Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

Oldest Lighthouse on the Great Lakes

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Michigan.  It was first put into service in 1829 and still operates today to guide  ships in the area through the rapids at the head of the St. Clair River.

There was originally a lighthouse built in the area in 1825 but it soon collapsed due to poor construction.

The current lighthouse stands 86 feet tall.  It has a green flashing light that was installed in 1933 that can be seen from as far away as 17 miles.

Photographing Lighthouses

When I visit a lighthouse I like to photograph it from all different vantage points.  Before  my visit I look for photos that other photographers have taken of the lighthouse.  One book that is particularly helpful for Great Lakes Lighthouses is by Richard F. Edington.  He gives directions to the lighthouses and then several ideas of how best to photograph each lighthouse.  For the Fort Gratiot lighthouse I was  able to follow his advice and photographed from several different perspectives.  The first in the photo above is a shot I took while on the grounds of the lighthouse.
The next shot in the photo below was taken from across the river on the Canadian side of the river.
It is one of my favorite photos of the lighthouse.  I took it in the morning when I was able to get the reflection of the lighthouse on the river.

The next photo shows the lighthouse from the west side/street side.  I took this photo through the fence.
Next, I walked out on the beach just north of the light to take these two photos.

Here are some of my photographs on a Zazzle poster.
Fort Gratiot Light Station
Fort Gratiot Light Station by lighthouseenthusiast
View more Fort gratiot lighthouse Posters at
Lighthouse Coloring books are a great way to introduce children to lighthouses.  Here is one I found on the Great Lakes.  My granddaughters love to color these lighthouses.
Click here to order on Amazon

Monday, June 22, 2015

Huron Lightship

Lightships on the Great Lakes

Lightships were used as lighthouses on the Great Lakes in places where it was not feasible to built regular lighthouses.  The Huron Lightship was one of these ships and it was the last one that operated on the Great Lakes. It operated for 50 years and was retired in 1970.  Today it serves as a museum in Port Huron.

I took a tour of the lightship and was fascinated to hear about how the crew lived aboard this ship in small quarters for months at a time to keep the ships safe as they traveled the shipping lanes of the Great Lakes.  During the early days of the lightships, animals such as goats and chickens were kept aboard the ship to supply food while the ship was stationed away from shore.  They also had their own washing machine to clean their clothes and clotheslines hung in the ship.  There is a small galley for cooking and room for several sailors to sleep.
For  36 years the Huron Lightship was stationed at Corscia Shoals a sandy area 6 miles north of Port Huron Michigan.  The photo below shows the lantern that sits atop the mast of the ship.

Photograph of Huron Lightship taken from across the river in Canada

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I Love Lighthouses

Lighthouse are Fun, Educational, Historical and Romantic

I have always been drawn to lighthouses, but in 2007 I retired and my interest in lighthouses really started to peak. I bought a new camera and my husband and I began to plan trips around photographing lighthouses. In the years since I have photographed over 100 lighthouses and always look forward to finding the next lighthouse to photograph.
I have been amazed at how there can be so many different types of lighthouses. I had always thought of the tall thin cylinder type lighthouses but I have learned that there are many more varieties. Besides photographing lighthouses I have enjoyed learning about the history of each lighthouse and in several cases I have been able to climb the lighthouse and visit museums about the lighthouse.
I also enjoy writing about lighthouses. I love sharing my photos and what I have learned. With lighthouses there is always something new to learn and I'm anxious for my next lighthouse adventure.
 All photos on this page are by mbgphoto.
Photographing Lighthouses

unique challenges

I thoroughly enjoy photographing lighthouses. Each lighthouse has it's own unique look and character and I try to capture it in my photographs. Since we photograh most of the lighthouses when we are traveling and have a limited amount of time, I'm not always able to choose the best time for lighting and the best angles. so my challenge is to find a way to capture an image that depicts each particular lighthouse. Some lighthouses are on shorelines that give me an open space to photograph but others have buildings and houses that have grown up around them making it difficult to get a good shot.

Split Rock Lighthouse

Source: Mary Beth Granger
Lighthouses I have Climbed

Climbing a Lighthouse - a whole new view

When I first started photographing lighthouses I was a bit afraid to make the trek to the top. Many of the taller lighthouses have over 100 narrow and winding stairs to the top. I first tried to climb Jupiter lighthouse and only could make myself go out half way to the top. I did get some good photos from the landings and although I would have loved to go all the way to the top I just couldn't make myself.
One year we were with some friends at the Hunting Island lighthouse in South Carolina and they coaxed me to climb to the top. The view was breathtaking and well worth overcoming my fear of the climb. You see the heights don't really bother me once I'm at the top, it is the climb that makes me fearful. The next year when we were in Jupiter, Florida I finally climbed that lighthouse to the top and it was well worth the climb.
Since then I have climbed lighthouses in Maryland, Michigan and Minnesota. These lighthouses are all shorter lighthouses and the climb is between 35-60 steps so they are not nearly as intimidating. In all cases the views have been worth the climb. It gives you a whole new appreciation of what it must have been like as a lighthouse keeper.
This photo shows the view from atop the Hunting Island Lighthouse.
Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast

