Victoria's Light

Social Distancing at Fort Wetherill

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I had never heard the term “social distancing before”.   It’s not a big change for me, photographers are lone wolves anyway and I enjoy solitude as a rule.

Continuing my exploration of Rhode Island in preparation for the FSC gathering in the summer (assuming it isn’t short-circuited from travel or health concerns), I give you Fort Wetherill, now part of Fort Wetherill State Park.  From reading the site’s history on the State’s website, the fort was first built and manned in the Revolutionary war by the colonists to prevent British ships from entering to attack Newport.  The original fort had a tall conical observation tower.  The fort was captured by the British before being operational.  Gun emplacements were eventually added in 1800 and modernized periodically through the time of the First World War.  For World War II the site was expanded to house 1,200 servicemen who trained here to learn artillery spotting, signaling, and observation.  Eventually the site was abandoned and the State purchased it in 1972.

Caverns beneath the immensely thick battery installations are open and splattered with graffiti. The site is somewhat treacherous for shooting seascapes.  To reach views of the sea, there are steep trails leading to the edge of the cliffs that are at least 100 feet in height.  One must exercise great care with each step especially near the cliff’s edge and when making a descent.  I did find a spot where it’s relatively easy to descend with the utmost care to water level.  I stopped about half way because I was alone.  I recommend carrying one’s kit in a backpack for this trek to allow use of the hands for stabilization.

It is a westerly facing shore so it would be a good spot for later afternoon and sunset shooting. These images were shot in usual harsh early afternoon light.  Again I used the marvelous Voigtlander 21mm F 1.8 lens and the Leica M10 – my go to camera.  I took some film images here using a point and shoot and some Adox 20 ISO film, and I finished that roll, and another roll of Portra 160 at a miraculous antique bazaar in Newport where there are interesting statues and similar things strewn about.

A woman was walking her dog around the statues, and she judiciously waited for me to move away before walking by.   New Englanders are largely stand-offish people, and this trait is magnified to the n’th degree now.

 

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