24 Beams of Light

This was my first year to Pigeon Point Light Station to watch and photograph the light of the old first order Fresnel lens. It was a fantastic opportunity to capture the beams of light emanate from the 24 prism panels in the lens.

They light was lit at 6pm and for the first five minutes they held the carriage still to keep the lens from rotating. Giving an untold amount of photographers the opportunity to capture 24 beams of light. After the first five minutes the lens rotates beaming a signature flash of light every ten seconds.

The closer you stood the lighthouse structure the more the beams were pronounced. It was amazing to see the beams of light streak past on the distant hillsides and in the ocean.
In the lantern room the bull’s-eye lens is 100′ above ground to the focal plane of the lens. Also 150′ (about) above sea level to the focal plane of the lens. This height compensates for the curvature of the earth. On a clear night, light has a visual distance of 24 miles from the ocean.It was announced on Saturday that this might be the last lighting of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Lantern. With further investigation it may be discontinued until the necessary renovations are completed to fix the damaged lighthouse structure.The reason why they may not light the lamp in 2009 is a safety issue and not a cost issue. The Coast Guard engineering studies report the structure may collapse if an earthquake or a very strong wind storm were to batter the lighthouse.

Over the years the sea spray and salt air have slowly decayed the exterior structure. In 2001 part of the west facing caprice fell (cornice on the exterior of the lighthouse fell off). The result was the closure of the Lighthouse Structure to the public.

According to Staff and California State Parks, lack the funding needed it to fix the lighthouse and lantern room. Current estimated figures are around 5 million dollars to repair and renovate the structure and rework the lens. Most of the funds required, have to be provided by private funding.
Donations can be made to restore the Pigeon Point Light Station or to Cal. State Parks Foundation.

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