Sunday, July 02, 2017

Newfoundland trip, first days

Newfoundland trip

I haven’t written anything yet on this trip. I don’t want to make this a travelogue, just hit the high points (and low points). And I’ll share some pictures here, not everything, just a few from each day if I have something worth sharing.

June 27, on the Ferry
No wi-fi. Can you imagine? In this day and age? LOL. Guess I’ll have to write this in Word for later posting. Note to anyone thinking about travelling by ferry to Newfoundland: the $20 extra for reserved seating was the best $20 I ever spent. Reclining leather seats, equivalent to upgraded airline seating. Not available on the Argentia ferry, so it’s a good argument for doing the extra drive and coming home from Port aux Basques too. Surprisingly empty: less than half of the reserved seats taken.

I didn’t bring up my power adapter from the car. Now to find out how long the battery lasts in this laptop.

A few comments about the cameras, especially the D5500. I’m not convinced that the image quality is somewhat equivalent to the D800. Some things it won’t do, for instance with back button focusing enabled, I can’t figure out how to do an exposure lock. And you have to go into the menu system to change exposure compensation, bracketing, etc. The Tamron lens isn’t anywhere sharp enough at long distances, I find the 70-200 much better. I’ll likely reserve it for specific applications. Anyway, back to the trip itself.

Friday, it rained most of the day. Sunny since then. I made it to Montmagny, somewhere east of Quebec City. Nice little town, picturesque waterfront area. Good Thai restaurant, not cheap. I took my time Saturday morning to get some more images there.

At the ferry dock in Montmagny 

At the ferry dock in Montmagny 

The following morning, shooting at the ferry dock.  

I crossed into Nova Scotia at 6:05 pm. How do I know the time? Because the Nova Scotia Visitor Centre in Amherst closed at 6:00. I was counting on them to reserve my accommodations in NS the next few days. Annoying. However their phone number worked until 7 and I did get something in Truro. DO NOT EVER STAY AT THE Tidal Bore motel. It sucked. I won’t bore you with details, except to say “Trailer Park Boys” is filmed there. ‘nuff said?

Wind farm near Truro, NS 

Nova Scotia has the BEST visitor services. Go to one of their offices, not only will they find accommodations for you, they’ll even phone to reserve it. They found me a place in Peggy’s Cove (Clifty Cove Motel), DO STAY THERE. They also booked me a B&B in Port Bickerton, better than nothing…

There’s a commercial lobster outfit two minutes from the Clifty Cove. By the pound, live or cooked, eat in or take out. Rigid policy: if you want to eat there, last ‘cook’ is 4:00. The 1½ lb lobster I had was $22, best ever!

Peggy’s Cove is overrun with tourists. By the hundreds. By the busload. All ethnicities, I got some great pictures. Tells a pretty iconic story of our country. I shot both sunset and dawn at the lighthouse: the former looked like an ant colony; I was all alone at sunrise until one other photographer showed up. We fought over the same shot.

If you can't get rid of the other tourists, use them in your shots! 

Multicultural Canada. At the Peggy's Cove lighthouse at sunset

I chased these Buddhist priests (there were 3 of them) all over the rocks to get a good photo. At one point I asked the guy on the left to pose for me, he stood and happily looked at me like a statue, then after I shot a picture gave me a 'namaste' bow. I thought they were meditating, celebrating the setting sun. What they were really doing was taking iPhone videos! 

The following morning I headed back to the Lighthouse. Nobody around (too bad about the maintenance truck!) and I did a dawn shot of the visitor centre. 

Here's the "money shot".  The lighthouse at dawn. For you tekkies,  I did an HDR from 5 bracketed shots. I have other pictures but this is my favourite. 

Monday’s drive was disappointing. The scenery along the Eastern Trail is repetitive. Each little “town” was the same: a few houses and fishing stages, no gas stations, no stores of any description, no restaurants, but each village sported a huge white church. A lady I talked to pointed out that the population has declined, kids don’t stay there, a church that can seat several hundreds struggles to fill 20 seats on Sunday mornings. Every town has one. Or two.

Typical little town along the Marine Trail in south eastern Nova Scotia. Image processed using "Seven Styles Watercolor Action" in Photoshop. 

The Port Bickerton Lighthouse at sunset. Not exactly Peggy's Cove. Interestingly there's a building at the lighthouse designated for an "Artist in Residence" program. I might have been interested except for the total lack of anything else around there to see and do. I used Topaz Impression on this image.

Lobster fishing along the South coast is closed. Their season is only 2 months long. Here are some lobster traps put away for next year. Don't know why these were indoors, he had far too many to fit in this storage area. BTW I shot an HDR series but I liked the bright light from the doorway so I went with a single shot here. 

I finally got to Canso today. Depressing and depressed town. The fishery is a shadow of what it was before the Cod Fishing ban, but there are lobster, shrimp, and “sea cucumber” fishermen out there. I spent some time where they were unloading the lobster boats. Their season is only two months long – May and June – but each trip out nets as much as 1500 lbs of lobsters at $7/lb to the fishermen. You do the math… the catch is smaller at the end of the season (although the lobsters are bigger!), I watched small boats coming in with over 300 lbs. 

Sea Cucumbers. Apparently there's a small bit that's edible but the rest of it is used for some kind of 'medicinal effect' favoured by Asians. The boats go 200 miles out to sea to harvest these. 

Weighing in the lobster catch. The big boats in the background are the Sea Cucumber fishermen. 

Lobster boat coming in to be unloaded. The season is still open in Canso for a few more days. 

I know I said I wasn't going to make this a travelogue but pretty impressive lobster, right? 

 I took my time getting to the ferry, had a nice dinner (awesome wings!) at a restaurant called the Theatre Pub and Grill near the ferry terminal. It’s 11:25pm, they just started the engines, we’re about to get under way. Battery’s at 55%, going to shut down for now…

North Sydney from the ship. I was just about to focus the camera when I saw this looking through the viewfinder! Who needs to focus anyway? 

Sunrise at Sea. Wow. We were sailing directly into it so it was hard to get a shot: the passenger sundeck is at the stern of the ship. Amazing light. No tripod but I managed to get some shots with the kit lens on the D5500. There was one other couple and a single guy on deck, everyone else missed it! Amazing how cold it was topside. Guessing it was around the freezing mark but in the wind… there is an exhaust vent blowing warm air, we all huddled around it and I ventured out for a few seconds to get a shot! 

OK, that's enough. Next post: Newfoundland! See you in a few days.

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