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The Sun Rises; Reprise

Bay Bridge Sunrise San Francisco, CA Copyright Andy Richards 2014

Bay Bridge Sunrise
San Francisco, CA
Copyright Andy Richards 2014

It seemed like 16 images were too many for a single blog post (really, 8 is probably too many, and my blogs tend to be longer than a blog should be 🙂 ).  So I split my sunrise images into 2 installments.

Bean Pond Barton, VT Copyright Andy Richards 2010

Bean Pond
Barton, VT
Copyright Andy Richards 2010

In 2010, I again visited Vermont for a fall color photography excursion.  My good friend, fellow photographer, fellow blogger, and co-author of the 2nd Edition of Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage, Carol, acted as my host and guide for the first couple days.  One magical place she took me too was Bean Pond, a small, unremarkable roadside pond near here home in Barton in the “Northeast Kingdom” of Vermont.  Unremarkable, that is, unless you are a photographer looking for fall foliage venues.  Since my first trip there, I have been back to the pond several times (and I am certain Carol has been there almost daily when she is in Vermont in season).  Our morning broke very cold, with frost on the ground, after a prolonged spell of heavy rain.  We knew the conditions were ripe for fog and steam rising off the pond and she had us there by twilight.  The resulting images (only one here) made the cold, early morning well worth it.

Bay Bridge San Francisco, CA Copyright Andy Richards 2011

Bay Bridge
San Francisco, CA
Copyright Andy Richards 2011

In 2011, we visited San Francisco, to visit our daughter.  She lives in downtown, which put me in the middle of one of the best photography venues I have ever visited.  Once again, the 3 hour time change worked in favor of early rising, and a 15 minute walk brought me to the Embarcadero, at the eastern boundary of the city, and one of San Francisco’s seaports with a closeup view of one of the two major bridges leading into San Francisco, the San Francisco Bay Bridge.  There are San Francisco Bay shooting opportunities all along the Embarcadero.  We returned again in 2014, and I couldn’t resist a couple more early morning walking trips to the Embarcadero.

Mocassin Lake Munising, MI Copyright Andy Richards 2010

Mocassin Lake
Hiawatha NF
Munising, MI
Copyright Andy Richards 2010

I have been traveling to the Michigan Upper Peninsula (U.P.) for many years for fall color photography.  As many readers here know, I think highly enough of the photographic potential that I have co-written an eBook on Photographing the Michigan U.P., with my good friend and fellow photographer and blogger, Kerry Leibowitz.  I have photographed Mocassin Lake many times and never cease to find it photogenic.  My writings on the U.P. and some of my imagery captured the attention of a professional photographer and teacher in Pennsylvania, James Moore.  Inn 2012, he decided to host one of his workshops in the U.P.  He asked me to be his guide.  These images were all made during the 2012 trip.  I appreciate his inspiration and I think that week was the most rewarding of all of my trips to the U.P.  I was there from the beginning to the peak of color, perhaps the only time in my shooting career.

Pete's Lake Hiawatha NF, Munising, MI Copyright Andy Richards 2012

Pete’s Lake
Hiawatha NF, Munising, MI
Copyright Andy Richards 2012

Pete's Lake Hiawatha NF, Munising, MI Copyright Andy Richards 2012

Pete’s Lake
Hiawatha NF, Munising, MI
Copyright Andy Richards 2012

In 2013 we went on two more cruises.  In January, we joined a group affiliated with the O’Brien Estate Winery in Napa, Ca, on a Caribbean Cruise.  We didn’t know a soul when we boarded.  We were fortunate to have some very friendly table mates and we ended up not only spending most of our time on board with them and another couple, but we have made lifelong friends.  We have traveled to Napa together, and they have recently visited us in our Florida home.  It was a great cruise.  As we arrived home in the early morning hours, I was able to capture this sunrise image of the Miami Skyline.

Miami, FL Copyright Andy Richards 2013

Miami, FL
Copyright Andy Richards 2013

Later, in September, we took what was my first trip out of the U.S. (Canada doesn’t count 🙂 ); a Mediterranean Cruise.  We started with a few days in Venice.  My only sunrise shot during that trip was the famous gondolas in St. Mark’s Square, which took some doing.  We were staying on the mainland, so I had to take the early train to Venice and then find my way through the maze to the square before the sunrise.  I had practiced a couple times.

