Actually, the blog post should have been titled Photograph 5 lighthouses and a waterfall in a single morning in Portland, Maine. But, I'll save Jewel Falls for a separate blog post.
Really, I did photograph 5 lighthouses in one morning in Portland, Maine and only at the last lighthouse was the light strong enough where I had to stack ND filters. But, I did photograph Jewel falls first which gave me a late start. I used a circular polarizer for all the lighthouses except the last one where I stacked ND Filters.
In this blog post, I'll tell you about photographing each lighthouse, the order to visit/photograph them, and the best compositions for the lighthouses. The lighthouses are ordered from north to south which is the order that I visited the lighthouses.
The last lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth Twin Lights (actually 2, so it should have been 6 lighthouses) is right next to The Lobster Shack Restaurant, a perfect way to end your morning of lighthouse photography.
GPS: 43.653445, -70.234509
Bug Light is located in South Portland. The light is in a nice park with a paved walking path. There are several nice compositions from the rocks in front of the walking path. The lighthouse is lit from the right side in the morning making for nice compositions from the path.
The lighthouse can also be photographed from the stone walk leading to the lighthouse. Watch for compositions with boats in the background crossing behind the Bug Light.
Continue on the walking path past Bug Light for views of the Portland cityscape from across the harbor. Try a panorama of the cityscape.
2. Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
GPS: 43.652101, -70.223919
Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse is also in South Portland and only about a half mile away from Bug Light. The lighthouse is also lit from the right side in the morning, making it a good morning photo stop.
Compositions can be made from the left side of the light including the boats moored in the harbor. Also try some compositions looking down the stone pier leading to the lighthouse. Try including the Fort Gorges or passing working boats in the background of your composition.
3. Portland Head Light & 4. Ram Island Light
Address: 1000 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth
Portland Head Light is probably the most photographed lighthouse in Maine. It is located in Cape Elizabeth Maine but less than 2 miles from Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse. Ram Island Light is located out in the bay behind Portland Head Light.
I find the best compositions to be along the fence line to the right of the lighthouse. At the first corner of the fence, stop and take some compositions with Ram Island light behind Portland Head Light.
Continue down the fence line until it turns to the left. There you can get some great compositions of Portland Head Light with the waves crashing against the rocks in the foreground. Try stacking ND filters or using a variable ND filter for long exposures giving the waves a silky look.
Since you are photographing from the right of the lighthouse, it will be front lit in the morning.
5. Cape Elizabeth Two Lights
GPS: 43.564805, -70.198769
The Cape Elizabeth Two Lights can be seen at the end of Two Lights Road. Only the Eastern Light is visible enough for a good photograph. The Two Lights cannot be easily photographed from Two Lights State Park as has been reported in other blogs. I asked the park ranger and they told be the better bet was to drive down two lights road.
At the end of Two Lights Road, there is a parking area and next to the parking area is a long rock peninsula you can walk out on to photograph the lighthouse from across a narrow strip of water.
I found that the better compositions were further out on the rock peninsula, but be careful the rocks are slippery.
Portrait Compositions can be made with the waves breaking in the foreground and the lighthouse in the background. Try stacking ND filters or using a variable ND filter for long exposures to give the crashing waves a silky look.
After photographing the 5 lighthouses, now your ready for lunch at the Lobster Shack.
Written by Martin Belan