Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grand Manan: Dark Harbour

A few days into our trip we woke up to sunshine and a thick, steamy heat. As you can probably assume from most of my photos, sunshine doesn't happen very often. Super hot days are so rare that Jane's family marked dates on their cabin walls to record the few times the temperature hovered above 90.  


Jane wanted to show us Dark Harbour to take advantage of beautiful light this day had to offer. That side of the island rarely experiences full sunshine, or when it does it is short-lived. I was intrigued just by the name; Dark Harbour sounded sinister, like maybe it belonged to a medieval time. The sky was that perfect shade of blue. There weren't any clouds with the exception of one tiny puff hovering above the shored dories.

Dark Harbour appeared to have a rich but difficult past. Broken stairs lead to no where. Homemade wooden jungle gyms became weathered with many storms and passing tides.          

This is the best jungle gym ever. 

Fishermen left their debris behind to rust. Everything seemed abandoned and falling to disrepair. 

Time stood still and it seemed like we were the only humans inhabiting this quiet, eerie place. There were no sounds other than the crunches of our feet on rocks.

Within a few short minutes of shooting, the fog rolled in making everything look much creepier.

This was one of the strangest places I've ever seen. What happened at Dark Harbour? Where were the humans? Why does it look like the Gallows?

This place was so moody. One minute it was gorgeous, the next brooding and gray. 

Fishing weirs, like the one above, dot the coastline of Grand Manan. 

I want to know the stories of this place.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Grand Manan: Attack of the Lupines

Lupines should come with a warning sign. You will need to stop the car and photograph them wherever they are. And in Grand Manan they are ere'where! 

My macro lens bit the dust in the Long Island Sound. I'm quite pleased with its replacement.

Lupine. /loo-pin/

Even the half dead lupines look pretty.

And sometimes you don't want blur, but it ends up looking nice anyway. I'll take it.

This is an actual school house. 

This plant is a member of the legume family. 

The peas that it creates were fit for wolf consumption, hence the name.

Grand Manan: Day One, some more

My eyes were wide from all the smoke house photo excitement. Later on our first night on the island we hit up another part of the island where I could go wild with my camera some more. The reports were right: Grand Manan is a photographer's dream. 

Fog was ere'where! If there was a day without fog, it was an anomaly.

Colors become really important when everything was gray all the time.

The Bay of Fundy is known for the highest tidal range in the WORLD. In some spots it changes up to 50 feet in one tide cycle!

Boats have to be tough to endure a lot out there.

Jane and Andrea walk through the mist.

Jane has eyes like a hawk. She could spot anything on the beaches, including this lovely spike. Because of the huge tides, really cool stuff gets washed up on shore.

More fog and boats...We have a theme, folks!

And we shall not forget that lupines are everywhere!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Grand Manan: Day One

It started with an invite to celebrate my friend's landmark 2 year anniversary of her stage 4 melanoma diagnosis. Jane was given an expiration date of 6-9 months, but the doctors didn't know that she's much stronger than your average bear. Her wife Andrea calls her the Ginga Ninja and this particular type of ninja kicks cancer and expiration dates in the ass. :)

So this was a special invite of sorts. Sign me up. I will go to this foreign place that sounds oddly similar to "Grand Banana." It wasn't until a few weeks before the trip I learned the actual name was Grand Manan.

This first photo was stolen from Tiff. (Thanks, Tiff!!)

We packed up the three dogs and four lady friends and left with an expectation that weird things may happen on this distant Canadian island.

"Can you define 'weird things'?" I asked Jane.

I pictured throngs of drunken sailors singing sea chanties around a campfire and hypnotic drum beats fading into the sound of the waves, all while Tiff was making us s'mores. Sounds like my kind of weird!

Nah, "more like mice and bats in the cabin," she said. The backyard bear head and strange bones that washed up on shore would end up being an added bonus.

We zipped through Massachusetts, New Hampshire and climbed up and down impossibly long, curvy one lane roads in Maine, crossed border patrol then finally hopped on a ferry to our destination. It was sunny and bright but we needed about three layers of clothing to feel comfortable.

Andrea and Tiff, the dog charmers, kept the canines calm on the ferry's rooftop deck. I tied Neko, the red one, to a chair because she tends to hurl herself into bodies of water with reckless abandon. You can see her lick her lips at the thought of a chilly swim.

It was on the ferry ride that I discovered what real fog looks like. I was pretty sure it would go away at some point. It didn't occur to me until much later that Tiff's family curse may have followed us on this adventure. :)

An hour and 45 minutes later I caught my first view of Swallows Tail Lighthouse from the boat.  All of Grand Manan was shrouded in this beautiful, dramatic fogginess. The fog became its own character throughout my photo adventure.

We unloaded the million things we thought we would need on this trip and then headed out for a tour of town. Jane pointed to a bunch of broken down smoke houses and I practically had a photography-gasm. I could barely stay seated in the car when I caught my first glimpse of this place. I didn't know places like this still existed in 2013. The buildings had creative designs on their sides and funky mismatched windows. The thick pungent smell of fish permeated the whole place.

This part of town looked completely abandoned. I didn't know until after I hopped back in the car that these smoke houses still operate, despite the holes in the walls, the lack of doors or any ability to lock anything.

The scene above caught my eye because night was falling and this looked like a spooky face, or just an exclamation point.

I could have spent days there wandering from house to house. Each one was unique.

Every time I would try to hop back in the car with the others I would spot something out of the corner of my eye that looked interesting and hop over to the next scene.

No one was enforcing this sign; I do what I want. :)

I was pretty happy with the framing in the above photo. It was worth stepping into slimy fishiness to capture it.

The photo below shows some Lupines that can be found all over the island. I wondered if Grand Mananers appreciate how pretty they are? Or maybe they're the unofficial weed of the island?

One of the smoke house folks decorated his building with old lobster crates.

The shingles below gave me an idea that this place has weathered some interesting storms in its time.

Sea junk is everywhere and celebrated. 

You can see how dramatic the tide changes can be in this last one.