Seeking the light

We are all seeking beauty, and many of us seek to capture beauty in a photo’s frame, to understand, to remember. Our photos become our memories. And when there are no photos to be our memories, we may make do with symbols.

It was a busy day at Split Rock Lighthouse last week for the annual Fitzgerald memorial ceremony. I attended the somber gathering at the lighthouse itself. Hearing the bells and the names brought that tragedy home.

Right after the ceremony, I booked down the hill not only to try my own camera out on this, but also to see the scene.

Perhaps 100 photographers lined the shoreline west of the lighthouse, ready for their once-a-year chance to shoot the North Shore landmark with its lights on. This year had a little extra challenge for the lenses and f-stops: a waxing, near full moon up above the lighthouse.

In the low light, a tripod was critical. I didn’t have a tripod. But I got a shot or two by resting the camera on a beach rock. As the Fresnel lens spun slowly around and the light turned toward me, I gently pressed the shutter release and held my breath for an exposure of at least a second.

In these beautiful places, I leave the beautiful photography to those people who know what they’re doing (like they bring tripods, for example). These people with tripods are honoring the mariners of the Fitz too, just like the people at the bell-ringing ceremony. The lighthouse represents the hope for the sailors. Photographers and sailors’ souls are all seeking the light.


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