Cape Forchu Lightstation III by David Davies

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Cape Forchu Lightstation III by 

Another view of the lighthouse on Cape Forchu, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, this time including the lightkeeper’s house, now a tea room.

( Cape Forchu Lightstation, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia is the Beacon to Canada. The Cape has been welcoming visitors since 1604, when Samuel de Champlain landed and named the area “Cap Forchu,” meaning forked tongue of land. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Town of Yarmouth was a booming seaport with vessels coming in an out of the harbour and therefore the Cape was the ideal position for a lighthouse and foghorn; by 1870, Yarmouth was at its peak and was the second largest port of registry in Canada.

Here the lighthouse could protect vessels both approaching and entering the harbour. And so the Cape Forchu light, also commonly known as the Yarmouth Light, was constructed in 1839. The light itself stood 126 feet above sea level and 91 feet above ground. In 1869, a fog alarm was installed that sounded with a four-second blast every 26 seconds. The alarm was kept in another building away from the light, and in heavy storms, the keeper had to make a dangerous march along a narrow, exposed path overlooking cliffs to tend to the fog alarm.

The light in the original tower was lit on January 15th, 1840. The first lighting apparatus was a kerosene lamp and had to be watched carefully for it could easily go out. It was later changed to a kerosene-fueled vapor system. A tank of kerosene was lugged up the circular steps every evening, heated until it became a vapor and fed into a mantle. One lightkeeper, Herbert Cunningham, said that in his 30 year tenure, he climbed the tower stairs at least 47,000 times. Life as a lightkeeper became a lot easier when, in 1940, electricity finally came to the Cape.

It was then replaced in 1962 by a globe made up of a series of prismatic rings of glass; each ring cut at such mathematically precise angles that, as the globe rotated, the light from within refracted and reflected to send rays out over the ocean. The fundamental theory was simple: a bright light inside a revolving globe. The white beam of light was visible up to 32 kilometers [20 miles]. The first Cape Forchu lens was built in France by a French physicist named Augustin-Jean Fresnel, who improved the way lighthouses radiated light by replacing mirrors with compound lenses. These flashes not only warned sailors of impending danger, but actually identified the particular light. The lens weighed approximately 3,300 pounds and was surrounded by a ring of 360 prisms. The cost was $38,000.00.

Canon PowerShot 710IS

I’ve been an amateur photographer for as long as I can remember, which at my age is about a couple of weeks! I’ve owned film cameras from Zeiss, Scheider, Leica, Nikon and Olympus, as well as digital cameras from Pentax and Canon, and still have several, if I can ever find them. I currently use a Sony NEX-5N with an 18-55mm zoom lens, and after a year of ownership am still learning all the functions.

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  • David Davies
    David Daviesover 4 years ago

  • Eivor Kuchta
    Eivor Kuchtaover 4 years ago

    Beautiful work, David!

  • Thank you, Eivor!

    – David Davies

  • Peter Hammer
    Peter Hammerover 4 years ago

    What a striking structure David.

  • Thank you, Peter, it is quite different, isn’t it!

    – David Davies

  • Jan Fijolek
    Jan Fijolekover 4 years ago

    Love balance and colours, beautiful capture!

  • Thank you very much, Jan!

    – David Davies

  • cherylc1
    cherylc1over 4 years ago

    Gorgeous composition and colors!

  • Thank you, Cheryl

    – David Davies

  • Peter Hammer
    Peter Hammerover 4 years ago

    We don’t get those bright coloured lighthouses around here. The compound lenses are now called Fresnel lenses after the physicist. Basically they break a lens up into circular rings and then compress them to make a much flatter structure.

  • Thanks for the info, Peter. We have a lot of lighthouses round here.

    – David Davies

  • 1stImpressions
    1stImpressionsover 4 years ago

    great work mate

  • Thanks, Steve.

    – David Davies

  • Roy  Massicks
    Roy Massicksover 4 years ago
    Very effective David with the red and white colours and blue sky.
  • It was a lovely day. Next day it poured! lol

    – David Davies

  • photogaryphy
    photogaryphyover 4 years ago

    Fantastic shot with striking colours.

  • Thank you, Gary. They build ’em bright!

    – David Davies

  • Jadon
    Jadonover 4 years ago

    Excellent mate..great colour..

  • Thanks, Jason.

    – David Davies

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