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The Needles lighthouse

The Needles lighthouse
Photo Information
Copyright: Will Perrett (willperrett) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1046 W: 301 N: 2765] (12882)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-05-30
Categories: Nature, Transportation, Architecture
Camera: Canon EOS5D, Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/60 seconds
Map: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Lighthouses I, Lighthouses / Phares, Evening and after [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2014-08-03 2:22
Viewed: 1871
Points: 40
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Needles and the lighthouse, Isle of Wight, from the Needles Channel at dusk, with the light in the red sector, (from the north).

We were sailing back from Weymouth to Gosport on a beautiful but calm evening. I experimented with a shot which I thought was really pushing my luck without a tripod, and on a yacht's deck. But a wide aperture and fastish ISO has allowed me to get away with it, I think.

Set in the western approaches to the Isle of Wight, the Needles form a narrow chalky peninsula which rises from jagged rocks to 120m cliffs. These rocks have always been a hazard to ships making their way up the Solent to Portsmouth and Southampton Water.

In 1781 merchants and shipowners petitioned Trinity House for a lighthouse. They obtained a patent in January 1782 which directed that lights should be:

"kept burning in the nightseason whereby seafaring men and mariners might take notice and avoid danger..... and ships and other vessels of war might safely cruise during the night season in the British Channel."

Negotiations must have failed because it was not until 1785 that Trinity House erected to the designs of R. Jupp, for 30 years surveyor to the East India Company, three lighthouses at the Needles, St. Catherine's Point and Hurst Point. The Needles tower was lighted on the 29th September 1786. As the tower was situated on top of a cliff overhanging Scratchell's Bay, the light which was 144m above sea level was often obscured by sea mists and fogs and was therefore of limited use to mariners.

In 1859 Trinity House planned a new lighthouse to be built on the outermost of the chalk rocks near sea level. It was designed by James Walker and cost £20,000. The circular granite tower has perpendicular sides and is 33.25m high, of uniform diameter with an unevenly stepped base to break the waves and discourage sea sweeping up the tower. The wall varies from 1.07m in thickness at the entrance to 0.61m at the top. Much of the base rock was cut away to form the foundation, and cellars and storehouses were excavated in the chalk.

A helipad was built on top of the Needles Lighthouse in 1987.

The Needles Lighthouse was automated in 1994, and the keepers left the lighthouse for the last time on 8th December.
(info from Trinity House)

To see a larger version, click here.

jester5, tyro, tyro, trevormoffiet, Royaldevon, ktanska, williewhistler, abmdsudi, CLODO, COSTANTINO has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To kasianowak: Horizonwillperrett 1 2014-08-04 05:43
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11756 W: 126 N: 21145] (108879)
  • [2014-08-03 2:31]

Hi Will,an experiment very well done,no doubt! Truly beautiful the light effect of the lighthouse,like a star in the sky,impressive detail too everywhere too,in particular on the boat despite the time of exposure.Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

This has the look of one of those spooky computer games and a very successful experiment it was too. Lovely detail and atmosphere with an interesting note to accompany it.

  • Great 
  • tyro Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 415 N: 6630] (26832)
  • [2014-08-03 4:21]

Hi Will,

This is a very impressive shot indeed - and your little experiment certainly worked like magic!

O.K., there's a touch of lens flare just above and to the left of the light, but that matters not a whit. And we can still see some details of the top of the lighthouse through the bright light too. But what is most impressive is the lighting on those tall cliff faces - that is stunning and it's nicely balanced in your composition by the boat on the right.

An experiment that has worked very well with lovely light and colours, good exposure, fine composition and excellent details and sharpness.


Kind Regards,


P.S. I'm just wondering if you had some other shots from exactly the same viepoint but with the lighthouse not shining directly at you but casting its beam out to sea? That might be quite nice?

Hi Will,
A difficult shot but I am impressed with its clarity without any obvious noise. I especially like the clarity of the boat motoring towards the lighthouse. Not a shot that I could get using my camera.

