I've been chasing storm waves from hurricane Igor for four days. Friday was too early, but on Monday the surf warnings were up along the Maine coast. I had already hit Schoodic Point and gotten wave pictures, but I really wanted something special. So I decided to drive three hours down to Bristol to get storm waves with Pemaquid Point Light.
I had previsualized Pemaquid in sunset light, with monster tsunami waves overtopping the rocks and sparkling in the alpenglow. What an imagination! Trouble is, to get the waves with the lighthouse, you have to be down in the rocks, a very dangerous place. If I were young and agile, I'd be there. but I've experienced rogue waves which come out of nowhere and crash 100 feet further upshore than any previous wave. Luckily, I just got soaked. But a woman had been swept out to sea that morning, so I wasn't going down there.
I asked the ranger if there were other vantage points which gave a good view of the surf, and she directed me to the loop road. The road overlooks a small cove topped by the light station. So I wandered around the tower shooting the standard views for a while, then headed down to the loop road just before sunset.
The view was uninspiring, and I almost returned to the park. But something told me that this place might be different later.
I stayed on the loop road, had a snack, called home, and watched the sun sink below the horizon of neighborhood homes and backyard trees. The whole coast was washed with waves turning gold in the late light. Neighbors walked down to the rocks with wine and cheese. NPR was playing Led Zeppelin clips and the waves were crashing and life was feeling very good.
The lighthouse looks so much better from the rocks, but this quickly became more about the light and the water than the lighthouse itself. And the emotional experience, which was topping the photographic experience so far.
Then the magic happened. I zoomed out and realized that there was more to this scene than the mid-range composition I had been focusing on. On the right, the full moon was up and glistening on the water. On the horizon was Monhegan Island, with another lighthouse. I wish you could see this blown up really large. But it's not bad here. A lighthouse, and moonlight, and waves. Worth the three-hour drive home. I feel serene just looking at it now.