Pemaquid Point Lighthouse


My camera hasn’t exactly been getting a workout lately when it comes to landscape photography. I know the winter season offers a very different perspective, but I just don’t like the cold.

I figured though with my upcoming trip to Death Valley right around the corner, that it was time to dust off the camera and get back out there and make some photographs. I had to make a 2-hour drive to Portland for a job-related meeting, and since I knew I would be finishing up early in the afternoon, I packed my gear and planned a little detour on the way home. The photography gods were definitely shining on me when I pulled into the parking lot at Pemaquid Lighthouse to sunshine and a balmy 45 degrees.

Commissioned in 1827 by John Quincy Adams, Pemaquid Point Light is a striking and picturesque lighthouse located at the tip of the Pemaquid Penninsula. The rocks at Pemaquid are some of the most dramatic around, with layers and layers of ragged rocks all seemingly pointing to the classic white lighthouse perched on the ridge above the ocean.

I had been here one time before with my camera, but I hadn’t come away with any images I really liked. This afternoon’s light was pretty special, with some early low-angled winter light followed by some nice pastels as the sun went down. I was determined to come away with something of interest this time, and I was not disappointed.

This is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine, though on this afternoon I had it all to myself. As I navigated the ice and snow on the rocks, I came across a little tide pool that offered a wonderful reflection of the lighthouse. I had my tripod legs fully splayed so that I could get as low to the ground as possible to take advantage of this scene.

As the afternoon wore on, more and more clouds rolled in blocking what started out as some really nice late-afternoon winter sunshine. As the light faded, the temperatures also started to dip. Undeterred by either the cold or the fading light, I decided to experiment with using a 6-stop neutral density filter to capture some longer exposures and perhaps get some movement in the clouds. The longer exposure also sometimes picks up more color than our eyes can see, making for some pretty color palettes.

I stayed on the rocks right up until it was almost dark, continuously shooting and enjoying the sound of the ocean behind me. However, knowing I still had a two hour drive home ahead of me, I eventually packed up my gear and welcomed the warmth and comfort of the car.  Since my eyesight won’t let me truly evaluate images on the camera LCD, I was excited to get home and see whether or not I had been successful. I always loved the anticipation of when a roll of film was returned from being processed, and it was nice to have that feeling again.

5 thoughts on “Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

  1. Classic shot beautifully done, David.

    We were oh so close to coming up this past weekend for a short long weekend but then things fell through. I was so disappointed until it started to snow on Monday. Then I was glad I didn’t have to drive back in it.

  2. David Patterson

    Ed… as you likely already know, driving in the snow up here can be a nightmare. There ended up being MUCH more snow than was predicted, so it was probably a good choice not to visit this time around. I am sure there will be other opportunities – just think… something to look forward to!

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