East Coast of Canada - New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia
10 Day Photo-expedition - Part II

by Dr. Robert Berdan
August 21, 2014



Ten days on a photo trip isn't a lot of time when you want to cover a lare area, but it should be enough to bring home a few good pictures. Between June 16 and June 27th I travelled to the East coast with friend and fellow photographer Kamal Varma. The previous summer we had explored Newfoundland which was an amazing experience. I had previously visited one area in New Brunswick when I was a 4th year zoology student at the University of Western. I spent two weeks at the Huntsman Marine Institute in St. Andrews as part of a marine biology course. At the time I owned an Olympus OM-1 35 mm camera with one lens - 50 mm. The marine biology courses was one of the most enjoyable courses I had even taken. The large tides and scenery of the area fascinated me and I vowed to one day return again. Little did I know that 37 years would pass before I could visit New Brunswick again.



Our road trip began June 16 - we arrived in Fredericton around 6 pm and the trip ended Thursday June 26 about 6 pm back in Fredericton where we then flew back to Calgary. Our travel route is indicated in pink on the map above, we started by driving along the St. John River Valley to the Bay of Fundy, then south to Black's harbour where we took a ferry to Grand Manan Island. From there we headed back along the coast through St. John to Fundy National Park where we stayed in Alma. Given the scope of our trip we could only spend at most one day at any particular location.


In any type of trip one is always at the mercy of the weather. Generally I don't fuss about the weather because its beyond my control. It's not the weather so much as the quality of the light one encounters that can determine whether or not one can bring back back strong pictures. The alternative is to spend more time in one location, but this trip was about exploring where those best locations might be - a sort of reconnaissance trip you might say.. One of my favourite spots on the trip was Peggy's Cove - see my previous article for pictures. Peggy's Cove is what I envisioned the east coast to look like and I spent 24 hours in this location - 18 of those hours taking pictures.





One of many large beautiful mansions along the St. John River in Fredericton.



Fredericton is a small city founded in 1785 with a population of 56, 000 in the 2011 census. The airport is small, we arrived via Toronto on a Dash 8 which was a little cramped and I could barely get my camera bag below the seat. We drove to downtown Fredericton by following Lincoln road which follows the St. John River. We passed some very beautiful mansions along the way. The town seemed large enough to have most amenities without the traffic problems of larger cities. Let’s put it this way – it looks like a real nice place to live. Next morning we drove east along highway 2 and then south down highway 102 along the St. John River. I had read this was a scenic driving route and it certainly was. We stopped numerous times to photograph the scenery along the roadside.


St. John river Valley by Robert Berdan ©


View of St. John River from highway 102 - there are several swallow houses in the foreground.



St. John River Valley from highway 102 New Bruinswick by Robert Berdan ©


Scene from highway 102 of St. John River - there were numerous water inlets and farm fields next to the river covered in lupins.


Highway 102 along the St. John River Valley New Bruinswick by Robert Berdan ©


Highway 102 is a narrow paved road that passes through many small villages and farms. We encountered few cars.



We stopped to photograph fields of Lupins along highway 102.


Grand Manan Ferry in Black's Harbour by Robert Berdan ©


Grand Manan Ferry in Black's Harbour - Black'sharbour has cannery that I visited 37 years ago as part of the course I was taking at the University of Western Ontario.



Light house in heavy fog and drizzle next to the Ferry Port on Grand Manan Island.



Boat bouys hang from house by Robert Berdan ©


Coloured buoys were hung around some of the buildings on Grand Manan Island.



Buoy Collection hanging on the side of some of the houses on Grand Manan Island



Buildings on the coast at McLaughlin Wharf Grand Manan Island


Grand Manan bird sanctuary by Robert Berdan ©


Bird Sanctuary on Grand Manan Island - unfortunately we saw few birds - timing is everything and I am sure this

is a great location during the spring and autumn shorebird migration.

Grand Manan Coastline by Robert Berdan ©

Small park on the east coast of Grand Manan island accessible via Red Point Road. We saw a pheasant, some yellow warblers in the park. We experienced heavy overcast most of the time we were on the island.



