Pigeon Point Anniversary Lighting

Once a year, Pigeon Point Lighthouse turns off the fake lighthouse light (an airplane beacon) and turns on the real Fresnel lens for two hours to celebrate the anniversary of the original lighting over 140 years ago.


For the first five minutes, they hold the lens stationary so that all the photographers "can take their digital masterpieces before processing them on the computer in PhotoShop" (so said the announcer). After the first five minutes, they let the lens rotate at its normal speed.


This is exactly what it looked like during the first five minutes. No star-effect filter, and no PhotoShop tricks. I never realized that a real lighthouse light was actually a collection of multiple beams. This was necessary because they couldn't make the huge lenses rotate very fast with the old machinery.


Despite my heroic efforts to bracket adequately within the five minute window, this shot was underexposed, so it's a bit grainy.


For suggestions about how to photograph Pigeon Point, take a look at the California page of the Free Photo Guide website.

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Taken on November 18, 2006