Gondolas San Marco Piazza Venice, Italy Copyright Andy Richards 2013

Gondolas
San Marco Piazza
Venice, Italy
Copyright Andy Richards 2013

I grew up in the Northern Michigan town of Traverse City.  It is a resort town, and by all reports, beautiful in all seasons.  The city sits at the base of a peninsula of land (Old Mission Peninsula) which creates two deep bays (East Bay and West Bay) into Lake Michigan.  It has unique, sandy coastline and a climate similar to that of Northern California (except that winters up there are brutal and snowy).  I moved away from there shortly after I graduated from High School in 1975.  But I still have family there, and only live about 2 3/4 hours away.  It occurred to me at some point that I had spent little time photographing up there, and so, in 2014, with no major fall foliage outings planned, took a long-weekend trip up there.  I was on the high point of the peninsula, where it is possible to see both bays, at sunrise.  This sunrise image faces (perhaps obviously) East Bay.

Center Road Old Mission Peninsula Traverse City, MI Copyright Andy Richards 2014

Center Road
Old Mission Peninsula
Traverse City, MI
Copyright Andy Richards 2014

 

O.k., I think I am safe here: “The Sun Also Rises”

Otter Beach Sunrise Acadia NP, Bar Harbor, ME Copyright Andy Richards 2009

Otter Beach Sunrise
Acadia NP, Bar Harbor, ME
Copyright Andy Richards 2009

When I — “tongue in cheek” — noted that I didn’t want to offend Hemingway and be guilty of the very thing I occasionally rant against, copyright infringement, an astute friend pointed out that it wasn’t Hemingway’s at all, but actually comes from the bible.  I am reasonably certain we are beyond the copyright expiration date for the particular author.  So there you go.  🙂

Sunrises reveal themselves in a number of varied conditions

Perhaps more meaningfully, my left turn into the topic of “sunrise” vs “sunset,” caused me to wonder just how many times I had ventured into the early morning, pre-dawn darkness, to try to capture the sunrise.  So I went back through my archives.  I was surprised (though I should not have been) to find that my sunrise images were far fewer than my sunset images.  I found about sixteen of them, most of which I had never given any serious post-processing.  I will use the next two posts to showcase some of them.  I will not say they are in every instance, my best work (in fact a couple were taken with lower-quality digital cameras in low light conditions — in a time when sensors were simply not as good as they are today).  The St. Thomas shot was made as the sun broke the horizon in the pre-dawn light, with a Canon G12 (which had a smaller and less capable sensor than my Sony RX100iv).  My Sony body is half its physical size.

St. Thomas, USVI Copyright Andy Richards 2012

St. Thomas, USVI
Copyright Andy Richards 2012

I believe the images here illustrate some of what I said in the prior post.  Sunrises reveal themselves in a number of varied conditions.  Sunsets can often be colorful.  Sunrises are generally more subtle, but as the Otter Beach shot shows, there are occasionally glorious exceptions.  Cooler temperatures create fog and mist.  Cold temperatures create a cool look to the image colors.

Saginaw County Sunrise Copyright Andy Richards 2006

Saginaw County Sunrise
Copyright Andy Richards 2006

The earliest recorded attempt I made at sunrise shooting was on a freezing cold morning in February, not far from my home in Saginaw, Michigan.  Saginaw is part of the so-called, I-75 industrial corridor, formerly known for its General Motors auto manufacturing plants.  But it may not be a well-known that it is also one of the largest agricultural areas in the mid-west.  As soon as you leave the city in almost any direction, there are farms and farmland.  This image was taken with my Nikon 35mm SLR camera and color transparency film.  Slow ISO speeds of such film dictated the use of a sturdy tripod and cable release.  The image here was scanned with an Epson scanner and is not the quality equivalent of the drum scanners that were used back then to digitize media in high resolution.  Even so, I am impressed with what modern “home-brew” digital technology can accomplish.

Horseshoe Lake Huron NF, Glennie, MI Copyright Andy Richards 2008

Horseshoe Lake
Huron NF, Glennie, MI
Copyright Andy Richards 2008

When my son was younger (me too 🙂 ), we used to do an annual late summer camping trip.  One of our favorite spots was a small National Forest Campground called Horseshoe Lake, in Lower Michigan.  One of my early “successful” attempts at sunrise photography was, perhaps, unplanned.  I have never been a fan of camping and especially, of sleeping on the cold, damp, lumpy ground.  So it was not surprising that I woke early in the pre-dawn.  I restarted our campfire and boiled a pot of water for coffee.  My son (like any pre-teenager) was sound asleep and apparently unfazed by the lumpy ground.  So I carried camera and tripod a few hundred feet down to the water’s edge and began looking for compositions.  I made a few images that morning, but the resulting shot was a bit of a surprise.  The image was shot on Fuji Velvia color transparency film.  A characteristic of this film with certain light conditions is to render blue.  While this was not my “vision” while making the image, I liked it well enough to keep it.  And it has been sold a number of times.  Who knew?

