Watching Over Prospect Harbor by Todd Henson

Watching Over Prospect Harbor

During a vacation in Maine my father and I viewed and photographed a number of lighthouses, one of which was Prospect Harbor Point Light. It’s located on a point that juts into Prospect Harbor, watching over the many fishing boats that work those waters.

We had first viewed Prospect Harbor Point Light from Main Street, Gouldsboro. This was across Inner Harbor from the lighthouse and provided a nice view with fishing boats in the harbor and the lighthouse across the water in the background. I created a number of images from different perspectives in this area.

Later we drove around Inner Harbor to see whether it was possible to get a different perspective entirely. We discovered the grounds of the lighthouse are fenced in and not open to the public, but it can be seen from outside the fenced in area. That’s where I created the image above. I really like the view of lighthouses looking out on the waters they watch over, so I was pleased to find this perspective.

If you ever happen to visit this area and are looking for a bite to eat I’d recommend heading over to Birch Harbor where you’ll find The Pickled Wrinkle. This was an unexpected find and one we really enjoyed. It’s open year-round, so you can stop by even during the off season. And in case you’re curious, as I was, how the restaurant got its name, it’s from a type of carnivorous sea snail, also called a whelk. They are caught locally, pickled, and served as Pickled Wrinkles. Apparently they are a bit of an old Downeast Maine delicacy. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any when we were there, but perhaps they will when you visit.

Watching Over Prospect Harbor is available for purchase as wall art or on a variety of products.

Keeping Watch by Todd Henson

Keeping Watch - Portland Head Light watching over Casco Bay

Maine’s coastline can be a rough and rocky terrain, potentially dangerous for the boats and ships that must navigate its waters. Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in Maine, stands watch over Casco Bay and the channel leading into Portland Harbor. Located in Cape Elizabeth within Fort Williams State Park, Portland Head Light is likely the best known lighthouse in Maine.

Being the most popular Maine Lighthouse also makes Portland Head Light one of the most photographed. Most of the photos I’d seen of the lighthouse were grand sweeping landscape images that included much of the coastline and the grand keeper’s house and were often full of bold, vibrant colors. There are some really fantastic photographs out there of this lighthouse. But I wanted to try something with a different feel to it.

Trails follow the coastline in Fort Williams State Park, so I chose a path to the left of the lighthouse. I found a vantage point that let me isolate the lighthouse from the keeper’s house and the other small buildings. I really liked the idea of this lone sentinel atop the rocky coast standing watch over the bay. Late afternoon storm clouds covered most of the sky, with a bit of a clearing towards the left. I liked how this clearing to the left helped balance the lighthouse to the right. And finally, processing the photo in black & white helped add to the mood I was looking for.

It didn’t matter that people were all around me walking the trails of the park. Carefully isolating the lighthouse from the rest of the scenery helped create a quiet, intimate look at a lighthouse and the body of water it keeps watch over.

Keeping Watch is available for purchase as wall art or on a variety of products.

Don't Just Stand There! Photograph From Different Perspectives by Todd Henson

Most people create photos from the same position, standing up and holding the camera at eye level. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but if you always do it most of your photos will end up looking the same. If you’d like to give your photos a different look try shooting from different perspectives. Get up higher if you can, perhaps using a ladder. Lean down lower, or even lay on the ground. These different perspectives will help you create a range of images. The 3 images in this post are one example of how changing perspective can affect the look of an image.

Highest perspective. Prospect Harbor Point Light, a lighthouse in Maine.

The first photo was created at eye level. I was standing on a small raised portion of land looking out over the water. I thought it was a beautiful scene, with a very picturesque lighthouse on the far shore and some great fishing boats in the water for added interest. I like the photo. I think it works. But I knew there were other possibilities.

Middle perspective. Prospect Harbor Point Light, a lighthouse in Maine.

For the second photo I walked along the road, looking out at the lighthouse, watching the perspective change as I slowly walked downhill, closer to water level. If you look closely you can see the angle of the house beside the lighthouse has changed. The second image is more parallel to the camera. The first image was angled just slightly allowing you to see just a sliver of the left side. I also like this second image, and I think it also works. The elevation change has slightly changed the look of the image, but mostly the different look is due to a different composition. I was walking around, trying different shots.

Lowest perspective. Prospect Harbor Point Light, a lighthouse in Maine.

Finally, I walked all the way down to the water, to a small sandy beach. I found a position where I almost had a clear view of the lighthouse, with just a couple boats to the right. But to really change the look of the third image I got down low, bringing the camera almost to water level. You can tell it is a much lower position because the lighthouse now extends above the tree line. In the first image the lighthouse just reached the top of the tree line, and in the second it extended a little above it. To add a little more interest to the image I opened the aperture all the way, creating a very shallow depth of field, throwing the foreground water out of focus. I like this last image, and think it also works.

None of the images are necessarily better than the others. But each is different, both because I tried different compositions and because I changed my perspective, getting lower for each image. This is just one small example of how changing perspective can affect the look of an image. In this case it was subtle changes, but you can also create drastically different photos by changing perspective.

Next time you go out shooting I encourage you to try different perspectives. Don’t create all your images from the same eye-level perspective. Try different angles and different heights. If you’re photographing something down low, such as a flower, insect, or child, try getting down to their level. You’ll be creating an image from the perspective of your subject, and that can be an interesting change from the typical eye-level perspective.