Pigeon Point Lighthouse just started a 2-5 year restoration project in which the Fresnel lens will be restored. I'm so glad I was able to witness this scene for myself. It is the first time since the lighthouse was built in 1871 that its lens -- a complex network of 1,008 glass prisms hand-built in 1860s Paris, shaped like a beehive and rotated on a brass assembly like a grandfather clock -- has been removed. As part of the project, three "lampists," craftsmen who work on the nearly dead art of restoring lighthouse lenses, have been methodically inspecting, cleaning and resetting each one of the prisms so the 10-foot-tall lens can be reassembled and shown to the public early next year at Pigeon Point.
Once a year, Pigeon Point Lighthouse turns on the Fresnel lens for two hours to celebrate the anniversary of the original lighting. The light is stationary for five minutes then rotates for the remainder of the time.