Thursday, May 18, 2017

On the Road Again

Sometimes size does matter. Without a specialty lens, my moose would have been a small speck in the landscape, instead of an up close and personal image.
I know some people who have had a really tough time adjusting to retirement. They find their days long, and miss the structure of their old work life. My husband was worried that I would miss my business after it sold, but no. Not me. When I retired, I never looked back.

There are so many things to do and never enough time to do them. Whether you volunteer, follow the political scene, or enjoy one or more hobbies, opportunities are limitless. One of our joys is to be able to jump in the car whenever we want, and take day trips. A couple of weeks ago, my husband turned to me and asked if I'd like to take a longer drive and follow the St. John River in New Brunswick. I had been wanting to take that drive for years, so of course I said yes.

I love that drive winding along the river, and enjoyed it every time we visited between our families in Ontario and Nova Scotia. But they improved the highway, and for many years we have been bypassing that stretch, opting to take the fast route instead. So, just a week or so after our return from our Ontario visit, we found ourselves backtracking to New Brunswick. We took the Trans Canada highway until we reached Jemseg, and then slowed down and enjoyed the sights.

The river was flooded, but not yet endangering anyone. I took countless photos of trees submerged in the flooded banks, their reflections making abstract patterns in the water. It was rainy and foggy, but just enough to make a photographer happy.

This trip was a milestone in our lives. I had to break down and tell my husband he was "right". He is always encouraging me to invest in good quality equipment, something that requires careful thought and a hit to the pocketbook. We usually spend a lot of time with him trying to convince me its worth it, before I break down and agree. He would be an interesting person to have on a split jury, because he would wear even the most determined person down and sway them to his way of thinking.

One of those purchases was a powerful zoom lens that is perfect for nature shots. I used it quite a bit earlier this year when we took many trips down to Baccaro in search of snowy owls. This trip it came in handy to photograph moose along the St. John River, my first moose images. I was over the moon, excited and happy when we saw a pair of moose on a small island a short distance from the road.

Ive written many articles explaining my belief that equipment doesnt matter, you can take good photographs with any camera, your phone or a point and shoot. But sometimes size does matter, and my nature photos this year wouldnt have happened without our investment in the proper lens. My moose would have been a small speck in the landscape, instead of an up close and personal image. I looked him right in the eye without endangering myself, or bothering the moose. And it was an awesome experience.
A new interest was discovered on the impromptu road trip, and I became intrigued by the bridges in the fog, framed by the flooded trees.

Moving slowly down the river, we stopped many times so I could jump out and take photographs of more flooded trees. I found a new interest along the way and was intrigued by the bridges in the fog. I experimented with trying to capture different angles and create compelling images.

Different things interest different people, and my husband couldnt understand why I wasnt taking photos of the homes being encroached by water. It wasn't a lack of interest, my heart went out to all the people who must have been filled with fear every time they looked out the window, wondering whether the water would reach their residence. But somehow it seemed an invasion of privacy for me to photograph their homes in danger, I felt I would be taking advantage of their difficulties. I did take photos of several barns, and was intrigued with a group of horses who were cut off from their field.

Driving down the road, with water up to the shoulders on both sides, made a more somber ride than the previous joy of seeing the moose. We meandered from Jemseg to Fredericton, and somehow the whole afternoon disappeared. It seemed we would have to revise our plans of driving all the way up to Perth-Andover. We found a room for the night and planned to go over some of the same territory again the next day, followed by a drive along the river down towards Saint John.

What would a trip be without having to turn around at least once? By looking at the map, it seemed like a simple plan to cover the same ground on the opposite side of the river, but using a photographer for a navigator can be a mistake and we did have to backtrack once, or twice, or maybe a few times. The weather had cleared up, along with my need to photograph trees in water, so as we headed to Saint John I focused on old farm houses and churches. Then a turn in the road brought us to a river, with a flock of double crested cormorants perched in and around some flooded trees and I was in photographic heaven again.

After a night in Saint John, we had adventures in Cape Enrage and at the Hopewell Rocks. Neither location was officially open yet, but we did receive a private tour of the sights at Cape Enrage, an unplanned stop for us. Hopewell Rocks had me climbing over a barricade to make it down to the beach at low tide, something I dont think Ill attempt again. But those adventures are a focus for another day.

Published in the South Shore Breaker, Dartmouth Tribune, Bedford-Sackville Observer - May 17, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


An early morning photo shoot of local osprey was ruined by forgetting to reset my camera settings. The images were all three photo compilations due to my camera being set to take multiple exposures.
I had an interesting morning recently, in which I discovered that bird-brained can have two quite different meanings. In my meandering way, I will tell you a bit about both my experiences.

Every morning, without fail, I am awakened by two impatient dogs who want to get started with their day. I cant be irritated with them, even if they decide its time to get going while I am still in a sound slumber, because they are just so deliriously happy that it tends to rub off on me. Okay, its time to get up and start the day. This involves letting them out, letting them in, feeding them, getting the coffee ready, feeding the cat and cleaning her box, getting the paper, and on it goes. When I finally get to relax with my coffee, I usually take a look at our backyard birds.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

When there's no turning back

A postcard from Lake Ainslie sent back to Ontario by my mother in 1967, during my first trip to Nova Scotia.
Do you ever wonder what could have been? If you had made a different choice, or followed a different path? If you stayed put instead of moving on? Or if you said yes instead of no to a new life challenge?


We are all making choices constantly in our lives. Small choices, like what to have for breakfast. Or big life choices, such as changing jobs or changing life styles. It's all the constant decisions that we face that can sometimes become overwhelming.