Have you ever been to a location you just couldn’t bring yourself to photograph because every nut and their brother with a camera has photographed it? Well, the Cape Neddick, “Nubble,” Light in Maine is that location for me.
I first came to know of Nubble Light back in the 80’s when I was learning to SCUBA dive. The location is popular with dive instructors due to it’s ease of entry and exit from the water, and the cove is well protected from the often rough sea. In fact, if conditions prohibited safe diving anywhere else, it was always “off to Nubble” if we just had to get wet.
Anyway, back above the waves, and on to the photography part of this post. My biggest reason for not wanting to photograph Nubble Light stems from a desire to be different, to not photograph the same things in the same way everyone else does. And part of the reason that I have resisted the urge to photograph Nubble Light is the limited number of good shooting angles, I would call it a somewhat “compositionally challenged,” location. If you want a view that doesn’t show the utility lines that go to the island the lighthouse sits on, and I don’t want the lines in my image, you only have one basic view of the Light. Yes, you can get creative with some of the large blocks of granite that line the shore, get down low to the water, a little left, a little right, but the view of the Light itself is pretty much the same. I have however seen some extraordinary photographs of the lighthouse, but all the ones that really WOWed! me, did so because of the sky in the photograph. A dramatic sky, such as the tail end of a storm, lit by the setting sun, will certainly make for an impressive image.
I have decided that just because everyone else does it, is not a reason for me not to try to create my own image of Nubble Light, or any other subject or location for that matter. With that goal in mind, I have paid very close attention to the weather lately. And this past Sunday I thought I had it. Looking out over the Long Sands stretch of York Beach as I approached the Light, there was the cloud bank I was looking for. I could “see” how it was going to light up with the rays of the setting sun, the perfect backdrop for my lighthouse image. Unfortunately, as I arrived at the Light it was obvious the clouds were too far out to sea, and therefore too far below the lighthouse to give me the dramatic sky I was hoping for. I was able to capture a nicely colored, pastel pink and blue sky that I feel makes a nice image.
I will go back, and recommend others do the same. Not photographing your “Nubble Light,” just because everyone else has, is never a good reason not to photograph a location you enjoy. It took me a while to come to this realization, I hope others aren’t as slow a learner as I was. I will never not photograph something or somewhere I enjoy, and will always do my best to make it my own when I do.