There are a number of factors that make this lighthouse unique and visually appealing. The first and most obvious is its setting. Some lighthouses are placed into narrow openings on a rocky headland or are visible only from the sea. Pemaquid Point sits majestically on a rocky point and is visible from all angles.
The red outbuilding that sits alongside the lighthouse adds to the visual impact of the scene as well. The building is a bell house that was added to provide an audible warning in addition to the visual cue of the light itself. Given the fact that the lighthouse is located less than a hundred yards from the ocean, it’s hard to believe that its powerful light beam might not be a sufficient warning to passing ships. You can see the bell hanging from a white arm on the ocean facing side of the red bell building.
Perhaps the most unusual aspect of this scene is the rock formation that forms the foreground of the image. The rock ledges seen here extend all the way to the ocean and form beautiful leading lines toward the lighthouse. I’m no geologist, but from what I’ve read the rock ledges are primarily metamorphic with strands of igneous rock running in veins alongside the metamorphic. The igneous rock can be seen in the extreme right mid-ground while the other ledges are metamorphic.
The final unique visual element in this image is the reflection. After heavy rains or high tides, these pools appear in depressions in the rock. On calm days they make ideal tools to create reflections of the lighthouse and outbuildings. On this day I had to wait quite a bit while wind gusts passed through in order to eliminated ripples that would form in the pools.
I had hoped to capture this scene with a brilliant sunrise or sunset as the background. At the very least, I hoped to get a partly cloudy day with a mix of blue sky and interesting cloud formations. Unfortunately, on our way up the coast and back down we had leaden gray skies. Fortunately, on this day the rain held off until well after our visit allowing us to negotiate the rocks without slip sliding away (an homage to Paul Simon).
This is by no means a unique image. I’ve seen many different versions taken from this spot or another one close by on the rock ledge. However, it is one that I’m glad to have in my collection. There’s a reason that this lighthouse is visited so much. It’s scenic and deserves to be visited and photographed repeatedly.