89 Pemaquid-point-lighthouse-maine

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Maine Lighthouse & Milky Way Photography

Maine Lighthouses, Milky Way & Night Photography 

We traveled this route over several days. First of all, you will want to be sure to check out our Dark Sky Resources page to determine the ideal conditions for milky way viewing before planning your trip.

We have picked dark sky locations for you, but you will have to check the new moon/moonrise charts and be sure to go in a suitable month with a clear weather forecast to photograph the milky way. We suggest you make this trip during the milky way week of the month from May through October when it is visible.  It was a beautiful stretch of perfect weather during the week of meteor showers in August 2015. As a result, you will see many meteors in our images.

Maine Lighthouse & Milky Way Photography

The Lighthouse State

With 65 historical lighthouses still existing along the 5,000 miles of coastline, Maine is well known as the Lighthouse State. Many of Maine’s lighthouses are not accessible since you must take a boat tour to see them for the best images. You can get some good shots with zoom lenses from the mainland at some locations, but you need to be at a decent distance to do good nighttime milky way photography, so not all lighthouses are ideal. Here are our favorites where you can stand next to the lighthouse and get your images.

Portland Head Lighthouse

The oldest lighthouse in Maine is located inside Fort Williams – 1000 Shore Road, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107 –  Welcoming nearly a million visitors a year. It is not a location we stopped at for an extended visit. We found this lighthouse along our trail, but unfortunately, this park closes at dusk, so don’t plan on doing any lighthouse milky way photography here.

Portland Head Lighthouse is a good stopping point along the trail to get some daytime lighthouse images. There is a food truck with a very long line, a hike along the coastline, and a few other things to photograph. It is not an ideal location with our high standards. Unfortunately, we include it only as a place to get a few photos, see some history, visit their museum, and be a tourist for a short time. Yes, you can get some good images, and it is a beautiful place. You can get a few good photos with long exposure with the lighthouse’s water, but not too much more than that. Don’t plan too much time for this stop for photography.

Maine Lighthouse & Milky Way Photography
Maine Lighthouse & Milky Way Photography

Porpoise Maine

This is a great little spot due to its colors. You can shoot this location a hundred times and edit it so many ways, and it still looks wondrous. It is a tiny town. You can miss this spot as you drive through. It should be on your list of stops. Why would you drive by this beauty? It is right in the center of a very small town.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is an excellent spot for Milky Way photography. The lighthouse is located in a dark sky area, away from light pollution. The best time to photograph the Milky Way is during the summer when the constellation is visible in the night sky. Use a tripod and set your camera to a long exposure to get a good photo. You may also need to use a higher ISO setting to capture all the stars. Complete Milky Way Photography Information is here. 

The Bristol Parks and Recreation Department operates the lighthouse and outbuildings as Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park. This is one of our favorite lighthouses to photograph along the Maine Coast. Also, it makes dramatic daytime pictures and some pretty outstanding milky way shots. This is a tranquil location off the beaten path, and tourists do not overrun it. You can also take a puffin tour during the daytime. Be sure to bring your zoom lens. You don’t get too close.

The keeper’s house is now the Fishermen’s Museum at Pemaquid, containing displays and artifacts of the lighthouse and local maritime history. Opened in 2008, the Learning Center is a community resource for offering movies, classes, and concerts. Other park activities include viewing the lighthouse, picnicking, and viewing local paintings at the Pemaquid Art Gallery.

Maine Lighthouse & Milky Way Photography

Announcing our Photography Contest

All of the winners will have their photo featured in our Magazine  Lots of Prizes

 See all of the Details on our Photography Contest Page.


Baily’s Island Maine – Dark Sky Photography Location

Bailey Island is an island in Casco Bay, and a part of the town of Harpswell, in Cumberland County, Maine. The island has a year-round population of over 400. Although there are no lighthouses on this island, this is a great dark sky location. 

Lands End Gift shop is located at the southernmost tip of the island; there is an excellent view of rugged rocks, a statue, and a blaring milky way above.  Check it out during the daytime and visit the store simultaneously to prepare for your nighttime milky way shots. Furthermore, there are several bays with boat docks to photograph with exciting angles. If you get some puffy white clouds, you could get some good stuff on this island.

