Cape Nelson

Cape Nelson lighthouse is on a headland in south-west Victoria only 50 kilometres from the South Australian border and about 20 kilometres west of Portland.  I was there around the 13th to 14th of May 1987.

Cape Nelson by night 6:30 to 10:30pm  2 May 1987 Arca-Swiss 5x4" monorail camera 90mm Linhof Angulon f6.8 4 hours Fujichrome 50

Cape Nelson by night
6:30 to 10:30pm
13 May 1987
Arca-Swiss 5×4″ monorail camera
90mm Linhof Angulon
f6.8 4 hours
Fujichrome 50

This is a four hour exposure by the light of the full moon.  I had set up the camera while there was still light, on a small platform over the edge of the cliff, and went away to have dinner.

One advantage of photographing lighthouses at night is the light from the lighthouse gives you something to focus on.  Long exposures with film are quite different to digital because as well as some colour shifts, reciprocity comes into play.  This means that the film no longer reacts in a linear manner to light and you have to give extra exposure to compensate.

This image is from a slide that the Department loaned out some years ago and is now missing but I was able to scan a print that I had made on Cibachrome in 1988.

The long streaks you see in the sky are star trails, including many fine ones.  On the horizon are both anchored ships and ships moving along the horizon.  Portland is not far away and the ships are probably loading aluminium from the aluminium smelter.  The air brush effect you see in the sea is not just the waves; it’s also the tide going in or out.

Cape Nelson at Dawn 7:20am  3 May 1987 Mamiya 645 f16 65 seconds + polariser plus f22 37 seconds + polariser (two exposures combined) Fujichrome 50

Cape Nelson at Dawn
7:15am
14 May 1987
Mamiya 645
f16 65 seconds + polariser plus f22 37 seconds + polariser (two exposures combined)
Fujichrome 50

This is the next morning, a few minutes before dawn.

Cape Nelson at Dawn 7:20am  3 May 1987 Arca-Swiss 5x4" monorail camera 90mm Linhof Angulon f16 12 seconds + polariser Fujichrome 50

Cape Nelson at Dawn
7:20am
14 May 1987
Arca-Swiss 5×4″ monorail camera
90mm Linhof Angulon
f16 12 seconds + polariser
Fujichrome 50

From a similar position, just a bit later.

Cape Nelson lighthouse was commissioned in 1884 and the cottages had been built two years earlier.  The delay was because they ran out of stone and had to find a different local source.  The lighthouse is 24 metres high and 75 metres above the sea.  Though building it was recommended much earlier, this only came about due to lobbying by Peter Lalor, former leader of the Eureka rebellion, who had become a prominent Victorian parliamentarian.

Cape Nelson lighthouse and wall Nikon FE 16mm fisheye Nikkor Fujichrome 50

Cape Nelson lighthouse and wall
14 May 1987
Nikon FE
16mm fisheye Nikkor
Fujichrome 50

Here is the path leading to the lighthouse and the adjacent wall, giving protection from wind in stormy conditions.

Cape Nelson shed and lighthouse 7:20am  3 May 1987 Arca-Swiss 5x4" monorail camera 90mm Linhof Angulon f22 1/4 second + polariser Fujichrome 50

Cape Nelson shed and lighthouse
7:20am
14 May 1987
Arca-Swiss 5×4″ monorail camera
90mm Linhof Angulon
f22 1/4 second + polariser
Fujichrome 50

A bit further away, a shed (original by the look of the stonework) and the lighthouse.

Cape Nelson telescope hut Nikon FE 16mm fisheye Nikkor Fujichrome 50

Cape Nelson telescope hut
14 May 1987
Nikon FE
16mm fisheye Nikkor
Fujichrome 50

The telescope hut on top of the cliff beside the lighthouse, where keepers could keep a lookout for ships in trouble without being distracted by the light.

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