Fundy Fascination

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We left the Bay of Fundy even though I wasn’t ready. Maybe I wouldn’t have been ready until the first snow blew in, or they closed all the campgrounds for the season and I was only left with a Walmart parking lot. I think it fitting that we left Nova Scotia on the ferry that goes from Digby to St. John, New Brunswick. It is a big ferry crossing a big body of water. It took us two and a half hours to cross and it was a rough crossing. I watched the water and it seemed the roughness, the waves, were created by the emptying of the Bay of Fundy of its vast amounts of water. It was close to high tide when we drove to the dock an hour before departure and thus the tide was going out by the time we were crossing.

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My photography didn’t do justice to the wonder I felt as I stood and looked over the tidal flats at low tide and the speed with which the water comes in. I took many photos but as I reviewed them for this post, it feels something like trying to document a daisy one petal at a time (my daughter’s analogy for trying to photograph the Swiss Alps.) Maybe I would learn how if I took another 10,000 photos – but alas we had to move on.

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An all terrain vehicle and a clam digger.

Maybe words will help me. During a 12 hour tidal period (2 low & high tides), 115,000 billion tons of water move through the bay from the Atlantic and back back again. The highest tides are in the Minas Basin, a bay going into Nova Scotia, at Burntcoat Head of 14.5 meters (47.5 feet) with an extreme range of 16.3 meters (53.5 feet). (Wikipedia and Guinness Book of World Records) Most amazing of all, the landmass of Nova Scotia tilts with the changing weight of tides.

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Everywhere we went, we watched for a few minutes to determine if the tide was coming in or going out. We would focus on a rock at the edge of the water to see if it became submerged or it was left more visible. We watched the currents of large rivers to determine if water was flowing downstream or upstream. We ventured a guess as to where the high-tide marks were. Yes, we were fascinated with the flow of the tides.

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Meatloaf Panini

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Our short day trip (sans trailer) was to go down Digby Neck on highway 217, that narrow strip of land between the Bay of Fundy and St. Mary’s Bay west of Digby. I expected the strip of land to be filled with vacation homes on the water with seasonal villages full of gift shops and coffee shops. We didn’t pack a lunch, expecting to stop at a little cafe for some seafood and internet. What a surprise to find a just a few homes, maybe seasonal or maybe full time residents, an occasional small cove with anchored fishing boats, and a lot of woodlands and hills overlooking the water on one side or the other.

We didn’t see any services like gasoline, groceries, or little cafes with internet. Just a two-lane road that went up and down and around the countryside. Then we saw the little, hand-made sign on the side of the road and caught the word “cafe.” A little ways down the road we pulled in – almost missing it because it wasn’t what we expected.

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We parked at the end of the school, close to the big yellow school bus. I had a mix of curiosity and maybe a little apprehension – but we like to find the unusual and it wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve eaten a sandwich that was mediocre sustenance, at best. We climbed the stairs to the ranch-house type school built in the 50’s and we followed the voices that came from the room to the right – where the cafe sign was pointed to.

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It was a room I wanted to enter. There was a small counter for ordering, with pastries on covered cake plates and cookies in a glass cookie jar. People were talking and laughing. There was a family that stopped to eat, and say high to Grandma who was working in the back kitchen. A couple was chatting with the cashier about the joy of sleeping under a down comforter now that the nights have been cold. People knew each other, they belonged here but were also warm and friendly to those who were passing through, like us and a few bikers (from the motorcycle rally in Digby). We wanted to stay a bit.

The food menu for the day was limited to a fish chowder, a salad, a breakfast burrito and two sandwiches. One was a wrap and the other was a meatloaf panini. Right, a meatloaf panini. We both chuckled silently – and then both of us ordered it. I’m going to show it to you again so you don’t have to scroll up – it was one of top three sandwiches I have ever eaten – in my whole life – the whole 73 years of it. We are still talking and laughing about it three days later.

