Monthly Archives: July 2014

newfoundland – day 5

day 5 – july 5:

today was going to be the highlight of the trip, i thought, with a visit to western brook pond – more on that later… a drizzly saturday morning – not as quick to get out of bed on this day… that’s to say that i was out photographing at 6:30am instead of the habitual 5am or so!  nevertheless another wonderful day to be had with beautiful clouds/skies and a little bit of disappointment too – but not too much… 😉

i headed back to main street in rocky point, but this time i headed away from downtown, towards the coast and ended up at a fish-distribution plant where the views were fantastic:

the previous day, after having looked at the forecast, i booked a boat tour to visit the majestic western brook pond. i had seen the tv commercials promoting newfoundland tourism and the print ads as well. the shot of this fjord is what cemented the fact that i had to visit this province and witness all its natural beauty…

the forecast had called for a very unsettled day with possible clearing for that afternoon. i did not book the 10am because of the bad weather forecast (that transpired). nor did i book the 1pm because of the inevitable harsh light at that time of day (unless there was to be some cloud cover…) i did book the 3pm boat tour in the hopes that the nasty harsh light would be subdued by clouds (praying that the forecast was right!) alas, they were not operating their 5pm tour because of a lack of demand. in retrospect, the 1pm would have been the one to get on to because there was enough cloud cover, as it turned out… live and learn 🙁

i needed to be at the trail head for 2pm to do the roughly 45min hike to the boat launch. i headed out in the late morning – it was still quite unsettled weather-wise. it did start to improve by lunch time, but the 1pm was fully booked – would the weather gods be with me?

i was at the parking lot to the trail head by around noon or so, but there was no-one to talk to. having confirmed by phone that the 1pm was indeed fully booked, i went on my way to visit the general surrounding area…

i ended up in a deserted fishing village mere minutes from the parking lot. the gate indicating that it was private property was raised, so i proceeded down the dirt road to the village below. there was no-one around. there were both old and recent fishing shacks, maybe a half-dozen in all.  i walked over to one end of the village and  knocked on a few doors – no-one answered. i made my back towards where i had the car parked and someone had indeed made it back and was working on the docks.

i introduced myself as a fine art photographer to one thomas gilley – a 3rd or 4th generation fisherman working out of this village. he confirmed the village’s name as gull marsh, newfoundland (there were no road signs indicating it as such). he pointed out an old fishing shack that his great grandfather had built – it was over 100 years old and it was still standing next to a newer one! he explained that the lobster season was ending this weekend and that he was preparing for the forthcoming halibut season. we chit-chatted about this, that and the other – he was genuine and forthcoming and never did he make me feel as though i were imposing on his time. i asked for permission to take photographs in the village and handed him my business card. he told me to take my time… thanks thomas, i will always look back fondly on this day!

 

after i finished photographing gull marsh, i headed back to the parking lot for 2pm and got my gear ready for the hike and forthcoming boat tour into western brook pond. after doing the 45min trek to the boat launch, i did not take the tour after all, primarily because the light was awful! it was passable earlier in the day and it got downright gorgeous at around 5:30pm – but, at the time i was booked at, the clouds had all nearly disappeared and we were left with a hot sun on a mostly blue sky. in addition, the boat was packed and i was not in the mood to jostle for my photo ops… it will have to be for another time 🙁

i spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening driving along the coast as far north as st. pauls, more for a cursory glance at what was coming up for tomorrow’s trip north to st. anthony on the great northern peninsula.

the trip back to rocky harbour for my last night there was simply awesome with amazing clouds and skies accompanying me all the way back:

 

 

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newfoundland – day 4

day 4 – july 4:

got up bright and early again. the plan for this day was to visit the small communities in and around rocky harbour – my home base for a couple of days. the weather was somewhat unsettled but the early morning light, however, did not disappoint. first, i headed to rocky harbour’s main street along the waterfront…

 

then proceeded to lobster cove head again to view the lighthouse and its surroundings in the morning light.

next, were a few of the coastal communities located within the boundaries of gros morne national park:

norris point:

glenburnie-birchy head-shoal brook (gbs for short):

 

trout river: a rural fishing village first settled in 1815. i had the pleasure of chatting with a couple of locals; one a fisherman, the other a retired government worker. very welcoming folks to this quaint, paradise-like part of the world! i had been told by a young lady at the tourist information to look for elephant head when and if i visited this community. my first look around yielded nothing; it was the government worker who pointed me in the right direction… 😉

 

the drive to/from trout river provides a bonus photo op – the tablelands.

