North Lighthouse

Milky Way over North Lighthouse

GPS: 41.227581 -71.575852

BLOCK ISLAND

Block Island lies 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island, an easy ferry ride across the Block Island Sound. The place is a popular summer destination, best known for its 17 miles of free beaches. Folks mainly come here to swim, sail, hike, and bike.

New Shoreham is the main town on the island. The total island population is normally around 1050 persons, but it triples that number in the summer months.

So, how old is Block Island? Geological history tells us that the island was created by a receding glacier some 22,000 years ago.

NORTH LIGHT

The island contains two historic lighthouses: Southeast Light rests on the more inhabited side of the island, whereas, North Light is located on the less developed end, in the middle of the Block Island Wildlife Refuge.

My favorite among the two is North Light. The small lighthouse is more remote, making it a cleaner subject for landscape photography. And since it sits on narrow Sandy Point, it can also be photographed from all sides.

The little 1868 lighthouse is constructed of granite and iron, with a 55-foot tower housing a white light that flashes every 5 seconds.

BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH

North Light can be photographed at any time of year. And since the lighthouse is approachable from four sides, you can photograph it from one side at sunrise and capture it from the opposite side at sunset.

North Light can be a good subject for night photography too, but only if you point the camera away from the the mainland to the north. For this photo, I stood on the north side of the lighthouse and pointed my camera south toward open ocean.

GETTING TO NORTH LIGHT

The Block Island Ferry runs a ferry all year from Point Judith. Be sure to make an early reservation if you plan to ferry your car over the busy summer season. Otherwise, you’ll need to take your chances waiting on standby — possibly all day.

Since North Light is nowhere near Old Harbor (where the ferry docks at Block Island), you’ll definitely need transportation once you arrive. Rentals are available only in summer, so I find it best to ferry my own vehicle.

North Light sits on Sandy Point at the northern tip. Drive north on Corn Neck Road until the road ends at a paved parking area. From there, you’ll see North Light in the distance. It’s a 20-minute hike to the lighthouse over soft sand.

PHOTOGRAPHERS BEWARE

The hike to North Light is not long but can be strenuous because it requires walking on soft beach sand. I suggest you factor stamina into the hiking estimate.

Block Island has a large population of deer. And wherever deer go, ticks follow. So, be sure to take the usual precautions against deer ticks.

North Light is smack in the middle of the Block Island Wildlife Refuge, notable for its large concentration of migratory songbirds. Be sure to respect all marked access restrictions while walking around the refuge.

Since the ferry only runs in daytime, you’ll have to spend the night on Block Island if you want to photograph at sunrise, sunset, or nighttime. While there are many lodging options in summer, the choices are slimmer off-season. However, The 1661 Inn is open year-round, providing charming service throughout the four seasons.

1 thought on “North Lighthouse”

  1. Ooooh Michael! What a great photo! I like the way the l.h. is positioned in the picture, and then those clouds balance out the white space. I’ve been once and photographed both lights; don’t know if I’ll ever return because the seas were very rough that day and the friend who was nice enough to bring his car over doesn’t like green women. But you’re right, the hike in to the North Light is wonderful and in itself allows for a variety of far and close compositions.

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