After visiting Grand Manan, we returned to the mainland and headed south to St. Andrews. St. Andrews New Brunswick is a small tourist town of less then 2000 with many tiny shops offering diving, whaling, fishing and other ocean based activities. Attractions include: The Algonquin Hotel, Kingsbrae Horticultural Garden, The Ross Memorial Museum, the St. Andrews Biological Station, the Huntsman Marine Aquarium, The Sheriff Andrews' House, Minister's Island (the summer home of Cornelius Van Horne), whale watching, fine art and craft galleries, many shops, restaurants and small inns and the charming seaside setting.



Fishing charters and whaling tours are featured in St. Andrews.



Painting on the wall of a store in the downtown area of St. Andrews.


Whale wood carving on wall photo by Robert Berdan ©


Beautiful wood work I found on the front of one store on the main street in St. Andrews.



Boats at low tide by Robert Berdan ©


Low tide water mark above shows the height of the tide in this small bay north of St. Andrews.



From St. Andrews we headed north-east on highway 1 until we came to the turn off at highway 114 that headed into Fundy National Park. For most our drive it rained and we had few photo ops.


Alma Fundy National Park


Alma is a small village on the coast within Fundy National Park and features several restaurants, accommodation and a dock with several fishing boats. The tide here is quite remarkable. The parks offers numerous hiking trails and I wish we would have had more time to explore this beautiful park.



Boats along shore in Alma



Low tide the boats are sitting on the ocean floor in Alma.


Early morning light over Alma, Fundy National Park, New Bruinswick by Robert Berdan ©


Early morning sun coming up over the hills surrounding Alma.



Covered birdge along Wolfe point road in Funday National Park by Robert Berdan ©


Covered Bridge along Point Wolfe Road in Fundy National Park




Bog Arum an aquatic plant with deep green glossy leaves forming a dense cluster. It produces white trumpet shaped flowers during the summer. I photographed this one using a 70-200 mm lens from wooden walkway over the pond at Caribou plains.


Bunchberry, Fundy National park by Robert Berdan ©


Bunchberry were common around the cabin we stayed at.


Bunchberry, Fundy National Park, New Bruinswick by Robert Berdan ©


Bunchberry flowers in Fundy National Park


Waterfall Fundy National Park by Robert Berdan ©


One of the many waterfalls in Fundy National Park - unfortunately steps leading down to the waterfalls were closed

because they become extremely slippery after fresh rainfall.



Scenic Dr 915 follows the coast in several places offered a few scenic vistas. I followed a side road off 915 to Two Rivers Inlet that lead to a lighthouse and we passed some marshes along the way though there were few birds to be seen at this time of year.



Lightrays over river next to highway 915.


Hopewell Rocks

From Alma we drove up the coast to Hopewell Rocks where some of the largest tides in the world occur. The cost to enter this park is $8 for adults and $6 for children. The park includes a visitor interpretive center. We walked about 1 km from the Intrepretive center to the Rocks and then took a metal stairway down to the ocean floor. When we arrived arounn noon it was near low tide. High tide at the Hopewell Rocks means the water level may be anywhere from 10 to 14 metres (32 to 46 feet). 


Coast at Hopewell rocks, New Bruinswick by Robert Berdan ©


Coast from the trail to the Hopewell Rocks.



Hopewell Rocks at low tide.


Cavern at Hopewell rocks New Bruinswick by Robert Berdan


Cavern at Hopewell rocks.



Photographer Kamal Varma set ups to take a photo of the rocks and coastline.





From Hopewell Rocks we travelled to Moncton and then to the north-east coast. To get to Prince Edward island we drove across the Confederation bridge. The bridge is an engineering marvel that is 13 km in length that was completed May 31, 1997. Most of the curved bridge is 40 metres (131 ft) above water with a 60 m (197 ft) navigation span for ship traffic. The bridge rests on 62 piers, of which the 44 main piers are 250 m (820 ft) apart. The bridge is 11 m (36 ft) wide. One is not allowed to stop on the bridge and the toll rate is $45 per vehicle charged when you return.



We arrived around noon, there is a parking spot nearby. Capturing a compelling image of this bridge is challenging. I tried wide angle lenses, telephoto lenses and still I could not capture how large or magnificent this bridge is. 14 mm lens.



Confederation bridge photographed with a 300 mm lens which compressed the field of view.



After crossing the bridge we drove west and headed for Summerside and then followed highway 11 along the coast until we reached the most northerly tip of the island where the North Cape Hiking Trail begins. There is a visitor center, lighthouse and numerous wind generators at that location. We hiked along the coast and managed to capture a few pictures when the sun poked through the clouds. The most striking feature on the island is the red soil. The Island is formed from sedimentary bed rock of soft, red sandstone which produces the rich, red soil. The redness of the soil is due to the high iron-oxide (rust) content.


Our lady of Mont Carmel Church PEI by Robert Berdan ©


Our Lady of Mont Carmel Church, one of the Island`s oldest, provides an example of the architecture of so many structures of its era. Constructed of Island brick, the turn of the century church towers majestically over a magnificent shoreline backdrop. A storm was approaching from the northwest.


Field of potatoes PEI by Robert Berdan ©


As we drove through the country one can't help notice how red the soil is and the rows and rows of potatoes - my favorite food.


Northcape Prince Edward Island by Robert Berdan ©


View of the Northcape from the ocean's edge captured in a few moments of sunlight


North Cape, PEI showing windmills by Robert Berdan ©


North cape from above the cliff. Note the many wind powered generators in the background.


We reached the north cape around 6 pm, their was a visitor center and lighthouse. We walked along the cliffside and spotted numerous birds off shore, sea gulls, cormorants etc. The cliffs and wind generators were spectacular. It was overcast when we arrived so we waited for the sun to break through the clouds which it did for only a few minutes, but long enough to get capture a few photos in good light.


From the north cape we drove to New Glasgow where we arrived at the Glasgow Hills Resort and Country Club about 9 pm, grabbed a quick fish and chip dinner and planned our next day. Next morning we headed over to Prince Edward Island National Park and drove along the Gulf Shore Parkway. We never did see anyone in the park or anyone attending the Park gates when we arrived in the morning.  It was a partly cloudy day though the sun would occasionally break through. The light was often flat when we tried to photograph the beaches, still I think I managed to grab a few good shots. In terms of hours we encircled the island in less then 24 hours before we headed back to Nova Scotia.



Beach PEI by Robert Berdan ©


North beach covered in a variety of seaweed about 7 am.


Algae on beach by Robert Berdan ©


Some of the most seaweed is fucus, ascophylum and a red variety called Chondrus cripus or dulse.



Beach PEI by Robert Berdan ©


Stream running into the ocean about an hour after sunrise.




Small village and lighthouse along the north coast


PEI beach by Robert Berdan ©


If there is one thing PEI has lots of is magnificient beaches.



Lighthouse. One tip iI recommend is when you photograph lots of different locations it can become a challenge at my age to remember the locations and names of the various places and attractions so if there is a sign - photograph it. Otherwise I think I am going to invest in a GPS for my camera for the future..



One of the many beaches on the north east side of the island.



Bert's beach house PEI by Robert Berdan ©


Quaint little beach house


Lobster fisherman PEI by Robert Berdan ©


Fishermen hauling in Lobster



Fisherman with fresh Lobsters



Lighhouses dot the coastline of PEI


East Coast Lighthouse PEI by Robert Berdan ©


East Point Lighthouse - sign helped me remember which lighthouse this was.


Abandoned house PEI by Robert Berdan ©


Abandoned building in the interior of PEI along highway 315.


Wood Island Provincial Park and Lighthouse Prince Edward Island by Robert Berdan ©


Wood Island Provincial Park and Lighthouse photographed from the Ferry



Before heading to PEI I purchased an e-book - A Photographers Guide to Prince Edward Island - that has really spectacular photos and shows the locations these photos were taken and I recommend this e-book to anyone travelling to thePEI. Stephen lives on the island and is a talented photographer with the time and opportunity to capture PEI in many kinds of light. Good photography takes a lot of time, and for the most part the pictures I brought home are only snapshots of my trip - though I now have a good idea of where to go if I get the opportunity again and have moe time. If you would like to see more pictures from my trip see part III of my journey to the east coast of Canada which includes photos from Cape Breton Island and Nova Scotia. RB




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