Staying in a Lighthouse

a fun experience

I was thrilled when in the fall of 2012 my husband and I were able to stay in a lighthouse bed and breakfast in Two Harbors, Minnesota. I was able to photograph the lighthouse at all hours of day and night and I even climbed the tower in the middle of the night to watch the ships come into the harbor. It was a fantastic experience.
In this photo you see the lighthouse at dawn. I got up very early to go outside and catch the sun coming up behind the lighthouse.

Two Harbors Lighthouse

Source: Mary Beth Granger
Lighthouses I have Visited

United States Coastal Lighthouses - east and west coast lighthouses-38

At this point I have visited many lighthouses on the east coast but very few on the west coast. I'm hoping that will change in the coming years. This will be a list that I am hopeful will be added to each year.
  • Nubbles Lighthouse, Maine
  • Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine
  • Bug Lighthouse, Maine
  • Drum Point Lighthouse, Maryland
  • Piney Point Lighthouse, Maryland
  • Cove Point Lighthouse, Maryland
  • Hooper Strait Lighthouse, Maryland
  • Point Lookout, Maryland
  • Sandy Point, Maryland
  • Currituck, North Carolina
  • Bodie Island, North Carolina
  • Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
  • Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
  • Roanoke Island
  • Sullivans Island, South Carolina
  • Hilton Head, South Carolina
  • Morris island, South Carolina
  • Hunting Island, South Carolina
  • Tybee Island, Georgia
  • Savannah's Old Harbor Light, Georgia
  • Cockspur Island, Georgia
  • St. Simons Island, Georgia
  • St. Augustine, Florida
  • Ponce De Leon, Florida
  • Jupiter Inlet, Florida
  • Hillsboro Inlet, Florida
  • Cape Florida, Florida
  • Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Concord Point, Maryland
  • Cape May, NJ
  • Hereford Inlet Light, NJ
  • Absecon, NJ
  • Barnegat
  • Sandy Hook, NJ
  • Navesink, NJ
  • Old Point Loma CA
  • New Point Loma CA
  • Patos Island, Washington

Bodie Island, North Carolina

Bodie Island, North Carolina
Bodie Island, North Carolina
Source: Mary Beth Granger

Great Lakes Lighthouses - 64

Many of the US lighthouses are located on the shores of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes have historically been an important part of the shipping industry and in the past lighthouses were important to keep the ships safe and guide their way through some of the narrow passages.
  • Michigan City, Indiana
  • Old Michigan City, Indiana
  • St. Joseph, Michigan
  • South Haven, Michigan
  • Grand Haven, Michigan
  • Holland, Michigan
  • Muskegon, Michigan
  • Big Sable, Michigan
  • Little Sable, Michigan
  • Frankfort, Michigan
  • Ludington, Michigan
  • Manistee, Michigan
  • Point Betsie, Michigan
  • Grand Traverse, Michigan
  • Mission Point , Michigan
  • North Pierpoint Duluth, Minnesota
  • South Pier, Duluth
  • Harbor, Duluth
  • Two Harbors, Minnesota
  • Breakwater, Two Harbors, Minnesota
  • Split Rock, Minnesota
  • Port Washington, Wisconsin
  • Algoma, Wisconsin
  • Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
  • Cana Island, Wisconsin
  • Eagle Bluff, Wisconsin
  • Bailey's Harbor
  • Plum Island, Wisconsin
  • Whitehall, Michigan
  • Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • Eagle River, Michigan
  • Sand Hills, Michigan
  • Big Bay Point, Michigan
  • Menominee, Michigan
  • Manistique
  • Sand Point, Michigan
  • Seul Choix, Michigan
  • Munising, Michigan
  • Grand Island Michigan
  • Grand Harbor Range Lights Michigan
  • Marquette Michigan
  • Presque Park Michigan
  • Eagle River Michigan
  • Copper Harbor Michigan
  • Portage Lake Michigan
  • Portage River Michigan
  • Ontonagan Michigan
  • Ontonagan Pier Light
  • Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
  • McGulpin Point
  • Cheboygan Crib
  • Cheboygan Front Range Light
  • Forty Mile Point
  • Presque Isle Old
  • Presque Isle New
  • Point Iroquois
  • Whitefish Point
  • Marblehead, Ohio
  • Fort Gratiot, Michigan
  • Huron Lightship, Port Huron, Michigan
  • Port Sanilac
  • Pointe Aux Barques
  • Tawas Point Light
  • Sturgeon Point Light

