made a number of images that were inspired by similar ones I have seen.

Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

South of the Shipyard, just out the back door of the hotel, was a transition area from shipyard/industrial/fishing.  We didn’t try it, but there was a nice little lobster shack (reminiscent of those shacks near the Maine lobster pounds).

Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

The bridge is north of the commercial/touristy part of downtown.  The waterfront area north of the bridge is mainly the Naval Facility.  We didn’t venture there.  America’s Cup Avenue goes south from the bridge toward the downtown area.  As it merges into the main part of downtown, it turns east.  But continuing straight south takes you onto Thames Street, which is where most of the shops and restaurants, and the waterfront area, lies.  From the front door of our hotel, we could walk the waterfront all the way.  It is a labyrinth of piers, shops, and moorings.  Down every street to the west of America’s Cup Avenue and Thames is another small port, condo complex, or shop, bar and restaurant area.

Newport is about boats

Bowen's Wharf Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Bowen’s Wharf
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

One prime takeaway from my short visit to Newport is that Newport is about boats.  Everywhere you look there are boats, from commercial fishing vessels, to sailboats to power boats (some of them the size of a small cruise ship), to military vessels.  They are big and small (though the big, was TEXAS – big.  I grew up around boats and some of the so-called “big” boats here on the great lakes could serve as a tender for some of the small ships I saw here 🙂 ).

Someone's private Yacht Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Someone’s private Yacht
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

We happened to be there, coincidentally, during The Newport International Boat Show.  As everywhere in life, this made for some negatives (a lot more people, some areas blocked off and inaccessible, traffic, and perhaps higher prices) and some positives.  Since I like to consider myself a “glass half full” kind of a guy, I certainly embraced the positives:  Lots going on on the waterfront, and boats and other additions that probably wouldn’t be there on an “everyday” weekday.

Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Multi-Million $ "Boats" Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Multi-Million $ “Boats”
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

New England known for some very good classic boat building and restoration facilities.  There was no lack of classic wooden boats here and some of them were impressive, including “Hemmingway’s Boat,” shown here, and in the background, the restored, classic wooden boat we toured later that day.   I continued to walk the waterfront for a couple hours.  Though “touristy” there are some very nice little shops, most of which are decorated in the New England (or perhaps Rhode Island) tradition, and some unique touches, like the dog-friendly establishments which seem to be gaining momentum here in the U.S.

Bars are For Dogs, Too Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Bars are For Dogs, Too
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Not to be repetitive, but have I mentioned that Newport is about the boats? 🙂

Sailboats Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Sailboats
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

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2 Responses

  1. Enjoyed the walk with you. Went there several times, on business, in the early 80’s. One of my favorite trips was in December. Went to some Christmas concerts in some of the churches in town.

  2. Thanks, Phil. Some pretty nice churches there. Our visit was really short, and we didn’t really spend much time trying to shoot anything other than the harbor, lighthouses, and the Cliff Walk and mansions. We did drive by the church JFK and Jackie-O were married in several times 🙂

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