When we took a mini-vacation up to the Maine coast a couple of months ago, I made a point to seek out as many lighthouses as I could to photograph. This one is Marshall Point Lighthouse near Port Clyde, Maine, and is quite interesting in that it is very accessible. At low tide, you can walk all the way around it on the rocks and even go up and walk out on the wooden walkway to the light house door. (Click here for some more information on Marshall Point Lighthouse.)
Photographing these lighthouses is an enlightening experience for me as I am constantly trying to get to angles that are not just your typical “lighthouse shot” and to see the structure in different ways.
Lighthouses are in and of themselves dramatic structures both in their location and in their function, so shooting them seems like it should be a pretty straightforward affair. But it’s more complicated than it looks, mainly because often the lighthouses are hard to access (surrounded, for instance, by steep drop offs and cliffs) in a way that allows you to get new and interesting views of them.
Lighthouses have also been favorite subjects for visual artists, and most have been photographed or painted many times over, so it’s often hard to get a new view. Luckily, I was helped out by a very unique sky and also by my super wide Sigma 10-20 lens, which at 10mm helps to capture this drama by creating this sort of rush of energy in almost any cloud-filled sky.
On this particular evening, the sky was really quite dramatic, with a storm front being pushed out by a low pressure system. In this photo, you can see the storm clouds moving off to the right, and I wanted to capture both the drama of the sky’s contrast as well as the sharp lines of the walkway to the lighthouse itself, which lead the eye out to the energy of the sky.