3 Not to miss locations for Rockport Photography

Rockport Photography in Massachusetts

If any of you have been to Rockport Massachusetts you probably gravitated to Motif #1 and with good reason. The red color against the blue of the harbor is a natural, attention grabber. Also, the rustic nature of the building is and has been a magnet for artists and photographers for well over a hundred years. (circa, 1884)

New England photography of Motif #1

My favorite view of Motif #1 from Bradley Wharf, Purchase here!

I’m no different from all of you and the first thing I like to do is to walk out on “T” wharf for a comforting first glance. It’s familiar and unchanging in this constantly changing world. My very first image of the “Motif #1” was in 2003. My Dad was taking me around to local locations after I retired from the Air Force. I took this shot and I thought it was great.

There are two things wrong with this image (Seen below in the set of 3), if you are really good you could name a dozen but to keep this brief, the two BIG things wrong with it are: It’s boring (except for the seagull’s shadow) and 2nd, EVERYBODY who visits Rockport to create their own New England Photography, shoots the same damn shots! Just google “Rockport Motif#1” and click images. Literally, everybody shoots/paints it from the same three angles and this proves it.

The three primary shots everyone goes for

There is a reason that these are the most common locations for capturing Motif #1. They give some of the best compositions for painters and photographers alike. X1 is from “T” wharf. X2 is from the small boat launch ramp next door to Tucks Candies on Mount Pleasant st. X3 is found by around onto Bearskin Neck rd and then a quick right onto Bradley Wharf rd. PLEASE note, there are homes and businesses that open onto this driveway so please be respectful of their property.

Rockport and Motif #1 New England Photography

3 standard angles for shooting Motif #1

The three shots you will see on Google and yes, I have the same angles as well because they are iconic and lead to great compositions. But as seen below they can be boring and overdone, so how to make them interesting?

How NOT to come home with boring shots of Rockport

First, if you shot Motif #1 from T wharf as seen above, keep it, as it’s a pleasant memory. Next time, get up real early, I mean REAL early and arrive while the sunrise is just in your imagination. This is great for two reasons. First, you can get a free parking spot on “T” wharf (right side only, left side is for residents). Second, for the next few hours, you can make some magic happen.

Next please have already picked up a coffee at Dunkin, as the local places don’t open for a while and I don’t want you distracted.

The first technique to improving your images, Dawn!

Dawn to me is the magic time for Rockport as well as most photography we as photographers, do and if you want to see what these same/similar angles look like at dawn….

I find on those mornings with a little bit of cloud cover to make for the best sunrises. All of these are from the same starting locations but all I did was to change the time of day. The two where the sun is in the image, well those are HDR. Three images (over exposed, under, and balanced) blended together so you get the best of the highlights and shadows and you don’t end up with a silhouette of Motif #1. But the rest are basically as you saw the morning with the naked eye.

Next week I will go and explore some other locations (with map) and then what you might see if you don’t put Motif #1 in every frame. Lastly, I’ll tell you when you do finish your shooting, where to go and get a bite to eat.





3 Not to miss locations for Rockport Photography — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this, Jeff! I’d much appreciate your thoughts on this: With an iconic subject like Motif #1 (which I’ve also shot numerous times on two visits there) it seems that a photographer is faced with a choice between shooting something that sells — which is likely to be one of those iconic shots with the building itself prominent in the photo — and shooting something more imaginative, such as the ones you’ve posted here. Can you comment, please? Or am I wrong in assuming (granted, I’m just making an overgeneralization, not saying it’s always true) that the “iconic shots” are noticeably better sellers than the more creative ones?

    • You are very correct, I myself hope to sell my images of Rockport or at least of Motif #1. But sadly I have only sold a few of Motif in any season. One of those is hanging in the Salem Arts Gallery at the moment and normally on the wall in my house. Then a winter shot in snow and someone gave a couple a wedding gift and they choose one of my Rockport images.
      But as much as I wish all of my images would sell on a constant basis (it’s rarely like that) I have to be satisfied with the art that I create. I try to get there at dawn or during a storm to create something if not quite unique, seldom seen by the average person. Like the dead fin whale, I just posted on the Guild Facebook page. Not something I would ever expect someone to buy but maybe they would stop in their tracks and go HuH?
      I wish I knew how many images sold in the stores on Bearskin Neck in Rockport. Or on Fine Art America in a month. But they don’t give out reports like that.
      So I have to assume that images of Iconic Motif #1 are what people buy in the galleries and tourist shops of Rockport… But that might be a good days walk on Sunday to go into the different Galleries and those stores that are open and selling images of Rockport and just ask what are their best sellers? I really like this one and I consider it to be creative and thinking outside the Motif box BUT! Would it ever sell?
      Lobster pots at sunrise in Rockport Massachusetts