I said I was going to post wallpapers less regularly, and I passed on April. But I was getting tired of that scene and wanted something springy. Spring has sprung here in North Carolina, although the usual spring-almost-summer temperatures haven’t decided to stay yet. We’re still in that “heat in the morning, AC in the afternoon” stage that usually ends in April. That’s OK with me!
There isn’t a lot of lavender here in North Carolina. This is a lavender field in Seafoam, Nova Scotia from a few years back. I’ve been reliving 2013 lately and this seemed like a good candidate to occupy my desktop for a while. I hope it goes well on yours, too if you are so inclined.
I’m still working on Nova Scotia photos…hoping to come up with 12 that are calendar-worthy. Not that I don’t think I can find 12, I just don’t want to find the perfect one after it’s too late!
Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia is a real tourist destination, and for good reason. It’s a beautiful location, has a little history, it’s got a lighthouse, a bunch of boats and a quaint little harbor. The day we were there is was relatively uncrowded and the weather was beautiful. And even in the middle of the day, the light was fantastic.
The biggest challenge for me in photographing a place like this is deciding whether I want people in my shots or not. I like people just fine, but I don’t always want to include them in my photos of a quintessential maritime fishing village! Sometimes I just need to be patient, and other times I just need to accept that there will be people! 🙂
Another thing that works well is to photograph someplace that people are less likely to be, like the edge of a dock. Most people don’t like to spend time in the water in places like this.
And they don’t let people climb the lighthouse, inside or out.
Home of the largest tidal change of anyplace on the planet, the Bay of Fundy was probably the Number One Must-See location for all of us on our recent visit to Nova Scotia.
There are many places to experience the tidal change, depending on what you want to see. Most people want to see the highest vertical change, there are places where the horizontal change is very large, and there are a few places where you can experience a tidal “bore,” where a river actually reverses direction as the tide comes in and heads into a narrow inlet such as the mouth of a river.
The so-called tidal bore can be pretty exciting in the right place at the right times, but generally requires the right astronomical conditions, such as a full moon, to really experience anything more than a ripple.
We experience pretty large horizontal tidal changes along the east coast at places like Hilton Head, where the beach “disappears” at high tide but is enormously wide at low tide. Been there, done that! We decided that the way we wanted to see the tidal change was to experience the vertical change, since this is what the Bay of Fundy is really known for. In my opinion the tidal bore is more of a tourist thing. Others will undoubtedly have their own opinion, and that’s dandy.
The highest tides on planet Earth occur at a place called Burncoat Head. The water level at high tide can be as much as 52 feet higher than at low tide. We stopped there and spent some time, but we were enroute that day and got there at just about high tide. As a result, there wasn’t a lot to see and we didn’t have time to wait for the tide to recede. Even with the amount of change, it can sometimes take a couple of hours to really notice the difference. So we moved on, and the next day visited our planned destination to watch the tides, Hall’s Harbour.
About an hour’s drive from our lodging in Wolfville, we arrived at Hall’s Harbour around mid-morning – the time on my first photo says 10:27. That was right around low tide, so we had a chance to “walk on the ocean floor” as they say, for an hour or more, looking at the fishing boats that literally sit on the ground while the tide is out. Very fascinating! Hall’s Harbour is an actual fishing village, with a small restaurant that serves lobster. LOTS of lobster! They had lobster dinner, lobster salad and lobster sandwiches, and a great place to sit and enjoy the day. Our day was picture perfect, as far as weather goes. We talked to a couple who had been there the day before who said that it was so foggy that they couldn’t see a thing. So we were just a bit lucky!
Within a few hours, all of the places we had been walking were covered by about 40 feet of water! It was quite an amazing experience, and a wonderful way to spend the day.
I’ve been running through my Nova Scotia photos looking for themes. One of the things I typically look for when wandering through a town are little details. These are a few that I took while we were in Lunenburg. Most of them were taken on the way to or from breakfast or dinner. See, photography and dining don’t have to be mutually exclusive! 🙂
Tired of Nova Scotia photos yet? Good, ’cause I’m not!
Another photo from our July adventure, the light is what I think makes this photo. The boarded up windows on one side and the hint of color in the other window hint at possibly a difficult past with some hope for the future.
We saw a lot of buildings with this shake siding, much of it in need of a coat of paint. Probably very durable against the elements despite occasional deferred maintenance.
I mentioned in an earlier post about having broken my camera while in Nova Scotia. Here’s the story.
We were driving around the Grand Pre’ valley late one afternoon, doing some sightseeing in the beautiful light that was so common there. Driving down a country road, Kathy – the eagle-eyed eagle spotter – spotted this bald eagle perched atop a telephone pole. I slowed way down to see if I could get a place to pull off, but there were ditches on both sides of the road, and the road was lined with rows of corn, so there was not a lot of choice.
Fortunately, I chanced upon a tractor path that I was able to back into, which gave Bill on the passenger side of the van a good shot out the window. My camera, of course, was in the back of the van. Keeping the van between me and the eagle, I was able to work my way around the back, open the door without causing too much of a fuss, and assemble my 70-200 and 2X teleconverter. He was still a long way off, but that was all I had.
