New York-based photographer Noe DeWitt talks equipment, technique, and his favorite spots in Dominica. 

By Hannah Walhout
Updated: March 22, 2019
Travel + Leisure

Our April cover takes us to the remote, rugged Caribbean island of Dominica, where writer Gina DeCaprio Vercesi reports from a trail-clearing trip to Secret Bay resort — examining how properties on the island are encouraging travelers to take part in hurricane recovery efforts. 

For the first time in many issues, April has two covers: one which you'll see on newsstands around the country, the other exclusively for subscribers. Both were shot by New York-based photographer Noe DeWitt, who was just back from the British Virgin Islands on assignment to capture the dreamy cover of our February issue.

His next trip, though, won't be to the Caribbean. After the March 26 release of his book with Anthony Iannacci, New York Design At Home (Abrams, $60), he's headed to Italy for a spring break with family. "These trips are the ultimate photograph sessions with my children," he says.

Noe DeWitt

T+L recently spoke with the photographer about his trip to Dominica, the best time of day for photographing perfectly turquoise water, and how he got to the beach where "Pirates of the Caribbean" was filmed: 

T+L: Had you ever traveled to Dominica before? Any first impressions?

Noe DeWitt: "This was my first trip to Dominica. It is extremely lush with vegetation, so flying over the island was incredible. 
There are dramatic mountains, and the jagged coastline along the northern Atlantic side of the island is intense. Reminded me a bit of Jurassic Park. The island has many first-class dive spots, with giant rock formations under crystal clear blue water — if I had more time there, I would definitely put my PADI [Professional Association of Diving Instructors] certification to the test." 

Noe DeWitt

The newsstand cover was shot at Secret Bay, a resort on the island. What was it like shooting there?

"Secret Bay is intimate, peaceful, and beautifully designed. You can truly 'check out' while staying there. It is very photogenic, but shooting was a bit challenging in that most of the resort is on a very steep hill. The villas are perched on cliffs, allowing for incredible views of the mountains and sea. Roaming the property for 'the shot' was quite fun — climbing around the grounds, walking along the cliffs. We even photographed the resort from a hired boat to get as many options as possible." 

Can you describe where you were when you took this cover? (I love the interesting focus, and how it feels like you were surrounded by plants.)

"I took this photo from the path to my villa. Throughout my stay, I kept photographing this same view, over and over, at different times of day. I loved the layers between the foreground, mid-distance, and the horizon of the sea. Just below the frame is a cliff down to Secret Bay Beach — which you can only access by boat." 

Noe DeWitt

Where were you when you took the beach picture on the subscriber cover? How did you get that overhead shot?

"This is Batibou Beach, where many of the beach scenes in "Pirates of the Caribbean" were filmed. Most people get here by driving down a long dirt road through a private coconut palm farm. However, I decided I wanted to hike in and walk through the coconut grove. I parked on the main island road and hiked about a mile and a half. For this picture, I was probably about 500 feet above the beach, on the side of a dirt road, photographing as the sun ducked in and out of the clouds."   

What times of day did you take both pictures? What type of equipment did you use?

"The newsstand cover was taken at the end of the day, just before total sunset. The Batibou Beach shot was around 11:00 AM — just before high noon, which is generally not an ideal time to take photographs, but great for capturing the bluest water. I used my trusty Canon 1-DX Mark II Camera with a Canon 50mm L-series fixed lens for both covers." 
   

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