Going Up

Every year in September, the Atlantic Balloon Fiesta arrives in Sussex New Brunswick. Known as the Dairy Capital of the Maritimes, the small town of Sussex, with its population of approximately 4500 people, welcomes some 40,000 visitors for this event during the first weekend after Labour Day.

Launch times are twice daily. The first starts around 6:30 am and the second at 5:30 pm, with balloon glows happening at dusk (balloons are tethered to the ground for this launch). The Balloon Fiesta is a fabulous family event. The waking of kids at 5 am is a little iffy, but necessary to make sure that you arrive on time to see the pilots inflate and take off in their balloons. The launch times really provide perfect conditions for taking photographs because you are avoiding the harsh midday light.

If acrophobia is not a problem for you and you have a couple of hundred dollars to spare, riding on a balloon will give you a very unique perspective of the Balloon Fiesta, and the surrounding area.

A tripod and two lenses should be enough for equipment. A wide angle telephoto for pre-launch and a medium telephoto for balloons in flight will allow you to capture just about anything you see.

Even though the balloons and pilots from all over the world are the main attraction, there is a lot more to see and photograph. The car shows, craft and artisan shows along with the rides at the fair, make it an all day family (or photographic) event.

Memories of 2012

Before I close out 2012 I thought I would share some of my favourite images from the past year. A couple of you might recognize some of them from previous post, but a few images might be new to you as well. It was fun reminiscing about road trips and the great times I had with my family while putting this post together. Hard to believe the year is over, but I guess as they say, time flies when you are having fun.

Hope you enjoy.

Evening Tide - Duck Cove, Brunswick

Evening Tide – Duck Cove, New Brunswick

Bladder Wrack - Saint John, New Brunswick

Bladder Wrack – Saint John, New Brunswick

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

East Quoddy Lighthouse on Campobello Island. Photograph taken from Deer Island, New Brunswick.

Sunset and Fishing Weirs - Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Sunset and Fishing Weirs – Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Weir and Seaweed - At high tide this shot wouldn't be possible. Knowing when to go made this image possible.

Weir and Seaweed – Mclaren’s Beach, New Brunswick

Sunset and Seagull - Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Sunset and Seagull – Campobello Island, New Brunswick

Passamaquoddy Bay and Sunset

Sunset, Seagulls and Sandstone – St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Seagull and Sunset

Seagull at Sunrise – St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Lookout - Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick

The Lookout – Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick

Piping Plover on The Passamaquoddy

Piping Plover on The Passamaquoddy – St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Harbour and Grey Seals on the rocks

Harbour and Grey Seals on the rocks – Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick

Fall Breeze – Saint John, New Brunswick

Morning Flare – Red Head, New Brunswick

Angel on the Ocean – Red Head, New Brunswick

Cold and Turning Blue - Seaside Park, New Brunswick

Cold and Turning Blue – Seaside Park, New Brunswick

Seaside Park in the snow

Quaco Head Light House – St. Martins, New Brunswick

Seaside and snow - Seaside Park, Saint John, New Brunswick

Seaside and Snow – Seaside Park, New Brunswick

Haggertys Cove

Haggertys Cove – New River, New Brunswick

Radiance - Saint John, New Brunswick

Radiance – Black Beach, New Brunswick

Glen Falls - Saint John, New Brunswick

Glen Falls – Saint John, New Brunswick

Little Girls First Paddle - Long Reach, New Brunswick

Little Girls First Paddle – Long Reach, New Brunswick

The Bay of Fundy in Action - Saint John, New Brunswick

The Bay of Fundy in Action – Duck Cove, New Brunswick

Happy New Year! - Saint John, New Brunswick

Happy New Year! – Saint John Harbour, New Brunswick

Seasons Greetings


“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Seaside and snow - Seaside Park, Saint John, New Brunswick

Seaside and Snow

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.

Falling For It

For some reason I’ve been looking forward to fall this year more than I ever have before. I think it has become a new challenge for me as I’ve started to see some amazing images from other photographers I follow. My anticipation also has something to do with the fact that, for whatever reason, I haven’t had a lot of success capturing really good images this time of year. Fall usually brings a very busy time for my family; back to school, the start of new activities for kids along with shorter days, so I don’t get outside as often as I would like.

I’ve typically found that fall is the most challenging of the seasons to photograph because of the short time colors are at their peak. The other seasons just feel longer. Snow in winter can last for four to six months on the East Coast of Canada. Summers are fairly long from May until mid September bringing lots of wildlife, sandy beaches and late-night sunsets. Spring can be from March until mid to late June, providing thawing ice and snow, new flowers and birds returning from winters away. When looking for the colors of leaves to change it is a bit of a guess for locations at times, depending on the proximity to the coastline line and elevation. Add to all this different tress change colors at different times and it becomes quite an exercise. Peak colors may only last a few weeks. Blink and you may miss it.

