A few weekends ago, I got the chance to head out to Point Bonita Lighthouse in the Marin Headlands and take the camera along. Well, it wasn’t like I was going to go without it, cause that would just be plain silly.
I had been to Gasser’s the afternoon before and was able to make it before the cutoff for the 40% off deal. I ended up taking the Canon 28-70 f/2.8 L lens along with the Canon 200mm f/2.8 L telephoto lens. Where else could you have these two badass lenses for the entire weekend for about $40? Nowhere else but Gasser’s, folks!! Just don’t all of you go at once and ruin my awesome lens selection for when I show up, ok?!?!?!
The 28-70 is an awesome lens that has been discontinued after it was replaced by the updated 24-70 that gave it an extra 4 mm of wide-angle capability. Is 4mm that big a deal for landscape? You betcha!! But, being that I can live with taking a few extra steps back, as long as I’m not falling off a cliff in doing so, I can live with the 28-70 for a weekend. Let me tell you right now, falling off a cliff would not be pleasant…
I had been interested in the 200mm f/2.8 for some time now, but it was either usually out or I had another agenda that wouldn’t have worked well for that lens. There’s few instances where I would say that having a 200mm telephoto fixed lens would work well. In the case where you were at a ballgame with a little distance from the action, 200mm might just be perfect. So, what would you reach for first? That’s right!! A Canon 70-200 f/2.8 zoom lens, which is a classic for short telephoto sports work, especially night photography. So, where does the 200mm prime fit? Delicious question!! The 200mm fixed telephoto is right at the end of the range of the 70-200 while still giving you a large aperture of f/2.8 along with giving you a slightly sharper image by being a fixed prime. While the 70-200 has to be one of the sharpest zoom lenses in all of Canon’s lineup, it just can’t beat the image quality of a fixed lens.
So, that was my rental arsenal, but even better than that, I decided to walk over by the retail side of Gasser’s store and took a peek at the used Pentax M42 screw thread lenses. Among the bunch, I noticed a Yashica 28mm f/2.8 fixed lens that looked to be in super sweet condition. Why would I want that for my Canon EOS system? Well, I’ve been messing around with manual focus lenses and have found the old Pentax M42 screw thread lenses to be a great source of good quality lenses to satisfy my manual focus needs with my autofocus camera. With a little adapter plate that acts as a thread to EOS adapter along with correctly spacing the lens away from the sensor for correct infinity focus, all the M42 lenses work great.
Along that Pentax system didn’t see a good number of decent zoom lenses, the number of fixed prime lenses that were manufactured for that system is rather extensive. And for $39, it was a steal!!!
So, I arrived to Point Bonita Lighthouse with a packed arsenal of just about every focal range I could want. I had my Tokina 100-300mm f/4.0 for the long stuff, the Canon 200mm f/2.8, the Canon 28-70mm f/2.8 and the Yashica 28mm f/2.8. Damn, the bag was heavy!!
Point Bonita Lighthouse recently opened back up to public access in May after an almost two-year hiatus while the suspension bridge to the lighthouse was rebuilt. As the story goes, the lighthouse was originally place on the large cliff side that stands behind the area where the lighthouse currently sits today. Unfortunately, a few ships saw their end due to the lighthouse being too high up and the light not being able to penetrate through the thick Marin County fog. It was then moved to its current location where it is more visible to passerby ships. When it was originally moved, there was a walkable path to the lighthouse that eroded over time, leaving the lighthouse on an isolated patch of earth. It was then decided to create a suspension bridge that would connect the two masses that had not eroded, and this bridge stood proud for many decades. But with the weather as temperamental in that area, the bridge was deemed unsafe for passage a few years back.
Parks and Recreation closed the pathway to the Lighthouse while the bridge was recreated. The replica that we see today is reminiscent of the originally designed suspension bridge with all the modern-day security features that we would expect from a Parks and Recreation facility that sees a good amount of traffic each weekend.
So, what do you need to know when visiting the Point Bonita Lighthouse? First tip is to wear layers!! When we arrived shortly after 1PM, the fog was thick and moist. It was cold and windy, so a heavy coat and some time of head-gear to keep you warm was almost a necessity if you planned on being out there for any length of time. By the time we had decided to leave almost an hour and half later, the fog had receded and the heavy coat was no longer necessary. The second tip is to wear comfortable shoes. The parking lot suggested for the lighthouse is almost a half mile away from the actual doorway that leads you to the lighthouse. The walkway isn’t dangerous for the most part, but I wouldn’t wear any shoes that don’t offer good grip or are comfortable enough to walk in for an extended period of time. And finally, plan your trip ahead of time since the lighthouse is only open on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 12PM to 3PM. Yuuuup!!! You heard right!! It’s only open for a three-hour period on those three days of the week. Any other time or day of the week, it would be a waste of your time to make it out there since the doorway that they close before the tunnel that gives access to the lighthouse will not allow for ANY time of vista from that angle.
Ok, enough for tonight. Have a great night, folks!!