Story Behind Image

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.

To Mary's Rock Tunnel by Todd Henson

A car drives past, heading towards Mary’s Rock Tunnel.

I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy going on day trips with my folks. During some of these trips we end up driving portions of Skyline Drive over top the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. This was one of those trips.

It was mid to late October. We’d hoped to see a little colorful foliage but it was still almost entirely green with only hints of what might be to come. But it was a beautiful day with nice cool temperatures, and though there were lots of visitors to the park it wasn’t anywhere near as crowded as it can get when the foliage begins to change.

As we approached Mary’s Rock Mountain I had an idea for some photographs, so we pulled over into the overlook just before Mary’s Rock Tunnel. From here I kneeled down behind some rocks between the road and the overlook and rested my camera on the rocks. I was using a 6.5mm fisheye lens to capture both the road to my left and as much of the view from the overlook as possible. I would have preferred if there were fewer cars parked at the overlook, but it was unlikely to clear up anytime soon, so I took what I could get.

My plan was to stop the aperture down as far as necessary to allow me to slow the shutter speed enough to blur the cars driving towards the tunnel. I didn’t want to blur them beyond recognition, though, so I had to experiment a little to get just the right amount of motion blur. There were plenty of cars driving by so it didn’t take too long to get it right.

One concern I had was exposure. It was late afternoon and the overlook was in open shade. But the sky beyond the overlook was still brightly lit. So I had to balance getting enough exposure for the cars going by without blowing out the highlights in the sky. Thankfully, today’s cameras have a fair bit of dynamic range and I was able to balance the exposure on each side of the photo in post-processing.

In the end I was very pleased with the photographs. They had started as a spur of the moment idea, one I didn’t know if I’d be able to pull off. And even if they hadn’t worked, it was still a beautiful day out with my family. Can’t get much better than that.

Stopping down the aperture allows me to slow the shutter speed enough to blur the moving car.

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.

This photograph is available in the Shop as wall art or on a variety of products. Search for it under the title, Keeping Watch.