When hurricane Sandy made its way up the east coast in 2013, by the time it came ashore in New Jersey it had lost its tropical storm characteristics and renamed “Super Storm Sandy.” Little did the name change do to the havoc it brought the Northeast, especially along the Jersey shore. One of the New York Harbor lighthouses, Old Orchard Shoal was completely destroyed by the tidal surge. Another nearby light was also heavily damaged but remained standing. We got permission from its owners to visit Romer Shoal located just outside the major shipping route for New York Harbor known as the Ambrose Channel about five miles south of Coney Island. The lighthouse was moved to the location in 1898 after having been first used as a training tool at the National Lighthouse Training Academy on nearby Staten Island. We hired a boat and captain and landed at the shoal after photographing Robbins Reef earlier in the evening. Along for the ride were my son Cory and his friend Andy. Safety concerns were in place as we approached the lighthouse as swells from an offshore hurricane were mixing up the waters around the light. The captain determined he could get us onto the rusted and bent ladder and we quickly scampered up while the bow of the boat was snuggled in. Once on the main deck we could see the obvious damage from Sandy as chunks of iron were strewn about the rocks below. The superstructure was clearly missing pieces and stood rusting in the night. We made our way down to what was once the riprap jetty, but the powerful storm had moved the heavy granite blocks around like child’s toys. There was neither semblance of order to any nor were any elevated and dry as daily tides made all slick and extremely dangerous. We had only one pair of ice crampons and I offered them to Cory since I was wearing fishing waders and could slide across most of the rocks and seaweed. Cory took careful and select steps while the tide was thankfully heading toward low. It took quite an effort making it out to a reasonably safe position though finding a nice flat platform wasn’t possible. I sat down between two fairly dry boulders and wedged the tripod for stability and began shooting. Andy had remained on the boat and lit the scene with a dimmed LED battery powered light. Earlier in the evening we shot another lighthouse closer to Manhattan while capturing few stars. Here, a few miles south we were further away from the bright lights of the big city and were able to get more though remaining ambient light kept the numbers down. We shot only a few images from the one location and carefully made our way back over the slick rocks to the safety of the lighthouse where the captain collected us for the ride back to the dock.
Off Highlands Borough, New Jersey August 16, 2017 11:14pm 82° calm winds
Nikon D4, 14mm lens, ISO 1000 f2.8 13secs