I’m not sure why I decided to put my old 5D on this lens setup. I was probably thinking that I didn’t need to use 22 megapixels on what would probably amount to a bunch of sleepy eagle photos, and that 12 megapixels would be plenty. I just don’t remember. So, by my count I had taken 34 sleepy eagle photos, he was just sitting there, posing and looking cool. He would occasionally turn his head to one side or another, but that was about it. Zzzzzz….
On the 35th frame, the camera made a strange clunking sound. It sounded like the shutter was still open, since I didn’t hear the mirror return to its usual position. The camera sounded like I had used mirror lockup, just a lot louder. I turned the camera off, and the mirror – or at least the mirror mechanism – finally came back down. Looking through the viewfinder it was immediately apparent what happened, but I wasn’t exactly sure why or what was going to happen next. The mirror had become separated from the mirror-holder-thingie that it attaches to.
Kathy and our friends up front were still marveling at the eagle and our amazing fortune to find it with such a great place to watch, and I was standing in back of the van saying, “umm, guys? My camera just broke.” Fortunately I had the presence of mind to pull off the old body and put my new one on. Of course all the time I knew the eagle was going to fly off while I didn’t have a working camera in my hands. Fortunately, he was kind enough to wait for me, and allowed me to get another dozen or so shots off before he flew off. And I got a couple of decent flight photos. No prize-winners, but considering the circumstances, not too shabby.
After I returned home, I packaged the camera up and sent it off to Canon Professional Services for evaluation. A few days later I received an e-mail stating that they are going to repair the camera at no charge, calling it an “in-warranty repair.” A friend of mine asked me if it was covered for a period of time or a number of shutter actuations. I told him that it was covered under an “ain’t suppose to happen” warranty. I’m still waiting for it to come back, but I expect it shortly.
So that’s the story of the broken camera. Hopefully there will be a happy ending in a few days.
There were a number of good and thoughtful comments to my previous post about balance. Some of them related to the visual balance of photography, but mostly the comments seemed to revolve around the time balance involved in making time for photography, and to a lesser extent about time balance in our lives in general. I find myself more and more preferring to photograph as a part of traveling or doing other things, as opposed to making photography the central purpose of my activity. There is a subtle but important distinction between the two. Mostly it just means a change in subject matter, but because I’m photographing things that attract me or grab my attention as I go, I’m more likely to photograph things that have more interest or meaning to me, rather than just going down a checklist or conforming to some predetermined agenda or formula.
Cedric’s comment was perhaps the most interesting to me, because he read my words in the context of the accompanying photographs, which were more of a “centered” type of composition. Relating it to his personal preference for photos that are “grossly one sided across the vertical” he said that he rarely shares that type of photograph, “because generally they are not popular and sometimes rattle people too much.”
My reaction when reading those words was “why does “balanced” have to be “centered?”” If your vision (or your preference) results in a photograph that has the subject off to one side and it pleases you and suits your intention, isn’t that OK? Balance should be dictated by what works for us in a particular situation and what feels right to us. In most cases that might mean a result that is closer to the center than to the edge, but it doesn’t have to.
Mark’s comments focused on the parallels between visual and time balance, and the fact that he feels that he has more control over the photographic part than the time part. I agree, as there are more outside demands on our time than there are on our photographic vision. I probably would have been perfectly willing to get up at 4am for sunrise a few days, were it not for the fact that our days didn’t leave room for catching up on lost sleep, that daylight went until sunset at 9:00 and that I didn’t want to go home from vacation needing a vacation! It was a lot easier to convince my traveling companions to head out for sunset than to get up for sunrise, so it was an accommodation I was more than willing to make, even if it meant completely forgoing sunrise.
Paul’s comment referenced my decision to leave the laptop at home, stating that he often does the same when I he travels. He said that he sometimes goes so far as to leave the camera at home, preferring to remove the “self-pressure to get out and photograph and carve out that time to do it.” I’ve found that, too. Sometimes I just want to go and watch, to experience whatever it is I’m doing for what it is. I don’t need to capture it with a camera if I see it, experience it and remember it. There is a time and place for the camera, and there is a time and place to just watch.
As it relates to photographic composition, I’m convinced that “balance” doesn’t have to mean “middle.” I’d love to see some of Cedric’s “unbalanced-balanced” photographs. I’ll bet we would love them, mostly because they would reflect his vision and are made from his heart. On the subject of time, some of us choose and are able to spend all of our waking hours doing photography. That’s great. If others of us are only able to carve out a few hours a day or a week for our photography, that’s just the other end of the continuum and is OK, too. When I’m faced with a choice between a nice dinner with my sweetie and a possible sunset opportunity, more often than not I’m going to choose the nice dinner. Except for those rare times of the year when I can do both! Several of us have given up television in exchange for more time doing other things. If that’s a decision that works for us, then that’s OK. If I post dozens of photos a day to my blog or Facebook while Paul leaves the computer at home and each choice works for us, that’s cool.
I think the main lesson in all of this discussion and conversation is that balance means different things to each of us. What is balanced to me may be nothing but tension for someone else. And what someone else finds comfortable might be like chaos for me. And you know what? That’s part of what makes this life so wonderful! Each of us has our own take on what works, for the most part we have the ability and the means to express it, and in the end what matters is that what we do makes us happy. If we are able to share our work and make a few other people smile in the process, that is just gravy!