In the light of day…

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On our way back home from New York today, it just happened to be around lunchtime as we crossed over the Piscataqua River from New Hampshire into Maine, so we stopped in York for sandwiches from a local deli. When I sheepishly suggested that we enjoy the unseasonably warm weather and have ourselves a picnic at the lighthouse… I was thrilled when both Lori and Jack were in total agreement – they are so patient with me and my camera! I know I said no more photographs from this location, but before I do a refresh of the blog, I wanted to share a couple more from our brief return visit today. Besides, in most of the photographs from my last visit, all you could see was the silhouette of the lighthouse!

On my previous visit I had arrived before dawn, but because we were in a hurry to continue our journey on to New York, I only stayed until about 20 minutes after sunrise. The light was obviously very different then, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring a darkened landscape which was somewhat unfamiliar to me. This afternoon though, as the bright sunlight played hide-and-seek from behind the clouds, I was obviously able to recognize much of the terrain. My previous sunrise visit had coincided with high tide, and what do you know… it was high tide again when we arrived this afternoon. If anything though, today’s tide was even higher, actually making it impossible for me to get to some of the ledges and rocks I had used as shooting locations on my last visit.

We all know that the softer light of the early morning or late afternoon often makes for more dramatic landscape photographs, and truth be told, I live for the peacefulness and solitude that you can experience at these times… but there’s no rule that says you can’t shoot in the middle of the day, especially if the conditions are just right. Blue skies with puffy clouds, high tide breaking fiercely over a rugged coastline, and a striking subject that is pretty much one-of-a-kind… I’d say the conditions were just right!

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Time and tide… plus a famous lighthouse

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I was excited that high tide and sunrise would almost coincide, and I had used a cool piece of software called “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” to determine that the sun would rise directly behind the lighthouse. I was hoping for some fast-moving high clouds, and I had this vision of being able to capture the early rays beaming out from behind the lighthouse like some heavenly scene. Alas… no clouds, so on to plan B.

As I wandered around the shoreline looking for interesting foregrounds, I came across a couple of what I can best describe as “cracks” where the surge from the high tide would push its way in and then slowly retreat back to where it came from. I perched myself rather precariously on a small rocky outcrop, and waited for the “seventh” wave to roll in with its energy being funneled into the crack below me.

Now… I don’t really know if there is any scientific grounding in the notion of every seventh wave being stronger than the rest, but I do know that if you pay attention and watch for patterns, every so often on a fairly regular basis (maybe even every seventh wave), the swell definitely gets bigger. That means something to patiently wait for when pressing the shutter, and since the ocean can be a powerful thing it is also something to be wary of.