Saugerties Lighthouse

During a drive back from an overnight trip to Williamstown, Massachusetts, Bhavna and I were looking to make the journey more interesting for me. She asked if there was a special location I wanted to photograph. I suggested the historic Saugerties Lighthouse in Saugerties, New York, from my list of potential spots.

I'm trying to remember the exact details, but I think I used the map feature of 500px. It's a handy tool that allows me to pull up a map, zoom in on an area, and see photos uploaded by other 500px users in that region. While most 500px photographs don't automatically have geolocation data, exploring potential photography locations this way is still useful.

I remember using the map to scroll along our intended return route, and somehow, I came across the Saugerties Lighthouse.

Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York
Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York · Friday 29 July 2016 · Nikon D5100 · AF-S DX Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8G

Saugerties is about halfway between Williamstown and our home in New Jersey. The town lies between the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River and is a popular vacation spot for the area.

Leaving the Purple Pub in Williamstown after a satisfying lunch, we arrived at the lighthouse parking area at the end of Lighthouse Drive around 3 PM. Kiran opted to stay in the car. Her retreat experience hadn't met her expectations, and she preferred the company of one of her many books, craving solitude.

It's interesting how different people find their forms of relaxation and enjoyment during trips like these.

Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York
Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York · Friday 29 July 2016 · Nikon D5100 · AF-S DX Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8G

I hurriedly gathered my photography gear, and with Shaan and Bhavna following, we walked the half-mile nature trail leading to the Saugerties Lighthouse. However, a sinking feeling washed over me when I opened my camera bag and realised that I had left the camera behind on the dining table at the restaurant.

I quickly called the restaurant to confirm they had found and held onto the camera. Fortunately, they had, which was a huge relief. We hopped back into the car and drove back to Williamstown to retrieve the forgotten camera. Then, with the camera safely in my possession, we headed back to Saugerties so I could photograph the Saugerties Lighthouse.

I couldn't believe my family's understanding and patience.

Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York
Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York · Friday 29 July 2016 · Nikon D5100 · AF-S DX Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8G

According to the information I found during my web search, Saugerties became home to a lighthouse in 1834. This historic structure was built at the mouth of Esopus Creek to guide ships safely through the Hudson River, particularly in navigating away from shallow areas. It played a crucial role during the era when daily commercial and passenger transportation was a significant part of the port's activity.

While walking along the trail toward the lighthouse, I noticed people bathing in the shallow waters at the wider section of Esopus Creek.

Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York · Friday 29 July 2016 · Apple iPhone 6 · iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2

Construction of the lighthouse began in 1835 by Charles Hooster, a town residence. He won the job with a low bid of $2,988. The original light source came from 5 whale oil lamps with parabolic reflectors, but in 1850, the whale oil lamps were replaced with mineral oil lamps.

In 1867, Congress budgeted $25,000 to construct a newly developed lighthouse, built on a circular stone with an 18-metre-diameter base. The carpenters used the old mineral oil lamps from the original lighthouse in the new lighthouse building. Two years later, in 1869, the newly built lighthouse became functional and is still the present-day light of Saugerties.

Currently, the lighthouse serves as an overnight two-room bed & breakfast and a day-time museum offering public tours and hosting special events. We arrived at a day and time when the lighthouse was not offering any tours, and signs indicated that the lighthouse was closed to tours and asked for quiet due to visiting guests. I set up my gear on the beach and pier to get as many viewpoints of the building.

Author: Khürt Williams

a human, an application security architect, avid photographer, nature lover, and formula 1 fan who drinks beer.