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

 

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Sunrise with Grace

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My daughter Grace and I started a new tradition earlier this year; getting up to watch the sunrise. I’ll admit, I’m not in my prime at 4:30 in the morning but if your daughter is into it and wants to hang out with her Dad, you go with it. So, one or two Saturdays a month we get up and head out looking for a place to watch the sunrise. Our first excursion was a bit of a flop due the fog along the coast. I also chose the wrong spot. The foghorn on a lighthouse is really loud when you get up close. They are really spooky in the dark too… but that is for a different post.

Last weekend we left the house at 5:30am and headed down the coast along The Bay of Fundy. We finally decided to stop at a small inlet called Haggertys Cove. If you are driving through and blink you are likely to miss it. Driving west on Route 1 from Saint John you arrive just before a popular provincial park called New River Beach. I wasn’t necessarily looking for this exact spot, it was more by chance. The sun was coming up and we needed a place to stop quick. It provided a beautiful view of the water and it turned out to be ideal.

Haggertys Cove

As the sun came above the horizon the shape of the surrounding coastline began to form and created a wonderful contrast against the bright orange sky. I spent most of my time trying to find the perfect angle to bring out the texture of the hills but balance it against the saturated skyline. I like the resulting abstract image with the cool blue water and silhouetted landscape.

As the daylight continued to increase the shorebirds came to life and several Great Blue Herons joined us. I didn’t have the option to get closer to shore because the coastline is eroding and to dangerous to maneuver down. Fortunately, I had my 400mm lens and was able to zoom in for another silhouetted image. Before we left that morning we saw four more Herons. It isn’t unusual to see them along the bay, but I don’t usually see that many in one spot.

The Great Blue Heron, times 2

Before heading home we took in the community of Maces Bay. This small village offers a very scenic coastline to drive. With the tide out a vast beach was exposed, along with the seaweed covered rocks. The low tide also allowed two people stroll the beach to harvest a seasonal crustacean of some sort I assume.

The tide is out! To show some scale there are 2 people in this photo. Hint – Middle right side of the photo.

I enjoy the one on one with my kids. It is a special time and important to get updates on what is going on in their lives. It is also fun to just get out and enjoy nature and perhaps mentor in some photography too. I’ll have to say though my favorite image from the day was the one I couldn’t take on our drive home. My daughter asleep in the seat next to me. I’ll admit something again…I was jealous. I’m not meant for mornings.

Night-Light

The majority of my photography is of nature, but when I’m looking for a change or visiting a new city, I really do enjoy taking photographs in the evenings and of the city lights. I’ve been lucky to be able to travel a little and even though it is not always to the big city I still always try to take advantage of the opportunity.

Even a small place like my hometown of Saint John or the surrounding villages can still provide some opportunities to capture a great image at night. Saint John isn’t very big by some standards, but the city center is very well lit at night and can create some nice reflections off the harbor such as this one of The Saint John Harbor Bridge framing the downtown area.

Along with looking for reflections on bodies of water I usually look for the chance to get a bird’s eye view for a different perspective of a city at night. Experimenting with longer exposures of 15 – 30 seconds allows me to record light-trails from the cars on city roads which adds a little life to night scenes like this one of my hometown.

The world-famous Reversing Falls in Saint John attracts many tourists during the day but the view at night is just as impressive. This image of the falls and bridge was recorded with a small aperture to create the star effect with the lights and a long exposure to create milky looking water.

Even a small place in the middle of the Bay of Fundy like Deer Island can create a beautiful night-scape. Technically this is a morning-scape of these fishermen getting ready for work at 5am. Sometimes it pays to have insomnia.

One of my favorite nighttime shots is from a trip to New York in 2005. While traveling home from Brooklyn I stopped for a few shots in Manhattan and the N.Y.F.D. were gracious enough to help me out. Fortunately I had packed my tripod and cable release on this trip and the sirens allowed me enough time to set up the shot.

Although the travel arrangements don’t always allow for a full size tripod, a Gorilla Pod is the next best thing. This shot of South Beach Miami was taken by wrapping a Gorilla Pod around a fence railing and using a 2 second timer to record the image.

Sometimes when I travel photography isn’t the main purpose but my camera gear is still part of my luggage, so getting creative helps with night shots. A little Image Stabilization and the metal gate that locked me out of this Chicago yacht club was used for support and helped me capture this image of the illuminated boardwalk that separated these boats.

When it comes to taking picture of cities at night, there is likely no place like Las Vegas. Xcalibur is just one small part of what seems like an unlimited amount of neon in “Sin City”.

I’m likely in the minority but a week of the Vegas culture was long enough. I did enjoy the evenings and early morning photo shoots, and there was no shortage of night-scape subjects. Once again a railing and Image Stabilization saved me for this early morning shot of The Strip in Las Vegas.

Back closer to home still offers opportunities for some fantastic night shots. One of my favorite locations in Nova Scotia is Mahone Bay, but on your way there why not stop in Halifax. For something different how about a monochromatic Halifax at night

Even the small town of Mahone Bay Nova Scotia with a population of 900 has possibilities. The south shore of Nova Scotia is one of my favorite places to take photographs and the 3 churches of Mahone Bay are often the centerpiece for me.

Growing up I remember being afraid of the dark and I always needed a light on in the hall or my room. I’m older now and not so afraid of the dark, but I’ll admit it, I still like a little nightlight.

Beacons of Light

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.”

Dwight L. Moody

After awhile you can start to take things for granted living in the same place your whole life. I’ve said it before that I really haven’t appreciated where I’ve lived until I was in my 20’s. In looking through my photographs I’ve come to realize how truly fortunate I am to live on the east coast in the Maritimes. The scenery and the weather are generally perfect for someone like me who isn’t a fan of extreme heat or cold. For the most part the only extreme weather that we get here is extreme fog and very strong winds that blow off The Bay of Fundy.

