The “Artist Spotlight “program displays the works of local artists on meeting room walls in Barnstable Town Hall.

Photographs by Rick Branscomb are featured in the James H. Crocker, Jr. Hearing Room and Selectmen’s Conference Room in Barnstable Town Hall, now through January 7, 2022.Artwork may be viewed virtually on the website:


Rick Branscomb is a fine art photographer from Hyannis, MA. He says he has been taking photographs for fifty years, but taking it seriously for less than ten years. After a career as a writer and teacher of writing for over 40 years, he retired in May of 2014 to devote himself full-time to his photography. Transitioning into serious photography was a major shift, from becoming a word-person to an image-person, a leap from the left brain to the right brain.

His favorite genre is night photography and other high-contrast photography, harkening back to the chiaroscuro paintings of Caravaggio and Rembrandt and their contemporaries, in which light illuminates a part of the picture and makes that pop out of surrounding semi-darkness.

In all his photography he looks for drama, for strong contrasts of light and dark and colors that make the viewer gasp. Sometimes, of course, the life before the photographer is not obviously dramatic, so he looks for scenes and situations to create drama in the digital darkroom. Either way–finding or creating or usually some combination of both–his successful photos have a heightened sense of drama. These images are often dark and moody, sometimes with large expanses of pure black, but as photographer Jay Maisel says, “The more light you have in an image, the less drama you get. The details start taking over; the mystery is all gone. The effect of limited light causes drama by leaving most of the image dark.”


This exhibit features some of my attempts to capture (or enhance) the drama I see on the Cape, usually but not always at night. While there are a few images of typical Cape Cod scenes, most of the images on display are landscape-astrophotography (in which landscape features serve as a foreground for astronomical features), true night photography, or sunrise/sunset images.

Highlighted is the image “Moonrise over Sandwich Boardwalk,” featured as one of Cape Cod Life magazine’s “Best of 2021” photographs. It preserves in a picture the strong feelings Cape Codders have for one of their soon-to-be replaced landmarks. Over a month in the planning and execution, it shows a full orange moon rising above a silhouetted Sandwich Boardwalk, illuminating the water and marshlands around it. The image captures one of the thousands of daily instances of the dramatic on Cape Cod.

Artwork is displayed in the James H. Crocker, Jr. Hearing Room and the Selectmen’s Conference Room, 2nd floor in Barnstable Town Hall, 367 Main Street, Hyannis.
Artwork may be viewed virtually at
For more information on this program email
508-862-4767 l