A photography journey offered me and two of my photo amigos a weekend visit to Bakers Island in Salem MA. It was the perfect opportunity to unplug and photograph the beautiful tranquil island. I was intrigued by the history and prominence of the historic lighthouse. The lone round stone tower at one time stood adjacent to a second stone octagonal tower. The pair of lighthouses were dubbed Ma & Pa. Today Pa stands alone warning sea travelers of the dangerous coast and hidden shoals.

Excitement stirred among the photography trio as the sun began to surrender to the horizon’s magnetic force. So with camera and tripod in hand we set out to capture its descent as it vanished from sight leaving in its wake a sky of breathtaking color. The last of the sun’s rays illuminated the silent stone structure, revealing its form in the darkening sky. The vanishing sun left behind an unobtrusive starry sky and an invitation to photograph the light station capturing its beacon of light against the darkness.

The night sky allowed us the opportunity to photograph the lighthouse using pen lights giving it separation from the evening’s darkness.

With no tv or computers to steal our evening joy, we spread blankets out on the lawn to lay back and gaze at the stars. Denise spotted the Milky Way and captured its presence in the sky with her camera.

Exploring the island in the daytime the next day was just as adventurous. The hiking trails offered us the opportunity to witness nesting seagulls, some already introducing us to their offspring. The seagulls’ shrieking voices and pooping were their only defenses against marauders. So we kept our distance while photographing.

A 55′ hike up the circular staircase to the optic section of the lighthouse led us to a panoramic view of the rocky coast. This viewpoint helped us gain an appreciation of the light station’s job of warning vessels of the dangerous passage.

Our weekend would not have complete without getting up to witness the sunrise over the ocean. At 5:00 A.M. I trekked out to welcome the sunrise and was mesmerized as I witnessed the night sky transform into a rainbow of color as the sun welcomed the new day.

I am grateful for the chance to visit Bakers Island Light Station, maintained by Essex National Heritage. Thanks to our kind and knowledgeable innkeepers, Tara and Brian for sharing their love of the island with visitors.


Karen Casey Ward

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