This won’t be the first (or the last) time here that the post title is slightly mis-leading :-). Its not that I am not writing “about” boats here. Indeed, you will be hard-pressed not to see at the very least, a connection to boats, in every photo I took while in Rhode Island. But you can only photograph so many boats.
Lighthouses always accompany boats and boating. We visited a handful of lighthouses. But we only found 3 nearby that seemed photo-worthy to us. When we find a subject or area we like, we like to “work it.” As any of my family members who have had to endure photography with me can attest to, this means much more than just stop and shoot the calendar image. It means once we park, we are likely to be there for a while. Like a “how many shots of that do you need?” length of time :-).
Lighthouses always accompany boats and boating
So, even though you have already seen 2 of the 3 lights we photographed, I am going to ask you to indulge me while I show some other shots of them. We arrived in daylight and stayed until the sun set in all 3 cases.
The Castle Hill Light was, in our view, the best of the best. I fact, in my own opinion, my late afternoon shot of this light was the best image I made all week. As lighthouse images go (and I have a few of them in my collection), it may be my favorite of them all.
And, since I did say “boat,” we were fortunate to capture this sailboat against the sunset to the West, just after we finished shooting the lighthouse. I thought it came out nicely.
My late afternoon shot of the Castle Hill Light was the best image I made all week
We scouted a second light, at Beavertail State Park. Our research led us to believe this would be another great photographic opportunity. We could see it (a speck) in the distance from our vantage point at Castle Hill, and it became especially visible at dusk when we could see its beacon. These two lights mark the entrance on East and West to Newport Harbor on Narragansett Bay. So the next day, we made the trek over the bridge to Jamestown and the State Park. There is a large wildlife refuge there with lots of birds. Oh, yeah. And a lighthouse. Historically interesting. Photographically, a bust. It looks like it has been moved from its original base which was out on the rocks near water and probably would have made a nice photo. But not where it now sits.
Stymied, we wondered what next? I had done some very cursory research before the trip and read about a light that could be photographed from both north and south on the beaches, on the “mainland” (kind of a contradiction, in the sense that Rhode Island is, well, an Island :-). But its really not). The Point Judith Light was reputedly in or near the town of Narragansett, down the coast along western Narragansett Bay. It has a long stretch of beach and then to the west, it is medium rise condo metropolis. I have never seen so many condominiums (and all apparently brand-spanking new) in one place which appears, but for the beach, to be really in the middle of nowhere.
Rich and I have only one other time worked so hard to find a photographic viewpoint (when we tried to find the high view of Stowe Village in Vermont back in 2005). Modern technology is wonderful – to a point – and Google Maps Mobile took us right to the parking lot (which is now also headquarters for Homeland Security). Most of the approaches in and around the lighthouse were fenced from the parking lot. And that “beach” to the North I was reading about? Non-existent. Unless, of course, you call huge rock cliffs “beach.” 🙂 . We must have driven up and down a dozen roads trying to find the elusive combination of beach and view. Nada. Finally, a local resident pointed us to a popular fishing spot; Narragansett Fisherman’s Memorial State Park. We had probably passed the well-camouflaged sign 3 times, just past the HS parking lot. Note to self: when looking for water and lighthouse views, Google “popular shoreline fishing spots.” :-). But it was a find. There were 3 very different but very good vantage points from which to capture this lighthouse. One was on a high hill. The other two were beach vantage points. Again, I might use the word “beach” advisedly. Rich and I differed on the “preferred” beach view (of course, mine was “the” view 🙂 ). My shot was from a rock pier, further down the beach, with my 200mm lens, but I did like the perspective. Rich shot it from where my daylight shot above was taken. We were able to watch a gorgeous sun setting behind the this light as we waited for just the right moment.
Note to self: when looking for water and lighthouse views, Google “popular shoreline fishing spots.”
We thought we were done with lighthouses after than evening, given our short stay, and distances that might be required to find more. But we were wrong. The next morning, we went to our planned early shooting destination, and while walking through a public building after a bathroom stop, a wall of photographs caught my eye. And in particular, a shot of a small lighthouse with a path leading up to it, two white Adirondack chairs in the foreground, and the Jamestown Bridge in the background. How in the heck had we missed this? As we stood there, it dawned on me that that was the Goat Island light; just apparently at another time in history. Or was it. On closer examination, it was clear the the shot was wide-angle, and in my memory, I recalled a fire pit with a bunch of those white Adirondack chairs, nearby. We went back to Goat Island later that morning, and moved a couple chairs and set up the shot. If only they would be there when we returned in the early evening. They were — untouched, and we were able to make our own version of this very “fetching” composition (humbly, I might add 🙂 ).
Again, we “worked” it. While there were only 3, they are 3 of the “better” images of lighthouses I have now added to my collection. Oh, and speaking of “working it,” I have funny (maybe) story about the opening image here of Point Judith. A careful observer might wonder if I took that image and the other one in the body (both from the hill vantage point) on the same night. Look at the position of the moon. We met another shooter there who had been there for several nights scouting and calculating the correct night for when the moon would rise between the light tower and the small building to its east. The night we were there was not the night. When I got home, I thought about it and played around with Photoshop’s “content-aware” move tool. And I moved the moon so it was where it was suppose to rise a couple days hence. Those of you who are skilled at PS manipulation will readily see that it is kind of a “hack” job. I need some help learning how to mask and blend this kind of thing properly. But I thought it was kind of cool. I sent it to my buddy and asked him if he got that shot? :-). Manipulation? Sure. Not one bit of a problem here. 🙂
Filed under: MUSINGS, PHOTOGRAPHY, TRAVEL | Tagged: Andy Richards, color, Light, LightCentric Photography, lighthouse, Michigan, Narragansett, New England, Newport, PHOTOGRAPHY, Rhode Island, sailboat, Sony, travel, water |