Field of Dreams

I have always been amazed by musicians and painters who create each new piece from a blank page or canvas. They begin with nothing more than what they visualize in their mind and can labour for weeks or months to perfect a piece.  As much as I may plan and attempt to create the photograph I imagined, sometimes is just doesn’t happen. All of the angles, light and composition won’t come together no matter what I try. Then there are those moments when the effort is not even there and the subject presents itself saying “Take my picture”- The time and place are perfect.

Last summer I was driving through a local industrial park and I spotted a small field of lupines between two large buildings. The patch was likely less than a 100 meters long but perfectly placed between the two driveways. I didn’t have my camera at first sight but I made a mental note of the place and went back a few days later with my wife and youngest daughter. We spent less than 30 minutes there but the conditions were absolutely ideal. Overcast skies, a bit of a mist and slight breeze. My daughter became so excited about the flowers that she borrowed my phone to take some of her own photographs.

ISO 100 1/60 f2.8

It’s funny how photography works sometimes. There can be days of planning and preparation, shooting image after image and I come home feeling empty-handed. Then there are those days that God does all the hard work and I get there just at the right time.

Wintertide

“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.

William Arthur Ward
For anyone who has followed my photography and blog for a while  you’ll know I love the beach, and in particular the Bay of Fundy. My family and I have spent many days during the summer at different beaches all around southern New Brunswick and parts of Nova Scotia. I especially enjoy visiting beaches at sunrise and sunset. The anticipation of the light, reflections, clouds and the potential image is an exciting moment for me that never seems to get old.

In recent years I’ve tried to make a more conscious effort to visit some of the local coastline in the winter to take advantage of the different light and perspective with the snow and ice. Last month I visited one of my favorite beaches in the morning and was fortunate that the tide was heading out. For years I have generally been drawn to one side of this beach more than the other.  This time I was intentional in my decision to visit the other side of the beach and inspect it closer than I have before.

As I walked the shoreline and photographed I was inspired by what I saw through the lens.  At the same time I was a bit disappointed, thinking about subjects I have potentially missed because I neglected to visit the other side of the beach so many times. I strolled along this part of the beach for about an hour. When I came home and edited my images I was really very happy to see that I was able to capture some new amazing images of God’s creation like the one below. Sometimes avoiding the easy or obvious subject can pay off.

The Bay of Fundy at Low Tide in Gardner Creek, New Brunswick

The Bay of Fundy at Low Tide in Gardner Creek, New Brunswick

 

The Sound of a Photograph

Photography is usually considered a visual art, and typically my inspiration comes from the scenery that is all around. My favorite subjects are the coastlines, beaches, lakes, rivers and wildlife that are near my home. I love to explore the back roads and rural areas outside the city while looking for interesting new subjects.

"Dusk Waves" - Bay of Fundy, Saint John.

“Dusk Waves” – Bay of Fundy, Saint John.

A few months ago I was on a walk with my wife and daughter. We could hear the sound of the waves crashing on the beach and we decided to take a closer look. The setting sun and the sound of the bay created the perfect inspiration. It was a few days later while editing that I realized if I hadn’t heard the waves that day I likely would not have gone to the beach  and would have missed this moment.

Not only did I come home with an unexpected image, I also learned that it is just as important to listen as it is to look when seeking new images.

Clowns of the Sea

Machias Seal Island has been on a list of destinations I have wanted to visit for several years. I was fortunate enough to take a trip there this month, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. You wouldn’t think there would be much to see with an area less than twenty acres, but like they say, big things can come in small packages. If you are nature photographer or birder this amazing bird sanctuary is a must see. It is home to a variety of seabirds such as Razorbills, Common Murres, Arctic Terns, Eiders and the stars of the show – Atlantic Puffins.

Machias Seal Island

Machias Seal Island

Seal island is located approximately 16 km (10 miles) southeast of Cutler Maine and approximately 19 km (12 miles) southwest Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy. Between late May and mid-August there are two companies that run boat tours to the island, one from Grand Manan and one out of Cutler Maine. My wife and I took the tour from Maine due to a conflict with the departure time for the ferry to Grand Manan. Either location requires an overnight stay the day before because the tours leave between 6:30 and 8:00am local time.

