20 Years and 20 Photographs

It’s 20 years into the 2000’s and my love of photography. So here are my top 20 from the past 20 years.  They are not necessarily my best technically but are my favourite and most memorable destinations and time spent with family.

It has been over a year since I last posted here and this will be the last post on this blog. I’ve decided to start a new site and will update you on my website and other social media when it’s ready.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for those who have been regular followers and for all your kind comments.

“Bird on a Weir” – Seagull. Campobello Island, New Brunswick. Enjoying a sunset while camping with my wife and children.

 

“Independence Day” – St. George, NB This young eagle has learned from its mom and dad and is now flying (and hunting) solo. I’m sure it’s a proud parenting moment.

 

“Marshmallow World” – Clarendon, NB A fresh snow floating on the rocks of a small stream in rural New Brunswick.

 

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“Peek-a-boo” – Humpback Whale. Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. This was my first time seeing a humpback. They have so much personality and are truly one of God’s amazing creatures. Unfortunately the fog didn’t completely cooperate making photos a bit of a challenge but it was still an amazing experience.

 

“Rock and Roll” – Musquash Falls, New Brunswick. A hidden gem off the Trans-Canada highway outside Saint John, NB

 

“The Archer’s bow” – Upper Moss Glen Falls, Kingston Peninsula. I was immediately drawn to the bow shape created by the falls and it’s reflection in the pool. The falls are near the end of a brook that flows into the Kennebecasis River.

 

“Rainbow Sky” Five Islands Lighthouse at Sunset – Colchester Nova Scotia. A sunset memory from a family camping trip around the Fundy coast.

 

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“Divine Watercolor” – Spruce Lake, Saint John. NB. Sometimes you can only take credit for being a spectator and just getting there when God wanted to show you something amazing.

 

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“Talking to Angels” – Cape Spencer, New Brunswick. Sunrise over the Bay of Fundy looking towards Nova Scotia.  My daughter is the inspiration and needs credit for encouraging me to wake up early with her to watch.

 

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“The Crystal Forest” – Rockwood Park, Saint John, NB. It’s all in the eye of the beholder when it comes to Winter. Beautiful and brutal at the same time.

 

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“Orange Crush” – My daughter Grace wanted to go for a drive with me a to watch the sunrise. We ended up at small inlet off The Bay of Fundy called Haggerty’s Cove. We also saw 4 blue herons feeding to go along with this image.

 

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“Synchronized Swimming” – Kennebecasis River, Saint John, New Brunswick. I was fortunate to have some time while waiting for a ferry. It was the shot of the day.

 

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“Monoscape in Motion” – Lepreau Falls, NB. The beauty of simplicity – Sometimes not seeing in color is just better. The awe and wonder is found in the details and not in the color.

 

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“A Wing and a Prayer” – Great Blue Heron, Hampton, NB. I usually see herons wading so to capture one in flight was a special moment for me. This was a bit of a surprise and as close as I’ve had one fly by me. It also shows just how magnificent and impressive their wingspan is.

 

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“Fly-Fishing” – Osprey, Saint John, NB. My wife and I were out for walk in Rockwood Park and were fortunate to see this osprey proudly showing us her catch (or what was left of it). Dinner is ready!

 

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“Ocean Floor” – Gardner Creek, NB. Low tide around the Bay of Fundy is magnificent. I try as much as possible to arrange my visits around low tide. To be able to walk on the ocean floor and view things that are normally hidden provides so many additional photographic opportunities and to discover some things you don’t normally see.

 

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“Field of Gold” – Kars, NB. This field of sunflowers has become a bit of an attraction this summer so my family took a drive to visit. It was impressive and beautiful to see so many sunflowers in one spot.

 

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“Fishing in a Tuxedo” – Atlantic Puffin, Machias Seal Island. All he needs is a top hat.

 

“Sweet Dreams” – Grand Manan, NB. I spotted this little pup while on a hike with my family in Whale Cove. I think I see a little smile… Must be dreaming about herring.

 

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“Baby Face” – Black bear cub – Kent County, NB. This young cub was one of two that kept mama busy. They love to climb trees and playfully swat at each other. (It may not have been playful in their minds). It was a bit like watching toddlers. I could almost imagine mama saying “get down from there!” or “stop hitting your brother!”

 

 

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Been There Done That

The Earth is Art, The Photographer is only a Witness. –  Yann Arthus-Bertrand

There is a special excitement visiting a place for the first time. The anticipation of what you might see and the joy of creating a new image is certainly exhilarating, but having the opportunity to return over and over to a favourite destination can be just as memorable.

