Larry Treadwell  

Hillsbrough Lighthouse by Larry Treadwell

March 2023 - Hillsbrough Lighthouse

About the Image(s)

D850, 24-70mm, ISO 64, f20, 58 seconds, 6 stop ND filter

Whenever we have heavy overnight rains with clearing skies forecast for the morning one of my favorite semi local locations for sunrise images is the Hillsbrough Lighthouse located about a 40 minute drive from my home. I have learned over the years the lighthouse will have the best lighting conditions in either January or February which happens to be during our dry season. If I’m lucky I might get 2-3 mornings during those two months when conditions will be to my liking. On location I chose this particular spot to set up my tripod because if I got up on the rocks the channel of the inlet becomes a very wide expanse of water and would dominate the image. Thus by getting down at knee level and hiding behind the foreground rocks I was able to lift the relative position of the rocks in the frame and thereby reduce the amount of water visible in the image while still having the coral boulders serve as a useful foreground. Since the sky was showing so much yellow and the rising sun was tinting the coral rocks with some golden hues I decided to make the scene look as peaceful as possible. This led to my choice of a long exposure. I also noticed that the clouds were getting blown by a stiff breeze so I decided to add a 6 stop ND filter to obtain an even longer exposure time and allow the racing clouds to become even more blurred. I ended up with a 1 minute exposure.

9 comments posted

Michael Jack   Michael Jack
I really like the compositional elements in this image. The rocks in the foreground add interest and a sense of place, the placement of the lighthouse effectively lets the eye see it is a point out to the water, the long exposure allows the eye to go to the sharp lighthouse since other parts of the image are smoothed, the crop of the sky keeps the top of the image darker to keep my eye in the image, the color palette gives a sense of early morning and warmth. Nicely done   Posted: 03/03/2023 10:51:13
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thanks Michael. This was a very unusal morning with the yellow/orange sky and racing clouds. As you suggest the long exposure does place focus on the sharp lighthouse as I intended. I did remove a fair amount of sky, having more just seemed unnecessary.   Posted: 03/05/2023 11:14:53

Adi Ben-Senior   Adi Ben-Senior
Larry, while the picture is good I have a few thoughts:
1. my personal taste - too much yellow
2. ND6 during the day is almost but not enough. ND10
3. The rock in the foreground - is bright and is too dominant. To the extension it competes with the lighthouse.   Posted: 03/04/2023 18:53:31

Diane Ferdig   Diane Ferdig
It's a lovely image that does give a peaceful feeling. Is this how you really saw the scene? I know we sometimes edit to give a certain feeling or appearance. It looks a bit brown to me taking away the blue of the water.…it looks like a fine art image. If I were editing I'd choose to darken the light foreground rocks just a touch as they stop my eye just a bit. But that's just me being picky because we're supposed to critique. ;)   Posted: 03/07/2023 12:55:23
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thanks Diane
First, yes this the color of the scene 9I've never seen this much yellow, but it was there. There was a lot of surface sorta of white water and the water was not blue. I did bring down the foreground rocks. Very low angle of the rising some this time of year. I do not like the rocks as bright as they are, but they were a lot brighter.

Please be as picky as you like. Because of the rocks I would never enter this in anything.   Posted: 03/07/2023 14:22:16
Diane Ferdig   Diane Ferdig
Thank you for your reply. Great learning.   Posted: 03/07/2023 16:29:15

Bill Peake   Bill Peake
That's a really interesting image, Larry. I agree that the foreground rocks are probably too bright. The sky and clouds are quite striking and it makes me wonder what a faster exposure would look like. The yellow cast does not really bother me, I assume it is the natural lighting.   Posted: 03/18/2023 13:12:06
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thanks Bill
Yes that is the color that was there that morning. Quite unusual. The long exposure really made the clouds a lot softer. I know the fore3ground rocks were bright, they were a whole lot brighter. Had so me problems making them darker without turning them into gray. Maybe next time. :-)   Posted: 03/18/2023 14:03:26

Barbara Gore   Barbara Gore
Nicely composed image with thought given the background and perspective. I like the rocks as the foreground but my eye seems to sit at the rocks for a while keeping me from directing my eye into the frame. The overly bright and large rocks seem to take attention away from the lighthouse which I assume is the subject. The image is in sharp focus and I think the 6 stop ND was sufficient to get the cloud blurring. The yellow tones are just mother nature.   Posted: 03/21/2023 13:47:58


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