Last Light of the Year


My friend Josh just bought his first DSLR, so he and I ventured out today to take it for a spin. What better place for someone to practice their photography than my favorite lighthouse… Bass Harbor Light. Regular readers of this blog will notice that I have been to this spot quite a few times lately, but seeing the ocean and the impressive beacon watching over it never gets old.

As we crossed the bridge onto Mount Desert Island, the temperature outside registered a balmy 46 degrees. For someone who isn’t a fan of the Maine winter cold, that is music to my ears. Josh and I spent a couple of hours exploring many of the compositional possibilities from this scene, and as the last light of the year faded, we were treated to perhaps some of the best conditions I have experienced here.

Some high clouds moved in behind the lighthouse right as the sun was getting ready to dip below the horizon, and a soft pink glow lit up the sky. Josh was doing his homework shooting the scene from every angle, and I was trying for something different… dare I say original? I slapped the 6-stop neutral density filter on and tried to capture some movement in the clouds by using an especially long shutter speed. With a circular polarizer and an ND filter stacked on my 17-40mm lens I was getting exposures somewhere in the range of 30 seconds.

I didn’t realize until I downloaded my pics that I had been shooting jpgs all afternoon instead of RAW – sigh – and when I went to change my batteries just as the light was getting really good I discovered that not one of my spares was charged. Despite my rookie mistakes, Josh and I had a great time photographing our own local icon together, and I am quite excited to see the images he made.

It wasn’t lost on me that this was the last sunset of 2010… so Happy New Year to you and yours, and thanks for stopping by.


2 thoughts on “Last Light of the Year

    • David Patterson

      Lili… thanks. The coast of Maine is pretty special any time of year, but in the winter I think it takes on a different personality. Happy New Year to you too.

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