Sunset at Pemoquid Point Lighthouse - an evening to remember!

Sunset at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

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Maine lighthouse showcased during amazing sunset

My buddy Rick Berk asked if I could add a couple of days to a two-week Bassmaster tournament assignment in Upstate New York in late August so he could show me some of his favorite photography locations on the Maine Coast, and I jumped at the chance.

He texted me the day before my arrival, asking what subjects I'd like to shoot. "I never hate lighthouses," I replied.

Man, did Rick ever deliver!

After checking into my hotel and eating a tasty lobster roll, Rick took me to one of the most famous lighthouses on the Maine coast: Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. In fact, this beacon is featured on the Maine quarter.

We arrived early, offering plenty of time to shoot the lighthouse from different angles, with the evening sun highlighting the structures and the rocks below. Below are a couple of my favorite compositions from the pre-sunset work.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Reflection

The rocks below Pemaquid Point Lighthouse are incredible, with amazing texture and colors. They also offer leading lines pointing straight to the old beacon, and this tidal pool rounds off the composition.

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Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

I was looking for a vertical composition when I found this small pool of water surrounded by those wonderful rocks and offering a bit of flower power. Again, the lines of the rocks lead the eye right to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.

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Finally, the sun began its final approach to the western horizon, and Rick beckoned me to the top of the point. He's worked this area so many times, he knows exactly where the juice is. The beacon atop the tower was blinking, which was an amazing touch.

I wanted to create a photo that included as much of the scene as possible, including the pounding surf below. The challenge was that it's a massive area. So I pulled out my secret wide-angle weapon: a Sigma 14mm Art lens, which provides panoramic views without the traditional barrel distortion of super-wide lenses.

We honestly weren't sure what to expect, since there were pretty thick clouds on the horizon when we set up. We should have worried. The sky  began blossoming with color, and I clicked away

The first composition, seen at the top of this blog, includes the lighthouse, the bell house, the incredible rocks surrounding the beacon, and a bit of the surf and ocean beyond. I think it really tells the story of the lighthouse's purpose.. 

For the past several years, I have used soft-grad filters to even out the dynamic range between the bright sky and darker foreground, but I'm moving away from that technique. Why? Well, mainly because the filters always darken the tops of subjects like, say, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.

So I took images at different exposures, ensuring I had the sky and the foreground perfectly exposed. My plan was to do an exposure stack in Photoshop. However, when I dumped my files onto my computer I discovered that my Nikon Z9 did a fantastic job of capturing all the details in the foreground in the files exposed for the sky.

I absolutely love this image, which I inventively titled "Sunset Over Pemaquid Point Lighthouse." The colors in the sky was simply incredible, and the composition is everything for which I hoped. Even the clouds create lines leading the eye right to the lighthouse.

But the show wasn't over.

As the sun sank below the horizon, the colors softened into twilight. We moved a bit to create a new composition, this one compressing the lighthouse, bell house and keepers quarters. I chose a low angle that included some of those amazing rocks atop the point, which act as another leading line to the beacon.

Again, the clouds were pointing right to the sunset behind the keepers house, so it's impossible to look at "Twilight at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse" (below) without stopping at the lighthouse tower. 

We drove back to my hotel knowing we had shared a special time at one of Maine's most-famous lighthouses.

You can see more lighthouses in my full Lighthouse Collection!

Twilight at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Every component of this photo draws the eye right to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, which is featured on the Maine quarter.

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