Film Photography: The Little Red Lighthouse

I finally made the trek out to the Little Red Lighthouse (actually known as Jeffreys Hook Lighthouse) made famous by author Hildegard H. Swift and illustrator Lynd Ward's book "The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge." The lighthouse was constructed in 1920 to aid the navigation of shipping boats on the Hudson River. Popular lore (and Wikipedia) says the Little Red Lighthouse, after being deactivated in 1947, was saved from almost certain demolition because of the popularity of the book depicting the little red lighthouse under the bridge (the George Washington Bridge). After a longish, but pleasant subway ride from Wall Street to 181st Street, it's a bit of a hike to get there. You cross a foot bridge to get over the looping roadways that cut through Fort Washington Park, then meander down a hilly path to the bank of the Hudson River. The lighthouse is so small that you don't really see it as you are winding down the hilly path. Then suddenly you see a shock of red with the George Washington Bridge towering over it right by the water. It's a beautiful sight on a nice day.

I had my Hasselblad loaded with new Kodak Portra 160 film and only had a few shots remaining.

The Little Red Lighthouse Up Close, New Kodak Portra 160

The Base of the Little Red Lighthouse with a Red Sailboat on the Hudson River, New Kodak Portra 160

After running out of the Portra, which I'm glad I had to get a true representation of the colors, I loaded a roll of Fuji Astia 100 slide film. I've been rating the Fuji slide film (whether Astia or Velvia) at 80 ISO on my Digisix light meter to give a little bit of extra light. I find it helps me lighten the shadows and even then I might need to open up 1 or 1.5 stops depending on the scene. The colors here on the slide film are almost obscene. The sky was not this blue really, but I knew the slide film would give it that extra bit of blue to contrast with the brilliant red.

The Little Red Lighthouse Dwarfed by the George Washington Bridge, Fuji Astia Slide Film

Approaching the Little Red Lighthouse and the Base of the George Washington Bridge, Astia Slide Film

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Span of the George Washington Bridge, Astia Slide Film

The Little Red Lighthouse Framed by Rocks on the Shore of the Hudson River, Astia Slide Film

The Little Red Lighthouse with the Manhattan Skyline in the Distance, Astia Slide Film You can see here that if the lighting is off or there is shadow, then the saturation is much deeper.

And I had a roll of Fuji Velvia 100 on me as well. Here's one picture from that roll. This is the tamest of the Velvia shots and the one that looks most like Astia. I really prefer Fuji Astia or Velvia. Astia is plenty contrasty and saturated for me. I'll reserve my Velvia stock for when I want insane color.