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Photographing Lighthouses

A Photographic Art Collection

What is it about Lighthouses that touches us so very differently from any other type of building?

Is it the romantic sense of loneliness? But if that was so why do those that are not isolated still have a magic about them?

As an ongoing Photographic Art collection Chris Page has brought together his photographs of these amazing structure’s, as a ongoing project. Here is just one location that Chris talks about how he went about capturing the beautiful images.

Photographing Beachy Head

I realised that I had to plan my forthcoming photographic shoot to Beachy Head like a military campaign, all had to be spot on to get the most out of the difficult location in a short window of time. Weather, Tides, Access Routes, Travel and Walking Times all had to be taken into account to capture the best of the early morning light.

I started my car journey at 3.00am to arrive on the South Downs cliff tops by five and still in the dark. With the small beam of light from my head torch I picked my way down the steep narrow path to Cow Gap at the base of the cliffs and foreshore. Once on the beach I was presented with a mile long walk in the dark over large rocks and boulders on a receding tide towards the lighthouse.

With 10kg of camera equipment strapped to my back and a tripod used as a walking stick, slip sliding my way for a more than an hour towards the distant blinking light. Rock falls are a constant treat from the 530ft high white chalk cliffs, but staying away from its base was not always an option in finding a route through between them and the sea.

By 6.30am I had reached my goal with the light from the rising sun rapidly now starting to appear on the horizon. With a quick camera set-up and tripod perched on a high chalk rock fall I composed my first shot, and then waited, waited for the magic of the light to arrive.

For the next hour I remand fixed in my concentration of what was before me. Moving only to play with the long exposures settings and tweaking the camera position as the clouds, sea and light constantly changed. There is great pleasure in being alone in such a place, with only the sound of the wind and sea to fill the space between your ears, along with the occasional barking of seals looking for breakfast. By 7.30 morning had fully arrived and time to move on.

It was now a retrace back to my starting point, but this time photographing viewpoints I had not seen on my original track in the dark. Also with the tide rushing out there was now lots of extra space away from the base of the cliffs to walk over the glinting pools on flatted weather sea rock. Finally arriving back at Cow Gap all that now remained was the hike back up the steep cliff path. By 10 o’clock I arrived back at the car; huffing, puffing and dripping in sweat, but feeling pretty chuffed that the mission I set myself was accomplished!

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