I read a story recently on CBC’s website that suggested capturing the fall colors could be even more challenging this year due to the unusual weather we’ve had in the early part of the year. A mild Winter and the dry Summer may make for less vibrant colors. The article also suggested that climate change could also be part of the reason that we aren’t seeing as much of the intense colors like we usually do. Early Springs and warmer Falls can impact the intensity of the leaves as they change. I have my own thoughts on climate change and I know that scientist on both sides have their opinions and will likely debate back and forth forever. With that being said, I feel that I can say with a fair amount of certainty, we are not helping the situation.

This past Saturday I had an hour to fill in while waiting for my son so I decided to visit a couple of local parks in the uptown area. The colors haven’t fully changed yet and the area is filled with lots of buildings and cars so it’s not the typical landscape image that I would try to capture. I thought I would experiment a little, push myself to work outside my “comfort zone” while still making every effort to get outside and photograph when I can this Fall. I took advantage of the hour and the end result didn’t provide that many keepers but I still consider it time well spent.

Sometimes I get so caught up in what I want the end result to be, I forget to enjoy the moment. I need to spend a little more time enjoying the journey and less time worrying about the end destination. I have to keep reminding myself that success with my photography isn’t about the image and whether or not I can sell it, but more about, what did I learn today. The same goes for rest of my life. It isn’t about getting to the next location as quickly as possible, it’s enjoying the place I’m at right now because just like the colorful leaves it won’t be here very long.

The Trip

Every year my family packs up our car with camping gear, luggage and all the necessary items for our annual camping trip. This year with sleeping bags, pillows, pots and pans at feet and on laps, we headed to what has become one of our one of our favorite destinations over the last few years. Passamaquoddy Bay is an inlet inside The Bay of Fundy and derives its name from the Passamaquoddy First Nation. It is the part of The Bay of Fundy where New Brunswick meets Maine and where the St. Croix River drains into. The Passamaquoddy is also where the Fundy Isles that I written about are located.

Passamaquoddy Bay at Sunset

This years camping site was Saint Andrews which is located in Charlotte County, New Brunswick. Commonly referred to as St. Andrews by the Sea and with a population of about 1800 this small town is a major attraction for the county and a bustling tourist destination for both Canadians and Americans. With a wide variety of small boutiques and restaurants lined along the shores of the bay, St. Andrews is a busy spot in the summer months.

Seagull at Sunrise

One of my favorite things to do in St. Andrews is to drive or walk along the road that lines the edge of the town. It provides a magnificent view on all sides, and great opportunities for taking photographs from sunrise to sunset. The beaches are also a fun spot for the kids to get out and enjoy the sand and shorelines. With numerous types of shorebirds and other wildlife, it is a great place to help kids appreciate nature. In one day you can have opportunities to play with green crabs on the beach, see great blue herons, plovers, cormorants and seals all from shore.

One Leg Piping Plover on The Passamaquoddy

The highlight of this summer’s trip was whale watching. Passamaquoddy Bay has several species of whales with the most common being the Minke, Finback, and Humpback. Although the whales were a little shy, we did see a well-known minke named “slice”. He got this name because he doesn’t have a typical looking dorsal fin and has had the top of it sliced off somehow. Along with Slice the minke, we saw porpoises, several bald eagles, gannets, and harbor and grey seals.

Slice the Minke

Harbour and Grey Seals on the rocks

Our annual camping trip is one of the highlights of the year and is the unofficial end of summer. It has become a great time for us to get away from all the business of life and distractions of work, internet and TV. I’m finding the older I get that I don’t necessarily enjoy the “roughing it” part of the trip, but it is still nice to take off with my family and just enjoy each others company, along with all that God has made.

The Experience Versus the Exposure

You cannot create experience. You must undergo it. – Albert Camus

In the southern part of New Brunswick where I live there are several trails that follow along the coast of the Bay of Fundy.  A few times a week Codi, my pug, and I walk these trails while enjoying the highest tides in the world and the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean.

A Great Experience

A couple of months ago during one of our excursions we crossed the path of a young red fox.  The three of us were just 20 feet away from one another and we stared each other down for several minutes. Eventually, the fox lost interest in us and took off from more secluded parts. As luck would have it I didn’t have my camera with me; it was just meant to be a short jaunt to walk my pup so I left my gear home.

I learned a important lesson that day after some reflection on the chance that I missed. As a photographer you need to be prepared for the opportunity when it presents itself.   I learned something even more valuable, in that the moment itself can be just as memorable as the image that could have been.

While I would love to have a photograph of my encounter I still feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to see a wonderful creature.  Fortunately for me our neighborhood fox stuck around for a few more weeks and I spotted her on several occasions but as usual not in camera range. Then early one evening I could hear howling.  I quickly gathered my equipment and tracked her down in a neighbor’s yard. I was able to get off a few dozen photos before the she disappeared for good not to be seen since.  At last I had made up for not having my camera on the trail a few weeks previously but in my mind it still wasn’t the photographs that were the most meaningful for me; it’s was the encounter with a magnificent wild animal.

Finally my new neighbor poses

Regardless of why or what you photograph remember it is not only about the exposure on the camera or the exposure it may bring to you, but it’s the experience and the lasting impression that is made on you.