Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

While in Maine, I spent several days in Southwest Harbor, which is only a few miles from Bass Harbor, and the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. I can’t say this wasn’t one of the main reasons I wanted to visit this part of Maine. In fact, in my mind, this was the primary reason I chose to stay in the area for several days. I visited the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse no less than 4 times while in Southwest Harbor. Only one of the times was the parking log not completely full. If you visit, be aware that this is a very popular lighthouse, for good reason. It’s on a very beautiful, and rocky piece of coastline. I found the small parking lot (it only holds about 20 cars) to actually be a benefit, since it seems to cause the number of people climbing about on the rocks to be rather low.

When you arrive at the lighthouse and find a parking spot, you will find the trail down to the ocean, and follow it for not too long of a hike (including two flights of wooden steps) to the rocky coastline below the lighthouse. I was shooting with my RB67, and another photographer I met on a very crowded day reminded me that the RB was a studio camera – like I didn’t know what I was carrying down the steps and over the rocks. I actually think I carried my tripod, and RB over the rocks very well for my age – like I was a 40 year old again! It was fun, and several people asked about what I was doing, or what kind of camera I had.

Depending upon the tide, you may or may not be able to get down far enough to get a good, or even a partial front view of the lighthouse. At high tide, you can only view the lighthouse from the side, and sometimes through trees.

View at medium high tide, when you’re not able to go far enough down onto the lower rocks.

The other thing that’s interesting about this lighthouse, and most of the coast of Maine, it that the weather can change quickly and continuously throughout the day. While I was down at the lighthouse one morning the fog started getting thicker, and started coming up to the lighthouse. It made a really interesting view of the same lighthouse that a few minutes earlier looked way different.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse from a slightly lower viewpoint, with fog rolling in to create a darker, softer image. I really like this view with fog.

It was really fun for me to come back to the same spot, day after day, to see how the same subject looked different each day. My photos above were shot with my RB67, and my 50mm lens, on Kodak Portra 160 film.

I would definitely visit again, and I would recommend visiting and experiencing the coastal part of Maine that’s very beautiful. There’s several islands in this area, and I think that’s one of the things that influences the way the weather changes, and I think this lighthouse is popular because it is accessible. I was disappointed when visiting another lighthouse that discouraged walking down on the rocks. I suppose they have to do this in places where people could get hurt climbing around on the rocks. I’m glad we still have access to the rocky coastline at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse!