Archive for the lighthouse Category

i c e l a n d

Posted in architecture, art, beauty, iceland, landscape, light, lighthouse, mountains, scent, senses, symbology, time, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2014 by dacarc

the alchemy of a place


indescribable, dreamy, mystical, stunning, disorienting


the visible elements:

lush green fields rolling under jagged peaks, washed in swaths of violet lupine




stark glaciers falling into the ocean’s horizon







endless lava deserts, blanketed in thick moss




split chasms, cracked earth fissures


photo by tim girvin


milky blue lakes of steaming minerals, thrusting from deep underground





heavy timber structures emerging, of the earth, stone-walled, turf sheltered






rushing waterfalls, slicing over sheer rock mesas downward to the sea







mist-shrouded peaks, veiled mysteries




never-ending light, midnight sun


standing stones, cairns, and rock-circles





ice-shards, crystalline boulders streaming over black sand shores





ancient codes, runes, and magical sigals




bands of wild horses, roaming over lush green valleys




the people, shielded by the powers of their natural island-world








the invisible elements:

the scent of green, wet stone, salt-waters



the desolation of no-where




the absence of night








dark histories, volcanic destructions




the chilled misted, crystalline air




the heat of underground forces




a place of mystery


photo by tim girvin


a magic place






and the enduring strength of the people



i c e l a n d


lighthouse series #5 – kilauea lighthouse, kauai

Posted in architecture, landscape, light, lighthouse on July 10, 2011 by dacarc

kilauea lighthouse #1 - kauai, hawaii

out on kilauea point, atop the rolling green bluffs of northern kauai, the kilauea lighthouse still stands, as it has for nearly 100 years.

kilauea point - kauai, hawaii

anchored in quiet grace against the lashing winds, standing serene above the rocky black cliffs and crashing waves below.

kilauea lighthouse bluff - kauai

home to thousands of migratory seabirds nesting at kīlauea point national wildlife refuge, hypnotic to watch as they soar and dive along the cliffs above the surf.  laysan albatrosses, red-footed boobies, brown boobies, red-tailed and white-tailed tropicbirds, great frigatebirds, and wedge-tailed shearwaters all visit the refuge.

kilauea lighthouse #2 - kauai

atop the lighthouse, the historic fresnel lens is still held in a glass enclosure on the sturdy white concrete tower of 52 feet, streaked with rust from the iron roof and casings.

kilauea lighthouse lantern room - kauai

some notes on the lens, excerpted from information posted inside the lighthouse:

fresnel lens - kilauea lighthouse, kauai

the four ton fresnel lens is the largest clamshell lens in the world, 300 hand ground glass lenses and prisms, made by french craftsmen in 1912.  the prism design of the lens created a double flash every ten seconds.

the lighthouse’s 2,500,000 candlepower beam could be seen 20 miles by sea and over 90 miles by air on a clear night. the light was retired in 1976, replaced by the automatic beacon.

kilauea lighthouse #3 - kauai

the white concrete pillar glows as the sun sinks to the west, coming alive in the darkening sky.

kilauea lighthouse #4 - kauai

it is a continual quest, exploring these beacons of light, made with skill, innovation and craft, kept with great care through the passing of days into nights.  the perpetual beam of light, striking a path through darkness, anchored in the storm, piercing through the mists, constant in winds, striking straight into lightning.. holding steady, serene, shining in all.

lighthouse series #4 – cape florida lighthouse

Posted in architecture, light, lighthouse, seeing, symbology, time, travel, Uncategorized on June 20, 2011 by dacarc
historic photo – cape florida lighthouse, miami – key biscayne

in planning my first visit to miami, exploring the architectural heritage of south beach – morris lapidus’ fountainebleau, the streamline moderne art deco lined ocean drive, and a launching point to the everglades and onward to the southern tip of the country, key west.

pathway to the light – cape florida

on the lookout for old structures, and lighthouses – i found both here – the oldest structure in miami-dade county.

from the beach – cape florida lighthouse

the original lighthouse and cottage, built in 1825, were attacked and burned in 1836 by Seminole warriors protesting U.S. presence in the South Florida wilderness and resisting deportation from Florida to the West.

white light into blue – cape florida lighthouse

When the lighthouse was rebuilt in 1855-1856, it was extended from 65 feet to its present 95 feet in height, and wooden stairs were replaced with 119 spiraling iron steps to the top.

door marker – cape florida lighthouse

the first day i’d arrived too late.. the door, locked. i came back the next day, to climb

the light – cape florida lighthouse

119 steps

the climb – cape florida lighthouse

upward, the curving rhythm of steps, bolts, spiraling – hypnotic

spiraling structure – cape florida lighthouse
the spine – cape florida lighthouse
the steps – cape florida lighthouse
nearing the light – cape florida lighthouse
cape florida lighthouse
cape florida lighthouse
cape florida lighthouse

reaching the top platform, a door opens out to the sea

the place under the light – cape florida lighthouse

reconnecting to the brilliant sun, splintering light-shards over the water

the top, the sea – cape florida lighthouse

then one last climb, up to the housing of the beacon – original fresnel lens now replaced

at the top – cape florida lighthouse
final ascent – cape florida lighthouse
from the light to the sea – cape florida lighthouse

from here, the glass is etched with salted air, the ocean, shrouded in this veil

i wonder of the mysteries of all that has passed here before, seen and guided, held within the walls, shone out to the world

on this year-end, i wonder what will come out of the mist, in light

lighthouse series #3 – seattle’s smith tower lighthouse

Posted in architecture, light, lighthouse, Uncategorized on February 6, 2011 by dacarc

smith tower is seattle’s original skyscraper – part of every architectural landmark tour of seattle – it’s graceful and delicate sillouette still a prominant mark on the cityscape. the tower’s historic status eclipses it’s distinction as a lighthouse.

tower stair to the light – smith tower, seattle
i had the unique opportunity to experience the lighthouse, under the pyramidal top of smith tower during a reception held there. this mythical place has been profiled in the new york times, and the story told by its resident light-keeper.

stair to the light - smith tower, seattle

unlike other lighthouses, the access to the light – a glass globe at the top of the tower – is a steel ladder through a concrete chute just barely large enough to squeeze through. 

ladder to the light - smith tower, seattle

 the transformation from being compressed and surrounded by concrete, to floating above the city in a glass globe was breathtaking..

light globe - smith tower, seattle

the feeling inside this glass ball, floating above the city is dreamlike.

city lights from the globe - smith tower, seattle

just light, glass, reflections – a way of seeing and feeling the city as never before. like flying dreams.

view from the globe – smith tower, seattle

an unforgettable experience – i remember it as much with my body as my eyes – being inside that floating dreamlike light-beacon.

inside the light – smith tower, seattle
being light.

lighthouse series #2 – key west

Posted in architecture, beauty, energy, light, lighthouse, seeing, symbology, time, travel, Uncategorized on January 3, 2011 by dacarc

key west lighthouse - florida

lighthouse door with banyan tree - key west lighthouse, florida

reflecting on the year past, and in to the light of the next..

wrought iron ring lock - key west lighthouse, florida

beginning the journey again, today — climbing the 88 steps of key west lighthouse, up to the light – to look out

stair tower - inside key west lighthouse - florida

lantern oil coiling upward - key west lighthouse, florida

on the southern edge of the country, a shimmering blue ocean in the most brilliant sun – a glimpse of light in the opening of the year to come

light portal - key west lighthouse - florida

seeing all beauty in light on this quest..

top of the lighthouse - key west, florida

the circular spiral, the stair is the passage of space and time, experience and energy, light and beauty

windows in the lighthouse cupola - key west, florida

an inspiring opening to 2011, a hope whispered in the wind – to see more light in all things

shaft window - key west lighthouse, florida

to see all light reflected, refracted, magnified, spectral – the pure energy of being alive

fresnel lens - key west lighthouse, florida



the vanishing point

Posted in architecture, drawing, energy, java, light, lighthouse, memory, new york, seeing, senses, time, trees, Uncategorized on April 24, 2010 by dacarc
lighthouse stair – shutter island cgi

  how far back in your mind do moments exist before they disappear? 

high line park - northern expansion, new york

 how distant is what we see before it all vanishes from sight? 

georgetown brewhouse facade bracing - seattle

my son has been reflecting on the increasing distance as he looks back on memories of earlier times , places and experiences – and how they recede in scale, almost disappear. his thoughts sparked more reflection on the scale of things that we see, and how they recede into the distance, and then – – vanish altogether? 

new york subway - 5th avenue

the fundamental principle of architectural drawing is this — everything is seen in relationship to the vanishing point. in essence, it’s the center of everything, that point of nothing. all matter is stretched out on a grid from there – horizontal and vertical lines, all tying back, infinitely shrinking, disappearing completely from sight. vanishing.

hanalei pier - kauai, hawaii

 where is it that point? it’s where your eye is drawn, at the center — or, at the farthest periphery. 

banyan tree - central java, indonesia

like a black hole – everything and nothing in convergence. in looking deeper, and wondering, as we experience the world, what sense do we really have of the present? if none of the five senses work in the moment – as they are delayed by our sensory limitations – are we living in the past? is time merely a concept of relative perception, not a reality? if we could subsume our sensory input, would we have some other existent reality – in the present? and would we feel the matter that is manifest, in the moment? would we have clearer vision? would the vanishing point even exist? 

chihuly boathouse - lake union, seattle

maybe not. maybe we would experience a transformation of perspective, an opening to the energy of all that is. rather than a vanishing point, an infinite expansion to the universe.

yesterday's sunrise - jfk, new york

 that would make us the vanishing point.

sunrise - new york taxi

lighthouse series – #1

Posted in architecture, light, lighthouse, symbology, Uncategorized on March 26, 2010 by dacarc


phare du four bretagne - jean guichard


over the past few months, i’ve been studying lighthouses. a gift, a book on the history of lighthouses ignited my renewed interest. the power of the symbolism is universal over the span of time and culture, and though many ancient lighthouses have been lost, there are hundreds – thousands – still standing. holding hundreds of years of history, and the stories of those who have created them, lived in and cared for them – magnetizing and capturing our dreams as they have for thousands of years. 


roker lighthouse, england - jonboy 247


 the metaphors are powerful – a fire-tower, marking of danger. a beam of light shining through dark, stormy seas, dense fog, crashing waves and ripping winds. standing tall, unwavering and courageous, struck from the edge of the earth. life saving, light-giving beacons to the windswept wave-battered vessels lost at sea. the images are stunning, and it is seemingly impossible that these structures can stand and shine in the midst of the wild forces of destruction that surround them.

and those keepers live there, too.


la jument lighthouse wave - brittany, france - jean guichard


 this image is captivating at first glance, and more so in reading the story of the rescue of the lighthouse keeper. with the speed of the oncoming wave and the keeper standing at the open door, it is amazing to hear of his survival. maybe the most powerful metaphor of all – the symbol of life in the face of death, of our smallness, and strength, against the awesome forces of nature.


newhaven lighthouse, sussex coast, england - reuters


the deeper i look, the more there is to learn — i’ve collected at least a dozen books, from construction details, lighthouse maps from europe, the mediterranean, and the pacific coast, historical references, light technology (the fresnel lenses alone are a lifetime’s study), and the stories of the keepers and the events – tragic and transformational.


whitford lighthouse - england, angus macdonald


this beautiful tapered cast iron lightouse constructed in 1865 is endangered, and nearing collapse. the range and beauty in the design of lighthouse structures all over the world is captivating – it would be more than a lifetime’s journey to go there.



west point lighthouse - alki point, seattle


in exploring them – their landscape, design, siting, and climbing up to the light – i’ve started the journey, beginning with the one nearest to home – the point robinson lighthouse on alki point in seattle (closed for the winter), then west point lighthouse at discovery park at the edge of the magnolia bluffs (shrink wrapped for restoration), and then the kilauea lighthouse on kauai (tower closed).


kilauea lighthouse - kauai island, hawaii


now on to more journeys and for going deeper, and climbing higher, to the towers and lanterns. now for storm-swept, or fogged in, or darkest night forays when the light – the heartbeat of the lighthouse – is shining bright.