Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA by Ron Selby

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Picture Story

Lighthouses are one of my favorite subjects to photograph. My wife and I were traveling down the East Coast and stopping at all of the lighthouses from Lubec Maine to the Outer Banks. We live in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and travel the summer months in the northern part of the United States to escape the heat and humidity. The Portland Head Lighthouse is always of my must-do stops. There are many different lighting and weather conditions available from sunrise, sunset, fog, and stormy seas. The full moon rising can be spectacular.

I had gone to the Portland Head at several different times of the day and this time was for sunset.
I was set up on the southside of the lighthouse by the cove when I noticed the sailboat coming down the coast. I quickly went to the northside to capture the sailboat approaching the lighthouse. I only had seconds to catch the boat in the best location. The timing was perfect with the warm light from the settings sun. The sky was cloudless, so I used Luminar 4 to replace the sky and make other improvements.

Portland Head has long protected ships from the very rocky coast of Maine. In 1787 construction was begun on the original tower measuring 72' from base to lantern deck and was lit with 16 whale oil lamps. It was first lit on January 10, 1791. By 1865, the tower was raised 20' and a 2nd order Fresnel lens was installed. Construction of the first keeper's quarters began in 1790 and a one-story dwelling built to replace the first keeper's house was erected in 1816. In 1864 a 4th order Fresnel lens and a cast-iron staircase were installed.

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