“the tablelands, found between the towns of trout river and woody point in gros morne national park, look more like a barren desert than traditional newfoundland. this is due to the ultramafic rock – peridotite – which makes up the tablelands. it is thought to originate in the earth’s mantle and was forced up from the depths during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. peridotite lacks the usual nutrients required to sustain most plant life, hence its barren appearance. the rock is very low in calcium, very high in magnesium, and has toxic amounts of heavy metals. peridotite is also high in iron, which accounts for its brownish colour (rusted colour). underneath this weathered zone, the rock is really a dark green colour.” – wikipedia

 

woody point:

The beauty of doing a solo trip like this is that you are on your own schedule – reminiscing now about my daily excursions, i wonder how i got it all done! i will have to do a better job of pacing myself next time… 😉

 

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newfoundland – day 3

day 3 – july 3:

a full, full day: another early morning… out by 5am for the long trek to the west coast. destination: rocky harbour. the map said it would take about 8.5 hours to get there – it took 12 – with stops, of course 😉

as soon as i left st. john’s, i hit fog. it would last for a solid 2 hours, at times with no visibility except for the hood of the car… i had reached the village of deep bight just off the trans-canada highway (tch), on trinity bay, when i noticed light starting to break through the fog. i made my way to the waterfront and parked by the boat launch to witness a most glorious scene: fog and clouds set aglow as they were breaking over the water.

as is the case with a lot of the tch through most other provinces, the road can get a bit dull as the highway winds through the countryside and misses all those little towns and villages that are otherwise seen via secondary roads. alas, in newfoundland, the tch is the only game in town when trying to reach the west coast from the east coast. so, i ate up the kilometres passing the communities of gambo, gander, bishop’s falls, badger and others.

as i was approaching the town of springdale in central newfoundland, i decided to stop at the visitor centre on the tch. i had been driving for quite a while and thought a little distraction would be good. i asked the young lady behind the counter if there was anything scenic in the general area and she pointed me to the 800′ rattling brook falls. it was about a half hour away using the 390 and 391 off the tch. sold!

after hitting a post office in king’s point (because i had forgotten to mail a letter back in toronto), i got back on the tch and made my way towards my west coast destination.

as one of the staff had mentioned at an earlier visitor centre i stopped at, when you approach the west coast of newfoundland, the landscape changes… it becomes more mountainous and rugged. so it was the case when i reached deer lake and broke off the tch onto the 430 heading north towards gros morne national park and ultimately rocky harbour.

after passing the park entrance, it’s almost as if you enter a new dimension… the road (the viking trail) becomes much prettier, the views become nothing short of spectacular – in short i was in heaven! i made a quick  stop along this scenic wonder at an unidentified lookout overlooking wigwam pond – breathtaking!

my destination reached some 12 hours later, i checked into my room, dropped off my luggage and set out to find something for dinner in rocky harbour. a vegetarian chilli meal finished, i headed out to lobster cove head lighthouse for dusk and sunset views of bonne bay and the gulf of st. lawrence.

 

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newfoundland – days 1 & 2

hello again dear readers/followers!

though i am nowhere near started on the editing process from my recent newfoundland trip, i did want to share a few words about the trip itself and show you a few unedited photographs… i had meant to post daily but a failure to pace myself and a few nights of less-than-reliable internet access made this a non-starter…

to start, i have to say that newfoundland was awesome! it is quite simply one of the most beautiful places i have ever had the pleasure of visiting… the rugged landscape, beautiful skies and wonderful people all converged to make this a very memorable photo tour. i drove approximately 3500 kilometres in the span of 12 days. i barely scratched the surface of this most amazing place – it is huge and varied – i doubt that one could see all the nooks and crannies in a month, never mind 2 weeks – a return trip is most definitely in order!

day 1 – july 1, 2014:

i landed on canada day at st. john’s international airport from toronto. got my rental car – a peppy chevy sonic with a better-than-average sound system and good fuel efficiency. made my way to memorial university where i rented a dorm room for a couple of nights – clean, comfortable and easier on the wallet 😉

my first scheduled stop was signal hill national historic site of canada, where i proceeded to take an afternoon hike from the summit down along the coast. probably should have had a bottle of water with me, but i was itching to get started… so i did! a scenic place with great views of the coast and harbour. a couple of icebergs were stationed off in the atlantic nearby – it just made this place more magical! after spending a few hours there, i broke for an early dinner and returned for dusk/sunset and the canada day fireworks.

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day 2 – july 2, 2014

the following morning, i awoke early as usual and hit the road at about 6am. my next stop was cape spear lighthouse national historic site of canada. the skygods were with me as i got my wish of dramatic clouds for the early morning shoot! on my way to cape spear i had noticed a beautiful iceberg in one of the coves somewhat visible from the road. thankfully at this early hour, after i had shot the lighthouses, i met a young lady setting up for an event in the parking area. she advised that the hike to the cove was not too terribly long (perhaps a half hour) and that it would be worth my while checking it out… she was not wrong about the scenery. she was a little off on the timing though – what i anticipated being a 1-1.5 hour hike (return) turned out to be more like 4 hours after i was done! i was prepared, however, with water and a few snacks. the iceberg was spectacular close up!

i went back to my room and decided to take it easy for the rest of the afternoon – that hike took a bit out of me! after i had some dinner, i headed out to fort amherst on the southern side of the narrows (the narrow channel between signal hill and southside hill that provides the only entrance into st. john’s harbour from the sea). the original fortifications at for amherst were built in the 1770’s and are no longer visible today. what remains are some homes, a lighthouse and remains of gun emplacements built during world war 2.

on this evening, there was a nice vantage point for observing an iceberg just outside the narrows. i also made my way further along the southside of the harbour to get a better vantage point of the battery (a small neighbourhood within the city of st. john’s).

the day ended with a return to signal hill as a bank of fog made its way over the city.

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