Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Real Lighthouse Light

Once a year, Pigeon Point Lighthouse (just north of Santa Cruz, CA) turns off the fake lighthouse light (an airplane beacon) and turns on the real Fresnel lens for two hours to celebrate the anniversary of the original lighting over 140 years ago.

For the first five minutes, they hold the lens stationary so that all the photographers "can take their digital masterpieces before processing them on the computer in PhotoShop" (so said the announcer). After the first five minutes, they let the lens rotate at its normal speed.

(photo: Andy Frazer)

This is exactly what it looked like during the first five minutes. No star-effect filter, and no PhotoShop tricks. I never realized that a real lighthouse light was a collection of multiple beams. This was necessary because they couldn't make the huge lenses rotate very fast with the old machinery.

Despite my heroic efforts to bracket adequately within the five minute window, this shot (the brightest of the bunch) was still underexposed, so it's a bit grainy.

Thanks to Roland Ruehl for letting me know about this event.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Mike said...

Beautiful shot! Educational too, I had no idea this is how old lighthouses operated.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I forgot about the anniversary lighting this year. Oh well until next year. Great shot.

3:54 PM  

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