Cape Byron is the easternmost point in the mainland of Australia, in far northern New South Wales. The lighthouse was built in 1901, so is probably the last of the Victorian era lighthouses.
I arrived at the lighthouse on the 12th of June 1987 at what would have been about 5pm. The lighthouse keeper met me as I got out of the car and he was concerned that Head Office had not told him I was coming. There was a system where the lighthouse keepers would put me up for the night and I would pay them my travel allowance. I didn’t really care, I was happy to sleep in the car but this was not a conversation I could easily terminate and a magnificent sunset was dissipating in front of me.
Eventually I got to take the shot above. There’s a bit of lens vignetting at the top not present at the bottom which means I must have raised the front standard or lowered the back to correct for perspective and either perhaps I could have stopped down a little more or the lens was a bit restricted in its image circle. Can’t say it bothers me, though.
The last thing I would do each night was to work out where I wanted to be early next morning. This is the lighthouse and the sea before dawn. Because the lighthouse is on top of the cliff, it does not need to be very high.
This is a subsidiary light inside the lighthouse. You can see that the other side of the prison is red. It is behind a window in the lighthouse and is directed towards a specific set of rocks. This light only becomes visible to mariners when they get close to the rocks.
However if you look closely, you will see that the actual light is a kerosene lamp with a wick that has not been lit. This indicates that it is an historic light that is no longer used. The current light is probably the naked bulb on the window ledge at the far right.
Can you see anything wrong with this image?
Well, it’s upside down. It is not usual to mount lighthouse lightbulbs from the ceiling. The image that you see of the lighthouse cottage and beach beyond the prism has been inverted by the prism. Our eyes actually work in the same way though our brain corrects the image.
Here is an image from close by, this time from outside the prism and with a very different lens.