CONTACT ME : If you spot any glaring errors, or if you have any comments to make about any of the photographs or any other aspects of this site you can contact me by clicking here
A PERSONAL COLLECTION
by James Christie
About me: my interest in lighthouses goes back a long way, well into my childhood in fact, but I have been actively photographing them since the late 1990s. Currently, my main interest is actually ship photography, but that, itself, was a spin off from my earlier interest in lighthouses. In fact the first serious ship photographs in my collection were taken because of a visit to the South Gare at Redcar in pursuit of the lighthouse there. Of course ship photograph and lighthouse photography are by no means mutually exclusive and, in fact, the two complement each other very well. Also, since 2007, when my wife and I first cruised on QE2, the bulk of the family finances are now handed over each year to Cunard and, while this may not exactly demonstrate great fiscal responsibility, it has certainly extended my pharological reach. In fact it extended it to the point where the ever growing collection of lighthouse images made me decide that the time had come to do something systematic about it and this website is the result.
About the site: at the moment the site is under construction, and I have not the slightest doubt that, for long as I continue to maintain it, it will continue to be "work in progress". Navigation should be fairly simple if I have managed to get things right. The lighthouses are arranged by country and you can navigate to the appropriate country page using the links in the left hand column. Once there you will find that each lighthouse is listed by name along with a thumbnail image. Clicking on either the thumbnail or the name will take you to the page for that lighthouse. Each lighthouse page also has buttons to step to the next image or the previous image. At the moment I have added a photograph of the lighthouse along with some basic technical details. It is my intention that, eventually, each page will also contain notes giving other relevant historical information and also information about accessibility and the suitability of the location in photographic terms, but a lot of work remains to be done in that area. My working plan for the site, at the moment, is to finish off the English lighthouses and then begin work on those from other countries (I have included links to Spain and Portugal at the moment (and there are a couple of lighthouses behind those links) but that was more to test the site navigation than anything else - much more is to follow.
Links: I have made a start on a page of links to other relevant lighthouse sites. These will cover personal web-sites as well as sites giving access to information resources. Again, this page is very much "work in progress" and I will add to it as I discover relevant pages.
Classification of lights: in the course of my researches for this site I was a little surprised to discover that there is no internationally agreed standard for the classification of lighthouses. Some types are obvious and are in common usage, “harbour lights” being one example, and “range lights” another but, beyond that, things become confusing. Nevertheless, I was keen to include, for each lighthouse, a brief statement of its “type” so, in the absence of a standard classification, I have constructed my own (many thanks to Russ Rowlett, author of the excellent Lighthouse Directory site for his assistance with this). Basically, I have come up with nine different classes of light and these are as follows:
Landfall: major lighthouses, usually offshore, intended to mark the initial approach to land.
Coastal: coastal navigation lights, usually (but not always) on shore and not associated with a specific hazard.
Hazard: hazard warning lights, mostly situated offshore and designed to warn of a specific danger such as a reef or a headland.
Harbour/Waterway: smaller lights designed to mark the entrance to a harbour or to assist in navigation on a river or other inland waterway. The classification on the page for a specific light will, of course, depend on the context.
Range: usually small, onshore lights, operating in pairs to mark a specific bearing to guide ships through narrow channel. In the UK these are often referred to as leading lights.
Sector: in function, these are similar to range lights, but display a light of a different colour depending on the direction
Lightships: a ship, usually unpowered, with an onboard "lighthouse". These are becoming quite rare these days and most, if not all, of the examples on this site are in preservation.
Beacons/Lightbuoys: very small lights ashore (beacons) or afloat (lightbuoys) normally used to mark channels or important navigational points on rivers or on the coast.
Daymarks: unlit towers or other structures intended to provide guidance for ships during daylight hours only. These often operate in pairs in the same way as range lights.
Clearly, these individual classifications are not mutually exclusive. For example, it is entirely possible for a harbour light also to operate as a sector light, or for a landfall light to also be intended to warn of a specific hazard (The Bishop Rock is a perfect example). I have tried, as far as possible, to avoid assigning more than one classificaiton to a single light, however, where this has proven to be unavoidable, I have tried to give the most important classification first.