View Full Version : lighthouses

Daniel Taylor
9-Aug-2005, 02:10
have recently gotten a 4x5 large format camera and am thinking of getting back into photographing lighthouses here and around the northwest. i own a sinar f1 with 2 lenses(nikkor 135w mm and schneider 90mm super angulon). i have been shooting up here at mt rainier nat'l park and have been givin this some thought and would like to get back into shooting lighthouses soon. as far as film preference, i use either velvia 50 or whatever b/w film i can get my hands on-preferably ilford. as far as filters a polariser or a red or yellow for contrast. i have some regular color negs on order. if anyone has any tips on shooting lighthouses, i'd happy to hear them. i have been to long beach, and cape disapointment here in washington and want to go back and re-shoot them with my 4x5. i have no problem goin as far south northern california-up to british columbia, as long as it did't interfere with my job. anyway, that is my situation if you can help it would be great...looking forward to hearing from everyone!!

Ralph Barker
9-Aug-2005, 08:48
Like the image on the ground glass, your priorities may be inverted, Dan. You need to get a job that doesn't interfere with your photography. (lol)

There are plenty of interesting lighthouses along both coasts. And, while they all tend to have slightly different characters, I've never met a lighthouse I didn't like. Early morning and late afternoon to sunset are my favorite times for lighthouse portraits.

9-Aug-2005, 09:18
I've been thinking of doing a series on the lighthouses of the great lakes in 8x20. In doing a little research I found over 300 lighthouses on the great lakes alone. That means this series could take some time.

Dan V
9-Aug-2005, 09:35
There are lots of resources on the web, from new and used books at Amazon.com to detailed regional guides like www.photographamerica.com. Here are two sites with comprehensive lighthouse info: http://www.nicholsonprints.com/Lighthouses.htm and http://armchairtour.com

Alan Davenport
9-Aug-2005, 15:06
I find Velvia 50 is pretty harsh for lighthouses. IMO, lighthouses just don't need the in-your-face colors of Velvia.


http://home.comcast.net/~w7apd/public/capemearslhwrapped-s.jpgCape Meares Lighthouse, 2003


See what I mean? http://home.comcast.net/~w7apd/public/rofl.gif

Caroline Matthews
9-Aug-2005, 18:51
You should not photograph lighthouses. Trite, overdone material.

Jim Ewins
10-Aug-2005, 00:37
Photographing lighthouses is new to me especially with 8x10, so its not, at least to me, trite. But then I make images to please myself.

Jim Ewins
10-Aug-2005, 00:39
Sorry Dan, I love my Nikkor 300M for lighthouses and other things.

Daniel Taylor
10-Aug-2005, 03:07
hello again,
i only use velvia when i go up to rainier here in washington. any other time i usually use black and white or any simple plain color film(35mm based that is). as far as shooting lighthouses go, i am wanting to do this from an architectural point of view. this is part of why this camera was made i think. being able to shift converging lines to change distorted views. being able to shift your front or rear elements to conenside with the existing road that may go off to the right. this can not be done with a 35mm or a mf camera. this is what makes this camera fun and more challenging to use. plus it makes you slow down and actually compose your shot so your get more out of your picture than just a nice picture. this just my opinion. i really think lighthouses are cool to look at and they also have a history that goes back in time. when i shoot them, i shoot them for me and take great pleasure at photographing them. sure they are overrated...but what isn't these days??? try and find a style of photography that anyone else hasn't already done and let me know. my other favorite thing to shoot or go and visit is the local state fair here in washing...and its almost that time again...can't wait!!! :-)anyway, gotta go now...have to work tomorrow. later! :-)

10-Aug-2005, 03:18
Trite? Overdone material? Thousands of nudes were done before Michelangelo carved David it's a good thing he didn't listen to such hogwash statements. Photograph them in your style, with your vision and voice and never let anyone deter you from what you want to do with statements like, " it's been done before". Just like any work of art... it hasn't been done like you will do it.

Scott Knowles
10-Aug-2005, 05:54
Try the recent book on NW Lighthouses by Jones and Roberts (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0762700823/002-0264297-5898444?v=glance).

The subject may be overdone, but the challenge is to find new ways of photographing it, or putting your own style on the subject.

Good luck.

Jeff Morfit
11-Aug-2005, 13:46
Caroline, you may consider photographing lighthouses to be trite and overdone, but the challenge lies in being able to just get to some of them. Such as North Caolina's Cape Lookout lighthouse. It requires at least two ferry rides totaling three hours, fifteen minutes, one-way, plus another boat ride just to reach the island where it is located. That is, if you start from the Cape Hattaras area. Trite, my foot. That is what photographing lighthouses is all about, the challenge. One of David Plowdens favorite sayings is, "I don't care if someone else was there just ten minutes ago," or something like that. Photography, after all, if just like any other art form, it is all about how you view the subject, not how others see it.

I agree with Ralph about lighthouses, they all have different characters, just like people. I also agree with what Jim says. That is one reason I bought a Tachihara 8x10 camera. If one is going to photograph the "Queen of the Lighthouses" (Cape Hattaras at 210'), you need a big camera. Right Ralph and Jim? I am still learning how to use a view camera, so my biggest photography goal for next year is to photograph all five Outer Banks lighthouses in North Carolina. Anyone else want to come along?

Daniel Taylor
12-Aug-2005, 11:17
back again,
i am thinking of doin the series in balck and white to a 4x5 format exclusively with either a red or yellow filter and maybe even try one or two in infrared with a opague filter. trick is findin infrared for 4x5....the other stuff i have. i think that might add a new dimension to shooting a lighthouse, as i never seen them done that way before. plus, as said before thats what view cameras are great for-architecture. any thoughts??

Caroline Matthews
14-Aug-2005, 22:02

Just because it's hard to get there doesn't make it interesting.

Daniel Taylor
14-Aug-2005, 23:26

Have ordered some IR film and will be here late this week or early next week, Macophot 820c. I also got Laurie White's book on infrared...its the advanced one, but its the only one available at the time. Was told they would have the first one in tomorrow, so will go an check it out. I also have to go and get an opaque filter....the one I have will not work...is too light red...is a R2 filter...was 6 bucks. I have a 52mm and a 67mm lens, I will opt for the 52 for now and worry about the 67 later. Have a lot of reading to do.....my light meter may or my not work...but from what I read little of...kinda gives you a little start in right direction. oh well...