I think this is becoming a specialty for me. So many of the lighthouses in Maine have water in puddles or pools among the rocks. If the wind cooperates then there is often a perfect reflection. And then I sit and watch. I even saw serious photographers wandering the rocks. I know you are serious if you are lugging your camera attached to an oversized tripod. (Really? I mean really?) But I estimate 99% never notice the reflection. So I wait and pick out some nice person, Colleen couldn’t believe how gracious I was being. But just to make someone’s trip a little more special… I would share the picture at their feet. Not everyone is receptive. Some guys are just there on a mission. I don’t bother them. But for some earnest tourist, it’s a pleasure to share something special. Maybe they will look at the world a little bit differently from now on too.
This is the lighthouse on the hill at the mouth of the harbor. It is not in Rockland where there is a rock jetty everyone walks. This lighthouse is a dedicated car ride to find. I happened to appear on the lighthouse tour day. So I got a shot of the Fresnel lens that can be had once a year.
I first was introduced to this light through the kindness of Bobby Draper. He knew I photographed lighthouses. On our way past he stopped for me to get a photo op. This was taken many trips later. But I remember who showed it to me first. Thanks Bob.
One day a year the lighthouse is open to the public. I just happened to be there on that day. It was completely random for me. I took the tour inside later. And there in the reflection was someone in the lighthouse. You can’t get this shot again till next year. Maybe?
I have a shot this Portland lighthouse from all directions and many angles. What is left? Take a close up. Get the light. Let it be dusk and let the soft blur of sunset suffuse the scene. Hey it works for me.
This is an easy lighthouse to find and to see. Walk around. Change perspective. Get the clouds. Get the foreground. Everyone rushes up to the fence and has eyes only for the lighthouse. Yes there are not too many opportunities like this. And you can get around it from many angles and viewpoints. I standby and watch groups, families and individuals all shoot. Look down! The best shot is in the tidal pool at their feet. It is not always a shot. Sometimes there is a breeze to blur the reflection. Only a few are able to see this shot and get it.
I’m spinning my archive. The good thing about living in Maine for a while is that you got to visit lighthouses in inclement weather. Fog is always a hard subject. The other element is the light itself. Then to blend soft light and focused detail is harder yet. I let the camera figure out the exposure. I just fixed the compositional elements. In that instant I got the shot I wanted. It’s good.
There is a distinct advantage to having a local lighthouse to visit. While I was in Maine I took advantage of the less than sunny days to visit the Portland lighthouse. Fog, snow, and rain became part of the inventory of interesting images. I always saw tourists in a hurry, drive up, photograph the lighthouse, hop in the car, and drive away again. I never even had the chance to point out the best show was at their feet in the reflections of the tidal pools on the rocks below. On the days when the reflection was sharp because the wind was still, you got that signature shot everyone looks to get.
I’m not one to camp out and wait for sunset, or to wait hours upon hours for the clouds to arrange themselves for my image. And I’m not a fan of changing things in Photoshop. I prefer drive by shooting. Hey, it works for me. I can appreciate some images that were made by others who toiled and waited…. just not me.
If you just look down at the tidal pools, there’s a reflection to reward you. On a sunny day a polarizing filter will get you a more distinct image. Either way try to break out of the typical tourist mode and get something different.
Sometimes you never know how things will come out. I was pleasantly surprised to get the lighthouse detail of this shot in the early morning fog. We were in Lubec, Maine and I’m shooting to the Canadian side lighthouse. It has that little red crest that they like in Canada. The shot is too centered. My bad, I’m still an amateur at that time. It’s film not digital, so there’s no way to know whether the shot is good until much later. I look at the old shots and am pretty amazed to have such nice slides. I really trusted to luck back then. There was some skill, I suppose. To me it was like conducting a photo experiment. The results would come back months later. You needed a lot of patience. In those days I was already developing my own slides. So I would shoot enough to make it worthwhile to mix up a batch of solution – usually about 60 rolls. That could take about half a year. As I said I was patient… and careful. You have to hold the water temperature to 100 degrees plus or minus a tenth of a degree. Yes, I did it… nerve wracking but I did it.