Block Island & the Milky Way
A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of visiting Block Island during the September off-season. With no crowds in sight and wonderful weather abundant, it seemed like the perfect time to visit this little off-coast gem. This year I was able to make a return trip, and if you can believe it, the weather was even nicer! I managed to take 5 days off for this little visit offshore and it was probably the last true week of summer that Rhode Island experienced. Days on the beach, biking around the island, beautifully clear weather... there wasn't much else you could've wished for!
But being a photographer comes with its own difficulties. In particular, whenever I take a vacation, particularly ones for leisure, I am always conflicted about how much shooting to do. Here I am in this beautiful location with gorgeous weather and scenery, how can I not take pictures? I guess it's the downside of having a profession you love; you can just never get away from work!
The first night on the island was clear as could be, and I explored Mohegan Bluffs at dusk allowing me a clear southern view of the night sky to experiment with some Milky Way photography. The results were incredible and I couldn't wait to go back again! Some day walks along the beaches and my favorite nature trail at the Dickens Preserve, and it was shaping up to be a great little September getaway. The third night I went back out to try for some starry night shots again, but clouds moved in obstructing the view. While the overlook at the Dickens Preserve made a stunning vantage point, I made a note to return some other time when the skies would be clear. But after days of biking across the island (which is very hilly) and walking along nature trails, I didn't have much energy for the trip to Dickens Point the last night. I opted to go back to Mohegan Bluffs instead, which was a bit closer to the cottage we were staying at. However, just a few nights later from my first awesome Milky Way experience, and the moon was still high in the sky come sundown. Even though it was a crescent moon, it still threw an awful lot of light!
And by the end of the trip, while I had a bit more of a tan, sore legs from long days of biking and walking, I only had a handful of shots to share from this great trip. Was it possible to feel refreshed and guilty at the same time? I had brought my camera kit to take pictures, but I didn't want shooting to be a priority for a trip slated for R&R. What's a photographer to do? How can I manage work and play when both of these elements are so intimately entwined in my life? I'm sure there are creatives everywhere who struggle with this inward battle every day, and while there are worse things to engulf ones' thoughts, I'm still left wondering... am I a bad photographer for taking only a few shots? Or am I a workaholic if all I want to do is bring my camera and go shooting?
The only places I ever want to go will be the ones worth photographing! I guess all I can do for now is look at this collection of new shots from Block Island, however small, and be grateful I can call this my profession and proud that I found the time to get a tan, read a book, enjoy the scene, oh... and take some shots.
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