Cabo Rojo Lighthouse Photography Hot Spot
Faro Los Morrillos de Cabo Rojo, also known as Los Morrillos Light, is a historic lighthouse located in the municipality of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. This is a top ten photography location. The area also has The Natural Rock Arch just a short walk away, making this a top photography location.
Located at the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico, this lighthouse was constructed in 1882 to guide passing ships through the southeast entrance from the Caribbean Sea through the treacherous Mona Passage into the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse is located over a white lime cliff surrounded by salt water lagoons and marshes—the cliffs surrounding the lighthouse drop over 200 feet into the ocean.
The lighthouse’s architecture is distinguished by its simplicity, with minimal decoration and an unelaborated cornice repeated through the structure. The illuminating apparatus is housed in a cast-iron, copper, and glass lantern. The lenticular lens was manufactured by the French firm Sautter, Lemonnier, and Company.
The area in the image below where you see the dried out land is along the road to the Cabo Rojo lighthouse. It is the Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge and Salt Flats.
On the way to the Cabo Rojo lighthouse, you will drive through the wildlife refuge and the salt flats. The salt flats were added to the Cabo Rojo Refuge in 1999, becoming a part of the National Wildlife system. This addition will allow the Service to conserve and protect the single most crucial point of convergence for migratory shorebirds in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Cabo Rojo Salt Flats are considered unique and irreplaceable. The coastline, mangroves, seagrass beds, and offshore coral reefs next to the area are prime fish habitat and are considered individual aquatic sites.
Just a short distance down the hill on the trail from the lighthouse, you will find “El Punte Natural or El Puente Natural de Piedra” (The Natural Bridge or The Natural Stone Bridge). This is a fabulous photography hot spot in itself. You see the two signs in the image, walk past them some, and follow the right trail. You would never see it or know if you were not looking for it.
Combate Beach Resort – Where to stay
We absolutely loved it here. We were just a short drive to the lighthouse, and the resort is located in the midst of a wildlife sanctuary and a beach! This is a fabulous place for bird lovers, sunbathers, and bird photographers. It was clean and comfortable with a great pool. The staff has a list of places to go to do photography. As you can see in the image below, they were showing us all the places to go.
The very attentive staff is well aware of all of the photography hot spots in the area. Where you see the image of the beach area, it is just a short walk through the wilderness to the beach.
When you stay on the northern side of the Island.
Lens: Generally this area is a wide-angle lens location, but you will go through the wildlife refuge to get here so bring your zoom lens too. Keep in mind this can be a great night photography location at the right time of year.
Gear List at a Glance: Circular polarizing filter, neutral density filters, tripod, shutter release, wide-angle, and zoom lens. CPL filters will help you to create dynamic images. We recommend never shooting outdoors without one. They will make your white puffy clouds whiter, take the silver glare off of waters and replace it with a beautiful reflection. You have moving waters at the location so you will want to have your neutral density filters with you to get the long exposure, milky water effect.
When to Go: Any time of year. It is a tourist location, so midweek is the best offseason. Summer can be sweltering of course.
See our How to Shoot Waterfall Photography Page for more details.
This will also be a great night photography spot at the right time of year. We were here during a full moon and when the milky way is below the horizon during winter.
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 control your ISO, shutter speed, and aperture manually.
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 will appear in your photos.
Tripod – A good sturdy tripod is essential for night photography. If it gets windy, you will need a sturdy one. Keep that in mind, 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 will be able to 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 be sure to 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 of all; 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. To focus in the dark, use your camera’s live view, 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. You would have to do this each time you move your camera to take your next angel.
ISO – Start with ISO 1600 – 3200. This is just 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, 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 on these shots, but letting the light into the camera is; therefore, you should shoot wide open if. 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 some, which will give you digital noise.
When in live view mode, you can 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.
When to view the Milky way
The best images are usually of the dense part of the Milky Way. We can see this part of the milk way in the southern sky. During March, April, and May, the milky way rises above the horizon in the pre-dawn hours. In June, at about 10:00 p.m., you will see the milky way. From July until October, you can see the milky way as soon as the sunsets, and it becomes dark enough to see, which is about an hour after sunset. In November, the milky way no longer comes above the horizon. You will have to wait until March if you want to stay away really late or get up early to see her again.
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FUN IN THE SUN
Recreational activities to enjoy before, during or after your photo day.
Whether it’s setting out into the clear waters off the coast, exploring the trails that crisscross the area’s lush forests or simply enjoying their on-site recreational activities, they have something for the whole family to enjoy:
- Spend some time frolicking in the adult and children’s pools – after a long day of photography.
- Serve up a match of beach volleyball at the sand court.
- Paddle the day away with their convenient kayak rentals.
- Get your adrenaline pumping with mountain bike rentals and throw your camera in your backpack.
Park and Area Information:
Entrance Fees: There are no entrance fees to the park/lighthouse.
Call DRNA Information: Phone: 787-999-2200 x 5156 (Mon-Fri) Fax: 787-999-2303
Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales
Carr 8838, San Juan, 00927, Puerto Rico
IT TAKES UP TO 10 DAYS TO GET CAMPING SET UP. YOU MUST PLAN IN ADVANCE.