One of the primary reasons for our visit to the Schoodic Peninsula was the chance that we might see an epic sunset over Mt. Desert Island. Having been on top of Cadillac Mountain looking toward the peninsula at sunrise, it seemed like a different angle that might not have been captured often. So, as is often the case, I found myself scrambling toward a sunset location without really knowing where I wanted to end up. We had seen a lighthouse in the bay earlier in the day, so I had some inkling of an idea about putting the lighthouse in the foreground of an awesome sunset.
Unfortunately, we lingered too long in Corea capturing its pastoral beauty, further down the peninsula shooting crashing waves, and stopping periodically to take just “one more shot”. That’s usually the way it is when I am in some beautiful place that I have never been before. I never seem to leave enough time to shoot as much as I would like.
In any case, we were cruising down the highway watching the sunset becoming more promising by the minute. By the time we turned down the coast road, it was obvious that we would need to stop as soon as we found a decent foreground. Fortunately, the aforementioned lighthouse came into view just a couple of miles down the road. Once we found the right spot, we stopped quickly and set up the tripods. The good news was that a dynamite sunset was forming. The bad news was that it was mostly blocked by Cadillac Mountain and the truly bright colors were hovering near the horizon. We could tell that the sunset at Bass Head Light was fantastic. We were unfortunately a day early. That is where we had spent our sunset the night before and had only a slight bit of color in the sky.
So, I turned my attention to what I had available – the lighthouse. The lighthouse appears to be referred to as both the Winter Harbor Lighthouse and the Mark Island Lighthouse. Even though the truly gorgeous sky was twenty degrees or so to the south, there was still some color beginning to show near the lighthouse. I began to visualize a shot with the lighthouse on the horizon with a cherry red sky above. That never materialized. In fact, the sun set and the ambient light began to dim. But, as is often the case with sunsets, the longer I waited, the more color appeared in the sky. I decided to bracket some exposures and see if I could create a usable image of the lighthouse without totally blowing out the much brighter sky. Both of these images are a result of that process.
They are both shot at f/5.6 and varying speeds. I used my 70-200 2.8 with a 2x teleconverter which pushed my aperture to 5.6. I didn’t need that much depth of field for this shot since the lighthouse was probably a half mile away. I wish there had been enough reflected light to illuminate the lighthouse a bit more. I don’t like how dim it is in either image. I do like the composition and the sky above. My favorite of the two images is the first because of the pink, rosy sky and the slightly brighter white of the lighthouse. However, I prefer the composition of the second image even though the atmosphere rendered the clouds and the entire scene a bit too blue for my taste. I’d love to get some other opinions about which image you prefer.