Pemaquid Point Lighthouse and Reflection

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse and Reflection

Pemaquid Point lighthouse, as reflected in a shallow tide pool, and the unique rock formation that stands between it and the ocean

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is one of a string of many lighthouses that dot the Maine coast. Most, though, are not as scenic as Pemaquid Point.

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.



  1. Rick,

    I am enjoying reading about and viewing your images of your visit to the lovely state of Maine. It looks like you had some fun with your camera along the way, and thanks for sharing.


  2. My favorite spot on the planet. I’ve shot photos from this spot dozens of times. Every time I’m at Pemaquid I stand on this spot. What a joy to see this photo today. Many thanks,

  3. Rick – My last trip to Pemaquid was assisting an photographer, Ernie Mills, on coastal Maine shots in October of 2010. Ernie knew New England — he had once been a driver for the Mt. Washington Auto Road and spent 2-3 years living in Friendship, Maine — but didn’t know the coast. Pemaquid was his coastal target. i got him there well after dark and we ate dinner at the restaurant on the point. He disappeared for 20 mins. or so. When he came back in he told me he needed help and I followed him out. Somehow he had climbed out on the rocks in the dark and had his camera set-up and ready to shoot. I could not believe anyone would venture out on the ledges below Pemaquid in the dark without a light. (He needed me when he decided he needed a flashlight.) The ledges below the restaurant are treacherous on a nice day. To make a story short he got his shot. You can see it here. It was worth the trouble.

    My shots and a bit of the story are here. I was shooting with an Olympus point and shoot. I hadn’t made the transition to DSLR, yet.


    1. Thanks for sharing your work and your story, Geoff. It’s funny how our preconceived notions shape our images. I never thought to move over to the other side of the lighthouse because everything I had seen from Pemaquid Point had the rocks in the foreground. I love the prominence of the lighthouse itself from the angle you used most often.

      I can see why you returned to Pemaquid Point so often. I think I could spend several years on the Maine coast and still not capture a fraction of the images that are available there. Hopefully I can make it to the area in the summer and see it in a completely different light. I would say I long for a winter session there, but this southern boy might freeze to death in winter!

      Thanks for visiting the site,

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