They've trudged down many a trail, high winds blowing, slogged through sand carrying camera bags in hundred degree temperatures, with bugs biting, Nikons slung around their necks. They've waded knee deep on a trail flooded with water from the Hudson River. They've gone out on the water in sports boats, crabber's boats, lobsterman's boats, rowboats. They don't know how many ferries that they have taken. They lost count long ago. They've flown in twin engine planes, single engine, and seaplanes. They've climbed over boulders, hung from tree branches over a cliff and rolled in a mud puddle under a fence.
Why? To photograph a lighthouse.
On their wedding trip almost 13 years ago, Bob & Sandra Shanklin of Fort Walton Beach traveled to New England, and among other things, photographed a few lighthouses. The first one was picturesque Portland Head Maine Lighthouse. It was love at first sight. They started searching for more lighthouses that very day. At an age when most people are thinking of retiring, the Shanklins started a whole new and exciting project.
Bob contends that lighthouses are a virus with no known cure, and at that very first lighthouse, the bug bit both of them. Since then the couple have traveled over all the coasts of the United States looking for lighthouses.
The Shanklins call themselves "the Lighthouse People", and they feel they have earned the title. Some years ago the NW Florida Daily News and the Associated Press did a story on them. The story was printed in newspapers all over the United States. At that time they had photographed around 200 lighthouses and so, had only a good start on their project. Whenever they were in an area, looking for a lighthouse or trying to find transportation to a lighthouse, someone would come up and say "Aren't you the Lighthouse People?"
The Lighthouse People are photographers Bob and Sandra Shanklin. After that first trip to New England, it became a goal, a cause, an obsession to photograph all the lighthouses in the U.S.
In February 1999, on the north end of the Big Island, Hawaii, they photographed the last lighthouse in their quest, Kahola Point. Their Hawaiian Guide said "Now you are 'all pau'". (Hawaiian for ALL DONE).