Whenever I look at a location, I like to walk around to find the best perspective or best light and use the same location for different photos.
With the Admiralty Head Lighthouse below, the obvious shot was the sunset facing side as the building was basked in warm evening light. And all those around me were clicking away taking advantage of the beautiful light.
While a lot of travel bloggers place themselves facing the camera in nearly every shot, I like on occasion to add a lighter sense of my presence or the opportunity for the viewer to place themselves in the frame. My low light stretched shadow creates that affect.
But just in case, I wanted to see if there was a better shot or something different than what was being shot from those around me. I don’t like to shoot the popular shots, but rather find my own perspective. In my years in the fiercely competitive commercial photography market, I found that shooting unique images sold more and helped me stand out in the crowd.
So I walked around the backside thus bringing me to this perspective. Kinda back-lit with a rim light around the exterior. With the rear being darker, I had to choose between exposing for the sunlight which would’ve made the lighthouse become a silhouette, or expose for the back unlit side and risk blowing out the sun and sky. If I had a flash, I could’ve filled in the shadow areas a bit as well.
But instead I found that the side of the building had a mix of sunlight and shadow, so I made it my focus, thus allowing the little bit of the back side shown to go dark. I made sure that the tower was separated from the main building. Separating elements is an important lesson I learned in a photo workshop years ago.
If I had more time (we were trying to get to Langley before dark), I may of been able to find a perspective of the sun through or shining through the lighthouse tower.
Being a former magazine photographer, I’m still always looking for vertical cover shots. In each image, I try to shoot a horizontal and vertical. And since knowing these are going on the square framed Instagram, I pull out a bit to make sure all the important parts of my shot won’t get cropped online.
I did shoot these images with my iPhone 7, but if I had my SLR, the sun would’ve been a less bright looking thing at a lower F-stop (F16 is the classic for the star look), and for blowing up or printing the image, the shadows would’ve kept detail, vs getting grainy or pixelated.
Another issue of shooting directly into the sun is lens glare. In looking at my frames from this angle, a few had sun glare (ray like glare) on the left and there’s a tiny blueish sun glare dot on the lighthouse. Easily cleaned up in post but it’s worth adjusting the angle a touch to reduce such things. More post means less outdoor time. 🙂
Continuing my journey around the lighthouse, the north side was also partially lit with rich light and a variety of shadows. In this image, I was trying to play with the shapes a bit. Tough without at perspective correction lens to keep the verticals straight but also something that can be fixed in post. Or not! Sometimes it’s ok to let perspective go.
I jumped up on a park bench with the hopes of getting a sunlight reflection in the lighthouse windows, but there was none. I love reflections and once again they provide another chance to find a different image that all those shooting the front side won’t get.
I wanted to work more with the decorative window frames of the building but the sun was dropping and we needed to hit the road.
I continued around back to the front side, got distracted by the distant landscape views through the wind sculpted trees of Ebey’s Landing and Ebey’s Point (Fort Ebey State Park) which is a surf break for locals and WW2 era fort with epic bluff views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. How Ebey lost his head.
There was also epic views of the shoreline across Admiralty Inlet which include the maritime town of Port Townsend, Protection Island and further west up the Strait. With the lowering light, the shoreline elements were getting separated so I could see all the detail. As a paddler, it’s fun to see where I’ve been and/or would like to explore.
But none of the lighthouse photographers looked behind them to see the beautiful waterscape and landscape. I had it to myself. And below me was the 100′ cliff to the beach with warning signs. Note to self: Avoid sketchy selfie shots on the bluff.
As I walked back to the car along the bluff, I became interested in working in the 1890’s era harbor defense bunker in with the lighthouse. This era of coastal defenses have really interesting shapes built into their architecture. I framed up the rounded gun mount area with the lighthouse for fun, and it worked for me – Click. I hot a horizontal and vertical. Horizontal allowed me to get low to max out the rounded lines in the frame surrounding the gun pit.
I turned towards the car and shot a few distant landscapes of the main section of the fort and its sole ‘disappearing gun‘ pointing out toward Port Townsend. Then to the car and southwards towards Langley (while shooting somewhat illegally out the window of the car) until the light was gone.
Now you can see how to shoot in the same location for different photos. Always look behind you for something different and/or walk around a subject or even away from the other photographers to find your own unique perspective.
Keep your eyes peeled for my next post on shooting different perspectives in one location with the Ritzville, WA Cafe sign along I-90.
Visit the Admiralty Head Lighthouse
State Park site (lighthouse *museum hours and park info)
Admiralty Head Lighthouse Directions:
The lighthouse is located in Fort Casey State Park. 1280 Engle Road, Coupeville, WA 98239; Phone: (360) 678-4519 / Camping Reservations: (888) 226-7688 – Latitude: 48.16079, Longitude: -122.68101
Make sure to bring your Discover Pass or cash for a day permit.