  • Great 
  • siudzi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2782 W: 23 N: 4581] (34141)
  • [2014-08-03 5:28]

Hi Will,
What a magical night scene this! It looks so unique and beautiful under this special light coming from the lighthouse. Excellent capture! Very well taken.

Best wishes,

Hi Will
this is like a still from a movie, perfect timing to capture the bean of light as if the lighthouse just turned around to stare at you. For it being quite dark the colors are really beautiful too, very nicely done

Hello Will,

It was an experiment that worked very well.
You have created a photograph which captures the drama of the sea at night. There is a little lens flare but, to be honest, I think it adds to the overall effect of the lighthouse beacon.
I really like how well the shapes and textures of the rocks have shown up.

Have a great Sunday,
Bev :-)

Hi Will,
Impressive rocks, almost white stone shows well even in the late blue hour like this. That boat is a good extra detail. Looking at the place we can certainly say that Needles lighthouse is not needless!

  • Great 
  • Nicou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 13813 W: 0 N: 16043] (169294)
  • [2014-08-03 6:45]


Avec cette immense roche quel rendu et découpage de la pierre et ce phare qui laisse échapper sa belle lumière quelle merveille superbe compo.
bravo et amitié

very moody and romantic landscape in dark, almost dark, thanks to the lighthouse. without a tripod and high iso, it is a total success (and i checked the large version too). i tohught the white dot was a dead pixel, though i guess it is a star.

  • Great 
  • berek Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7512 W: 201 N: 7196] (50508)
  • [2014-08-03 20:42]

Hi Will
it is difficult to take a picture of the lighthouse. very balanced and a nice frame and. particularly large rock, remarkable, congratulations,
Have a nice week

Hello Will,
a really nice moody shot with just the lighthouse for illumination yet there isn`t a hint of noise on my screen despite the challenging conditions.
The little boat is nicely placed to balance the composition,a very enjoyable shot.
All the best Les.

Hi Will
I like this very atmospheric image. Your experiment worked very well in my opinion, you're very brave to handhold a shot like this while on a moving boat!
Is it just me or is the horizon not completely straight? If so, it reflects well the feeling of seeing the scene from a boat. :)
Best wishes

Ciao Will, fascinating composition with beautiful cliffs, wonderful colors, excellent exposure and splendid light, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Will,
Very nic capture of this light house in action. Good pov and perfect light management.
TFS and best regards

Hi Will

That's an unusual shot! The light from the lighthouse looks unreal!


Hi Will
An eye pulling night shot showing off an attractive navigational object - the saviour of many a seafarer that never fail to attract shutterbugs the world over! The beaming light is fantastic with just enough clarity on the surrounding scene that you managed to salvage while still leaving the protagonist as the main topic breaking up that big expanse of the dark night sky and water. Excellent timing from single light source well handled without blowing the highlights. The approaching boat is of a great value indeed as good scale reference. It's a cracking good image, sharp in detail - a pict has everything one can hope for given the difficult circumstances. It's a pleasure to view! Fabs

P/S; Tx to your last critique, it's from my original raw file - 2000 by 3000 pixels, resized to 850 by 582 without cropping.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Mics Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 117 W: 0 N: 169] (984)
  • [2014-08-05 1:33]

Hi Will,

A kind of shot that has its own attitude. Well made experiment done by a pro. Love the mood...it has this sober, restrained effect on me. Beautiful!


  • Great 
  • CLODO Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2685 W: 1337 N: 3016] (38587)
  • [2014-08-06 10:31]

Hi Will

congratulations to think of this picture and realise it, from a boat!
I like very much the boat coming back from fishing accompanied by the seagulls, meaning that it was a good day!
hats off!

Hello dear friend
thanks for sharing with us your inspiration
and your useful notes this lighthouse shines
like a star in the middle of the shot
lovely details and wonderful atmosphere
have a nice evening

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