There are many lighthouses in the Northeast and this collection ranges from Buffalo to the New Jersey coast. The project began near my Rhode Island home and quickly ran out of subject matter. It expanded first easterly to Massachusetts and as those lights were all photographed, expanded west to Connecticut and New York. The frustrating part of this is encountering more ambient light pollution from the larger cities and great strides have been taken to shoot on the darkest nights to maximize the stars. What you see in these photographs are what is captured by the camera and never are stars Photoshopped into the frame. It would be really easy to add the Milky Way to anyone of the images but that would run counter to my artistic and photojournalistic ethics. Most have been lit by using either dimmed LED stand lights, by a handheld flashlight, or by a combination of both. I call the images "digitally organic", an oxymoron for sure, but true. I do not manipulate any but for minor color and contrast adjustments, minor lens distortion correction, and the removal of distant airplane lights. Many of these are rare captures as few people have ever ventured to photograph these historical structures this way.
A collection of Long Island Sound images will be on display in Connecticut at the New London Maritime Society Museum thru early July. I hope you enjoy these photographs and any can be purchased from me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Of all the New England states, these two have the most lighthouses and the least. There are 63 lights in Maine identified as active, the majority located on distant offshore islands. In New Hampshire there are five, three are on the same lake and aren't classified as aids to navigation. This project began near my Rhode Island home in October 2013 and I've traveled throughout the Northeast capturing the lighthouses and stars on the darkest of dark nights under clear skies during new moon phase. It has been challenging, sometimes dangerous but always rewarding. I've met hundreds of wonderful people along the way whose cooperation and willingness to help has not gone unnoticed. It could not have been done without this assistance and all of the help is greatly appreciated. As of Spring 2017 only a fraction of the Maine lights have been photographed but the hope is to get to them all in the coming months and years. I hope you enjoy the collection and any can be purchased from me directly at email@example.com
The Stars & Lights project began with Rhode Island lighthouses which are close to our home. Once I'd finished with those, it was time to expand to the east with Massachusetts lights as well as Connecticut lights to the west. In the summer of 2014 I found myself on a business trip to Martha's Vineyard and those lighthouses were captured part way through the RI project.
In my real job I work as a freelance network TV cameraman and travel to all kinds of places, often at a moment's notice. On a Monday summer afternoon in July 2014 I got a call from CNN to do a live shot on Martha's Vineyard later that night. I had to drop everything and hustle off to catch a late afternoon ferry. The network first thought they'd need us only for one night but it was later extended an additional day which gave me two nights to explore and shoot. It was the new moon phase and I got really lucky with cloudless nights and cosmic magic. In early fall I returned to the Vineyard specifically to shoot the Cape Poge Light on Chappaquidick. 2015 was a year spent capturing twenty-five more Massachusetts lights. As of Spring 2017 there remain but three Massachusetts lighthouses to shoot, all in or near Boston harbor. I've enjoyed great cooperation from the United States Coast Guard Boston; Woods Hole; Bristol, RI, Southeast Sector Providence; the New Haven division; private landowners and public commissions. All have seen value in this project and appreciate the work and effort put into capturing the Stars and Lights. In December 2017 the works will be on display at the Newton Public Library. I hope you enjoy the collection and any can be purchased from me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
These photographs were taken over the past several years, most in Rhode Island. Please take note that these are what I call "digitally organic" photographs. Coming from an old-school background, I've never embraced Photoshop and the world of post photographic manipulation. Minimal changes have been made to all of those presented here, and the challenge for most of these shots was to create the best image in the field. Many were post-processed in Aperture in which colors were digitally brought forward and no photographs were altered beyond curves, minor cropping, and the use of a plug-in called PTLens to correct for wide angle distortion.
The seed for this project was planted several years ago sitting on our boat off Dutch Island in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay. The lighthouse there had just been renovated and I thought it would be cool to shoot it at night. At that time it was logistically difficult for us to gain access to the island but by summer 2013 we had purchased an inflatable giving greater accessibility and usage with our boat. In October of 2013 the first of this series was taken on a warm fall evening. Since then I've photographed all of the Rhode Island lighthouses on or near the new moon phase for optimum celestial conditions. Temperatures have been as low as 8°F though I much prefer shooting when it's slightly warmer and most of the time I'm working in solitude with only the sound of the shutter interrupting the quiet.
Please take note that these are what I call "digitally organic" photographs. Coming from an old-school background, I've never embraced Photoshop and the world of post photographic manipulation. I closely follow the Associated Press Stylebook as minimal changes have been made to the photographs presented here, and the challenge for most of these shots was to create the best image in the field. Most lighthouses and surrounding property have been lit in the field by either a simple flashlight performing a process known as "light-painting" or by a very dim LED hot-light placed on a stand off camera. All photos have been post-processed using Lightroom 6 software in which tonal changes were digitally brought forward with no photographs being altered beyond curves, minor cropping, and wide angle distortion correction. Occasionally while shooting distant airplanes have flown through the frame and those have been removed. These are not HDR photographs but are true representations of the images that appeared on the sensor.
To order any of these prints please email David Zapatka through the contact tab or directly at email@example.com
Since we moved to North Kingstown in 1993 I've always been fascinated with the innate beauty of Plum Beach Lighthouse. At that time it was a rusting old relic, but in 2003 it was renovated and made all shiny and new. I became involved with the owners, the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse, Inc., and became its president in 2004. Today the lighthouse is present throughout the state with the ubiquitous Rhode Island lighthouse license plate and we continue to raise funds for its upkeep. I've taken thousands of photographs of the lighthouse over the years, here's a sample.