It has been said many times, “luck favors the prepared,” or something to that effect. Such was the case this past weekend. I love getting cool images in the fog. Simple photographs are the most interesting and fog tends to blur or hide the details that make a photograph look too “busy.”
Fog tends to be fleeting, so you kind of plan for one shot in one location. But where? Hearing the forecast for thick fog in the morning, I posted a quick comment on Facebook asking my friends for ideas- where would make a good fog photo? Tom hit the nail on the head… a lighthouse! Cool- but which one? There are three within easy driving distance of my house. But only one of the three is still lit… Sandy Hook, NJ.
Up before dawn, gear ready, I got dressed and headed out the door. Quick stop at the local coffee shop for some “go juice” and a donut and I was on my way. Normally a 20 minute or so drive turned into 45 minutes in the fog- so thick I could not see the car in front of me. And as I got closer to my target, the fog got thicker. Sandy Hook is a peninsula or barrier “spit”… a sandy area about 6 miles long and between 0.1 and 1.0 miles wide. It is known now for its summer beaches at the northern end of the Jersey Shore. It has also been home to Ft. Hancock, an active Army Base in the last century, coastal gun batteries during WWII, nuclear tipped Nike missiles during the cold war, and an active Coast Guard base now… but the most enduring feature of Sandy Hook is its lighthouse.
The Sandy Hook lighthouse is the oldest, active lighthouse in the United States. She still stands proud at the northern tip of the island, protecting mariners entering New York Harbor. She was first lit in 1764 and was briefly under British control during the Revolutionary War. She is a single white structure of 103 feet. She originally contained a 3rd order Fresnel lens… she was automated in 1965 and has a continuous (non-flashing) white light. Her keeper’s quarters are located right next door and is now a visitor’s center mapping and explaining all the lighthouses of the state of New Jersey.
Given all the history, how could it not be part of a great fog photo?… if I could get there. Once on Sandy Hook, the fog was so thick I could barely see the front of my car. The six mile crawl north to my target took most of my trip. But arrive I did…
… and she was spectacular.