Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

The Nubble at Dawn

Cape Neddick Lighthouse, dawn

Another image from the rediscovered “archives” –

Most of Maine’s lighthouses sit, of course, on the eastern edge of the United States.  That doesn’t mean, though, that they’re all sunset images.  Many are, as is the case with this one.  Quite a few aren’t, however.  You have to remember that the coast of Maine is just a little bit twisted as it winds north to Canada.  So in some instances, a sunrise image is the best one you’ll likely get.

Not so with the Nubble (at least from the “land” side).  A sunrise shot will leave the light not much more than a silhouette in your frame.  The sun will rise directly behind it.  If you want the best possible light, get there right around sunset and wait for the sun to disappear below the horizon behind you.  At that point, the lighttower will turn an amazing shade of yellow (if you’re lucky).  You also have the added benefit of sleeping in in the morning.  Not a small thing.

My choice on this day a few years back, though, was to go for the silhouette.  With all the clouds rolling around, I think it worked pretty well.  It works even better, I think, as a black and white image.  Maybe I’ll try again in a couple of days.  With any luck at all, it’ll be just me and the seagulls.


6 Responses to “The Nubble at Dawn”

  1. ken bello

    This is beautiful, Paul. I think that they still use this lighthouse. I’ve seen some evening photos of the Nubble and it show a red light light at the top but what I picture in my head is a night shot with the white light reflected off the dense Maine fog. Why is it that lighthouse photos always look better in black and white?

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Ken.

      Yes, it’s still used today (automated, of course). And yes, it has a red light in the tower that blinks once every 6 seconds (I think it’s a 6 second interval). I have a number of images of this light (would you believe 150?) that show the red light when it’s on. When we go up to Maine, in fact, we always stop at the Nubble before we go anywhere else. It’s kind of a homage thing. Supposedly, there’s a “good” ghost that inhabits the light and if you “pay your respects” then the ghost will grant a wish. I have no personal evidence of this, though. But it’s certainly a peaceful place when the tourists aren’t there (like at 5:00 in the morning).

  2. Don

    I have never been there but it looks like one I have to find when I get back to NY and on a road trip to Maine.

    • Paul Maxim

      Yes, by all means head back to NY for the summer! It’s got to be a little cooler than Florida. And Maine would be a short drive from where you live…..

  3. Earl

    You did a wonderful job retaining the details in the shadows on this shot, Paul. You’re reaping “gold” from those rediscovered “archives.” I look forward to your shots from this current trip.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Earl. But mostly it’s Silver Efex Pro. That damned program can do just about anything with tones.


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