Left, Right and Centre

“Left, Right and Centre”

For those who have been whale watching or on other sightseeing tours there is always the fear of not seeing anything. That is not the case here unless it’s because of fog. Our boat launched about 7:30 am, and we were fortunate all aspects of the weather cooperated. The bay was smooth and the fog lifted before reaching the end of our 45 minute cruise. The anticipation was high as we all caught a glimpse of the manned lighthouse and saw puffins in flight over the water towards their sanctuary.

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

Once in sight of the island it didn’t take long for the action to begin with seals sunbathing and bouncing on the rocks as well as the seabirds coming and going like bees from a hive. We taxied ashore and gathered by the lighthouse keepers and awaiting our instructions. We were split up into groups of four or five and taken to a blind to spend the next hour and a half. Normally I might be a little claustrophobic but that 90 minutes felt more like ten. The birds posed and played for the cameras like they were on stage. One other photographer said it was almost like it was cheating being so close to the action. You quickly see where their nickname comes from as their personality truly shines – clowns for sure.

Waddling Circus

“Waddling Circus”

Puffins are not an endangered species but their numbers are monitored closely now around the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy due to their popularity with hunters until the late 1800’s for their meat, eggs and feathers. With their smaller numbers in past years it left them exposed to other seabirds like gulls taking over their habitat. The decline of herring as a food source in recent years is also a concern, as is a reduced rate of reproduction. Puffins only lay one egg each year and don’t mate until about age five. Organizations like the Canadian Wildlife Service, University of New Brunswick and the Audubon Society are all studying and working to protect Puffins and the other native seabirds.

Feathers in a Flap

“Feathers in a Flap”

I’ve never been on a safari but I assume you would experience a similar affection for the animals you photograph there. Once you see firsthand how fragile an animal and their habitat are, it really changes the way you look at that particular creature and the actions we can have; both positive and negative.

 

Trouble in Paradise

"The Cove" - Paradise Island, Bahamas.

“The Cove” – Paradise Island, Bahamas.

My wife and I celebrated our 20th anniversary last month in the Bahamas and enjoyed some absolutely spectacular scenery on the resort. Off the resort the scenery was still fantastic, but at times I was saddened by the condition of environment and amount of litter on the beaches and in the water. On a few occasions I saw some of the locals treat the water around the wharf like a giant trash can and I continually thought to myself “don’t they realize what they are doing to this paradise”.

As the days have gone by and I’ve edited my photographs from our trip the thoughts of the trash on the beaches and in the ocean have continued to distress me, until recently. As I’ve started photographing around my own home town I’ve realized the people in my area are no different than those in the Bahamas.

"The Veil" - Welsford, New Brunswick

“The Veil” – Welsford, New Brunswick

A few weeks ago I was hiking though the woods looking for this waterfall and during my walk came across several piles of trash along the paths in the woods, some of it right next the falls itself. It was at this point I started to feel a bit of remorse for the thoughts I had while we were visiting the Bahamas because I realized how hypocritical I was being in my judgment of the local people when they are no different than those of us in the north. We tend to think of paradise being a tropical location but the truth is the God has created the whole Earth and there is fragility and beauty to be found everywhere, not just where the white sandy beaches are.

 

 

Fisher of Men – An Easter Art Project

Bay of Fundy, Deer Island New Brunswick

Bay of Fundy, Deer Island New Brunswick

About 2 months ago I received an invitation by my pastor to take part in an Easter art project at our church. I felt extremely honoured to be asked, and jumped at the opportunity to work with such a diverse group artist. Those involved displayed talents in woodworking, pencil sketches, paintings, poetry, music and pottery. All of our work was incorporated into an annual event our church host on Good Friday called “Journey to the Cross”, as well as the Good Friday Service.

The idea was to share a piece of art that depicted the events Good Friday. After a short time searching images on my laptop I came across this image from the fall of 2010 I entitled “Fisher of Men”. Normally it is the colours and light that I’m drawn to when creating a photograph, but for this scene in Deer Island it was the cross. I’m not sure if it has a specific purpose for the local fishermen but the cross represented so much more to me and my faith and why I placed it in the center of everything.

Eternal Winter

The days are getting longer. The temperature is rising. The end of winter must be near. Right?

"Evening Shiver" - Lepreau River, NB

“Evening Shiver” – Lepreau River, NB

Winter has seemed extra long, snowy and cold this year, and yet, at the same time the scenery has been magnificent. This has been one of the best winters for photography. Frosty ice storms and the mountains of snow have created some beautiful subjects.

