Peekaboo at Pemaquid


I was in southern Maine on Friday for a work-related meeting, and any time I am down that way I try to build a photography side trip into my journey home. On this occasion based on where I would be about an hour before sunset, I settled on visiting Pemaquid Point to shoot the famous lighthouse there.

As the afternoon wore on and I drove up Route 1, high clouds started to roll in ahead of the wet weather that had been forecasted for the weekend.  Making a right turn in Damariscotta and heading down Route 130 toward the ocean, I thought the light was still nice enough to make it a worthwhile trip. The clouds were moving fast with intermittent streaks of blue racing across the sky, and I wondered if this might present a good opportunity to use my neutral density filter to create some long exposure shots. Pemaquid is an incredibly photogenic place, with striking linear patterns of rock between the ocean and the lighthouse affording many possibilities for interesting foreground compositions. Combine some nice light on the rocks with “moving” clouds from a longer exposure, and bingo… we might have favorable conditions.

However, as I came around the last bend in the road and entered the lighthouse parking lot, I couldn’t help but smile at what I saw…

Obviously some much-needed renovation work was being done on the old whitewashed structure, and I immediately realized that the cherry picker that was going to be idle all weekend was sure to be smack in the middle of the compositions I had been planning. Admittedly disappointed, rather than unpacking all of my gear, I grabbed my little Canon 580 point and shoot and headed off to explore.

The image below is a composition from the location I had planned on checking out, and as you can see there is an element in the frame that kind of doesn’t belong there. I could of course quite easily remove the cherry picker in post-processing, but my initial disappointment (and the diminishing quality of light) prompted me to surrender any ambition to come away from this situation with an image I might consider worthy of keeping.

Resigned to the fact that what was now merely OK light on a scene with a cherry picker smack dab in the middle of it wasn’t going to render anything special, I started climbing over and around the wonderful rocky shoreline just for fun. Any time spent on the Maine coast, especially in a place so picturesque, is time well spent, and over the next half hour or so I experimented with different compositions, all the while playing peekaboo with the unwanted cherry picker. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to develop compositions that I liked from this occasion, and I ended up kind of liking the first and last images in this post.

In the first photograph in this post, I positioned myself where the cherry picker was hidden behind the little belltower in front, and for me the conversion to black and white enhanced the mood of the scene with the grainy, open sky helping convey the sense of place that I enjoyed. In the last image below, I boiled the scene down to some pretty basic elements, and I find the wide angle perspective generated by pointing the camera pretty much straight up to hide both the cherry picker and the setting sun not too distracting. Though not converted to black and white, this last image almost has a monochromatic look to it that works well for what I was seeing at the time I made the image.


2 thoughts on “Peekaboo at Pemaquid

    • David Patterson

      Thanks David. Making a nice photograph is a bonus for me… I really enjoy being in a place such as this, regardless of the weather and the cherry pickers that temporarily spoil the view.

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