Tuesday, November 10, 2015

East Coast 2015 Wrap Up

From Quebec to Nova Scotia to Newfoundland to Labrador and back again, it was a great roadtrip.
I put close to 7700kms on the SRT in the end and managed to see quite a lot of the east side of the country.
Other various pictures from the trip are up in the galleries.

This completes the trip galleries, so I've added it to my travel destinations.

The loop in the wind and rain

When we arrived back on the main land after our sojourn to Newfoundland, 
we decided to drive the cabot trail around Cape Breton.
We spent the night at a fantastic motel in Cheticamp.
It was on the edge of the water and had spectacular views.

Icebergs & Eiders

For our trip to L'Anse aux Meadows, we stayed at a little hotel in St. Anthony.
Right next to the hotel was the whale watching tour dock.
So we gave it a go.
Saw one Minke whale, briefly, and she was camera shy.
Luckily we did see some icebergs and a whole bunch of eider ducks.

Overall, it was a relaxing cruise and quite enjoyable.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

So Gros

Gros Morne was spectacular.

Sure, it was foggy and rainy on the first morning in the park, but it cleared by evening and we had a couple days of great sunsets.

I would definitely go back when junior is a bit older and can hike.

Monday, August 17, 2015

L'Anse aux Meadows

L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland Canada, is the only authenticated site of Norse settlement in North America and is the first cultural site in the world to be inscribed upon the UNESCO World Heritage List.

From this site, the Norse first encountered aboriginal North Americans.
When humans migrated out of Africa, some went East, eventually migrating across Asia and crossing over to North America (via the land bridge between what is now Russia and Alaska, or via water).
Some went west, eventually making it all the way to Europe and then to Iceland.
These Vikings then crossed to L'Anse aux Meadows and were the first people from the west to encounter the people from the east.
Completing the circle.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hunted until there weren't enough to hunt

During the 16th century, whalers from the Basque Region of Spain and France where making seasonal voyages across the Atlantic to Labrador in pursuit of Right and Bowhead whales for the lucrative European market of whale products, in particular whale oil.

Gran Baya, as it was called by those who founded the station in 1530s, was used as a base for coastal hunting, butchering, rendering of whale fat to produce oil. It became a major source of whale oil which was shipped to Europe where it was used for lighting.

Until they pretty much hunted them all.

Friday, July 24, 2015

North America's Fortified City

Québec is the only North American city (north of Mexico) to have preserved its ramparts, together with the numerous bastions, gates and defensive works and is one of the best examples of a fortified colonial city.

Being there was like strolling the streets of a medieval European town.

I loved it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

370 Million Year Old Fish

From the Coal Age fossils at Joggins, our travels brought us even further back in time at Parc National du Miguasha.
Here the fossils were from the Age of Fishes (370 million years ago).
Miguasha, like Joggins, is a unique location full of fossils.

Apparently they've found the largest number and best-preserved lobe-finned fish fossils here.
These are the fishes, according to those crazy evolutionists, that gave rise to the first four-legged, air-breathing terrestrial vertebrates, aka the tetrapods.
Of course tetrapod fossils are what can be found at Joggins. Maybe we visited these sites in the wrong order?

Cheirolepis Canadensis

As a ray-finned fish, the descendants of this guy's group make up almost 60% fo the present-day aquatic and terrestrial vertebrate species.
I wonder if that includes us?

Pictures from Miguasha.

PS - we stayed in a hotel in Carleton-sur-Mer, which was a very picturesque town.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Coal Age Galapagos

Located on the Nova Scotia side of the Bay of Fundy, Joggins Fossil Cliffs is the world’s most complete fossil record of life in the Coal Age, about 300 million years ago. 

It was here that Sir William Dawson discovered the first true reptile (hylonomus lyelli), the first animal to live on land and not in the water. 

When it comes to evolution, this little milestone recorded at Joggins remains pivotal to understanding the origins of all vertebrate life on land, including us humans. 

