Five Finger Lighthouse, Alaska, USA by Ray Bulson

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Picture Story

For five consecutive summers in the early 2000s, my wife and I chartered a boat for a week to travel the Inside Passage of Alaska. We would embark from Juneau and explore Admiralty, Baranof and Kupreanof Islands as well as the mainland. It is a wilderness of immense proportions with seemingly limitless fjords, inlets, coves, waterfalls, glaciers icebergs, coastal mountains, whales, and other marine mammals as well as eagles, bears and salmon. The Inside Passage contains the largest temperate rainforest in the world including the 16.7 million acre Tongass National Forest.

At the southern tip of Admiralty Island, at the confluence of Stephen’s Passage and Frederick Sound, sits Five Finger Lighthouse on an island. This historic lighthouse, which was built in 1902, is both the first and last manned lighthouse in Southeast Alaska. While it is no longer manned, it still serves as a navigational beacon for mariners.

On one trip as we were passing the lighthouse, I noticed the clouds from a passing rainstorm — a frequent occurrence in the rainforest! It reminded me of why lighthouses were such an important part of the area’s history. Yet, somehow the mood of the moment was missing in the original color image. So I converted the image to black and white and that is when the magic happened in post-processing. The drama of the clouds became so much more apparent. They looked ominous. However, the lighthouse got lost in the black and white conversion so I composited the color image with the black and white so as to create a selectively colored image where only the lighthouse and island were in color. This has become such a popular selling image as a result and is now part of my larger selectively colored Wizard of Oz portfolio. The portfolio is so named to pay homage to the moment in the Wizard of Oz movie when it changes from black and white to color.

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