Otter Cliff Otter Beach, Acadia NP Bar Harbor, ME Copyright Andy Richards 2009

Otter Cliff
Otter Beach, Acadia NP
Bar Harbor, ME
Copyright Andy Richards 2009

In 2009, my best friend, Rich, and our spouses made a week-long trip to Bar Harbor, Maine, and Acadia National Park.   We always have fun when the 4 of us travel.  But Rich and I are pretty unrelenting on our commitment to be out early.  This trip was no exception, and we picked our way down a little known path (we had found during prior daylight) to a rocky portion of Otter Beach, where both the image above, and the opening image were taken, several mornings, waiting for the elusive sunrise I think it was worth the wait when this one finally came.

Sunrise on the Gastineau Channel; Inside Passage Juneau, AK Copyright Andy Richards 2010

Sunrise on the Gastineau Channel; Inside Passage
Juneau, AK
Copyright Andy Richards 2010

In 2010, we to our first cruise.  I was lukewarm about the whole cruise idea.  In my mind, cruises were about partying shipboard, buffets, and sun and fun in the Caribbean (which, it turns out, isn’t such a bad gig after all).  My wife wanted to do a cruise, so I agreed–as long as I got to pick it.  And I chose the Alaska Inside Passage cruise.  It turned out to be a great trip and we learned that cruising is a pretty comfortable way to see new places.

Inside Passage, AK Copyright Andy Richards 2010

Inside Passage, AK
Copyright Andy Richards 2010

Another plus to going west is the time change.  Already a relatively early riser, the 3 and eventually 4 hour time difference had my wide-eyed before first light nearly every morning, as we cruised the inside passage.  The sun was pure gold the morning we approached the port of Juneau.  A day later, approaching Skagway, the rising sun lit the sky with multiple colors.

Whittier, AK Copyright Andy Richards 2010

Whittier, AK
Copyright Andy Richards 2010

On the final morning of our cruise, I walked the rear deck of our ship, the Diamond Princess, and watched a dramatic sunrise under cloudy skies.  I was a convert to cruising, and we would cruise 3 more times between 2010 and 2013.

Sunrise in the Caribbean Royal Princess Cruise Ship Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

Sunrise in the Caribbean
Royal Princess Cruise Ship
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

Old Boats

One of the really fascinating finds of my trip to Newport was the prevalence of very old boats.  There is an entire industry about finding and restoring very old wooden boats, often from a wrecked status to like-new condition.  There were amazing examples all over Newport when we were there.  Some of it was the draw of the international show.  But much of it is also specific to Newport.

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

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

We were able to go aboard the completely refurbished wooden cruiser closest to the dock.  It is luxurious.  Cost of these rebuilds, I am told, range in the $10 – 15 million arena.

Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

We were also intrigued by the “old school” workmanship of the newest of America’s “Tall Ships,” which acts as a school and maritime school for young people.

Old Boat Hardware Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Old Boat Hardware
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

The the best of all, was our walk-through of the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) .  Here they have small classes of 12 -14 students who go through 2 years of wooden boat building training and education.  It is mainly “hands-on.”  One of the things the teams do is completely restore certain model, old wooden boats that were popular enough years back that they are fairly plentiful.  AS you can see, they are typically in very poor – even shipwrecked condition.  But they find them and bring them back to the school where they restore and then sell them.

Wooden Boats Awaiting Restoration Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Wooden Boats Awaiting Restoration
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

They also do single model restorations.  These are typically paid for by benevolent owners.  The boats shown here are popular small models.

Wooden Boat Being Restored Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Wooden Boat Being Restored
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Completed Restoration Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Completed Restoration
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

"Deepwater" Another popular restoration Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

“Deepwater”
Another popular restoration
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

In addition to the ongoing school efforts, IYRS is currently involved in the long-term restoration of a one-of-a-kind recreational sailing yacht, the Coronet, a 131 foot, 1885 Schooner.  The yacht was involved in one of the first ever transatlantic races, and was sailed around the globe by its original owner.  It was owned by several different owners prior to being acquired by IYRS in 1995.  IYRS later conveyed title to a group of investors, who are paying to have it restored.  Begun in 2010, restorations are ongoing.  The yacht has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Coronet IYRS, Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Coronet
IYRS, Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Coronet IYRS, Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Coronet
IYRS, Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Coronet IYRS, Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Coronet
IYRS, Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Coronet IYRS, Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Coronet
IYRS, Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Hardware; Coronet IYRS, Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Hardware; Coronet
IYRS, Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Everything will be restored or rebuild as close to original spec and materials as possible.  It was a fascinating thing to behold;  And to imagine a private yacht as large and as luxurious as this back in 1885.

Newport and Boats; Is There Anything Else?

