Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lessons learned at Split Rock

Those that know me well would tell you that I'm not a landscape photographer.  They would also probably tell you that I continue to try to be one, even though they can't figure why since it's not the way I see the world.  My  husband would tell you that I already have hundreds of photos of Split Rock lighthouse.  He would also probably tell you that I continue to take lots of photos every time I am there even though he can't figure out why.  This year was the 100th anniversary of the Split Rock Lighthouse and as part of the celebration the beacon was lit on the first Friday of every month from May through November.  The lighthouse was retired in 1969 and is usually lit only on November 10th of each year in commemoration of the anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  I've never gotten a decent shot of the lighthouse at one of the November lightings, but what I do have is a lot of bad photos and a lot of excuses to go with them.  This summer we decided that we would go as a family for the August lighting.  My family being the supportive souls that they are, agreed to arrive at the lighthouse in plenty of time for me to get a prime spot down on the rock beach before it was full of other, more talented photographers.  The beacon was to be lit at 8:30pm.  We claimed our spot on a log on the beach at 2:30pm and spent the next 6 hours sitting on the log, fighting off biting flies, chatting with other crazy folks that had supportive families that agreed to come early and pondering life in general.  By the time the long awaited (6 hours) moment was to arrive, the beach was full of photographers, about 30, all standing tripod to tripod on the beach.  You could barely hear the oohs and aahs over the sound of shutters being tripped.  I happily clicked away for about 10 frames and then got bored with the perspective and was ready for something else.  However, there was no place to turn that wasn't already occupied by another person.  My lesson was that by making the choice to get there early and firmly stake my claim that I had essentially locked myself into a single perspective that could only be varied by a change in orientation (vertical or horizontal) or by a zoom of my lens.  Changing to a wide angle lens wasn't an option because there were lots of folks in front of me that appeared awkwardly in the image when I gave it a try.  I wondered in how many other facets of my life I had also limited my perspective by pre-visualizing a certain thing and then not being willing or open to changing it when another path would have given me more options.  A pretty wordy post I know and maybe not so much a lesson for you in there, but 6 hours on a log in the August heat can make you evaluate a few things - even after the fact.  By the way, I'm still not a landscape photographer...


  1. Great shot...

    I declare an end to disempowering conversations with yourself! :)

  2. Jane--
    Thats a great picture for someone whose not a landscape photographer
    Cindy Zwart

  3. Anthony, I believe that is one reason we love Jane! At least I do! Also your right about this being a great shot!

  4. Sorry to burst your bubble dear, but landscape photographers are a dime a dozen. Just look at any rack of postcards in gift shop. Your talent is far more rare and precious. OWN IT. Your insight is very true and something I have always embraced, hence my utter lack of career planning back when I had a career.

  5. JANE, Great shot of the lighthouse. While you might have wanted another perspective this one is great. I LOVE IT! I haven't seen all of your Spilt Rock photos but I've liked each one that I've seen.

    Mindy Dodge

  6. Such a wonderful photograph, there is something so powerful about the seascape and everything lighthouses represent.