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Portland Head Predicament: A Request

A forum to post any lighthouse pictures you'd like others to see. Feel free to talk about lighthouse photography. Lighthouse-related photos (such as LSS and lenses) are also welcome.

Postby Grover1 » Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:11 pm


Assuming all went well, sixty days from today, probabaly around this very minute, I will be arriving home from the better part of four days shooting lighthouses in Maine. Sunday morning ... hopefully around sunrise ... I'll have spent a great amount of time attacking Portland Head Lighthouse from all sides (well, not from the water, but all the other sides!)

Here's the thing ... Maybe in the top three, certainly in the top five ... this is among the most photographed lighthouses in the United States ... short of a muse and with divine intervention needed in much more serious places then where I will be ... the challenge to me will be to make these unique ... unique among the gazillion and a half other photos of this perfect light in this perfect setting ...

So, what I am asking for is this ... post your best efforts of this lighthouse ... let me see some great pictures of this beauty ... or, share your suggestions ... I've been there but once ... I want the second time to be more than twice as memorable as the first ...

Let me see what you got ...
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Postby Biggy » Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:26 am


Well, Barry ... I actually have been at Portland Head for sunrise (except it was in early December, when the sun came up at about 7 a.m. and not at 5 a.m. during the first two days of summer).

I may have posted this shot before, but I would venture a guess that I am the only photographer with this particular shot, since I was the only one shooting from this position the day I was there. Two other photographers where out further on the rocks, about 100 yards away and further east of where I was standing. Nonetheless, while I'm certain many people have sunrise photos of Portland Head, I am comfortable in saying this is my most unique shot of the great light in South Portland.

Unfortunately, I believe the sun will be further north on the horizon at the beginning of the summer, and may not offer as conducive a shot for a sunrise. I'm guessing, but I believe, to get a shot at a sunrise behind the lighthouse in June, you may have to be behind the lighthouse, which may take away the chances of good rocks in the shot. Just a guess, though. I wonder if anyone here can give us a perspective as to where the sun comes up in relation to the lighthouse's position during the first days of summer.

Anyway ... here's my shot.

Image
David
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Postby Rob143 » Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:30 am


Looking at an altitude/azimuth table the sun should break the horizon just before 0410 at 57.5°. I plugged in June 21, 2008 and Portland, Maine.

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.php

Looking at a google satellite image I'm going to say 57.5° is going to roughly equate to the southern side of the parking on the circle. In looking at David's shot and the satellite image I'm guessing the sun rose closer to 100° - 110° that morning. In June of 2008 the sun won't reach 100° or more until roughly 0830 at an altitude of about 45°.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=43.62312+-70.20785+(Portland%20Head%20Lighthouse)&t=h&hl=en&ll=43.62312,-70.20785&spn=0.0228,0.048709&t=h


I've never been there myself and as such can't help you with any suggestions Barry. All I can do is offer what I've mentioned above and wish you 4 beautiful days for photographing lights.
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Postby Hersh » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:31 pm


Nice work with the Navy site Rob, I've checked it a few times, but never really analyzed how to make the data work for me when shooting.

I also can't give you any advice, as I was only there once and took the same boring shots as everyone else on earth. It's still a beautiful light in a beautiful setting, so if you can open your mind and get creative, you might just do something amazing Barry. Good luck to you.
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Postby Ross » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:38 am


Portland Head is one of those that has sweet spots of time to get good lighting if you shooting from land. Late afternoon/dusk is really tough because the sun will light the tower and keeper's house but not the rocks below. On the other hand, the "traditional view" of the lighthouse is tough in the morning during the summer because of the angle of the sun in relation to that spot.

Unfortunately, with the fort behind the lighthouse, there aren't many same-level views of the lighthouse. You're always above it looking down on it.

My guess would be the side that David's shot is on would be the best bet, but I've not been there in the summer time.
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Postby Larry » Tue Apr 22, 2008 3:58 pm


FOG! Hope for Fog.

When we were there in aught four, both days we went to Portland Head it was FOGGY. It was awesome.

Hope for fog.
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Postby Keeper » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:47 pm


I've never been at Portland Head at sunrise, but I've been there a few times at sunset. As Ross pointed out, the traditional view isn't good late in the day, but if you photograph it from the other side it can be pretty good -- although the rocks are still in shadow.

Image

Image

And a couple of traditional daytime shots:

Image

Image
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Postby Grover1 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:33 am


With a little tweak, here's what I got ...

Please see following post ...
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Postby Grover1 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:33 am


So ...

Here's why I took the picture down ...

I worked it last night downstairs on the laptop ... I thought it came out great ... this morning when I re-reviewed it I still thought it pretty good ... but as I view it now upstairs on the desktop ... a 17" flat panel monitor ... while hideous is too strong ... lets just say I know there is very little purple in the Portland Head tower ...

Not knowing how it is being viewed out there, I think I'll keep this one to myself just a little while longer ...
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Postby vacastle » Wed Jul 09, 2008 11:40 am


Not too much longer, Barry!! I want to see.

This will be my "home" lighthouse in just a few more months, so I expect my camera will be in action there as often if not more so than it was at Bodie Island. I was just in a discussion of how I needed to photograph it during all seasons. All different lighting situations will work too...just more excuses to spend time there.

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Postby rocky5128 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:49 pm


I saw it this mornig before you took it off. :o Yes, it was a little too purply. (is that a word?) I liked it though. It kinda looked like Thomas Kincade paints Portland. :) I only had a few minutes to look because I had to leave for work, but that was my first impression of the shot. That is just my humble opinion.

Kathy
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Postby Biggy » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:40 pm


Well, since I was with Barry I guess I can post a few of my shots of Portland Head, which, as you may have guessed by now, technically were sunrise shots (and yes, Barry can vouge for me that -- although I was half asleep -- I was up at 4 a.m. just like he was).

Anyway ... a few of the few hundred I shot ... At least one of these will be in the upcoming book, too, but I won't say which one.

This first one is right around 5:20 a.m., as the sun tried to break through the fog bank hovering over the ocean ...
Image

Next, is one from several minutes later ...
Image

And this one, about 5 minutes after the previous shot ...
Image

And finally, this was taken about an hour and 15 minutes after sunrise from the other side. Note, this is not a trick shot. I did not remove the lighthouse from the picture. It simply wasn't there in the first place. :lol:
Image

You could say that, once I took that last shot, it was time to head south to Massachusetts for Barry, who by this time was already back in his Envoy trying to get about 15 minutes of sleep (he wasn't feeling too well that morning), and me.

Hope you enjoy these.
David
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Postby Grover1 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:50 pm


Maine 3 153

Image

Image
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