St John's Lighthouse

St John’s Point Lighthouse, County Down

4 mins read

I visit St John’s Point Lighthouse and Tyrella beach regularly. The lighthouse is a perfect location for long exposure photography but getting the perfect conditions is a challenge.

On this occassion I started off the light was perfect but when I arrived the clouds parted to create probably the brightest day of the year to date. You could literally see a line in the sky between the thunder clouds of winter and the bright sun of summer.

St John's Point Lighthouse

The rocks around St John’s Point Lighthouse are sharp and the terrain is rough so a tripod fitted with a ball head is essential. The location can be busy with visitors and even wedding photographers.

It is a matter of finding a vantage point that will stay clear for more than 60 seconds and isn’t going to be engulfed by the incoming tide.

St John's Lighthouse panorama

The sky was full of dense clouds following a heavy storm. Although this meant rapidly changing light levels it also offered the advantage of a very dramatic skyline.

I really wanted to pack as much detail into the shot, create a long exposure but at the same time keep the clouds as motionless as possible. For this I needed slow cloud movement, fast tide movement and a balance of exposure time and aperture.

St John's Lighthouse

You can read more about how to capture long exposure images in this long exposure guide. I am not sure I really achieved what I had set out with this shot but it really was the margin between the storm clouds and blazing sun.

There is a little bit more detail and clarity full size than exists in these cropped versions. Seven ways to improve your long exposure photography.

About St John’s Point Lighthouse

St John’s Point Lighthouse was originally commissioned in 1844 to the design of George Halpin the height of the tower was tripled in 1893. Until 1954 the tower was painted white with black bands.

At John's Lighthouse at night

However in 1954 the tower was repainted in its present distinctive black / yellow colour scheme.

he lighthouse was formerly powered by whale oil, coal gas and and in 1981 it was converted to electricity. The Lighthouse is now completely automated and thus no longer manned.

The road to the lighthouse

More notably the old St John’s Point church which dates to the 10 or 11th century lies along a near by lane way. 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south-south-west of Killough, near the south-east tip of the Lecale peninsula on the road to St John’s Point lighthouse.

The Department of the Environment describes the remains :

This small church, of the 10th or 11th century, marks the site of an early establishment associated with Eoan (John) son of Cairland, and in medieval times it was a chapel. It is an excellent example of a small, pre-Romanesque church with a lintelled west door with sloping jambs, antae to east and west and a south window.

ST John's Lighthouse from the air.
created by dji camera

This stone church was almost certainly preceded by a wooden church. Small-scale excavation in 1978 discovered burials under the north wall but no sign of the claimed radial arrangement of graves around the church. At the roadside, outside the enclosed area, lies a holy well and an elongated hollowed stone, probably a form of grindstone.

Links:

Hands on with the X100s
Long Exposure Photography
St John’s Point Drone Footage

David

David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.

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