David Barthel - North Shore Images PhotographyDavid Barthel North Shore Images Photography
David Barthel

Photo Journal & News

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Light for the Lost

On November 10 each year, the staff and visitors at Split Rock Lighthouse observe the tragic loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald and its 29 crew members aboard with a special beacon lighting ceremony. The 35 years that have passed since that fateful 1975 storm may seem like a long time, but the relative recency of its sinking has immortalized its place as one of the best known Great Lakes shipwrecks.

The ceremony also commemorates the loss of all vessels on the Great Lakes, a handful of which brought Split Rock Lighthouse into its very existence. Even as modern technology has obsoleted the lighthouse, it remains a symbol of the great efforts to ensure the safety of maritime travel.

This is the sixth consecutive year that I have photographed the beacon on November 10. The weather was mild compared with most years, but the wind was blowing hard and sent waves splashing over the rocky shore, some of those reaching my feet. That said, the agitated waters on this evening did not remotely resemble the stormy seas of November 10, 1975. We can only imagine . . .

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