In Southern New Jersey is a long barrier beach with thousands of summer and year round homes. At the mouth of an inlet to Barnegat Bay is this historic lighthouse first established in 1835 and is often referred to as “Old Barney”. In 1859 a new lighthouse was built 900 feet further inland as erosion from relentless storms threatened the original tower. There are plenty of both day and night photographs circulating of Old Barney as it’s one of the state’s most popular destinations, but in their efforts to illuminate the lighthouse, the state parks department placed about a dozen high-intensity lights. In order to shoot stars, these lights would be too bright for the long exposure and negotiations were initiated to gain control. It was a six-week permitting process getting proper access to the lighthouse and it came together as the book deadline was fast approaching. The lousy weather pattern of 2017’s summer suddenly changed to hazy, hot and humid. On an extremely hot July day while driving the parkway south to Old Barney the highway temperature was exactly 100°. I arrived in late afternoon and met with the parks people to sign paperwork for the permit. It allowed shooting only after the park was to close at 10pm, perfect timing as twilight was to subside. As the time approached, the thick air remained with partly to mostly cloudy skies. The permit allowed for shooting only on this night and I had to take whatever the skies had to offer. A night watchman was on duty to extinguish the bright lights and I replaced them with a dimmed LED placed about two hundred feet away. Working alone near the water, I donned the normal protective gear including the fishing waders, helmet and PFD, and in the heat was quickly drenched in sweat. Clouds filtered in and out but stars were few because of ambient lights from the highly populated neighborhoods of the barrier island. As the night progressed, we approached dew point and the issue of lens fogging started cropping up. As with many of the lighthouse shoots, this one brought its own challenges and in the end produced some nice images.
Barnegat Light Township, New Jersey July 20, 2017 10:30pm 85° calm wind
Nikon D4, 14mm lens ISO 200 f2.8 20secs