Where to Eat on Baily’s Island

Where to eat and do sunset photography – More’s Cribstone Grill – Go here. Go early. It is the most popular place. We could not wait because we showed up at prime time.  We went down the street to an area with one car in the parking lot. Starving to death, we gave it a try. Now I know why there was one car in the parking lot.  Don’t go to Giant Stairs Seafood Grille. You will most likely be disappointed. Go early to Moree’s

Where to Stay when on Baily’s Island

The Driftwood Inn –  You can shoot Milky Way photography down the street or at your front door.  We liked the atmosphere and the breakfast at this location. It was an excellent bang for your buck, and the milky way is yelling outside on the grounds with a ton of deliciously sounding waves crashing at the base of the location. Be quiet when you are late at night steps from your room doing milky way photography, but the wave sounds will drown out your noises. The Inn is different from any you have known with its oceanfront location on the outermost island in Casco Bay. Driftwood is the oldest Inn on Bailey Island and has been in continuous operation for over 100 years. Our three acres offer space for relaxation, the sun, and fresh sea breezes. Bailey Island is

two and a half miles long by a one-half mile wide, with various picturesque views and breathtaking sunsets.

Maine Lighthouse Photography

From the picturesque Portland Head Light to the historic Ram Island Ledge Light, these structures have long fascinated locals and visitors alike.

About the Lighthouses of Maine

There are over 60 lighthouses dotting the coastline of Maine, each one with its unique history and story. Many of these lighthouses are still operating, while others have been converted into museums or Bed & Breakfasts.

Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur taking pictures for your collection, photographing lighthouses is always a popular subject. But because each lighthouse is different, it can be tricky to know how to approach shooting them. We’ll give you tips on getting the best photos of Maine’s lighthouses.

Some Lighthouses of Maine

These lighthouses offer stunning views of the Maine coastline. Here is a list some of all the lighthouses of Maine:

1. Portland Head Light
2. Two Lights
3. Nubble Light
4. Marshall Point Light
5. West Quoddy Head Light
6. Bass Harbor Head Light
7. Burntcoat Head Light
8. Cape Neddick “Nubble” Light
9. Seguin Island Light
10. Egg Rock Light
11. Monhegan Island Light
12. Owls Head Light

How to photograph the lighthouses of Maine

A trip to Maine to photograph these magnificent structures is a must if you’re a photography enthusiast. Here are some tips on how to get the best shots of Maine’s lighthouses.

First, timing is everything. The best time to photograph lighthouses is during the golden hour, the hour before sunset, and the hour after sunrise. The lighting during these times is softer and more flattering and will make your photos look amazing.

Second, choose your composition carefully. Lighthouses are often photographed from afar, with the ocean or coastline in the background. But don’t be afraid to get up close and personal with your shots — sometimes the most exciting photos are taken from right up against the lighthouse itself. Experiment and see what looks best. It’s digital so shoot away.

Milky Way Photography at the Maine Lighthouses

Have you ever wanted to photograph the Milky Way? Well, if you find yourself in Maine, you’re in luck! Maine is home to some of the most beautiful and iconic lighthouses in the United States. And what’s even better is that these lighthouses offer some of the best night sky views.

If you’re interested in photographing the Milky Way, you should keep a few things in mind. First, you’ll need to find a location with little light pollution. Second, you’ll need to plan your shoot around the moon cycle. The best time to photograph the Milky Way is during a new moon when the sky is darkest or the week before the new moon when the moon rises in the daytime and is below the horizon at night.

Once you’ve found a dark location and planned your shoot around the moon cycle, it’s time to set up your camera. For best results, use a DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens. Set your ISO as low as possible and your shutter speed to about 25 seconds. If you’re unsure how to set up your camera for Milky Way photography, we can guide you through it; see the yellow link – How to shoot the Milky Way or view basic instructions below.

Once your camera is set up, it’s time to start shooting.

Camera Settings for Milky Way Photography at Maine Lighthouses

One of the best things about Maine is its abundance of lighthouses. And what better way to enjoy them than by capturing some stunning night sky photography? Here are a few tips on camera settings to help you get started.

How to Shoot Milky Way and Night Sky Photography

What you will need:

Light pollution map – light pollution map

Camera – You will need a camera to manually control your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.

Lens – A fast wide-angle lens of 1.4 – 2.8 is ideal. If you use a 3.5 or higher (slower lens), you will have to increase the ISO. The higher the ISO, the more grain or digital noise or grain in your photos.

