Newfoundland in the fall
October 02, 2014
“It was not an exceptionally bad day. There were hurricane force gales, high seas and poor visibility, but for Newfoundland in the fall it was normal.” This understated quote from an interpretive sign on the Harvey Trail on the southwest coast of Newfoundland just about sums up my recent trip to that province. I experienced some of the most challenging photography conditions I’ve ever encountered. The high winds along the coast made it very difficult to keep camera and tripod steady and salt spray coated my lenses resulting in many a “soft focus” image. Fortunately I brought along some “wet wipes” which proved invaluable for cleaning salt off the glass and camera gear. I lived in constant dread that the salt spray would fry my camera, but it performed admirably despite the onslaught. The upside of the challenging weather was that I did mange to get a few dramatic images. In addition to visiting Gros Morne National Park, a place I have returned to for more than 30 years, I also visited a few places I hadn’t been to before: the Port-au-port peninsula on the west coast and the communities of Burgeo and Rose Blanche on the southwest coast. The Rose Blanche lighthouse must be one of the most beautiful in Atlantic Canada. The granite stone structure was designed in 1871 by D&T Stevenson of Edinburgh, Scotland, the family of Robert Louis Stevenson. It stands sentinel on a promontory with a commanding view of the rugged SW coast. While in Rose Blanche I also had the opportunity to visit an abandoned coastal community, The Petites, which was resettled in 2003. We took the three mile boat journey from Rose Blanche to The Petites with local fisherman, Austin Bennett, who had grown up in the community and was eager to show us his home. He still maintains a house there which he uses during the spring lobster fishing season. He also had a wonderful collection of historical photos of the community. Unfortunately rising winds forced us to cut our visit short and return to Rose Blanche, but it was a privilege to get a brief glimpse at what life was like in a remote fishing village in earlier times. All in all, it was an exceptionally good trip, which I can safely say, for Newfoundland, that's normal. Images, top to bottom: Rose Blanche lighthouse; stormy seas in Gros Morne National Park; dramatic sky on the Port-au-port peninsula.