Looking Through the Lens of the Lighthouse Keeper

Split Rock Lighthouse Site Manager, Hayes Scriven, Has Passion for Capturing Nature's Beauty On The Job

TWO HARBORS, Minn. – They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

The statement holds ever so true for one lucky photographer living along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

“Photography and Split Rock go together like peanut butter and jelly, they’re just delicious together,” said Hayes Scriven, site manager at Split Rock Lighthouse.

You could say the COVID-19 pandemic provoked a shot in the world of photography Scriven.

“I want people to realize that you should try to slow down and find the beauty in the little things in life,” said Scriven.

For Scriven, a natural oasis is just steps from his home.

“I’ve always been interested in photography, so I grabbed the site’s camera and I came down to shore beach one morning to capture a sunrise and it was a magical moment,” described Scriven.

He’s a lucky, humble guy who doesn’t take any shot for granted.

“I’m blessed enough to live here, and I want people to be able to experience it and have a great connection with the site,” said Scriven.

What started as a passion now has him hooked on the horizon at the same time and in the same place daily.

“If I don’t get up at the right time, I feel like I’m missing out because I want to go down and photograph it, but I also want to share it with people,” said Scriven.

His shared experiences quickly turned into engagement across social media platforms around the globe.

“It’s rewarding for me, and I’ve heard from other people that, you know, ‘oh thank you for doing this, I’ve been cooped up in my nursing home for six months and I haven’t been able to get out and your videos are the only way I can feel a connection with the real world,’” said Scriven.

This little nook along the North Shore, attracting attention worldwide, even as a global pandemic puts a damper on visiting breathtaking destinations like the historic Split Rock Lighthouse.

“When I can take a picture and share what it’s like living at the site, and share it with the rest of the world, that’s special.”

It’s the joys of the job Scriven says he will never take for granted.

“It’s everybody’s lighthouse and they should see the beauty all the time,” said Scriven. “I haven’t had a hobby for a while or done anything.”

His take on the new talent, allowing for the most magical of moments to be captured when it’s least expected.

“I set the camera up for one last shot from behind the lighthouse and all of a sudden the lens stopped moving, and these double beams came out of the lighthouse, and I just looked at it for like two seconds, and I was like, oh my gosh, I have to capture this,” said Scriven.

The ever-changing climate along the great Gitche Gumee, often revealing a rewarding glimpse into the natural world.

He says it’s been good for the soul to get out and refresh his mind amid a year of so many unknowns.

It’s a sense of rejuvenation with a historical aspect attached as many of us look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I thought back to when the first keepers were here and they would maybe be standing in the same spot, and look up and see the northern lights like I’m seeing right now in the same spot,” said Scriven.

From then, to now, with some free time and advanced technology, Scriven says he can’t wait to see what he captures in the days, months, and years ahead.

“I hope to get better at it when I retire in 30 years, maybe that’ll be my side gig,” said Scriven.

Split Rock Lighthouse is currently open to the public.

The site recently announced work will continue this year to add the site’s first drive-in camping option.

The Shipwreck Creek campground is tentatively planned to open in the fall, with 46 sites with electric service and a modern shower and bathroom facility.

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