Buffalo Main, NY
As the first phase of the Stars and Lights project was nearing its end a trip to western New York State was in order to collect several lights along the Great Lakes. I'd shot four in one night with the hope of gathering three more on the second. However, some faulty research led me to believe one still to be lit, and the Buffalo South light was scrapped. Additionally, a bed and breakfast lighthouse on Lake Erie had closed for the season and access to the property wasn't granted. This left the Buffalo Main Lighthouse near downtown as the target. It's out of character for me to be without much advance research of a subject yet I began making phone calls in an effort to get this one done before heading east for home. I started with the local Coast Guard Station in Buffalo and the officer in charge was simply great. He enthusiastically offered his help and, despite it being a Sunday when life on the water is much busier, he started making calls on my behalf. I also tracked down a Buffalo sailing instructor and both directed the efforts to the president of the lighthouse who then called and offered his help. After sunset, he and his wife unlocked the gates to the lighthouse park where the tower sits at the harbor entrance. It was undergoing walkway repairs and was not open to the public. They also understood getting the importance of getting their lighthouse photo into the collection. It's fifteen hundred feet from the entrance to the light but a golf cart saved us the long walk. While they've down a great job rehabbing the property, at night it's illuminated by six large and bright LED floodlights. It looks striking from far away, but the intensity of the lights would ruin any chance of exposing for the stars. I place black wrapping material around five of the fixtures but a sixth was on the other side of a tall chainlink fence and on Coast Guard Station Buffalo property. I would have to shoot around this inaccessible light. I had about an hour on the grounds to get all the angles and high, thin clouds had streamed overhead, making stars difficult to see. Fortunately a few briefly popped out despite the direct bright lights from sources all around.
Buffalo, New York September 17, 2017 10:00 p.m., 70° calm wind
Nikon D4, 14mm lens, ISO 640, f2.8, 6 secs