Another day has begun as the sun rises above the Atlantic as viewed from near the Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine. HDR strikes again! I suspect trying to achieve this “old school” with neutral density grad filters or darkroom voodoo would have been quite a bit more difficult. I am quite fond of this crop. It occurs to me that if I were the devious sort and had a lot of time on my hands, this could become a nice moon over the water type shot. Is replacing the sun with the moon against the photo rulebook? Will the photo purists come visit in their black helicopters? I’m probably already on their watch list. I doubt I have the skills necessary to pull of a celestial object swap convincingly anyhow. Let’s just forget I mentioned it.
Another Portland Head Light HDR. This time with most of the color drained out of it. That’s the technical terminology for it. (OK, it was desaturated in Lightroom to achieve this result.) Not sure if I like this approach or not, I think it is growing on me.
Although I can’t truthfully say the Portland Head Light is as exciting to photograph as the Bass Harbor Light, pretty much any real lighthouse on the Maine coast is more exciting than most of the shooting around home territory. Perhaps this is due to the distinct lack of lighthouses here in Kansas. I’ve been revisiting a few old images from New England, now that I know (or at least have deluded myself into thinking I know) more about HDR processing etc. This is a good example of what HDR can accomplish, unless dramatically overexposed in the sky, the lighthouse is seen in silhouette by the camera. Blending in one of those frames exposed for the lighthouse and foreground, we get the result above.
As I recall, this was taken standing on a picnic table in order to get just that little extra bit of height needed. The sky in this particular sunrise was not spectacular, but that’s just bad luck. I would have kept going back for that special sky, if time had allowed. This is a three exposure HDR, again processed in Photomatix and finished off with a few Lightroom tweaks. I would love to go back to Maine, I really enjoyed it.
One of my first blog posts was an HDR photo of the Bass Harbor Lighthouse at sunset. Now that I have learned more, read more, seen more, I’ve come to cringe a little over that early, over-the-top saturated version. This time I went back and started from the original bracketed exposures and gave it another go, trying to achieve something more realistic. I’ve toned down the saturation, and eliminated most of the halos.
Bass Harbor Lighthouse is just a great location, even if you end up shooting the same shot 1,000 other photographers have gotten. Like I did. At least the sky is different every sunset!
Here’s that earlier version for comparison.
One of the favorite places I have had the pleasure photographing is the Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Maine. Admittedly, it is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the planet – but as they say, it isn’t a cliche if you haven’t shot it yet. Lighthouses hold a particular appeal to me, probably because they are in short supply here in Kansas. In 2008 I was lucky enough to visit Acadia National Park and surrounding areas, including this lighthouse. There are two main places to shoot from, one on the west side looking back east (good for sunrise), and one to the east looking west (good for sunset). We were there for sunset on this occasion, so east it was.