There is something serene and calming when water is perfectly still. In this view of The Bug Light, as the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse in Maine is affectionately known, the surrounding water, rendered silky and smooth by using a three and a half minute exposure, shows off the diminutive structure to elegant effect with the lovely orange glow of sunrise as a backdrop. The 145 year old lighthouse is quite special since it is the only one of its kind in the world and it was designed by architect Thomas Ustick Walter, who also designed the U.S. Capitol dome.
The fall colors we hoped to see did not materialize in Maine. We spent one afternoon at Sebago Lake but the few leaves with color were riddled with holes so they were not particularly photogenic. Then, I noticed some movement in the woods by the parking lot so I picked up my Nikon Z6 with the 500mm PF already attached and captured this chipmunk on a granite boulder. It reminded me of Alvin and the Chipmunks, the cartoon group that came to “life” in 1958 with the novelty Christmas hit, “The Chipmunk Song” with “Alvin” as the lead singer.
As the morning sun grew brighter, it was harder to get the kind of long exposures that I wanted that would blur the water and the clouds at the Portland Head Light in Maine last week. Luckily, Moose offered to loan me his 6-Stop ND filter which I added to my 10-Stop ND filter so I was able to slow the shutter speed for a 371 second exposure. I also switched to a wider angle lens, the Nikkor 14-30 f/4 S, which helped to emphasize the movement of the clouds.
Another side of Pemaquid Point lighthouse in early morning light.
Sunrise at the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse in the harbor at Portland, Maine can be quite spectacular, especially if one uses a 10-Stop neutral density filter. The shutter speed for this shot was two minutes, nine seconds so the water looks like silk and the clouds are streaky in the sky resulting in a very serene and peaceful image. Nikon Z7, Nikkor 24-200mm Z lens, Breakthrough 10-Stop Neutral Density filter.
|The Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse on the west side of southern approach to Portland Harbor is a sparkplug lighthouse. These unique kinds of lighthouses are round, cast iron structures usually three stories in height with the keeper’s quarters beneath the round lantern room. Because of their shape, these lighthouses have come to be called “sparkplugs.” Sparkplugs were prefabricated, brought to the site by barge, and put in place by floating cranes. The last one was erected in 1926. Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse was built in 1897. This image was taken using my Nikon 8-15mm fish eye lens. By keeping the horizon at the center of the frame, the curvature so characteristic of images taken with fish eye lenses is eliminated.|
Pemaquid Point juts out into the ocean holding the Pemaquid Point lighthouse. But just what is the point? The point is a geological formation of metamorphic rocks, distributed in very thin stratified layers. The layers are composed of different minerals; some have quartz, feldspar, and biotite and others have diopside, pale quartz, and feldspar resulting in layers of different colors. Originally these ocean floor layers of sediment were arranged horizontally with one layer on top of the other, but through the metamorphosis of the rock in the earth’s crust, the layers were contorted, solidifying in nearly vertical orientations, making the edges of the layers the plane that people walk on to get this view of the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.
As Forrest Gump said, “When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on goin.'” This lighthouse was the point at the other ocean where he turned back. It is the Marshall Point Lighthouse which stands at the end of the St. George peninsula in Maine.
The Portland Breakwater Lighthouse was built in 1875 in Portland Harbor. Because of its small size, it became known as the “Bug Light” despite being one of Maine’s most elegant lighthouses. The Bug Light was modeled after an ancient Greek monument and it sports Corinthian columns, the most ornate of the three orders of Greek architecture including the requisite two rows of acanthus leaves. It is a tiny lighthouse but it is just as cute as a bug in a rug and very different from all of the other plain lighthouses we’ve visited this week. This was another long exposure of 2 minutes 9 seconds, using the Breakthrough 10 Stop ND filter taken just as the sun appeared over the horizon behind me.
The wind picked up late Wednesday afternoon while we photographed the Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse in York and wispy clouds streaked by us. The wind was so strong that we didn’t dare let go of our tripods. Then as the sun set behind us and the sky turned deep orange, thunder clouds began to gather quickly and the skies opened up with a few minutes of torrential rains. Lightning flashed as we watched from inside the vehicle and as the rain let up slightly we couldn’t resist and we jumped out of the van to photograph the spectacular scene in front of us. Nikon Z7 and Nikkor Z 24-70 f/2.8.