Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse   13 comments

The lighthouse at Bass Harbor Head, Mount Desert Island, Maine

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse - © 2011 Rob Hanson Photography

On the southwest side of Mount Desert Island, far from the tourist-laden areas of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, is the easily accessible Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

Since it’s just a short walk from the parking lot down to the rocks, it’s probably one of the most frequently photographed lighthouses in Maine. I can safely suggest that on this evening, at least 100 pictures were taken, judging by the small crowd that crammed into nooks and crannies on the craggy rocks. As the sun began to set, more and more people filtered down the steep steps, looking for a place to shoot the lighthouse while simultaneously avoiding having other people in the frame. Not an easy thing to do…

I rather quickly tired of maneuvering with the crowd down below and decided to move up the hill a bit for a different perspective. I had my heavy boots on, so it was pretty easy to scramble over the rough rocks and set the tripod in a safe place to catch the sun behind the pine tree. Even that didn’t stop one intrepid couple from hiking directly into my frame, causing me to throw out one of the exposures.

It’s a jungle out there, but the rewards are great.

Since so many images have been taken of this lighthouse, I wanted my version to be as distinctive as possible, so I pushed the ‘painterly’ feel in processing rather than keeping it hyper-realistic. For this scene, I like how it worked out.

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HDR from eleven exposures +/-1EV, f/22, 31mm, processed with HDR Express, Photomatix Pro, Nik Color Efex Pro 4, Photoshop CS5

13 responses to “Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

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  1. Great shot Rob. Despite the angle, you managed to get one that really works.

    I was just there a about a week and a half ago and I can attest to the number of photographers. We were a group of 20 and there were already too many togs there when we defended on the rocks..

  2. Beautiful shot, Rob. It gives a great sense of how steep the rocks are. Great shot.

  3. I like the choice to go with a “painterly” feel versus trying to stay realistic. The comp is nice and the resulting image has a nice Thoma Kinkade feel to it. Great stuff.

  4. This is beautiful man, one of my favorites of yours. Stunning work Rob

  5. What a wonderful shot man, love the light in this! Nice touch with the sun behind the tree.

  6. God, Rob, this is fabulous!!

  7. Great scene Rob. For me I wish the red bushes on the right were toned way down. My eyes gravitate towards them and away from the main subject, the lighthouse. Also, is that flare on the clapboard?

    • Fantastic feedback from you, Bob (Robert Emmerich). Thanks so much for that.

      I did struggle a bit with that section on the right, and had actually toned it down quite a bit. One version I had was substantially darker over there, and I likely should have gone with it. I agree that it’s a bit distracting.

      Yes, that is lens-flare on the clapboards. Try as I might, I just couldn’t knock it down in a believable and seamless fashion, so I decided to leave it in. Perhaps if I had also left in the other flares, it would have had a bit more context.

      Excellent catches. I appreciate your input.

  8. Great shot, haven’t done any HDR yet but after seeing this I may have to.

    Cary Ulrich Photography
  9. Hi

    Wonderful composition – liking the light through the trees

    regards, Erik

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  11. I love this shot Rob! great comp, and wonderful processing to boot! well done!

  12. Pingback: 94 Photography Links That Rock « Photography « Rezalutions

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