A Magical Sunset

Early last week, I saw a weather report that indicated favorable conditions for possible sighting of the Aurora Borealis, AKA the northern lights. This has been a bucket list item for me as a photographer. Since my schedule was open for Wednesday night, the night predicted to be the best chance to see them, I jumped at the chance and made my way to Acadia National Park with Kristen Wilkinson Photography. While I enjoy shooting alone, I find it helpful to have a partner when shooting at night, just in case. So we made our way down east and planned to arrive in time to photograph sunset as well, because hey, we were going to be in Acadia!

We'd decided to head to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse for sunset, as Kristen had never photographed there and I'd never gotten a sunset there with a cloud filled sky, or with the sunset in the image. In the summer, the sun sets behind the lighthouse, and I'd never been there in the offseason.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is a difficult lighthouse to photograph in the best of conditions. It sits perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay. Because of this perch, the only way to see the front of it is to scramble out on the rocks that jut out from the main cliff. Normally, the waters are calm and it's not too difficult to get out there, except in the summer months when you find yourself fighting with other photographers and tourists for a spot. On this day, the winds were whipping at about 20mph, and with the tide coming in, the waves were crashing hard against the rocks and the spray was everywhere. It was going to be tough to keep the gear dry!

We ventured down to the rocks and watched for a moment to see where the waves were crashing, to ensure we didn't pick a spot where we'd get soaked. I quickly found where I wanted to be and began setting up. The rocks here are precarious. I know of at least one story of a photographer winding up in the water after slipping off the rocks. On most days, when the water is calm, other than wet clothes and wounded pride, it's not that big a deal. On this day, with the waters churning angrily, slipping could be fatal. In the summers here, photographers are crowded all over the rocks. Thankfully, on this evening, Kristen and I were alone on the rocks with lots of room to move.

The sun was behind a cloud at this point, so the light was very even, but we could tell when the sun dipped lower in the sky, it might create some nice color, or at least some soft, warm light to bath the front of the lighthouse. The waves were creating some dramatic splashes against the rocks, so it was just a matter of waiting for the sun to be in the right spot. Once it did... well, you can see the results above. Easily the best images I've ever made of this lighthouse. I hope you enjoy them!