View of Newport from Goat Island Copyright Andy Richards 2016

View of Newport from Goat Island
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

If your only information about Newport and Rhode Island came from my blog, at this point you might think it is just one big boat harbor.  But there is more.  One of the things I have learned about travel photography (perhaps all facets of photography) is that there are subjects that lend themselves to shooting with the time, equipment and access that many of us have, and there are simply subjects that do not.  And time, often also dictates shooting priorities.

Cliff Walk Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Cliff Walk
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport is home to many cultural additions other than its estimable marine industry.  There is probably no more famous “summer cottages,” than the “Cliff Mansions.”  And the Cliff Walk along the shore the houses those mansions is worth the shoe leather.  But it is really not a photographer’s prime destination.  It may lend itself to a few shots for travel purposes, but not for general-purpose landscape photography.  Perhaps given a little more time, particularly during sunrise and sunset hours, I may have had a different take-away.  As it is, I made on image that I thought had some potential, using the sweep of a decorative wall as a prop.

Cliff Walk Mansion Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Cliff Walk Mansion
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

The mansions are, in my view, hampered by a lack of access.  What I mean by that is I could no go where I wanted to to shoot them. Many of them are publicly owned, but they are also fenced.  From the cliff walk, it is difficult to get a perspective for making a good photograph.  It would require, at the very least, access to the grounds.  And perhaps it would also require some more specialized equipment such as ladders and wider lenses.  And like so many public places, even where access is possible, it is usually not so during the “golden light” hours.  Given proper time, research and contacts, I have no doubt some great images could be made of these mansions.  We were also disappointed to find that nearly everyone had ongoing maintenance, with scaffolding covering them.  Lets hope that maintenance yields some great results for those who come later :-).

Cliff Walk Mansion Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Cliff Walk Mansion
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

The entire area, of course, is one big series of beaches and points and islands.  We drove a number of the beach roads.  From one very high view, I was able to capture a very interesting reef formation covered with colorful green marine growth.

Rock Reef Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Rock Reef
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

I have mentioned Goat Island, in the context of the lighthouse, actually known as The Newport Harbor Light.  Early Newport settlers used the island as a goat pasture.  The island also housed a fort which changed from Spanish to colonial, to British and back to U.S. military holdings over its history, finally housing a torpedo factory for the U.S. Navy.  In the 1960s,he island was sold to private developers and the Newport Hyatt Regency stands there today along with some restaurants.  The light is still active, and is part of a very nice walk around the island and the hotel complex with great views of the bay and back toward Newport Harbor.

Goat Island Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Goat Island
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Goat Island Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Goat Island
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Goat Island Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Goat Island
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

 

 

More Rhode Island; It Really IS About the Boats

Gazebo, Brenton Cove Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Gazebo, Brenton Cove
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

We didn’t ever really find a great sunrise shooting location.  At the south end of town there is a nice harbor area called Brenton Cove.  Brenton Cove houses a private yacht club, the Newport Sailing School, and Historic Fort Adams..  There is a nice path that borders the water there and runners, bikers and walkers are a pretty common sight.  While we were not going to capture the sun coming up under the bridge here, we did know we were going to get some nice light, on some nice “marine” subjects, including boats, the bridge, and things related.

Brenton Cove Newport, RI Andy Richards 2016

Brenton Cove
Newport, RI
Andy Richards 2016

The little jetty that goes out from the street into the harbor holds a public dinghy dock.  It made a nice lead in for a panorama I made in the bright early morning sun.

Brenton Cove Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Brenton Cove
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

There is also The Newport Public Sailing Center.  As we talked to local residents, it is apparently a pretty common thing for young people to learn to sail in Newport.  Go figure. 🙂

Newport Public Sailing Center Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Newport Public Sailing Center
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

I had visions of a sunrise shot of the bridge from this vantage point, off the grounds of Fort Adams, but it wasn’t to be.

Jamestown Bridge from Ft. Adams Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Jamestown Bridge from Ft. Adams
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

 

 

Rhode Island; It’s About The Boats

Point Judith Lighthouse Narraganset, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Point Judith Lighthouse at Dusk
Narraganset, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

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  :-).

Castle Hill Lighthouse Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Castle Hill Lighthouse at Dusk
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

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.

Castle Hill Lighthouse Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Castle Hill Lighthouse
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

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.

Narragansett Bay Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Narragansett Bay
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

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.

Point Judith Lighthouse Narragansett, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Point Judith Lighthouse
Narragansett, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

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.

Point Judith Lighthouse Narragansett, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Point Judith Lighthouse
Narragansett, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

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.

Point Judith Lighthouse Narragansett, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Point Judith Lighthouse
Narragansett, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

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.

Goat Island Light Newport, Rhode Island Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Goat Island Light
Newport, Rhode Island
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

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 🙂 ).

Goat Island Light Newport, RI Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Goat Island Light at Dusk
Newport, RI
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

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. 🙂

 

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