Tripod – A good sturdy tripod is essential for night photography. If it gets windy, you will need a sturdy one. Remember when you buy one, it should be sturdy enough to withstand the wind but small enough to fit in your suitcase.

Sky Map – Sky Guide is available through the iTunes Store for $1.99. It has a 5 out of 5-star rating on both the current (3.2) version (1200+ ratings) and all previous versions (8600+ ratings).

Flashlight –  Our choice is Coast brand for flashlights. The ideal flashlight will have high lumens, and you can zoom in and out on the amount of light emitting from the flashlight. Get the HP7, PX45, or the G50. Ideally, go with the  HP7.

Moon Phaze Map – The best time to go is during a new moon, and you want to be in the darkest area possible. The week before the new moon, when the moon has not risen, is a perfect time to go, so check the moonrise chart to see when the moon will be up.

Remote Shutter Release – When painting with light and you want to go over a 30-second exposure, you must have a shutter release to use your bulb mode. When exposing your pictures in general, you can use the remote release, or you can use your camera’s built-in two-second timer.

Use a Tripod – First, you must be on a tripod. A good sturdy tripod is necessary if it is windy. If the tripod moves, your picture will blur.

Focus – Use live view. Use your camera’s live view to focus in the dark, hit the zoom button, and focus on a bright star. You can also use the infinity setting on your lens but do several test shots to see if it is accurate. It can be off a little on some lenses. You can also light it up with a flashlight, focus, then gently, without touching the focus ring, put the camera in manual focus so it will not search for the focus. Each time you move your camera to take your next angel, you would have to do this.

Camera Settings

ISO – Start with ISO 1600 – 3200. This is a common starting point, and you will adjust from here.

Shutter Speed – Remember, the earth is rotating. If you leave the shutter open for too long, you will see star trails that will not make for a crisp image. We want crisp non-star trail images. Here is the formula to avoid star trails. The 500 rule – Divide 500 by the focal length of your lens. So, if you have a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, you will set your shutter speed to 20 sec. (500/24 = 20.83). If you are using a crop sensor camera, first do the math of the crop sensor to find the focal length. Cannon is 1.6, and Nikon is 1.5. Convert to full-frame focal length, then use the formula. Nikon 18mm x 1.5= 27mm – 500/27 = 18.51 seconds.

Aperture – Depth of field isn’t critical in these shots, but letting the light into the camera is; therefore, you should shoot wide open. If the depth of field is essential to you, try not to go too high. (wide open =the lowest aperture your camera will allow). You will have to increase the ISO, giving you digital noise.

White balance suggestion: Use live view mode to change your white balance settings and see what it will look like. You can shoot in shade or cloud mode as a standard setting and adjust things later.

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Maine – Most lighthouses do not have entrance fees. Traveling around is easy but be sure to bring warm clothes. It can get quite cool at night, depending on the time of year.



Where to stay while visiting Maine

Add your campground here! Do you want us to send our photography and ghost hunting friends to your campground to stay during their ghost hunting or photography trip? Put your campground information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number and your information on your campground to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you. They are really good at getting there in the dark.

Would you like to be featured in an article as a place to stay while doing photography or ghost hunting? If so, please send us an email.  You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.

The best hotels while doing photography



Add your hotel here! Do you want us to send our photography and ghost hunting friends to your hotel for their ghost hunting or photography trip? Put your hotel information here. We will put a picture of your hotel, the website link, the phone number and your information on your hotel plus some images.

Would you like to be a featured hotel like this article or this one? 

Please send us an email.  You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.




Add your Restaurant here! Do you want us to send our photography and ghost hunting friends to your restaurant after their ghost hunting trip? Put your restaurant information here. We will put a picture of your establishment, the website link, the phone number and your information on your restaurant to make it easy for our photographers and ghost hunters to find you. They are really good at getting there in the dark.

Would you like to be a featured restaurant like in this article? If so, please send us an email.  You will be surprised at how affordable our prices can be.




Don’t forget that you can use a rain sleeve on your camera if it is raining. If it is bright and sunny, you want to use a low ISO such as 100.

If you are doing photography along with your ghost hunting on cloudy days, you can do running water or waterfall photography to avoid the glaring sun. You can also use an ND filter to get a long exposure for dramatic effects, even in the sunshine. If you ghost hunt indoors in abandoned places, be careful!

Go to our Photography Store after reading all about waterfall photography or neutral density filters.