In the center of Saint John near the industrial and shopping district is this jewel known as Silver Falls. Hidden in a valley is a twisting waterway that has several small falls but the main attraction is a wider  horsetail falls at the upper end and a tiered cascading falls at the bottom.
The falls are beautiful in any season but a bit more challenging in winter due to the steepness of the hills down to water. Each season creates a unique view. Changes throughout the year precipitation and temperature mean that you may see anything from a gushing veil to a cascading trickle.
Each visit allows me to bring home images, from different perspectives and new angles. Changes in the water flow, the color of the surrounding greenery and wet or dry rocks makes each time unique.

Once in a lifetime trips are something that every photographer hopes for but don’t overlook what’s in your own backyard and one visit is never enough.  Been there done that, doesn’t apply to photography.

Birds of a Feather

Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them. Matthew 6:26 TLB

I haven’t written since May of 2017 and with the start of a new year I felt like it was time and to get you caught up on what I’ve been up to.  For several years the Bay of Fundy has been my primary focus but in 2017 I decided to turn my focus to the local wildlife.

I’m not sure if it was by coincidence or divine intervention but I was fortunate to capture several images of some of my favourite birds. Perhaps my wife was the good luck since she was with me for several sightings.

There is something special about seeing a large raptor or heron in the wild. Every time I come away with a new photograph but also a new appreciation for the animal and their survival instincts. As a spectator  in different locations the one constant I notices was their ability to go about their business with little concern about me, with the exception of an osprey feeding its young. Don’t mess with a mom!

As I edited, filed and sorted my images the Bible verse above came to mind on several times. Over the years it’s become my go-to scripture during the stressful or anxious times of life.

Nature photography is dual purpose for me. I love being outside photographing nature and enjoying the wild places, but it’s also a time to enjoy all the God has made. It’s also a great reminder that if He can create and care for all it, He can certainly look after all my needs.

 

Handle With Care

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This is perhaps the most peaceful and beautiful place on Earth for me. About 45 minutes away from my home is this amazing beach with this sandstone island called “Split Rock”.

The time to visit is at low tide so you can experience walking on the ocean floor. Not just the beach and shoreline, but the true ocean floor allowing you to also get up close to the awesome rock. Twice a day for a few hours this opportunity presents itself. If I lived close enough I would be there each time it happens. It’s magical, peaceful and absolutely beautiful. The photography is endless and subjects abound everywhere; on the ground, in the rocks, in the trees and sky.

Lately, what strikes me is that even though this place is a bit out-of-the-way for the public and not known to a lot of people they are regulars who visit often. Yet it remains pristine. The area has little to no trash to speak of. It shows that if people really care and want to have a beautiful place we are capable of keeping it that way.

To those who visit, thank you for being good stewards. Now let’s do it everywhere. We’ve proven it’s possible.

 

New Year – New Possibilities

  • “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
    Alfred Eisenstaedt

A year is a strange thing. It’s said the older you are, the quicker the years go. I’ve learned that it is very true – 2016 flew by. I didn’t intend to skip eight months between post, it just happened.

So what have I been up to? There has still been lots of photos and I’ve been happy with quite a few – some more than others. The most memorable things about 2116 weren’t necessarily the images but the people I’ve crossed paths with. The Photographs from last year are a credit to some of those individuals, along with the knowledge and places they shared with me. I have been fortunate to spend some time with a biologist, fellow artists, business people and old friends who I have become reacquainted with. Many of them have taught or showed me something new and helped me grow as a photographer.

Monoscape in Motion ~ Lepreau Falls, NB

Monoscape in Motion ~ Lepreau Falls, NB

This is my first of 2017 and I’ll attempt to keep you updated on a more regular basis this year on what I’ve been doing, what I’ve seen and who I meet along the way….. Stay tuned my friends.

Peace Like a River

When I first started my journey into photography it was about creating and documenting nature and the other things I saw while exploring. I was inspired by light, nature and the people I was with. As I’ve gotten older it’s become 50% about the final image and 50% recharging mentally or getting away from the daily pressures of life.

A few years after I bought my first camera I began to have severe anxiety and panic attacks. Photography became a distraction and a way to focus on something other than my anxiety. Over the years photography has remained part of my therapy and method to maintain a sense of peace.

“Peace like a river”… – When I younger we would sing a hymn in church with this line in it but it was just words in the song. It really didn’t have any relevance to me until I got older and realized what the author of the song was talking about. Horatio Spafford wrote the hymn after a personal tragedy and even though I have not experienced an event close to what he endured, I have learned to appreciate the reference in the hymn.

I’m very fortunate that I live in an area of Canada where I’m surrounded by water. I’ve come to realize the truth in the statement “Peace like a river”. There is something very calming listening to a waterfall or waves while looking at an immense body of water. It can be visually intense but audibly relaxing at the same time. Perhaps that is why we have taken to artificially playing the sound of water in our homes to sooth us.

