The Changing Seasons Monthly Photo Challenge is a blogging challenge by Cardinal Guzman. Each month I will post a photo that I think represents the month.

I shot twice as many photos in February than I did in January but very few of them were outdoors. For me, February has no meaning. It's what I would call the forgettable month. We had more snowstorms than in January but the snow mostly fell during the week and melted by the weekend. I didn't get to shoot any snow scenes.

My weekends were packed with activities. Either I was taking a course or there was a birthday to celebrate or a high school play. This past weekend I helped a friend by shooting interior and exterior photographs of her home. She's downsizing and she and her husband are selling their home and moving to another town nearby. One cool thing about this area of New Jersey is you have many choices of historic towns each with a unique character.

In the third weekend of February, my wife's best friend returned from India with the flu and we were all exposed. My wife was the first to succumb. I took her to the urgent care but as you can expect, the waiting area was full of sick people. So of course despite my normally strong immune system, I am home sick with the flu for the last two days.

So here is my jumbled gallery of photos for February.

On a drive, down from an overnight trip to Williamstown, Massachusetts my wife, hoping to make the drive more interesting for me, asked if there was any special location I wanted to photograph. From my list, I suggested the historic Saugerties Lighthouse in Saugerties, New York. I don't recall the exact details about how I found out about the lighthouse but I think I used the map feature of 500px. I can pull up a map, zoom in on an area or region and see photos uploaded by other 500px users in the surrounding area. The majority of 500px photographs won’t have geolocation data attached to them automatically but it's still a useful way to explore photography options. I think I simply used the map to scroll around and along our intended return route and somehow I found the lighthouse.

Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York
Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York
[exif id="21875"]

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.

We left the Purple Pub, where we had lunch, and got to the lighthouse parking area at the end of Lighthouse Drive around 3 PM. My daughter decided to stay in the car and read. She didn’t enjoy her retreat experience as much as we had hoped and she just wanted to be alone with one of her many books. I grabbed my gear and my son and my wife and I walked along the half-mile nature trail to the lighthouse.

Saugerties Lighthouse
Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York
[exif id="21876"]

According to my research, Saugerties becomes a lighthouse in 1834. The lighthouse was built at the mouth of the Esopus Creek to guide ships away from shallow areas of the Hudson River when daily commercial and passenger transportation came into the port. While walking the trail we noticed people enjoying the cool and shallow waters at the wide end of Esopus Creek.

Saugerties Lighthouse, Front Entrance
Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York
[exif id="21878"]

Construction of the lighthouse began in 1835 by Charles Hooster, a residence of the town. He won the job with the low bid of $2,988. The original source of light 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 which was built on a circular stone whose base is 18m in diameter. 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 the town 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 guest. I set up my gear on the beach and on the pier to get as many viewpoints of the building.

[exif id="27012"]

A shot from the observation deck of the Bodie Island Lighthouse taken on the last day of a family vacation to the Outerbanks, NC. The weather was mostly overcast the whole week, and I had capture very of the shots I had planned for the week.

I didn't have a chance to visit the Bodie Island Lighthouse during our vacation to the Outerbanks. The kids didn't think it was interesting and Bhavana didn't think her knees could handle the strain.

To be fair, the lighthouse is about a 30-minute drive from our vacation house. It was a big ask to ask them to endure a one-hour round car ride so that I could spend 30 minutes capturing some images. But on the drive out from town, I convinced them to stop and climb with me.

Of course, the weather was near perfect on the last day of the vacation. My wife was feeling sorry for me, so she didn’t complain when I asked to stop and see the lighthouse.

We arrived just in time. The wind had picked up and was so gusty that the observation deck was closing. We were the last visitors allowed up top.

I wasn't authorised to take my tripod up to the observation deck, but I captured a few images handheld with the Nikon and one with my iPhone. I shot this handheld in what felt like 15 mph winds and just after shooting, the lighthouse supervisor told me he was closing the observation deck. I was the last one allowed up that afternoon. The observation deck was closed.

lighthouse, bodie island, observation deck, horizon, landscape[exif id="24328"]

This Nikon image has had the Fuji Velvia preset applied. I then enabled lens profile correction and set highlights to -27, exposure to -0.33, levelled the horizon and cropped some of the top and the right side.

[exif id="27013"]

Here's the iPhone version.

iPhone Panorama of OBX from The Bodie Island Lighthouse
iPhone Panorama of OBX from The Bodie Island Lighthouse
[exif id="19334"]