What a morning I had yesterday.  Bob Lussier, Mike Tully and I headed out early to shoot a different location in South Portland, ME (images to follow in a future post), and decided to visit Portland Head Light afterwards. Although we arrived past sunrise, the light was still sweet, and allowed us time to explore all around the lighthouse to take advantage of the beautiful conditions.

After shooting closer to the lighthouse, we trekked down an icy slope to get down to the rocks and spent some time at this wonderful vantage point as our last spot to shoot.  With my trusty 10 stop ND filter, I was able to get some nice long exposures that added a misty quality to the rocks and waves, while adding nice color saturation as well.


It had been quite some time since I last visited Nubble Light in York, ME, so I decided to make the short trip up there this afternoon to catch the sunset.

The tide was low and the water was as calm as I’ve seen it, but the sky made up for it with some nice color just before the sun went down. And having some of that warm sunlight shine directly on the lighthouse really made the scene special.


 

Morris Island Lighthouse

Taking a break from the fall foliage images with a lighthouse shot from my recent visit to Charleston, SC.  The Morris Island Lighthouse, a non-working lighthouse just north of Folly Beach at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, stands just a few hundred feet off the coast. It’s 161 feet tall, and was completed in 1876.  Over time, jetties were built to protect the harbor, which accelerated the erosion on Morris Island around the lighthouse.  In 1938, the lighthouse became too difficult to reach and maintain, and thus became automated. By 1962, the lighthouse was too close to the shore due to continued erosion on the island, and state officials ordered it closed.  It was replaced by Charleston Light on the north side of nearby Sullivan’s Island, and is now being preserved by the state of South Carolina.

While all this history is very interesting, I was drawn to the great compositional possibilities of the lighthouse that include this jetty on the northern end of Folly Beach that leads right out to the tower in the distance.  I used a long lens to compress the scene and bring the rocks and lighthouse closer together.  The sunrise that morning wasn’t too exciting, but did provide a nice pink/red glow to the sky.

 


 

Sunset at Eastern Point

During the 4th of July weekend, Bob Lussier and I decided to go up to Gloucester, MA to try and catch the fireworks exploding over the lighthouse.  Well I decided, and dragged him with me.  Unfortunately, the fireworks ended up being too far away from the lighthouse, and thus too low in the sky.  I got some decent shots of the fireworks over the harbor, but not over the lighthouse as I had hoped.

We had planned for this possibility, however, and made sure that the trip wouldn’t be a total bust by getting there before sunset to at least get some images of the lighthouse in the late afternoon light.  In this regard, we were not disappointed.  The evening provided a colorful show for us, long before the fireworks started.  I slapped on the ultra-wide lens for this shot, and got as low as my tripod would allow to get the reflection of the lighthouse in this small pool of water.   In post, I chose to keep the scene somewhat dark to add a little moodiness to it.

P.S. For those of you keeping score at home, I did indeed remove the annoying antenna from the image.  I usually have a strict “don’t alter the scene” policy, but thought I could violate it just this once.


 

Block Island North Light

Over the Memorial Day weekend, my family and I had the opportunity to spend a few days on Block Island with some family and friends.  It’s a beautiful little island off the coast of Rhode Island, and has the quintessential look and feel of New England with its shingled homes, several beaches, lots of shops and restaurants, and of course, it’s two lighthouses.  Although this was a family trip, the lighthouses have been on my “to shoot” list for a while, so I made some time to get out and shoot.

This is the Block Island North Light, located as you can guess, at the northern end of the island.  The first lighthouse was built here in 1829, although it was replaced several times over the years due to storms and the need for more powerful lights.  The current granite and iron structure seen here went into service in 1868, and has undergone a recent restoration.

On our last night, our host for the weekend came along with me to visit the lighthouse so we could bring the kids with us as well.  And while they explored the area, I set up to grab some sunset images.  It was a fairly cloudy evening, and I grabbed this shot a short time before the sun went down.  I have some other images from this lighthouse, as well as some from the Block Island Southeast Light that I’ll post soon.


