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on Apr 4, 2014 in Landscape Photography

Being Intimate with the Grand Old Lady

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With over thirty lighthouses in the files, you could say I have a thing for them. Now it’s taken thirty years to visit thirty lighthouses so it’s not a big thing. Some lighthouses are a snore, others are classics and others are simply, serenity incarnated. Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the latter. When you come around the corner and see it there on the headlands, it just belongs and without it, the headlands would not be complete. It has as many moods as there are minutes in a year as the Pacific dances its weather around its spire. And rightfully so, many love to take this classic photo of this classic lighthouse.

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But there is much more when you get more intimate with this grand old lady. The photo at top was taken from the ridge with the 24-70AFS (D4s) and as I mentioned, kind of the classic “I was here shot.” And ya, you gotta take this beaut but don’t stop there.

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Like I mentioned yesterday, you can literally drive right up to the lighthouse, so do that. And after you take the close up, wide shot with your 18-35AFS, switch out the lens and get intimate. I went with the 80-400VR3 to come in on the details that start to tell more about the years this majestic lighthouse has stood guard. One of the definite challenges is there is nothing plumb. Looking at the symmetry, keeping the space equal on either side of the chimneys, the space between the chimneys and the lighthouse, can take a moment or two. But it’s worth it. Then you get in close to just one window and you realize they’re not square either!

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And every face of the structure offers another photographic possibility. And with the changing light and ever changing weather, the possibilities are endless. And this is true for nearly every subject we look at intimately. This does take a little more of our time, it does require going beyond our comfort range at times, but you will come away with the rewards for the risk. Play the light, play the texture, look at graphics and combine it all with symmetry are the basics when going intimate. Bring out the character and your photographs will always be richer!