Seeing Things, Saying Things

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Archive for the ‘Lighthouses’ Category

I Found Erie Harbor North Pier Light on the Second Try

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Last summer I paid my first visit to Presque Isle State Park near Erie, Pennsylvania, with the primary purpose of seeing the two lighthouses located there.

It took me a while to find the first of them, Presque Isle Light. I made wrong turns a couple of times and traffic was heavy, it being a Sunday afternoon.

I decided not to even try to find the other lighthouse located in the park, Erie Harbor North Pier Light. That would wait for another day, which turned out to be a weekday in late August after school had started and traffic in the park was much lighter.

I was able to find the lighthouse without any problems, but was slightly disappointed that it was not nearly as grand as Presque Isle Light or a number of other lighthouses that I’ve photographed.

As its name suggests, Erie Harbor North Pier Light is located on a pier. From a photography standpoint, it is best photographed in the afternoon. I was there in the morning.

I have this lighthouse on my list of places to revisit this summer.

Yes, I’ve Been to Marblehead Lighthouse

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Someone on Facebook saw a recent image that I posted of a lighthouse in Maine and asked if I’d been to Marblehead lighthouse on Lake Erie near Port Clinton, Ohio.

It was a legitimate question to ask given that I live in Northeast Ohio.

Yes, I’ve been to Marblehead and I posted an image from there last year. Maybe it didn’t make it onto Facebook from my website from this website.

Whatever the case, here is another image I made at Marblehead that day that shows not the lighthouse and the keeper’s house.

I like this image because of the contrast between the growing shadows of late day and the golden hour light that is present on the structures.

Had I been much later in arriving all of this scene would have been in shadows.

Providing Light From Atop the Rocks

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I earlier published an image that I made at Bass Harbor Head lighthouse in Maine. It was the first lighthouse that I ever photographed.

Made in October 1978, it would be decades before I again photographed another lighthouse. In recent years I’ve developed an interest in lighthouses although most of those that I photograph these days are on the Great Lakes.

My first attempt to photograph Bass Harbor was at the entrance level. That was the image I posted earlier.

After making it, I noticed that there was a way to climb down the rocky knoll upon which the lighthouse sits.

The sun was sinking fast and casting warm light on the rocks and the lighthouse itself. My earlier photograph does well in showing more of the lighthouse itself, but this angle provide more context, including giving a hint of why the lighthouse was situated here in the first place many years ago.

It Was Along the Way

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My interest in photographing lighthouses is of recent vintage. Although I’ve had an interest in lighthouses for awhile it didn’t crystallize until I bought a book nearly two years ago devoted to lighthouses of the Great Lakes.

That has given rise to a fantasy of making a trek to photograph all of the lighthouses of the Great Lakes.

That won’t happen, but I can “collect” photographs of as many of them as I can.

This image of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was made on slide film during an era before my interest in photographing lighthouses had blossomed.

I was traveling with a friend back to Traverse City, Michigan, after a day trip to Sault Ste Marie to see the locks there.

While passing through Mackiac City we stopped so I could get some photographs of the famous Mackinac Bridge from the shore.

The lighthouse just happened to be there so I photographed it. I didn’t make many images of the lighthouse and if I get back there again I’ll have to remedy that situation.

Just in Time at Marblehead

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Marblehead Light is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes. Opened in 1820, it stands 40 feet tall and today is part of Marblehead State Park.

The park itself is relatively new. Marblehead Light is among the best known and photographed of Lake Erie lighthouses, but it has been a latecomer to my list of lighthouses that I’ve photographed.

A friend and I paid a visit to Marblehead last July, arriving late in the day because we also wanted to make sunset photographs on Lake Erie.

Had we been much later we would have not had direct sunlight on the lighthouse. By the time we left, the sun had already dipped below the tree line.

Threatening Skies at Tawas Point

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It has been an on and off stormy day near Tawas Point State Park in Michigan. We were visiting the lighthouse there and hoping that the rain held off.

It didn’t and we had to take shelter in the gift store until the rain passed.

Once it did, I had one of those opportunities that often comes right after a storm. There was a break in the clouds that allowed sunlight to come through against a backdrop of the back edge of the storm.

The result was about as dramatic an image of the Tawas Point lighthouse as I’m ever likely to make.

Providing Light for 100 Years (Sort of)

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Some like to describe the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse has having provided light for a 100 years. That is accurate as far as it goes.

There has been a lighthouse at this location for more than 100 years, but the current lighthouse wasn’t there for the first 46 years.

It was built in 1871 as a replacement for the original light that guided mariners into Fairport Harbor in Northeast Ohio.

The original lighthouse opened in 1825 and that time was one of just eight lighthouses on the Great Lakes.

That lighthouse also became a stop on the Underground Railroad as escaped slaves were held there before they could be smuggled aboard boats headed for Canada.

The construction of another light farther out in the harbor that began operations in 1925 would lead to the light being turned off at the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse.

The community would later rally to the cause of preserving the lighthouse and keeper’s home, converting both into a museum.