Sunday, October 12, 2008

The best light and best lobster

Dawn, Portland Head Light

Perhaps the most scenic lighthouse in Maine is the Portland Head Light just south of Portland. I was determined to photograph it in the best light I possibly could-- sunrise and sunset. The difference between good and great photographs are often attributed to "the light", and photographers know that the best light is usually at the very start and the very end of the other words, the times that no normal tourists would be wanting to take the same picture!

I woke up at 4:30am and drove in total darkness for a half hour to arrive to Portland Head in time to capture the pre-dawn shot above, but the colors were spectacular!

Later that same day, I returned to the lighthouse for sunset photos. I started on a small rocky perch where a half-dozen other photographers had set up their tripods. It was a pretty standard shot, but nothing really spectacular.

I really wanted to include more rocks and long-exposure waves, so even though the sun was just about to set, I decided to continue down the walkway to a small passage where I could hike down to the beach. Here you can see a few of the photographers up on the bluff to the far right where I had just been:

This scene had better potential, so I stayed and waited for the light. The park closes as "sunset" and sure enough, at that time a voice began blaring over a distant loudspeaker that the park was now closed and to please leave. All the photographers up on the bluff started packing up and leaving, but I, like some demented rebel, stayed firmly planted on the beach still waiting for the glowing light that often comes about 10 minutes after sunset.

This night was a pretty hazy sunset, so it was starting to get pretty dark, and I was getting pretty nervous about the guard possibly locking the front gate and leaving me stranded on the beach, but just one more minute.... sure enough, just then, the full moon appeared from behind a cloud as the sunset afterglow appeared. I got my shot! And quickly high-tailed it back up to the car to head out. What a great day!!!

The next day, I returned just south of Portland Head to Cape Elizabeth, that has a terrific lobster shack with picnic tables right on the waterfront. The parking lot was packed and lunchtime line of people was long, but so worth the wait....a fresh lobster dinner for $20.

Cape Elizabeth Light

I decided to try my luck at the Cape Neddick Lighthouse near York for my next sunset shot. It was supposed to be best in late afternoon light, and I certainly was pleased...especially when the full moon began rising right behind the lighthouse!

As soon as the sun set on the lighthouse, I packed up and headed back to the car to let Millie out to walk around. Dumb move of course! Millie had barely walked around at all when I noticed the afterglow of the sunset starting to appear on the lighthouse. I barely got my tripod and camera set up again just in time to take this one last shot....and it was the best one of the night by far. Moral to the story is to always always always wait a few extra minutes after you think the light has gone (or in the morning, start shooting before the sun rises)!

1 comment:

StefRobrts said...

I just stumbled across your blog, your pictures are stunning! I'll have to keep tabs on it (or should I say t@bs) :-D