American Northeast Road Trip
Mount Hope Bridge, Rhode Island
When it comes to travel plans, I usually settle on one destination and sketch a few ideas around the place. But this time around, my mind had difficulty deciding where to go. So I expanded my definition of the "destination" to the whole region: the American Northeast. "How about driving through its states and seeing a bit of everything?" - I thought, and a few days later, a week-long itinerary was ready, covering a visit to the ocean side, three mountain regions, and a visit to a museum.
Another question was about how I will be documenting my journey: would that be a color film or black and white? After weighing all cons and pros, I decided to stick to ILFORD Delta 400 - a black and white film that would give me enough shutter speed even in low light. It would also keep me focused on my observations rather than allowing my impulses to take pictures at the sight of the colorful fall splendor.
Part One: Five Lighthouses
The schedule allowed only one evening and the following morning to achieve my goal: to find and photograph five lighthouses. Rhode Island is a small state, and the task seemed possible. I did some research online and picked a few candidates for this mini-project. The weather that day was not cooperative: a gray blanket of clouds was covering the sky. And when I parked near the Watch Hill Cove, it started to rain.
At the Watch Hill Cove
The private road to the lighthouse prohibits motorized vehicles, but people are welcome to walk it. Despite the rain, I enjoyed the stroll, fancy architecture along the way, and neat landscaping decor of the residences.
Road to the Watch Hill Lighthouse
Soon I was standing in front of the closed gates to the lighthouse grounds. I walked along the fence and found a spot at the corner with a clear view of the building. Two seagulls seem to like hanging around the lantern. One of them was sitting atop of the pole and another hovering above it. From this angle, it looked like a kite on a string.
Watch Hill Lighthouse and Seagulls
The already strong wind picked up even more. I stepped back into the field and took a picture of the lighthouse with the flag. With this element, the scene reflected the weather conditions more vividly.
Watch Hill Lighthouse and The Flag
Following the wind, rain also picked up, suggesting that it was time for me to leave.
Wind, Rain, and the Surf. Looking Toward East Beach.
An hour later, I arrived at my next destination at Point Judith. As expected, the wind and rain were strong here too. In this instance, though, I parked right by the grounds and used my car as protection from the elements. As before, the flag indicated the weather conditions. But in this case, I was not satisfied with the surrounding: too many rocks and way too many cars.
Point Judith Lighthouse and The Flag.
My second attempt to photograph this lighthouse was from a nearby beach. Not the best image, of course, but a journal document anyway. Plus, as soon as I packed my film camera and pulled out digital, the weather started to change, ending the day with an unexpected one-minute display of color.
Point Judith Lighthouse and The Surf.
The following morning was the opposite of the day before. The clear sky and pleasant temperature were a nice change. Although, my route to the next lighthouse had a couple of surprises. It started with an abandoned shopping store that I noticed along the road. The bright red panel stood on the background of the blue sky too much for me to drive by.
Abandoned Store. Somewhere in Bristol, Rhode Island
When I drove into the parking lot and examined the scene up close, I noticed a sign at the corner of the building. I found some humor in the missing letters that together would make the word CAR. Was that someone's joke or just the peculiar randomness of the universe?
C R CA E ENTER
In another corner of the same plaza, I noticed an old car parked by yet closed businesses. In the morning light, it looked great.
Vintage Car and Closed Businesses
And once again, this picture led to another unexpected discovery of an amusing sign. Just a few steps further, a hair salon - "Rock, Paper, Scissors." Although, the last word was merely a picture of the scissors.
Raper, Rock, Scissors
After that, I finally left the place toward my next lighthouse. At the last moment, I missed my turn and found myself on a tall, long, and narrow bridge. It turned to be the Mount Hope Bridge, an old engineering marvel with entertaining history, that I read about at the kiosk by its northern end.
Mount Hope Bridge, South Entrance
After that, I finally found my way to the lighthouse. But instead of one, I discovered two! I did expect to see the Hog Island Shoal Light in the bay, but here it was, right in plain sight. The moment I pressed the shutter, a seagull flew into my frame. Fine then, I will let it be here.
Hod Island Shoal Light and The Seagull
And here is what I came for: the Bristol Ferry Lighthouse. I photographed it almost from the same spot at the shoal light: there it is, in the background.
Bristol Ferry Lighthouse
My last stop was at the Castle Hill Lighthouse. I took several pictures of it, but my favorite is this one, with curves of the rock leading the eye to the tower in the midground.
Castle Hill Lighthouse
The picturesque Castle Hill Inn right behind me was demanding a photograph and its place in my journal.
Castle Hill Inn
And with that, my mini-project was complete. New Hampshire and more adventures were ahead of me. My last image in Rhode Island was of a liquor store at one of the intersections. I took its picture while from the window of my car while waiting at the traffic light. The settings and light attracted my attention. Only a week later, when I developed this roll of film, I noticed the picture of the Mount Hope Bridge on its front. The one I was curious about earlier that morning.