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.

 

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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.

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.

 

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.

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

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.

Trap Door

My wife and I rented a cottage in Seal Cove on Grand Manan in April of 1994, but the weather prevented us from exploring the area. Earlier this month the weather was much better and my family was able to get out and see the area and to meet some of the locals. Seal Cove provides one of the nicest beaches on the whole island, but for me it was the colourful architecture of this old fishing community that I enjoyed the most.

Fishing plays a large part in the lives of those who live on Grand Manan. Herring Fishing along with Lobster fishing and harvesting dulse have been a way of life for many generations. These buildings were built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and their design, creative use of color provided an abundance of photographic subjects. I love the way the builders incorporated the sides of the lobster traps next to the red door. This might be my favourite photograph from the trip.

"Trap Door"

“Trap Door”

A Second Honeymoon (With Kids)

In April of 1994 my wife and I took our first trip to Grand Manan, the largest of the Fundy Isles. This past week we returned for the first time since our honeymoon but now as a family of five. We rented a cottage in North Head along the beach in Flaggs Cove. Being almost 20 years since our last visit we spent most of our time touring the Island’s coastline, visiting lighthouses and beaches with our kids.

Flaggs Cove, Grand Manan Ferry heading towards the Swallowtail Lighthouse and then onto Black Harbour

Flaggs Cove- The Grand Manan Ferry heading towards the Swallowtail Lighthouse and then onto Blacks Harbour on the main land of New Brunswick

The first evening we arrived we headed to Pettes Cove and the Swallowtail Lighthouse before heading back to the cottage and to bed.

Hole In The Wall - Whale Cove

Hole In The Wall – Whale Cove

Day two took us to Northern Head and the famous Hole-in-the-Wall.

Southern Head Cliffs - It was foggy but you could tell it was a long way down

Southern Head Cliffs – It was foggy but you could tell it was a long way down

On day three of our trip we travelled down route 776 to the Southern Head, Seal Cove and Anchorage Park. It was quite foggy in the morning so the view wasn’t what we hoped for but you could still make the outline of the 100- 200 foot cliffs to the bay in several places.

One of the local in Anchorage Park

One of the locals in Anchorage Park

White Head and Grand Harbour was the destination on day four before heading home again on the ferry.

White Head Island just off Grand Manan

White Head Island just off Grand Manan

An Abandoned Lighthouse on Ross Island

An Abandoned Lighthouse on Ross Island

I was anxiously awaiting the trip back to Grand Manan, and it didn’t disappoint. If you are planning a trip to the East Coast I’d suggest you add Grand Manan to your must see list of things to do.