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.
In December 2017, the first book "Stars and Lights: Darkest of Dark Nights" was released to critical acclaim, and it has won numerous national and international book awards. The Stars & Lights Project has been adopted by the United States Lighthouse Society, and has been named me as an Ambassador for the organization. We hope to continue the night photography on the national level, and soon the entire collection will be available through the USLHS website.
I hope you enjoy these photographs and any can be purchased from me directly at [email protected]