The third time’s the charm, right?

On a recent trip to Great Island Commons in New Castle, NH to photograph sunrise I came across this composition and knew the photo I wanted to make. The barnacle and seaweed covered rocks made a great foreground element, the points of rock on either side lead the way to Whaleback Lighthouse beyond made nice leading lines, the water is given a nice, ghostly appearance and the clouds convey their motion by the 30 second exposure. All I needed was the sun to make it over the horizon in time.  The incoming weather front foiled my plans and the tiny hint of color silhouetting the lighthouse was the only “sunrise” I saw.

From low on the edge of a small, boulder and rock rimmed cove, looking out over the incoming tide towards Whaleback Lighthouse at the mouth of Portsmouth Harbor. Seaweed and barnacles cover the foreground rocks and the water of the incoming tide is given a smooth dreamy look by the long exposure.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Attempt #2, foiled again!

A small yellow section of lobster trap lies half covered in seaweed among the rocks on the shore at Great Island Common in New Castle, NH. A cloud filled sky and Whaleback Lighthouse are seen in the distance

Try, try again.

Attempt #3, I didn’t even try, but since I was there…

The black and white really expressed the mood and feel of the scene that day.

Stormy skies over Whaleback lighthouse in the mouth of Portsmouth Harbor in this black and white image. A lone, leafless maple tree stands on the shore, a Christmas wreath decorated bench at it's base, stands watch over the ocean. Dark and ominous clouds fill the early morning sky in anticipation of the first winter storm.

Sucker for punishment.

Did I mention it was very windy and very cold on all three attempts? Winter on the New Hampshire coast is a great place to photograph, as long as you don’t mind a little wind and cold. Of course I’m going to try again 🙂

File this post under persistence!


42 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

  1. I love them all, but I love the mood of the third one especially. The first thing that came to my mind was what a great cover it would make for a mystery novel! By the way, you missed the mystery photo silly :).

    1. I don’t know that I would call them “rejects,” but neither of the first two are the photos I want either. The lone tree image I am very happy with, which totally prevented my third attempt at a sunrise with the composition in the first photo from being a total loss.

      To be honest though, if I had gotten the sunrise I had hoped for I’d still want to go back and do it better 😀

  2. sometimes the changes are quicker than the plans – and what you get can sometimes be more evocative than what you were looking for. seems to hold true for all three images. thanks for sharing!

    1. Very true. And since I gamble on the weather a lot, knowing that if the conditions are just right I can get dramatic results. Often though, I come home empty handed.

    1. Thank you Valentina. Call me a perfectionist, but it isn’t “perfect” enough for me. Once I get a photograph in my head, I’ll keep trying until I get it. It took me four years to get the photo I wanted of sunrise over the lake I live on. Now that I’ve found the composition in the first photo, I will continue to return, as many times as it takes, until I get the sky I want.

  3. Is that a lighthouse in the distance? I hear they have some of those up your way. We don’t have any in Missouri, just a lot of hills. 🙂 Of course, I’m kidding. Nice pics. I like the B&W also.

    And feel free to drop by and check out my interpretation of Beyond, although it’s nothing as dramatic as your pics. “Peek-a-Boo” may be found at

  4. These are absolutely gorgeous….I am going to have to hop over to Newcastle soon. I often photograph from the bridges in Portsmouth and crossing over to Maine, but have not thought to head that way.

    1. Most definitely! Great Island Common, Ft. Stark, and the Portsmouth Harbor Light on the Coast Guard station are all worth the trip. Well, I can say Great Island Common and Ft. Stark are, I STILL haven’t made it to the Lighthouse, even though I have to drive right by the Coast Guard station on the way to the other two. 🙂

    1. You know it Jeff! And it’s a never ending challenge too. As soon as I get the photo I want, I start thinking of ways to do it even better. It never ends 😉

  5. I’ve learned quickly that photography won’t be any fun if you can’t endure a shoot that doesn’t live up to expectations. Especially with nature. I think, though, you walked away with some good stuff. Especially that B&W…that one is awesome.

    1. Thanks again Brandon. You are so very right. If you can’t deal with rejection, nature-wildlife-landscape photography is definitely not for you 🙂

      I do think these came out pretty good if Ido say so myself, but there’s always just that brief moment of disappointment when I don’t get what I’m hoping for that can color my perception of the photos I did get. It’s that “disappointment” that keeps the fire burning, and keeps me wanting to go back until I do get what I want.

  6. I love the detail of the barnacles and seaweed on the rocks. How the fog rolls into the crevices and softens the edges. I think I see what you mean by the color of the sky. If there was just a bit more orange/gold to balance the color of the barnacles…that would be magic. Is that what you’re imagining?

  7. I really like the first shot. The colors and the composition are beautiful, who cares if the sun didn’t show up. Still, persistence is basically the only way to get “that” shot we’re always looking for, so better luck next time!

    1. Thanks Belen. You know, even if it had been exactly what I was hoping for that morning, as soon as I was done editing the photo I’d be thinking of how I can make it better next time. 😀

Comments and thoughtful critiques are always welcome.

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