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The panini had a slice of homemade meatloaf, some barbecue sauce and a spoon of the cabbage slaw on it so there was a bit of zippy-ness without overpowering the meat loaf, that was excellent in it’s own right. JB and I both cleaned our plates – so we could split an oatmeal cookie dipped in dark chocolate, and get a cinnamon roll to take home to have with our evening sleepy time tea. My tea is a Fundy Fog made to perfection; one third steamed milk, two thirds tea, and a little vanilla – yum! The man who made it said mine was the first he had made and I replied that he shouldn’t change a thing for his next ones.

The Schoolhouse Cafe is a non-profit and all the people working (I think I saw about six including those who worked in the back kitchen doing prep and washing dishes) were volunteers. They opened in July and their goal is to be someplace local people can go to have coffee and a bite to eat together and to share whats happening around the area. They are also offering some educational sessions on topics of local interest. Having a delicious sandwich followed by a pastry and tea in a warm and friendly place – now that is priceless.

Nova Scotia Off-Season Fishing Port

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This was a quiet day, a rest day when we didn’t want to do much driving and wanted to avoid crowded areas. Kind of a holiday from our holiday. We drove down the west side of the LaHave River on the southern shore of Nova Scotia to get to the ocean and possibly Liverpool although that would be a long drive. We came to the small village of LaHave and saw a bakery with the porch lined with people eating what I knew were really good baked goods and a lineup at the counter inside. It was about noon and there were cars on both sides of the narrow road for a very long ways so there was nowhere to park. JB later saw a sign advertising a chowder dinner on this day in LaHave – we didn’t stop for either.

We drove through the village of Dublin Shore and saw a sign for Crescent Beach with an arrow pointing left. I pulled in and to the right was a road descending to a boat launch and small harbor. Lobster trapping goes from November to April so not a lot was going on. Just a grandpa preparing fishing poles, supervised by great-grandpa with an umbrella used as a cane until it rained. And there was also a man polishing his Caterpillar backhoe, an unusual sight.

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A dump truck drove in and backed up beside me – waiting for the small car to move, driven by the grandma dropping off the two kids who were going fishing with grandpa. They had just tore down a fish processing building and the dump truck was bringing in fill, that the backhoe was spreading to fill the resulting hole.

Although the skies were grey it felt like a perfect morning as I strolled down the dock and JB talked to the Cat man. There was a cool freshness coming from the water and I had on jeans and a sweatshirt. I felt the gentleness of Fall in the air. And I had my camera. Ahhhh.

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I noticed someone has been harvesting seaweed. I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t watched them harvesting on the south shore of Prince Edward Island.

We weren’t in a hurry so we lingered. I don’t like the idea of lobsters being caught and boiled alive, maybe that’s one of the reasons I don’t eat lobster. I don’t like the idea of people making money from growing tobacco so I don’t smoke. It seems like most everything we consume is produced by business people who are making money through some sort of exploitation of the environment or people. It has become an existential problem for me that I delve into when I have the energy to ponder such deep subjects. In the mean time I take pleasure in photographing lobster boats and pots in Nova Scotia, and tobacco barns in Kentucky.

On the Maritime Provinces of Canada a primary industry is fishing and this is how people sustain themselves. They have always lived off the sea and they continue to do so; a hard life that I respect and am intrigued by. But time to move on to see what surprises Crescent Beach holds.

Trying to Make Them B&W

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I know how to turn my photographs into black and white, but I need to make my mind want to do black and white. I have nothing against the colorless mode and have really enjoyed viewing other photographers’ works in black and white. But when I make an image of the world, I don’t want to see it in black and white when there are so many colors hitting my retina and lighting up my brain. I even like the image of this boat, taken on the southern shore of Nova Scotia.

But the color is so much more interesting.

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I have spent a considerable amount of time post editing each image and then just looking at them, enjoying them. But I seem to linger over the colored image a little longer. That is how they have studied preference and recognition in infants, by measuring how long they gaze at something.

I would really appreciate hearing from all you photographers and those of you who enjoy photography to give me some feedback. Tell me which one you prefer and why. If you love black and white, share with me your thoughts of why this image does or doesn’t work. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.