Strictly speaking, lighthouses are not part of the natural environment since they’re human-made. Nevertheless, they occupy a special place in our collective psyche. Everyone loves lighthouses—they always have onlookers on nice days, particularly on week-ends and holidays. They are one of the few things we have built that just seem to fit in with the natural environment, so I include two here.
The first three photographs show Portland Head Light at Fort Williams Park on Cape Elizabeth. I’m told this is the most photographed lighthouse in Maine. It’s certainly has to be one of the most sketched. I counted about half a dozen artists working from a range of vantage points.
By the way, this is an active light, as you can see by its lit beacon. Many lighthouses across the U.S. are no longer in service, due to “better” means of navigation. They have either become museums or they are privately owned—some converted into seaside housing.
I made these shots about an hour-and-a-half before sunset to take advantage of shadows. They’re okay, but perhaps they would be better shrouded in a light fog. What do you think?
I then moved to the opposite side of the lighthouse and captured the following scene. This, I think, is the better view of the light. The small craft returning to port also added a bit of interest as it appeared between the rocky ledge.
The next day I drove further down Cape Elizabeth to its lighthouse of the same name. It overlooks the Atlantic Ocean at the southern entrance to Casco Bay. This day I decided to take a different tact and photograph the lighthouse from daylight to dusk.
The first shot shows the lighthouse at 6:24PM, followed by shots at 6:58PM and 7:07PM. These latter two shots lend a bit of surrealism to the scenes.
In the near future I’ll be heading up to Penobscot Bay to photograph Owl’s Head Lighthouse and the Bay.
-From Portland and the mid-coast