Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lighthouse Beams Across Stormy Sea - My Vision

(Click on image for a larger view.)

The Oregon coast is one of my favorite vacation spots, and Heceta Head is probably the most photographed lighthouse in Oregon. Some of the most beautiful photos are taken at or near sunset. However, in this image I wanted to show the real purpose of a lighthouse: to guide seafarers at night. (I'm a stock photographer, and conceptual images SELL better than "pretty" pictures. I've also learned to leave room for type.)

To make this iconic image, I started with Kodak Ektachrome film, using a Nikon FM2, with a 200mm lens. I used a Kodak #47 (dark blue) Wratten Gel filter in front of the lens to enhance the feeling of a night time scene. The base exposure was 1/2 second @ f4 - followed by 16 separate exposures of the rotating lighthouse beam: I held a black card in front of the lens, and every time the beam rotated to the left position and flashed across the ocean, I pulled the card away from the lens (which was now stopped down to f11). The 35mm vertical image was then scanned and cropped to this square format.

One might think that this image could have been taken much easier if I had done it digitally (the way all my photos are taken now), but that's not true. The multiple exposure steps would be the same. The only change would have been the blue filter -- which is a simple step in Photoshop!

You are invited to see my "Most Interesting" images on Flickr (based on popularity stats).


  1. Beautiful shot, there's something about Lighthouses - I never get tired of looking at them!

  2. So beautiful, I collect Lighthouses and have bought this one! good job