Showing posts with label Lighthouse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lighthouse. Show all posts

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Fort Hancock At Sandy Hook

Crumbling Treasures Of The Jersey Shore


I don't get to the Jersey Shore as often as I used to, but I'm always happy to return to some of my favorite places.



a photo of the sandy hook lighthouse in new jersey
Sandy Hook Lighthouse





a photo of a house and canon at fort hancock sandy hook new jersey
House and Cannon - Fort Hancock, New Jersey




I started photographing Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook over a decade ago when I was still shooting film. It's a treat to go back with my digital cameras and capture images of familiar structures using the latest technology.



a photo of an officer's house at fort hancock sandy hook new jersey
Officer's House - Fort Hancock





a photo of a vending machine at fort hancock sandy hook
Vending Machine Near The Treasury - Fort Hancock





Sadly, the fort is in bad shape these days. Many of the buildings have been condemned and left to crumble slowly without any upkeep. This is such a beautiful place, and it wouldn't cost much to keep these buildings standing, even if they're not habitable.



a photo of a crumbling structure at fort hancock sandy hook new jersey
Crumbling Structure - Fort Hancock




If you're a history buff or a photographer who likes to capture images of old buildings, I would urge you to visit Sandy Hook and Fort Hancock at your earliest convenience.



a photo of a row of officers houses at fort hancock new jersey
Officers' Row - Fort Hancock - Sandy Hook, New Jersey




Camera:    
Sony a7R IV
Lens:        Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS


Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright © 2021 Daniel R. South
www.dansouthphoto.com
All Rights Reserved


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sunset Over Point Sur

The Race For Peak Light

A friend suggested that the Earth Color Magic blog shouldn't wrap up its year with a black and white photo. I realized that he had a point. So here, for my color appreciating friends, is one last entry for what has been a fulfilling and enjoyable 2015.

People sometimes find this hard to believe, but landscape photography is a fast paced activity. Subjects like mountains and coastlines don't move around, but the light and the atmosphere change constantly. It's not unusual to have to work fast to get the shots that you want.

The best color of a sunset, for instance, rarely lasts for more than a couple of minutes. In order to capture peak moments, the photographer needs to interpret changing conditions, get his gear into position, compose, focus, and execute the exposure quickly and accurately.



a photo of a lighthouse at sunset at big sur california
Sunset Over the Lighthouse at Point Sur



I was photographing a line of trees about a mile from the lighthouse when I realized that a terrific sunset was about to reveal itself. I grabbed my gear, jumped in the car, and drove up the road for a more promising shooting location - being mindful of traffic, of course!

The Lighthouse at Point Sur is one of my favorite West Coast subjects. It sits atop a massive rock that juts out into the relentless surf of the Pacific Ocean.

I set up the camera again in a spot where I could silhouette the lighthouse against the most colorful part of the sky. I pulled out a couple of my best lenses and raced to get as many shots as I could. 

This was one of my favorites. It reminds me of the great fun that I have had over the years chasing fantastic light along this magical stretch of the California coastline. 



Camera:    Nikon D810

Lens:        Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED



Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2015 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved




Saturday, April 11, 2015

My Favorite Sunrise

Magic On The San Mateo Coast

I have been photographing the Pigeon Point Lighthouse for many years. It's a magnificent structure, tall, well-maintained, and painted in bold white. It's brilliantly situated, towering over an unspoiled coastline of wildflowers, dark sand, and jagged rocks. 



a photo of the lighthouse at pigeon point california at sunrise
Pigeon Point Sunrise



But the most fascinating feature of the San Mateo coast is the light that shows up here at certain times of the year and certain times of the day. Granted, I've been here when the light wasn't particularly appealing. We can't expect magic to happen all the time; otherwise, it wouldn't seem like magic.

But on days when that very special light reveals itself, it's breathtaking. And it can make for a pretty nice photograph if you happen to be standing around with a camera in your hands.

This is my favorite sunrise photo of all time. Thank you, Pigeon Point! Thank you, San Mateo Coast!


Camera:    Nikon D810

Lens:        Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED



Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2015 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved




Saturday, March 3, 2012

Revelation At Pigeon Point Lighthouse

"We Take Pictures Of Light"

It sounded so simple at the time. While leafing through a magazine that I was about to recycle, I came across an interesting passage. It puzzled me at first, but it would become the single most important piece of advice I that would receive as a photographer. I don't even remember the author's name - and I apologize for not quoting him here - but I do remember his words. The idea stuck in my mind because it challenged me to think in a new way.