Manistee Michigan Lighthouse

Manistee Michigan Lighthouse
Manistee Michigan Lighthouse

Outside the US - 16

I have visited photographed several lighthouses outside of the US. The ones below were in Canada. Mexico, Columbia, Panama and the Bahamas.
  • Peggy's Cove
  • Halifax Harbor
  • McNab's Island
  • George's Island
  • Kidston Island
  • Charlottetown, Harbor
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Prince Edward Island by Bridge
  • Nassau Harbor
  • Crystal Cay, Nassau Bahamas
  • Prospect Point, Vancouver
  • Panama Canal -Chagres River
  • Huatulco Mexico
  • Puerto Chiapas Mexico- Red and White
  • Puerto Chiapas Mexico-faux lighthouse
  • Punta Castillo Grande- in Cartagena, Columbia harbor

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
I enjoy displaying my lighthouse photographs on Zazzle products. Below are just a few of the items you can find in my Zazzle store.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lighthouses in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Cruising to Canadian Ports

I had heard about the interesting lighthouses in Nova Scotia and was anxious to photograph them. In the fall of 2010, a group of us went on a cruise that started in New York City and stopped at several ports in Nova Scotia as well as Prince Edward Island and Quebec City.
I knew it would be difficult to photograph lighthouses when I was at the mercy of the cruise ship and touring schedules, but I was hoping to catch a glimpse of a few. I signed up for a tour to Peggy's Cove lighthouse so I knew that at least I would be able to capture some images of that highly photographed lighthouse. I was happily surprised when I was able to photograph several other lighthouses as the cruise ship stopped at the various harbours in Nova Scotia. I learned that Nova Scotia has more lighthouses than any other province in Canada. 170 lighthouses dot the shores of Nova Scotia. I was able to photograph 6 of them on my cruise.
Prince Edward Island has 50 lighthouses and I was able to photograph 4 of them. I found the shapes of many of the lighthouses to be quite unique (or at least different from those I was used to on the eastern coast of the USA).
In 2014 we returned to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for a second visits. I have added more photos of lighthouses from that trip.
This page will serve as my introduction to the lighthouses in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. I hope you enjoy my photographs and my musings on my lighthouse visits.

Halifax Harbour - Lighthouses

I took this photo of one of the lighthouses in Halifax Harbour at dusk as the cruise ship was leaving the harbour. The lighthouse is on McNab's island. We were not given any information on the lighthouses that we passed on the cruise ship so my information comes from searches on the internet. I tried to match my photos with photos online and the places we had visited so it is possible a name or two could be mistaken. At any rate there were lots of lighthouses that we passed as we entered the ports. All of them seemed to be much smaller than many of the lighthouses I have seen on the US coasts.

Halifax Harbor Lighthouse

This lighthouse was located in Halifax harbor right where our ship was docked.  I was able to capture some good photos from the decks of the ship.
This lighthouse was located in Halifax harbor right where our ship was docked. I was able to capture some good photos from the decks of the ship.
Source: Mary Beth Granger

Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia - famous lighthouse

Peggy's cove
Peggy's cove

I had read a lot about Peggy's cove and I was really excited to be able to photograph the lighthouse. I was hoping for good weather and I was not disappointed. The bright blue sky with white fluffy clouds made a beautiful backdrop for my photographs of the lighthouse. It was a very windy day and even the rough look to the sea added to the photos.

Lighthouses Dot the Shores of Nova Scotia

I photographed this lighthouse as the ship was pulling away from Halifax.  It was just at the entrance to the bay high up on a rocky hill.
I photographed this lighthouse as the ship was pulling away from Halifax. It was just at the entrance to the bay high up on a rocky hill.
Source: Mary Beth Granger

Double lighthouses seen as ship was headed toward Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island.
Double lighthouses seen as ship was headed toward Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island.
Source: Mary Beth Granger

Prince Edwards Island - a fun stop on our cruise

Prince Edward Island was a great stop on our cruise. When we arrived in port we took a cruise and was able to see a bit of the countryside. Of course, I was thrilled to see the lighthouses on the island. As you can see from my photos they are different shapes than many of the lighthouses we see in the US. I was even able to climb to the top of one of the lighthouses. It was only a few short steps...I'd say 20 or less. Most of the lighthouses I saw were painted red and white.
On Prince Edwards Island you see things about the famous children's class, Anne of Green Gables. I was able to buy a book and doll for my granddaughter. We also saw many small churches throughout the countryside.

Lighthouse on Shore of Prince Edward Island

Lighthouse photo taken from cruise ship
Lighthouse photo taken from cruise ship
Source: Mary Beth Granger