I'm on a two-month journey in Newfoundland. My goal here is to post some highlights, both in words and pictures, and to try to include some tips if you're planning to make the trek to the Rock.
You can click on any picture in the blog to blow it up. Most of the pictures are available as large format prints at very reasonable cost. Contact me.
Today is July 15th and I'm starting the next edition of the blog. The weather last night was beautiful so I decided to try a star shoot again. I drove up to the Long Point lighthouse and there they were... scroll down for some pictures.
Nah, why wait? Here they are...
(Click the star pictures to see them on a dark background)
...so I'll just have to composite one in! I did the sailboat shot a couple of weeks ago in Back Harbour, it works, so... why not?
Not the visual kind. As I mentioned and as most of you know, I'm on a 2-month journey in Newfoundland and I want to talk about it a bit. I hope I don't bore you, dear readers but this is about insight into me and why I'm doing what I'm doing. Perhaps it will resonate with those of you who are in a similar phase of life, or approaching it. For those of you who are not: you will be, one day!
It's hard not to wake up in the morning and say, "what am I going to do today that's productive"? It's taken me almost a month to realize that the answer can be "nothing". I'm not trying to earn a living from this trip. If I come home with some pictures I'm proud of, then great. If I come back with some memories and experiences to use as inspiration, wonderful. Inspiration for what? Well writing comes to mind, not so much painting and drawing since I'm still working on the left-brain side of those skills. No, this is really a vacation.
Except when Amin was here and there was reason to go out and see things and photograph them — I don't have to DO anything. I had a grand plan to get up before dawn, go out and shoot pictures, come back and relax during the day and go out again for those sunset and night shots. I haven't yet (gotten up before dawn), except to go to the bathroom and back to bed!
It's taken me this long to figure out I don't have to feel guilty doing nothing. Sure, this is costing me money, but I have enough (I hope!). I'm trying to stop thinking that I have to get my dollar's worth. Sitting here at the computer and writing this is what it's all about. Or editing — playing with — pictures or just reading a book or sitting in the sun.
And people ask me, "since you're retired, what are you taking a vacation from"? Exactly. My goal here is to feed and free my mind. Change my attitude. Just enjoy life. No pressure. Back home, the pressure is always there.
Of course that's never entirely true. My house hasn't sold yet, that's a pain in the ass, it puts a crimp in my plans for the fall and onward; I still have to make sure there's enough money in the chequing account to cover the mortgage payment, I have to remember that next Monday I have to get on the road to Trinity, I need to decide what to have for dinner. And for health reasons, I need to get out of the house and walk a little. I will after a few more paragraphs.
...speaking of walking
If you're a hiker or like to walk, Twillingate is the place for you. Pretty well everywhere that isn't developed is criss-crossed with hiking and ATV trails. Some of them are official and others are just "there". Pick a road, drive to the end, you'll find a place to hike. Two friends of Amin's from Haliburton dropped in to Twillingate for a couple of days (Lorrie and, Nancy I think: I'm SO bad with names). These two beautiful ladies — who claim to be a lot older than they looked — asked me to recommend places to hike and I pointed them to French Head (scroll back a couple of blog posts to see pictures from there) and up at the Lighthouse in Crow Head. I was not wrong, but a few days later, exploring by car, I came to some other great spots.
Even in town! This is shot from the waterfront in Durrell, up towards the museum and you can see the hiking trails on the hillside above the boring, blandly coloured house and buildings...
Turn around the other way and climb 100m and you discover that you're overlooking Back Harbour. That's where I shot that moored sailboat I used in a previous blog post.
I returned there another time for these spectacular landscapes of Back Harbour.
...and again for this blue hour shot of Twillingate and the harbour.
Just south of the Lighthouse at Long Point is what appears to be a public camping area. It's unserviced — people "boondock" there — but they did install a few street lights here and there. Unfortunately, because until I saw the lights, I thought it was an ideal area to shoot the Northern star trails.
I later learned that it was called the "Sea Breeze Municipal Park" and was commissioned by the town of Crow Head in 1972. There used to be a community fishing stage there and it was a big jumping off point for fishermen, both in small boats and longliners, dating back a couple of generations. They preserved and painted some of the old equipment in bright colours.
I learned that because I read a book written by Curt Sharpe, called "Memories in the Life of a Twillingate Man". You think you lived a hard life? They thought nothing of trekking, on foot, across 30 miles of sea ice in mid-winter to get home. There was no other way to get here back in the 30's and 40's. His book was fascinating: especially to someone who doesn't remember names. Curt listed the life history of pretty well everyone in this community he had met over 50 or 60 years.
"Gus Rideout married Flora Hamlyn, raising one son Wilson and a daughter Marion. Gus grew up in Lower Head and even though most of the residents of Gus's generation moved out of Lower Head in the 50's, Gus died before that time came. Gus was a fisherman for most of his life, operating cod traps with John Dove. Gus was a good codfish splitter and I can remember him removing the sound bones from the fish and there weren't many fishermen around that could outdo Gus. When the fish were plentiful years ago with no time to waste, while Gus was splitting the fish, his wife Flora would remove the pipe from his mouth, fill it with tobacco, light it and put it back in his mouth, where no time would be lost."
...excerpt from Carl Sharpe's bookPretty well everyone you meet here has a surname mentioned in the book, and most of the streets bear their names as well!
Hiking trail leading South from Sea Breeze Park. That red and yellow building is one of those painted artifacts. And before you ask, "no, I did NOT hike up there." Carl Sharpe helped build this place.
Ocean vista from Seabreeze Park.
by the way, the cover photo for Carl Sharpe's book was taken at the Crow Head community pier: I watched fishermen come in and out, then clean their catch on the dock (the 'flake'?).
Last week I wrote about the Capelin rolling in on Wild Cove beach. They were still there this week, but didn't come right in. Still it was entertaining to watch the gulls fighting over the ones that strayed too close to the surface.
The gulls dive bomb the fish. I spent several hours trying to capture "the moment". I need a D5 with 14 fps or a better sense of anticipation! Anyway, I did get a couple of shots.
Before we leave Twillingate, I want to mention some good places and things in this town. In no particular order...
- Cozy Tea Room. Best homemade bread in town.
- Westside Fish Market (near the theatre). Wholesale fish supplier, live or cooked lobster under $10/pound. Make sure they split it for you: it's a pain to do it yourself!
- Sansome's, about 12km South of town: best seafood restaurant. Try their seafood chowder!
- Auk Island Winery. I didn't sample their 'berry wines' (not my thing) but they have the best souvenir/gift shop in town. I couldn't resist yet another waterproof jacket!
- Freshmart. Fresh produce is non-existent in this town. Same thing with fresh meat. However these guys have huge bunkers of frozen meats and their steaks are good.
- Scenery: just to mention a few spots — Durrell Harbour and the Museum; Back Harbour; French Head; Long Point; Sleepy Cove; Wild Cove and any road that leads up a hill.
and look up Lucy's Ocean Vista in Crow Head if you're looking for a great place to spend a night or 20. Tell Goldie and Doug I sent you.
I really like this image of a longliner approaching Gull Island off Long Point.
Until next time!
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