How To Photograph Lighthouse Details
Zooming in with a telephoto and picking on detail is fun to do.
Your normal kit is fine for many shots, but if you can’t get close you will find that the telezoom might be worked harder than your wide-angle or standard zoom. Because the sky will almost certainly feature in your compositions, you should find room in the camera bag for a polariser. A warm-up would be handy too.
If you’re taking shots inside a lighthouse there may not be room for a tripod, however there should be plenty of room for a support outside it. Something light-weight will be easier to manage than a heavier model, especially when walking upstairs with it in or fastened to your bag. Talking of bags, as space could be tight, you want a bag that’s easy to access and doesn’t take up too much room.
What Time Of Day Is Best?
At this time of year, the light can be quite harsh and as most lighthouses are white (and red or black) the high contrast can be a real nightmare. On really bright sunny days, you might be best advised not to waste your time until the sun is shielded by some cloud or just waiting until later in the day. Obviously, much depends on how much time you have to hang around.
Lower, warmer light will undoubtedly give a more attractive end result and you and enhance that warmth with a warm-up filter while a polariser will enrich a blue sky. Late in the day and exposing for a brightly lit structure you might find that a saturated sky will result anyway so keep an eye on the preview image.
What Detail Will I Find?
Zooming in with a telephoto and picking on detail is fun to do, although if you shooting externally you might find that there is precious little detail to enjoy apart from a few windows. If you are on a tour visit you have more opportunities – except that you might not have that much time and space because of being in a group. Shoot quickly in this instance and do your best to crop out fellow visitors.
Other techniques to try might be to shoot sections of the lighthouse for a ‘joiner’ image when you get home to the computer. You could also shoot a vertical panorama and merge the images during post-production. For a vertical stitch, you probably need to be further back with the telephoto to get a straight on perspective rather than angling the camera upwards.
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