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Morning At North Light
Photo By Cate Brown

  • Title: Morning At North Light
  • State/Province/Region: Rhode Island
  • Country: United States
  • Nearest Area: North Light
  • Nearest Town: New Shoreham
  • Brief Directions: Take a ferry ride to Old Harbor from either New London, CT, Point Judith, RI, or Newport, RI. Take a local taxi up Corn Neck Road to reach the northern most accessible point by car. Walk up the long stretch of beach and pick your spot for North Light.
  • Notes: North Light's location lends itself easily to shooting at any time of day. Face east for an unobstructed ocean view of sunrise, face north to see the mainland on the horizon, or face west for an ocean view for sunset.
  • Best Season: Autumn
  • Description: There is a debate about the best time to visit Block Island, the small isolated island located 13 miles south off the coast of Rhode Island. In summer it's population swells and it becomes a bustling tourist location, but in autumn the town quiets, the days are still warm, and the entire atmosphere changes. If you're inclined to wake up early for a sunrise shoot, I highly recommend it. During a sunrise shoot on Block Island, I visited North Light out on a spit of beach that protrudes northward towards the mainland. The solitary lighthouse is tucked out of sight from town, and with it's smaller building and pale granite structure it was my preferred island lighthouse. Something was just a little more quiet, a little more reserved, but incredible mysterious and serene. As any sunrise photographer knows, every minute the sky gets lighter and every moment is precious! For this shot, the sun had broken the horizon and I wanted to do something a little different. Everyone comes away with quaint photos of lighthouses. I definitely wanted the Light to be a character in my frame but I had to do something that just wasn't a typical tourist snapshot of a cool piece of nautical architecture. There had to be a dynamic quality that captured the blustery yet magical personality of this location. I love playing with long exposures and with the sun still low in the sky, I had just the right amount of light to continue with exposures of 20 seconds or longer. So I set up by some bright yellow dune flowers and set my tripod low. Then lower. And lower. I took a couple test shots with a longer exposure and I was captivated. By keeping the lower angle and letting the lighthouse rise in the distance it still played a central roll in the composition. The flowers added color and the long exposure allowed the strong autumnal breeze to blow the flowers around and create motion. But this motion was just the right amount, not too sharp and not too blurry, allowing for a sense of what the flowers and vegetation were but not so sharp that they competed with the lighthouse. I was extremely happy with this location and I can't wait to get back next time I'm on the Island!
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