Thursday, October 1, 2015

Unique Lighthouse Photography

Unique Lighthouse Photography

Photographing Little Sable Lighthouse-My Quest for a Unique Photo

I love photographing lighthouses and in the past eight years I have visited over 100 lighthouses. Digital cameras make it so easy to take lots of photos and at first I just took photos of the lighthouses from various angles. As I learned more about photography and started to use various cameras and equipment I started to look for unique shots.
I love to take sunrise and sunset photos and with my DSLR camera and a good tripod, I have learned to take some interesting shots. I know taking early morning and early evening photos gives me the best light, but sometimes when traveling visiting a lighthouse during those times is just not convenient.
On our trip to Michigan in July of 2012 we were visiting 10 lighthouses in a weeks time so I was visiting some lighthouses during daytime and sunny times. My challenge was to find a way to take an interesting and unique photo of the lighthouses during that time period.
On this page I will introduce you to the photos I took of Little Sable Point lighthouse on the shores of Lake Michigan. Little Sable was erected in 1874 and is a classic tower shaped lighthouse.
all photos are by mbgphoto

My First Photos of Little Sable - light in your photos

Little Sable Lighthouse
Little Sable Lighthouse
When we arrived at Little Sable it was about 9:30 in the morning and the sun was already fairly high in the sky. It was a clear day without a cloud in the sky, so I knew I would need to find just the right angle for the photos or the sky would really look washed out.
From the parking lot you could see the lighthouse through the dunes and brush that grew in the dunes. This first shot that I took shows the lighthouse framed by some bushes. I always like to frame the photos. I think it gives the photo a good balance look so I was glad to see some trees and brush with which I could work. The resulting photo is above. I think it is a good photo, but not quite the unique shot I was looking to create.
The photo below uses the winding path to draw your eye up to the lighthouse. This is another technique I like to use. I also like putting something in the foreground (the fence) to give it depth. Again, I feel it is a good photo, but doesn't quite have that unique quality.

Path to Little Sable

Path to Little Sable
Path to Little Sable

Cannon SX40 HS Camera - my newest camera

This is the camera that I used for all the photos on this page. I got the camera a couple of weeks before our trip and I was eager to try it out. I was very pleased with my results. The camera takes clear, crisp photos and has a wonderful zoom lens. It has a variety of automatic and manual settings and is very lightweight. It is a perfect camera to use when traveling.

Little Sable From the Beach - using light to enhance photos

I next walk up and down the beach looking for a view of the lighthouse that might lend to a unique photo. I liked the way the mid morning sun was casting shadows on the lighthouse and the dunes. I saw that it was right behind the lighthouse but at this point that didn't strike me as a good shot so I moved to this shot of the lighthouse and the dunes.
I like this shot better than the ones from the parking lot, but it was still not quite what I wanted.

Sun Behind Top of Lighthouse - original version- using light to get an unique photo

As I walked back in front of the lighthouse on the beach I noticed that the sun was now right behind the top of the lighthouse. I thought this might make a nice photo, so I stood in the shadow of the lighthouse and lined up my shot. I focused on the lantern of the lighthouse to get the desired effect and then lower my camera to get the whole lighthouse in view.
This is the resulting photo!

Little Sable Point Lighthouse - cropped version

When I got back to our hotel room and loaded my photos into my Photoshop Lightroom program, I decided to try to crop the shadow out of the photo for a different effect.
Here is the cropped version.

Unique Lighthouse Photo - high contrast version
I next decided to do a bit of manipulation of the photo in Lightroom. For this view I worked on getting the new trendy, high contrast look. This look doesn't look good on all photos but I like the way it looks on Little Sable. I think it gives it an eerie, haunted look!

What photo do you like best? - I'd love your opinion

I have mixed feelings about my unique photo and actually I like all three versions. I know some people are purists and feel that photos should not be manipulated and others feel that it is part of the artistic license. I enjoy seeing the photos both ways.

Which of the Sun behind the Lighthouse Photos do you like best?

  •  The Original Version
  •  The Cropped Version
  •  The High Contrast Version