The town of Manteo is a charming coastal town within the Outer Banks of North Carolina. A highlight is the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse which extends out into the Shallowbag Bay at the end of a beautifully weathered wooden deck. This lighthouse is actually a replica of the lighthouse that was built in the 1800’s at this location. It’s red roof and black shutters create a striking scene to photograph.
The iconic shot is to use the deck as a leading line to the lighthouse during a vivid sunset. I was not blessed with perfect conditions as storm clouds continually drove rain showers across the town. A vivid sunset was certainly not in the forecast for me on the day of my visit.
Positioning myself along the boardwalk leading to the lighthouse I envisioned a long exposure to tell the story of dramatic clouds moving across the scene. A long exposure would also smooth the waters of the bay eliminating distractions from the focus on the lighthouse. A benefit to shooting iconic locations in bad weather is the lack of crowds. I was able to setup my composition and capture a 160 second exposure using stacked 10-stop and 6-stop ND filters without any interruption. Landscape photography is all about telling the story of the moment at your location. You won’t always have perfect conditions and it’s important to remember that you can take a compelling image in practically any situation with some creativity and patience.
The town of Manteo is well worth a trip for any landscape photographer during any season. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the spring or summer you may have an opportunity to capture a beautiful sunset behind this impressive lighthouse.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor