by Dr. Robert Berdan
August 21, 2014
Cliffs next to the highway before Cheticamp on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia .
After travelling by Ferry from PEI back to Nova Scotia, we stayed overnight in Antigonish a small university town. The next morning we drove highway 104 to Miners Memorial highway where we crossed over to Cape Breton Island. After crossing we took highway 10 and drove up the west coast. We stopped in Mabou at the Glenora Inn & Distillery and walked around the beautifully manicured gardens. From there we headed north to Cheticamp just outside Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
Glenora Inn and Distillery is located in Mabou, Cape Breton north of Mabou. It is North America's only Single Malt Whisky Distillery. It features a gift shop and tours.
Gift Shop at the Glenora Inn Distillery.
As we drove up the coast we came to a small turn off which I decided to drive down and saw an eagle resting on a small island not far from the road. 300 mm f/2.8 lens + 2X teleconverter.
We also spotted some cormorants.
Beachcombers look for glass that has been eroded smooth by the water.
Highway 19 outside of Cheticamp, Cape Breton
There is a small harbour at Cheticamp.
Highway winding through the hills of Cape Breton Highlands National park. The higher we climbed the more fog we encountered.
As the road turns into the interior it climbs in elevation. The sides of the road are flanked with deciduous trees which one can imagine would be beautiful to photograph when they change colour in mid October.
Cape Breton Coastline
Cape Breton coastline
Ingonish beach on the west side of Cape Breton Highlands National Park - we spent a night here.
Tranquil scene beside the road with the forest reflected in this calm ocean inlet on Cape Breton.
Blue heron photographed next to the road St. Annes Bay
Small creek and waterfall next to the highway. Not sure why some of the maple leaves were turning color in late June.
Road near Indian Brooks - we turned off and took the Ferry to Englishtown.
We stopped to photograph the ocean and winding road into the park. As we climbed to higher elevation we were immersed in a thick blanket of fog that hid most of the country side from our view. We stopped in Neils Harbour and I had a lobster poutine for lunch. We drove south along the Cabot trail stopping in Ingonish for the night. We photographed the beach and a lighthouse along the way. The views were beautiful, but the overcast light made it difficult to capture strong images. It was clear however that the forest along this route would be spectacular in mid October. In fact if I were to return to the east coast, I think I would spend most of my time in Cape Breton highlands National Park and try to arrange my visit in autumn.
Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Near Glace Bay Cape Breton
Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada - Cape Breton Island
We only spent only one night on Cape Breton Island which is a very short time. We drove around the coast line before heading back over to the mainland. We stopped briefly in Louisbourg, but it was dark and rainy when we arrived at the parking lot and neither one of us felt like visiting this historic site under those conditions. Normally, I am very interested in Canadian history but we decided to drive on to the mainland.
We crossed back to the mainland after about a day and half on Cape Breton Island and headed down the east coast of Nova Scotia. On our first night we stayed in a small friendly town called Sherbrooke. We stayed at a bed and breakfast operated by a Swiss Family called St. Mary's River Lodge. We had a few hours to explore the town before the sunset . The only eatery that was open was a fast food outlet in the the local car garage. Next morning, we headed further south along highway 7. For most of the morning it was foggy but this created some photo opportunities for moody photographs of spider webs, the forest and bay.
White-tailed deer, Sherbrook, Nova Scotia
Forest next to highway 7 was shrouded in fog
Small boat and dock in the fog
Boats in fog
Marsh beside the highway grabbed my attention, it was full of spider webs, sundew, and pitcher plants.
Dew covered spider web in marsh next to highway 16
Fog and river inlet Nova Scotia
Cormorant on rock drying its wings in the fog.
About 10:30 am the fog started to lift and we could begin to see more of the the ocean as we drove south towards Halifax.
Once the fog cleared we had a beautiful view of the coast - Clam harbour beach provincial park, Nova Scotia. The beaches are definitely not crowded even on hot days.
Small harbour north of Halifax with beautifully painted storage buildings.
A variety of fisherman's tools, hooks, anchors and ropes.
Colourful buoys on the Dock
Lobster traps piled up on a dock
After passing through Halifax, we made our way to Peggy's Cove where my friend dropped me off for the day and came back to pick me up the next morning. See my previous article on Peggy's Cove. Peggy's Cove was my favourite spot for photography in Nova Scotia in spite of the fact that it is a very popular tourist destination. I found that at 5 am, I had the lighthouse andmost of the village to myself.