"We don't take pictures of people, places, or objects.  We take pictures of light."

It would be years before I would understand the significance of this message, but one evening at Pigeon Point moved me closer toward that realization.


a photo of the pigeon point lighthouse in california with spring wildflowers
Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Ebony SV45TE, Fujichrome Velvia 100


Light. Photographers talk about light all the time - good light, bad light, quality of light, the right light, the direction of light, waiting for light. But what is good light and where do you learn about it? I don't recall seeing any books or articles on the subject. Magazines and websites talk mostly about equipment. Photography books explain principles of exposure and composition, but the subject of light merits little discussion.

When I bought my first "serious" camera and started pointing it at the world, I had very naïve ideas about what constituted good light. My early attempts at photography suffered as a result. I assumed that a technical understanding of exposure and lenses and filters would create memorable images.

As a budding enthusiast I made a trip to California in search of photo opportunities. I had a nice camera, decent lenses, and I was surrounded by world class scenery, yet the photos from that trip were not particularly memorable. They were technically solid - the exposure was correct and the focus was accurate - but the images lacked impact. My limited understanding of light was a big factor.

I did gain some insights on the trip, and over time with more study and experimentation I made steady progress. When I returned to California two years later, I considered myself to be a seasoned and knowledgeable photographer. But there's always more to learn.

On the last day of my travels I planned make a stop at Pigeon Point Lighthouse. It's one of my favorite destinations on the California coast. I would have limited time to shoot the sunset, then it would be off to the airport for an overnight flight.

Conditions were excellent. The calm air was clear and warm. Coastal plant life was in bloom. I was shooting during the last hour of daylight, the "golden hour" that landscape photographers pursue. I shot several rolls of film thinking that I was coming away with good images in good light. I was about to pack up and head toward the airport.

Then it happened. The light changed before my eyes. It morphed into something better, something amazing. It was richer, warmer, more colorful, and more magical than any light that I could remember having photographed before.  I was running short on time, but I couldn't leave. I needed to keep shooting. Luckily I still had some film in my bag.

I shot as many frames as I could. The light probably lasted all of about four or five minutes. When it faded, I quickly packed the car and sped off toward the airport. I was concerned about missing my flight, but I couldn't stop thinking about the majestic light that I had just witnessed. Why hadn't I seen it before, or if I had, why didn't I pay more attention? The photos from the entire trip would have been better if I could have anticipated and harnessed this phenomenon.

"We don't take pictures of people, places, or objects. We take pictures of light."

I was beginning to get the message.


Over the coming years I became a student of light. I actively pursued the conditions where the best light was likely to reveal itself. It doesn't happen every day, but I began to experience it more and more frequently as I learned what to look for.


Lighthouse Tower In Focus

On my next trip to California I shot primarily with a large-format view camera. The view camera has distinct advantages. First of all, the film is larger and can produce a finely detailed image when exposed carefully. View cameras also feature a flexible build. The lens and film planes are independently adjustable and linked together by a soft leather bellows. The flexible design helps eliminate distortion and solves some tricky focusing problems.

For instance, it's very difficult to get both near and far objects in focus. Usually, only one or the other will be sharp, but the view camera makes it possible to have them both in focus in many circumstances.


Foreground Flowers In Focus

At Pigeon Point I was able to use the special features of the view camera to keep both the flowers and the tower in sharp focus. The ocean has a softer, slightly out of focus look, which adds to the mood of the overall image. Luckily, I was very fortunate and met with excellent light on several occasions. The image displayed here is from one of those lovely sunsets.


A Note On Colors And Processing

Below I have included the original scan showing the film borders. I asked the technicians who scanned the file to add only enough processing to match the look of the original piece of film on a light box. They did an amazing job. If you view this piece of film on the light box it will match the color and contrast of the image that you see here. This is the advantage of shooting in good light. You don't need to apply a bunch of Photoshop tricks to make an appealing image. Recognizing good light is the biggest part of the battle.


a photo of the pigeon point lighthouse captured on fujichrome velvia 100
Same image with untrimmed film borders


Bottom line: It took a few years to develop the skills required to make this image, not the least of which was the ability to recognize good light and the conditions that foretell its arrival, and then to capture it effectively. The work that I put in over those years seems well worth it, as I carry the lessons of Pigeon Point and the magic of light with me every time I open my camera bag.



Camera: Ebony SV45TE
Lens: Nikkor SWA 90/4.5
Film: Fujichrome Velvia 100


Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!


Copyright 2012 Daniel R. South
www.dansouthphoto.com
All Rights Reserved