Block's North Light

October 22, 2013

As part of my recent trip to Block Island with Profundo Journeys, we had several early morning shoots to make the most of our short four day workshop.  First up was a sunrise shoot at North Light out on a spit of beach that protrudes northward towards the mainland.  Between Southeast Light, tall and covered in red brick, and solitary North Light tucked out of sight with it's smaller building and pale granite structure, I really did prefer the latter.  Something was just a little more quiet, a little more reserved, but incredible mysterious and serene. 

We arrived as the dark sky was turning milky gray.  With every minute the sky was getting lighter and we barely had time to explore the area and set up for our shots!  My first set up was a nice landscape from the eastern side of the point, incorporating the sand dunes and vegetation against North Light in the background.  (Tip:  You may want to shoot towards the sun during sunrise and sunset shoots, but shots with your back towards the sun can be just as spectacular!)  The sun began to rise and the lighthouse became illuminated in fiery tones of orange and gold.  Soon, the Lighthouse was actually too bright for my camera!  I wasn't capturing any detail in those highlights as the building reflected the bright morning sun.  So I walked around to the western side of the point to see what else I could find.


The sun had broken the horizon now 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.  My favorite is a horizontal version of the shot below, and it can be seen on my website www.catebrownphoto.com

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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