Thank You Nubble

I owe a debt of gratitude to Nubble Light. It was here that I took the photo that propelled my photography career forward. I remember it well: it was a Monday evening in December and fresh snow had fallen along the coast of Maine. The forecast called for partly cloudy skies and a near-full moon. And Christmas lights adorned the lighthouse structures, as they do every year between Thanksgiving and New Year.

I had photographed the lighthouse with its Christmas decorations several times in prior years with varying degrees of success. But after seeing the fresh snow, I decided to risk the one-hour drive from my home for a better photo. It was a bitter cold evening, so I dressed in full winter garb, complete with snow pants and a balaclava. My eyes were the only body parts exposed to the elements.

Holiday Moon
Holiday Moon

Nubble Light is a famous American icon, so plenty of visitors come here at dusk to admire the Christmas lights. But the majority of folks are usually gone within 30 minutes after sunset. So, there were only a few of us diehards left when I shifted over to the far end of the shore rocks for a better angle of the moon.

Clouds and Stars
Clouds and Stars

I took the last photo an hour after sunset. I set up the camera and waited for the moon to reach a good height as it passed behind backlit clouds. The next morning, I posted that photo from the prior evening on Facebook, Within a few hours, it had been shared thousands of times: it was a game changer for my photography.

Morning Fog at High Tide
Morning Fog at High Tide

Within days of posting the photo, the Town of York arranged to purchase my photos in bulk for their expanded Nubble Light Gift Shop. I’ve since sold hundreds of prints of that December photo through various channels, and have even licensed the image to National Geographic for the cover of a greeting card. In 2014, it was also declared “most popular photo of the year” on social media site, 500px. In addition, the photo is included in a new history book on American lighthouses by best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin, entitled “Brilliant Beacons”. And Tim Janis, the American composer and producer with 10 Billboard charting CDs, has recently licensed that same image (along with many others) to appear in an upcoming music video.

Milky Way over Nubble
Milky Way over Nubble

Over the years, I’ve photographed Nubble Light at various times of day and night. But that photo taken in December 2013 remains my most popular. So, thank you for the big favor, Nubble Light!

7 thoughts on “Thank You Nubble”

  1. Michael,
    ALL these photos of Nubble merit a single word, “inspired.” My preferences lean toward the more natural, so, though awed by the December photo, ‘Morning Fog at High Tide inspires me. Wonderful post. Your relating weather conditions, time of day or evening and personal thoughts is appreciated, too.

  2. Congratulations to you and that great eye of yours. I have to ask, how much Photoshop were done to these great photos?

    Thank you for such inspiration.

    1. Joe, while some post-processing is always required for RAW files, there wasn’t a whole lot required for most of those photos. The only photo that required more effort to process was the fog at high tide photo, simply because the light ranged from shadows to bright sun. Otherwise, very moderate processing was involved. The other change I should mention is that I removed the power lines on the left side of the lighthouse because I find them distracting and they play no role in the subject.

  3. Well deserved I say, not only for technical merit, but for fortitude and commitment to your art. I would be very proud of any of these shots, but I too am partial to the morning fog version.Kudos Mike. You have what it takes.

  4. As always…love seeing through your lense! A gifted eye! Looking forward to future back stories of your work.

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