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Baileys Harbor Lighthouse

Baileys Harbor Lighthouse Door County, Wisconsin

Baileys Harbor Lighthouse


I was browsing my external photo drive, this is where I keep all of my RAW Photos (DNG files) and my edits.  I came across photos from last summer and early fall, where I was trying to capture photos of the milky way over the Baileys Harbor Lighthouse in Wisconsin.

The Bailey’s Harbor front range light that was built in 1869. There are two pieces of the lighthouse on this property. 


Lighthouse and Milky Way Photography Print Door County, Wisconsin

Click on photo to buy a print


Pictured in the front range light that was built in 1869. The lighthouse at the Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin. One of the many lighthouses on the Door County Peninsula.

The lighthouse shows the night sky with the stars and Milky Way in the background.

When I took the photos I wasn’t impressed, instead I was rather upset because at the time they were not what I had pictured in my head.  Plus, at this time, I didn’t know the first thing about Photoshop.  Those photos were cataloged but forgotten; until yesterday.


Building a Tower Out of Blocks
You can’t build a tower without a few blocks, right?  Over the winter I had collected a few blocks; blocks of knowledge.  With all the blocks I had some insight on how they could be processed to achieve the end result that I had pictured.

Each time I went out to photograph a location at night, I took a series of at least 3 shots with my camera mounted on the tripod.

1.) Underexposed
2.) Overexposed
3.) Correct Exposure


The pictures were centered around the background and foreground.  I didn’t care about the sky for these shots.  For each shot, I just made sure that my tripod never move from the location that I had composed the picture.

After I had my three shots, I could then move on to recompose another shot of the subject or move to an entirely different location.

Then I moved on to photographing the sky for the shots.  I knew I couldn’t get the results I wanted from just one shot.  Either my sky was correct or my background and foreground were correct.

Believe me, I tried for months to achieve one photograph with the Milky Way and the landscape I desired.  Although it can be done – all my attempts failed.  The thing about trial and error and self-taught photography is that you make plenty of mistakes.   Sure, sometimes feel I am re-inventing the wheel, for me, I can read and read but without going through the motions, reading is useless. Hands on learning is my educational approach.

Played With Stair Trails

I even played with capturing 100’s of photos to put together for stair trails.  For me, it is a lot of work. All the time capturing the 100’s of photos to compile them into one single picture is crazy.  A crazy time consuming task, but worth the result. It may be something I do occasionally.

Star Trails Over Barn Photography Print

Click on the picture to buy a print


Standing Joke in My House
At this point, I admittedly gave up.  The standing  joke in my house was I going to take a picture of a Milky Way candy bar and just post it.  Look, I captured the Milky Way!  I didn’t though.

I DID buy the candy bar, but in my depressed state ate the entire thing before I reached home. Dang it, I couldn’t even do that right. Left with no Milky Way to take pictures of.



I beat myself up over nothing!  Turns out, the photos really do look amazing when printed.  I just needed time to develop the courage and skills to put them together.


Additional Door County Posts:
Great Lakes Lighthouse Collection
Fred A Busse Chicago Fire Boat 
Starvkirke Church





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