Crazy I know! 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

British were Jerks

A dark period for British rule in the new world. 

 Pictures from Grand Pré.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Nova Scotia has three UNESCO World Heritage List sites.
From amphibian fossils, British town planning, to Acadian expulsion, they are a varied example of our Canadian history.

First up, Lunenburg:

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

East Coast 2015


Just got back from a 3 week road trip out east.
Over 7300km later and we managed to see every UNESCO world heritage list site on the east side of Canada. 
Many, MANY photos to come.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Canon EF 11-24 F4L USM

This is not a technical review of this lens.
Its wide (very, very wide), sharp, contrasty and perfectly rectilinear.
That's about all I have to say about that.
And now that that's been said, let me tell you what I think of this four thousand dollar (Canadian, eh) lens.

Here is the grand total of my feelings, summarized in two sentences: I am enamored by this lens. I really enjoy how it challenges and excites me.

A bit of background
At the beginning of 2013 I sold both my 16-35 and my 24-105 to help fund the purchase of the new 24-70.
At the same time, I purchased my first full frame digital camera, the 1Dx.
So, not only have I been without a wide lens since then, I have never experienced just how truly wide a lens could be.
Well, that was the case until March 20th of this year when, on a whim, I wandered into a local retailer and they happened to have the 11-24 on the shelf in the store.
And I picked it up.

A bit on 11mm
Here's the thing about 11mm on the Canon 1Dx that I'm loving.
When I travel or wander and take pictures of landmarks, I know that I'm not the first one that's been there.
I'm not the first person to take a photo of the subject.
When I browse Flickr, I see virtually identical photos of many landmarks.
Like the Eiffel Tower.
Its truly damn hard to get a unique picture of the Eiffel Tower.
BUT, break out the EF 11-24 F4L on the full frame camera.
That 126 degree view.
The perspective distortion.
The vignetting.
The flare.
New and unique pictures are no longer a fleeting dream.
And that excites me.

Take Orpheus here for example.
He's been hanging out at this spot on this hill for over 40 years.
But I doubt anyone's taken THIS photo of him before.
I've managed to snap pictures of the CN Tower, Baltimore harbour, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, the US Capital Building, Nathan Phillips Square and even the Toronto Irish Famine Memorial.

And it wouldn't surprise me if these were all unique as well.
And I think that's awesome.

All about the base
Its crazy how aim can affect an image with this lens.
Take a look at ol' Orpheus again.

This is a good representation of actual proportions.
But if I shift the aim to the right a little...

Or, if I tilt up a bit...

Three totally different images, all from the same scene and same camera/lens set-up.
Creatively, this is bonkers.

But, if there's one thing that this lens has taught me, its that I can't hold my camera straight.
Never have I experienced a lens that draws so much attention to the slightest shift in aim.
At 11mm, the horizon is long. Very long. And if off by a degree or two, a very noticeable slant is apparent.

And then there's the leaning buildings.
Tilt slightly up and the towers lean in dramatically.

Tilt slightly down and they lean out lazily.

But perspective distortion is not a flaw, where as my handling of it may be.

Speaking of distortion, I love grills.

I've been taking pics of interesting grills for as long as I can remember.
And the wider, more distorted the image, the more I love them.

So, that's another reason this lens is heavenly in my eyes.

Filling the frame

Pictures at 11mm are more appealing, at least to this humble scribe, when there is a definitive subject in both the foreground and background.

The angle of view covers so much space that if its not filled to a certain degree, both near and far, the image's excitement can fade.

So finding the subject, or should I say, an ideal angle now involves observing so many more details of the scene.
More complicated, more challenging, more fun!

So to conclude, let me say that I love this lens.
Its well worth the price for not only professional applications, but also for amateur play.

As my farewell anecdote, I will answer the question that is on everyone's mind...
...yes, yes it takes great BIF images at 11mm

Note: all images in this review were taken at 11mm on a Canon 1Dx.