One of the large churches in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
From Peggy's Cove we drove down the coast stopping only briefly in Mahone Bay to stretch our legs and take a few photos. We continued on to Lunnenburg where I had high expectations. The town is certainly a pleasant tourist trap, but I tend to shy away from these type of places. We saw the crippled Bluenose II get towed into port. There was a media frenzy as the boat is apparently millions of dollars over budget and the keel is to heavy to steer her properly. The boat will be out of commission for another year. See links below for more information about the Bluenose II.
Dockside at Lunnenburg
Dockside and restaurants are plentiful . While we were eating Lunch they towed in the Bluenose II
I was attracted to the red colour, green door and reflection in the window of this building in Lunnenburg.
Bluenose II moored in Lunnenburg
Gasoline floating on the water attracted my attention and I photographed this abstract image.
We drove further south along the coast stopping in Liverpool in hopes of seeing the Sherman Hines Musuem of Photography. I met Sherman Hines about 20 years ago at a photo-conference in Calgary. Hines has published over 70 books (of which 47 were best sellers), as well as a number of other items, such as calendars. While in Peggy's Cove I purchased another one of Sherman HInes books. To our disappointment the museum was closed and local info center indicated it had been so for some time. The Sherman Hines Museum of Photography supposedly host photographs by Hines, Yousuf Karsh, Wallace MacAskill, and William Notman.
We moved on south along the coast and stopped overnight in Shelburne and stayed at Mackenzies Cottages which included a pleasant breakfast. We stopped in Argyle to fuel up and across the street was Canada's oldest Courthouse so I grabbed a quick snapshot.
Argyle - Oldest Courthouse in Canada
Shipyard where several boats were being repaired.
Havesting seaweed which is used for feed and fertilizer
Boats full of seaweed being harvested near Yarmouth
Sword fishing boat - you can see some of the "swords" that were removed from the fish on the deck.
Fisherman's ropes and gloves
Fishing nets with colourful buoys attracted my attention
Fishing vessels in Digby, Nova Scotia
Digby is famous for its scallops so we stopped to try them at The Fundy & Dockside restaurant. My friend Kamal Varma is a seafood connoisseur. I liked the taste of the scallops but found them a bit too rich for my stomach and could only eat 4 of them.
From Digby we drove along highway 15 to Truro where we stayed the night. Truro is famous for the reversing waterfalls when the tide comes in, but we arrived around 7 pm in the evening and it was raining. However, along the way we stopped occassionally to photograph some of the old abandoned homes, many with beautiful flowers in their yard.
Abandoned Home Nova Scotia
From Truror we headed west along highway in order to follow the coastline and head back towards Fredericton. We encountered drizzling rain for most of the drive, but passed some interesting sites shown below.
Chiganexto Bay as the tide was going out revealed a very red soil similar to what we saw on Prince Edward Island.
We found a beautiful red barn surrounded by Lupins
Lupins filled the yard of this home overlooking the ocean
Low Tide Bay of Fundy
The Lighthouse Maker - a shop we passed beside the road driving to Joggins.
Gift shop along highway 2
We stopped in Joggins which is famous for its fossil cliffs, but again the rain prevented us from walking out to the cliffs.
When I go on a photo-trips I generally do quite a bit of research before I go. I contact the provincial tourism centres months before hand and request maps and brochures, I check out web sites, I even travel along the highway using Googles virtual tours to see what regions might offer good photos. While preparation is important one can never be sure of the weather. Generally I try to design the trips so I have one or possibly two flex days in the event that I come across an area that is just so beautiful I must spend an extra day or so to capture the best pictures I can. I also tend to be intense on these trips and by that I mean I am up at 4:30 or 5:00 am before the sunrise and try to shoot all day until an hour or so after sunset. On this trip I litterally got worn out and caught a nasty cold on the flight back which took me three weeks to recover, but in my opinion it was worth it. I now feel that I have sampled the Canada from the east coast to the west. There are many places I still wish to visit, but it was one of my life goals to visit and take photographs from across this beautiful country. Next year - I plan to drive the Dempster highway to the Arctic and revisit Georgian Bay where I started my interest in photography. RB
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