That's when the sun officially rose on Monday morning. But you need to be up a little earlier than that to catch it on film. You have to be in place, ready with your camera long before sunrise. This means you'll be setting up the lens, camera, tripod and various filters often in pitch dark. And you only have a few seconds to get it right.
When I first started fishing in Island Beach State Park I would drive down to the Barnegat Inlet just to look at the lighthouse. To get there you need a beach pass and four-wheel drive. Island Beach State Park and Barnegat Lighthouse State Park are divided by the Barnegat Inlet; a place I've spent years fishing. But lately I've traded my Tica surf rod for a Canon wide angle lens. So far it's been a good trade. I think of it this way - the lighthouse is always there, ready to be photographed. How many times have you been fishing and the fish never show up?
It's a simple lighthouse; a plain red and white color scheme. You can see Old Barney up-close by visiting Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, but I like the view from across the inlet. Photographing a lighthouse is something anyone can do. It takes time, patience and above all a sturdy tripod. But you need the weather to cooperate. When I got to the North Jetty to set up my shot I was greeted by a 16 mile per hour wind. With gusts past 25 mph I had one hand on the tripod most of the shoot. Even though my Vanguard tripod is pretty stable I never take any chances with my gear. In the moment of scurrying to get the shot thousands of dollars worth of gear could be lost.
I always like to see some clouds on the horizon when I shoot lighthouses. It adds depth and scale to an already beautiful scene. They can make a scene great by adding complexity around the structure. Or, storm clouds can destroy an image rendering the scene too dark and ominous. Just the right amount of sky really makes a photo. The wind, even though it made things difficult, added a nice bit of moving water to the scene. It played havoc with the green channel marker in the picture, but it settled down in between shots. During the half hour or so I spent photographing, several scallop boats were pulling into port. We were both there to do the same thing - bring a bounty home for people to enjoy.
I hope you enjoy our first of many lighthouse photos to come in the next couple weeks. Let's hope the weather holds out long enough for more photos soon!
Washed Ashore Photography