So with lots of fog comes lots of lighthouses. All along the coast of the Atlantic are 100’s of iconic lighthouses, protecting the sailors and the commercial ships during their voyages through the heavy fog of the summer and the hidden underwater islands and coastlines. As I vacation along the coastal communities, a lighthouse is always an attraction for me and my family. These towers of lights and sounds that protect the shorelines and waters are magnetic for a photographer.

As I’ve traveled the roads and highways of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that run along the Bay of Fundy I’ve been fortunate to see many of these lighthouses and some dramatic weather that makes the Maritimes famous. Three of my favourite lighthouses are all associated with Islands: Partridge Island and Campobello Island in New Brunswick and The Five Islands of Nova Scotia.

Partridge Island at sunrise and the breakwater that connects it to the mainland of Saint John, New Brunswick

Partridge Island is located in the Bay of Fundy off the coast of Saint John New Brunswick. The island is famous for being a quarantine station in the 1800’s for Irish immigrants coming from Ireland during the Great Famine also known as the Irish Potato Famine. Over a 1000 immigrants died from the typhus epidemic. The remnants of quarantine buildings, a Celtic cross and other memorials remain today on Partridge Island. Its location provides a nice foreground to the sunrise and colorful skies of sunset.

The Five Island Lighthouse at dusk.

The Five Islands lighthouse isn’t actually an operational lighthouse anymore. It was built in 1914, but eventually moved in 2008 due to the eroding coastline. It was the beacon that looked out for the ships passing by Moose, Diamond, Long, Egg, and Pinnacle; AKA… The Five Islands.  The Bay of Fundy is famous for having the highest tides in the world and this is the perfect place to experience it. Normally the tide is measured in feet or meters. Here I’m guessing you can measure it in miles or kilometers. I’ve never seen anything like the tides around here.

East Quoddy Lighthouse on Campobello Island. Photograph taken from Deer Island.

Campobello Island is one of the 3 Fundy Isles and quickly becoming one of my favorite places to vacation and photograph. The East Quoddy or Head Harbour Lighthouse is likely one of the most famous landmarks for this island community. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in Canada, and also known as one of the most photographed. Again its location is wonderful in terms of the rising and setting sun, and its position allows it to be photographed from the neighboring Deer Island.

As a photographers I’m always looking for the best light. So it only seems appropriate that I look for the lighthouse.

The Fundy Isles – Campobello Island

Campobello Island is one of the other Fundy Isles that provides many interesting photographic possibilities.  This 70 square mile island is part of New Brunswick and accessible by ferry from Deer Island or directly by bridge from the town of Lubec Maine. The Bridge is called the Roosevelt International Bridge, after the late President Roosevelt. The President had a summer home on Campobello Island and it’s now a historical park. http://www.fdr.net/home

The Famous Fishing Boats of Campobello Island New Brunswick

I’ve visited the park on a couple of occasions and the President’s summer home is beautiful and interesting for those who appreciate history. I spent most of my last visit with my family walking the trails inside the park. All are beautiful and offer some fantastic views of the Island and the Bay of Fundy.  The must see part of the park is the beach, and especially the Friars Head.  This rock sculpture hugs the coast and shore line of the water.  I was fortunate to arrive at the golden hour on a clear evening so I was able to capture a few wonderful images before the sun had set.

Sunset behind Friar's Head

The Friar's Head looking over his bay

One of the most photographed lighthouses in the world, the East Quoddy Lighthouse, or also known as the Head Harbour Lighthouse is another famous tourist destination once you are on Campobello. Build in 1829, this is one of the oldest light houses in Canada. This lighthouse is set in an area that offers wonderful opportunities at sunrise and sunset as well as low and high tide. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is also famous for the individuals who risk traveling to the lighthouse too close to high tide and have been caught in the current.

East Quoddy Lighthouse

From fishing boats, to beaches and wildlife Campobello Island offers so much. Its charm is captivating and a refreshing break from busy city life. Getting there from bridge or boat just adds to its appeal.  The benefit of taking pictures on a small island like Campobello is being able to plan your day around where the sun and light is best. I also appreciate knowing that wherever I am on the island there is something beautiful to capture with my camera. It is island hopping at its best.

Shine

Without light photography would be a lot less exciting, and as
photographers we depend on it. Sometimes there is too much light, other
times there is not enough.  Without it we have no image. Light can expose
the good and it can expose the bad.  Sounds a little like life.

When creating an image I find myself torn at times.  I’d like to think that
most of the time I’m creating a piece of art that will move or inspires the
viewer.  I have to admit it though, far too often I more concerned with how
the photograph will make me look.   Is the composition OK, do I have the
proper exposure, or what kind of a compliment will it generate?

There are also times that I lack inspiration (like in the winter).  The
possibilities are endless but being so familiar with the place I live there
are times I don’t as they say “see the forest for the trees”.   Maybe it’s
not even inspiration as much as it is imagination.   There are times it is
just easier to take a picture of something just for the sake of saying I
did.

I’m not sure who this is for or if it is even for anyone but me.  I’ve had
a rough week, and I have had some failures to endure; some photographically
for clients, some personally and some spiritually.   It’s all been a
journey and a learning experience.  Not pleasant experiences but they have
taught me so much.

It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Life is a journey and it is the light that
helps us to see the good and bad.  The mistakes we make are a path to
learning.   As a photographer I still have a lot to learn and I think most
of us, regardless of what we are seeking to do, could all likely say the
same thing.

Don’t let where you are determine where you want to be.

Friar’s Head, Campobello Island, New Brunswick