The most photographed lighthouse


First lit in 1791, Portland Head Light stands guard over an extremely jagged and rugged shoreline in Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Classic New England, I think it is safe to say that this is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world! Spend some time here and it’s not hard to see why.

I had heard rumors about how the gates to Fort Williams Park where the lighthouse is located might not be open before dawn, so rather than make a wasted trip, I went right to the source… local photographer Moe Chen. Moe is a very talented photographer who lives next door to Cape Elizabeth in Scarborough, and he very generously shared his knowledge about this wonderful place with me. He confirmed that it was indeed pretty random as to whether or not the gates would be open so early in the morning (luckily they were open at 5:15am), and he also showed me how to access some of the better shooting locations. Moe is a great guy, and if you like awesome landscape photography, I would highly recommend checking out his work – you won’t be disappointed.

In the meantime, here’s the portrait-oriented version of a similar view. I had “jumped the fence” to get to this location, and even though the best light had already faded, I was intrigued by the incredible rocks leading from the foreground. After stopping here for a few moments to enjoy the view, I slowly made my way down toward the rocky beach and the breaking waves… more to come πŸ™‚


27 thoughts on “The most photographed lighthouse

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Karen. I had never jumped the fence here before, and I’m glad I did this time. I was able to get up nice and close to those foreground rocks, and in a later post you will see that I was able to get right down onto the rocky beach.

  1. Skip

    It’s always interesting to see how others shoot something you’ve photographed for years, and your shots certainly don’t disappoint, especially the second one. Very nice!

    • David Patterson

      There aren’t many people who pass through here and don’t make a photograph! This is a pretty special location, and even though I only spent a couple of hours there this time, I really enjoyed exploring the area. The spectacular foreground rocks were a natural draw to me – especially with the wide angle lens on.

  2. I thought the scene looked familiar. I’m a lighthouse-photos calendar junkie, and of course this one is often featured.

    But your eye – your composition of the photo is just great. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Beautiful, as always.

    I can’t decide which perspective of the shots I prefer. I love all the clouds in the landscape orientation…but love the texture of the rocks in the portrait.

    Very nice, David.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks. Those jagged rocks kinda jumped out at me, and since they were the reason the lighthouse was there, it made sense to try and incorporate them into the scene.

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