I spent twenty four non-photographic years growing up in Rhode Island, so to come back after a year in New Zealand with a newfound eye for photos was a bit daunting. To the average person, a brand new subject matter would be like going into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory for the first time. There are so many different things you've never seen before you have to try them all.
Unfortunately for me I had gotten so comfortable shooting landscapes of rolling green hills, mountains, and starscapes that I didn't know what to look for in Rhode Island. Everything was familiar, so it didn't seem worth photographing. I had to find something different in what I considered familiar, ordinary; so I headed to the coast.
Castle Hill Light is about an hour from where I live. I knew I wanted to take a sunset shot, but with the distance it wasn't something I could run out and shoot when I saw a good sunset. I planned and researched and taught myself just enough about meteorology to get an idea of when the sky might look pretty.
These past two weeks we had temperatures in the sixties and seventies, unheard of for late December New England. Of course, when it finally looked like the sky might cooperate, it had dropped to 20°F. Never one to let the weather stop me, I drove down to Newport two hours before sunset. I scouted out the area and eventually parked my tripod in a puddle five feet from the ocean. I fired off a calibration shot and then waited, feet wet and buffeted by the wind, for two hours.
While I temporarily lost dexterity in my fingers, what I gained was a shot I'm incredibly happy with. The sunset itself was a bust. This shot was taken around 2:45pm with sunset at 4:21pm. The closer sunset drew, more the clouds rolled in, blocking any chance of gorgeous fire in the sky. Despite waiting for two hours, I got the photo I wanted in the first five hundredth of a second. I went home bruised, cold, and soggy but with the same sense of ecstasy that I had when I started photography.
I only walked away from this shoot with one photo, which tends to be the case when I shoot landscapes. I'm crafting the photo in my head weeks before I even head out to take the shot. In this case, the sunset was uneventful, so the earliest shot turned out best. I've brought up a bit of the texture in the rocks while emphasizing the soft and gentle tones of the light throughout the image. I pulled out some contrast in the clouds to help convey a bit more of the storm that was looming in the distance. The magenta tones were bumped up just a touch, to present you with an image that is warmer than the day I shot it.