Welsford Falls, New Brunswick

Welsford Falls which eventually drain into the Saint John River

Sometimes while sitting by the ocean or a river I leave my camera by my side or case, just spending the time to reflect on the grandness of the scene and appreciate the magnificence of God’s design. There is a part of me that finds peace while being a spectator of something so incredible. Even though I don’t totally understanding how it is all held together but recognizing it is God who is ultimately in control. The waves will crash and water rises but He is the one who determines just how high that is.

2015 in Pictures

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Where did 2015 go?

I’ve heard it said that the older you get the quicker time goes. Now the older I get, the more I think it’s true. It was about seven months ago the last time I wrote but it doesn’t feel like it was that long. I had good intentions but a bit of writers block along with other commitments seemed to prevent me from sitting down and sharing my thoughts and images. So here I am at the end of December with some of my favorite photographs and memories from the year that came and went so quickly.

The winter of 2015 was record-breaking in terms of snow. The driving and shoveling were awful but the photography was spectacular and the best I’ve experienced in recent years other than perhaps the ice storm of 2014.

"Shadow of the Twilight" - Rothesay NB

“Shadow of the Twilight” – Kennebecasis River, Rothesay, NB

 

"Everwhites" - Saint John, NB

“Everwhites” – Saint John, NB

 

"Blowing Smoke" - Saint John, NB

“Blowing Smoke” – Bay of Fundy, Saint John, NB

 

"Fallen Snowmen" - Kingston Peninsula, NB

“Fallen Snowmen” – Kingston Peninsula, NB

 

Once the snow finally melted and spring arrived I began exploring the province and found some beautiful gardens, waterfalls and fun wildlife. If it wasn’t for my wife’s keen eye I wouldn’t have captured the painted turtles or had the opportunity to show my kids a beaver if I hadn’t taken a friend from India on a trip to a local park.

"Shell Game" - Painted Turtles, Hampstead, NB

“Shell Game” – Painted Turtles, Hampstead, NB –

How many turtles you see?

 

"Spring Fever" - King Square, Saint John NB“Spring Fever” – King Square, Saint John NB

 

"Forest For The Trees" - Cambridge-Narrows, NB

“Forest For The Trees” – Cambridge-Narrows, NB

 

 "Nature's Carpenter" - Little River Reservoir Park, Saint John, NB

“Nature’s Carpenter” – Little River Reservoir Park, Saint John, NB

 

"Utopia" - Welsford Falls, NB

“Utopia” – Welsford Falls, NB

 

"Simplicity" - Public Gardens, Saint John, NB

“Simplicity” – Public Gardens, Saint John, NB

 

The summer was likely the highlight of the year as I was able to take a whale watching tour off Brier Island, Nova Scotia where the Bay of Fundy meets the Gulf of Maine. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate as much as I’d hoped for, but seeing humpback whales within 50 feet of our boat was an absolutely amazing experience and brought a new appreciation for God’s creation.

"Waiting to Exhale" - Humpback, Bay of Fundy, N.S.

“Waiting to Exhale” – Humpback, Bay of Fundy, N.S.

 

"Leviathan" - Humpback Whale. Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

“Leviathan” – Humpback Whale. Bay of Fundy, NS

 

"Peek-a-boo" - Humpback Whale. Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

“Peek-a-boo” – Humpback Whale. Bay of Fundy, NS

 

Autumn was all about the color this year. In the sky, trees, on the water as the sun was setting and with the added bonus of the blood moon. Of course those who know me it is also always about spending time by the amazing Bay of Fundy.

"The Golden Hour" - Cold Stream Pond, Enfield, Maine

“The Golden Hour” – Cold Stream Pond, Enfield, Maine

 

"La Lune Rouge"

“La Lune Rouge”

 

"Season of Change" - Hampton, New Brunswick

“Season of Change” – Hampton, NB

 

"Rising Tide" - Bay of Fundy, Saint John, NB

“Rising Tide” – Bay of Fundy, Saint John, NB

 

Ansel Adams once said “Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”  – For me it definitely applies~ Most often I feel that God is the real artist not me, I just happen to be there to record it.  It’s a privilege.

So what did I learn? I can drive 5 minutes or 5 hours and always find something that is remarkable and I just need to slow down to see it. When I’m exploring I’m trying to find the extraordinary and create images that people haven’t seen before, but I truly believe it is also about finding the common uncommon again and looking at the things we see every day in a new way and appreciating them.

Here’s to 2016. I hope you are able to take some time this year to get out and experience some of God’s handiwork and appreciate it for yourself.

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.