"Hay There"

“Hay There” – Central Bedeque, PEI

For the last month or so my friends and neighbours have been a chorus of voices asking for the warmer weather to arrive and an end to the snow and freezing temperatures. I admit, there have been weeks when winter has seemed long; especially when shovelling a foot of snow or trying to manoeuvre around the icy streets. I know the calendar says that winter is coming to a close, but it’s certainly not going quietly. This past week Eastern Canada experience what some are calling a winter hurricane and the worst driving conditions I have ever experienced. For good measure we received another ice storm today and a third consecutive snow day for the kids. The last four months have been intense, but there is still a little part of me that is sad to see the end of winter.

Smoke and Fire

Winter can be cruel. This year it seems even more-so. The bitter cold, day after day, a ridiculous ice storm followed by a few days of mild weather, and then back to the deep freeze. With January done and the short month of February here, I can feel spring just around the corner.

"Smoke and Fire" - Bay of Fundy, Saint John, NB

“Smoke and Fire” – Bay of Fundy, Saint John, NB

The photograph above was taken in January on an extremely cold morning. I dropped my daughter off at school and I noticed the sea fog was floating over the Bay of Fundy so I went back home to get my equipment. The cold air over the bay created a thick fog and with the sunrise shining through it made for a fabulous scene. I fired off a few shots for about 10 minutes and then headed back home because the wind chill burned through my jeans and made it just too uncomfortable to continue. Winter conditions can be challenging at times. Fortunately, photographic excursions don’t have to be to far away, or for a long time to be successful.

I created this image using a Canon 50D and a Canon EF-S 1755mm f/2.8 IS USM, set to aperture priority (AV) at f/8 with a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second at ISO 100 and with the focal length of the lens at 38mm. Post processing was done using Corel AfterShot Pro.

To view more of my work please visit www.duckcovephotography.ca or www.facebook.com/DuckCovePhotography

Eye Of The Beholder

Many in the Eastern parts of Canada and the United States have endured what I’d call a crystal Christmas this year. Typically we all look forward to a white Christmas but this year instead of snow many areas received freezing rain and ice pellets. For days since the storm the scenery has been amazing, unless you are one of the hundreds of thousands who have been without electricity. It’s been over a week without power for some areas and it may not be turned on for a few more days for hundreds. My family went without power on two occasions last Monday but those six hours were nothing compared to those who have waited for six plus days.

Below are a few images of the beautiful landscape I’ve made this week created by the “Ice Storm of 2013”. There is some irony in these images. For those with power we can appreciate the amazing beauty and for those without power it represents the incredible inconvenience. To my friends and neighbours around the country still without power I truly hope that life returns to normal soon.

Musquash Falls

Musquash Falls, NB

Lepreau Falls

Lepreau Falls, NB

The view from my lane

The view from my lane

Ice on veins

Icy Veins

Rosy and Red

Frozen Roses

White and Gold

Encased

Encased

Frozen in Time

Old and Grey

Silver Bells

Silver Woods

Parting Shot

I have friends who think photos of sunset are overdone, but for me there is something majestic about a photograph of a sunset or sunrise. A new beginning, or a perfect ending to the day. The anticipation of shooting the sun breaking the horizon or falling behind it never gets old. In that short window of time I’m continually awestruck by the awesomeness in one of God’s miraculous wonders. That giant ball of fire reflecting off the clouds in the sky can’t help but can capture the attention of all; young, old, photographer and non photographer alike.

A few weeks ago I spent the day driving and walking along the coastline of the Bay of Fundy. My journey began in Garnett Settlement and my day concluded in St. Martins, New Brunswick. This 30km stretch of back-roads and highway is one of the most scenic areas that I’ve driven and one of my favourite places to visit every year. I’m continually drawn to the magnificent beaches along with the rugged and rocky coastlines. Each visit brings me back to a familiar area but I’m always introduced to something new that I’ve missed before.

"Half-Light" - The sun setting behind the coastline in St. Martins New Brunswick

“Half-Light” – The sun setting behind the coastline in St. Martins, New Brunswick

After spending six to eight hours chasing light and shadows it seems only appropriate to finish the day by making images of the setting sun. I love the intensity, texture and shapes created by the light and once it’s gone the only thing left for me is the excitement of seeing the images I recorded. It’s the end to a perfect day.