Thacher Island

Creating this image set a new record for me in terms of getting up early for a photograph.  I recently had the opportunity to visit Thacher Island at sunrise, an opportunity which only happens once a year.   I left my house at 3am for a ferry (or technically a small floating bathtub) that was leaving at 4am.  A 20 minute boat ride in sheer darkness followed, and we then arrived on the island.  As a side note, it was a both comical and scary ride as one person drove the boat, while another shined a flashlight on the water to ensure we didn’t hit any lobster buoys.

Thacher Island is located off the coast of Rockport, MA, and is known for it’s two towering lighthouses – the only operating twin lighthouses in America.  The Town of Rockport owns the southern end of the Island, and the northern end is owned by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  While there, I discovered that it should also be known for it’s incredible seagull population.  So many in fact, that it was difficult to hear the beeps and clicks of my camera, even with my face pressed up against it.  The island’s other indigenous species, the mosquito, is equally present, yet thankfully disappear once the sun rises.

This image is of the north lighthouse tower.   This was my first visit to the island, and I was overwhelmed with all the possible images that could be made there, although finding some of them in the dark before the sun rose was a bit challenging.  I found this perspective just after the sun came up, and was able to get some of that warm light on the rocks and tower.  I wish the sky had cooperated by providing more clouds, but overall it was a great experience to explore and photograph this amazing place.  I hope to get back again soon.


Reaching for the Light

Doesn’t it look like these tree branches are reaching toward the lighthouse?  Well even if they aren’t, this is a bit of a different take on this iconic lighthouse.  Portland Head Light has been photographed so many times, it’s hard to find a unique spin on it.  This is my attempt.


Winter Chill

Another image today from Portland Head Light in Maine.  No sun at sunrise usually means I’ll convert most images to black & white, especially long exposures like this one (yesterday’s post was an exception).  It was a cold 5 minutes waiting for this exposure, but ultimately worth the wait.  When it’s still early and the light is low, my 10 stop ND filter can make for some very long exposure times.  One of these days I need to get myself a variable ND filter so I can better dial in the right (read: shorter) exposures, especially for these cold winter mornings.  Be sure to click on the image for a larger view.


Dawn at the Light

Today’s image is an early morning shot of one of Maine’s lesser known lighthouses, Portland Head Light.  OK, just kidding.  As anyone from New England will tell you, this is supposedly the most photographed lighthouse in the U.S.  Or maybe Nubble Light is.  Anyway… I haven’t photographed Portland Head Light in way too many years, and being that I was in Portland for the weekend, I had no choice but to visit at sunrise.

As you can see, it was a very cloudy morning, and there were more than a few cold and disappointed photographers there without some nice morning color.  Be that as it may, I was still able to grab a few shots I liked, including this one, which was the first I took that morning.  The slight hint of color on the left is actually coming from the lights of the city, and was just enough early on to add some additional interest.  I was also pleased to be able to capture Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse in the background on the right side.  A cold and cloudy, but still somewhat satisfying morning.


Frozen Sunrise

Sunrise photography in the winter can be a double-edge sword.  On the one hand, you’ve got the sun coming up past 7 am, which means sleeping a bit later than you would for a summer sunrise.  The other hand is of course a cold hand.  As in freezing cold temperatures.

We’ve had some really cold weather here in the northeast the past few days, but I decided to get up this past weekend to see if I could catch a nice sunrise.  This image was taken near Loblolly Cove in Rockport, MA, and those two structures you see in the distance are the twin lighthouses of Thacher Island.  I had to climb over and around some icy rocks to get to this spot, but was rewarded with really nice color in the sky just before the sun rose.   This is not a multi-image panorama, but rather a cropped image that just looked better with these dimensions.  Please click on the image for a larger view.