Cross-posted from BlueHour Photo Ventures. Written by Paul Nguyen.
Since the beginning of our careers as professional photographers, Allie and I have been known for traveling to exotic and remote destinations throughout the world and bringing them within reach of the art-appreciating public through our image making, and then eventually to the enthusiast photographer through our photo tours with BlueHour. We still have a lot of gaps in our coverage, and because of that, a lot to aspire to. But we’ve found that we’ll never run out of interesting destinations to explore, thankfully. And we often realize that in the course of going far and wide, we’ve neglected some incredible destinations right here on the east coast. So this year we made it a point to check out some overlooked spots that are not so far from home, in the grand scheme of things, which is how we ended up finally going to Nova Scotia at the end of the summer for a four day whirlwind visit. The Canadian Maritimes are just a hop away from New England, but showed us so much quaint beauty that we were excited to add to our photographic portfolios, and that we’d like to showcase in a photo tour in the coming year.
The Maritime coast is known for its extreme tides, with the difference between low and high tides being 40 feet or more in places!
We’re always excited to discover that wherever we go, there is at least a small part of it that seems like it resists change, like no high-rise condos or mini-malls could ever be built here. Blue Rocks in Lunenburg, was that place on this trip. Life here must surely be slow, which can either be heaven or hell depending on who you are. For the moments we were there, it felt just right.
There is no shortage of small town idiosyncrasies around here. If signposts showing the distances to absurdly far destinations is your thing, they have a fair amount of that.
The town of Mahone Bay is apparently the place to be, because it’s the fastest growing municipality in all of Nova Scotia. It’s known for its picturesque churches, including the famous view of three churches along the water.
& No trip to Nova Scotia is complete without a visit to Peggy’s Cove. This lighthouse is so popular though, that it’s really hard to get a great landscape shot of it without people in the way, unless you show up in the middle of the night.
..And this is exactly what we did. It just so happens that at this time of year we could make a shot of the Milky Way emerging from the top of the lighthouse.
If you’re going to hike one trail in all of Nova Scotia, it would be the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and you would do it around sunset. This park is truly a treasure, for its wildness and remoteness. It just looks and feels different from the rest of Nova Scotia. Most of the province puts you at sea level, whereas Cape Breton Highlands puts you above it all.
The lines and perspectives here, coupled with the light of sunset, make this location a photographer’s delight. Pro Tip: Once the sun sets, all the crowds suddenly disappear, thinking that the magic is over, leaving you to enjoy the truly special light that comes 20 minutes later.
We were looking for something obscure to enjoy for our last night and dawn, to prove that we weren’t just following a tourist itinerary of Nova Scotia. So we made our way to the tiny Cape Auget Lighthouse, set at the end of a peninsula on which the dirt road had been washed away by a recent storm. We loved the location so much, we just stayed in our car through the night so we’d be right there for all the best light conditions.
Nova Scotia is a small and accessible place that gives you a mix of small town coastal charm and northern grandeur. If you’re intrigued by the photographic possibilities, check back with us in 2020 for a short and sweet summer photo tour.