Milky Way at Bodie Island Lighthouse (NC, 2017; 4:39 EDT)
March 28-30, 2017, to North Carolina’s Outer Banks trip with Clyde Cornett. Cloudy skies first evening didn’t allow much of a sunset, but we had otherwise nice conditions at Bodie Island Lighthouse in late afternoon, and then at Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse (replica) in Manteo. The next morning we had a very foggy “sunrise” session at Bodie Island Light, but the second morning (starting about 4 a.m.) we had clear skies for photographing the Milky Way. Bodie Island Light is the third lighthouse tower here. First tower (1848) had poor foundation due to US Treasury skimping and soon needed replacement; second tower (1859) was blown up by Confederate troops during Civil War to keep it from aiding Union Navy; and current lighthouse (built 1870-72) is brick tower with cast iron lantern room and 1st-order Fresnel lens. Sources differ on some points, such as year light was automated (1931 vs. 1954) and height of lighthouse (150, 156, 163, and 165 ft); per http://www.outer-banks.com/lights/nbodie.cfm, it is 150 feet to top of tower, 165 feet to top of lantern room, and 156 feet from ground to focal plane. Bodie Island Light is still an active aid to navigation, but was transferred from Coast Guard to National Park Service in 2000; 1893 double keepers' house is now a visitor center. Bodie Island Light Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 (03000607). The beacon pattern, which repeats every 30 seconds, is 2.5 seconds on, 2.5 seconds off, 2.5 seconds on, then 22.5 seconds off. Exposing for 13-15 seconds, it was possible to capture a dark lantern room, but I generally started exposure during the 2.5 seconds between the flashes, which captured very bright light in the lantern room; beginning exposure late in the second flash, however, provided a soft orange glow in the lantern room. Besides being a horizontal shot, this is also the first of the Milky Way images I shot that I kept; also, it is from a different perspective -- shot from the back of the keepers' house (looking ENE), while other shots were from the boardwalk (looking SE).