The Photographers' Co-operative is super excited to announce our first free photography meet-up in New Brunswick, Canada! We'll spend three days and 2 nights, from August 24-26th 2018, photographing lighthouses, beaches, towering rock formations, covered bridges, waterfalls, quaint fishing villages, wildlife, and so much more. This meet-up is being hosted by Mark Morris, a Pennsylvania Commercial, Wedding and Portrait Photographer with a passion for photographing nature, and Tracy Munson, your local guide to the area, an award winning Canadian photographer with National Accreditations in Landscape and Bird Photography. Together, we'll help you to get the most out of your visit to this spectacular area, pick up some new photography knowledge, make new friends, and have a bunch of laughs along the way. Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.
The Bay of Fundy Region of New Brunswick is steeped in maritime history. There is an abundance of historical architecture, old growth forest, pastoral scenery, and when the highest tides in the world go out, you'll have a few hours to explore the ocean floor.
Fundy National Park
We could easily spend the whole 3 days in Fundy National Park, without coming close to seeing it all. This is where, as the say "salt meets fir", where the beaches transition abruptly into soaring cliffs, foggy forests with moss covered floors, and up into the highlands with their idyllic lakes and panoramic views.
The Hopewell Rocks
The Hopewell Rocks, also known as the Flowerpot Rocks are amazing rock formations that you can kayak around when the tide is in, and then walk around when the tide is out.
There are numerous waterfalls in the area, and plenty of rich, green moss to add that enchanted mood we all love. Make sure to bring your tripod and neutral density filters!
We will almost certainly see bald eagles, great blue herons, and plenty of shorebirds. The area is a migration stop for many species, and over 360 different species of birds have been identified in the region. Deer, red fox, porcupines, snowshoe hare, groundhogs, raccoons, and beavers are commonly seen. Less common, but also possible are moose, black bears, coyotes, and even the elusive bobcat. If you have a telephoto lens, bring it!
What To Expect
The weather here changes constantly. The area right along the coast is a borderline rain forest environment, so rain, fog, and drizzle are common. Five minutes later, the sun may be beating down on us. The ever changing light is one of the features that makes this area such a fantastic place for photographers. Although it will be August, temperatures are significantly cooler near the ocean and it can be very windy. We will not follow a set itinerary, but rather will "follow the light" and go where it makes the most sense in the current conditions.
Expect mild to moderate hiking. A few of the locations we may wish to visit are from 1-5 km (0.6-3 miles) from the nearest parking lot, double that for the return trip. There will be no extreme climbing (because, hey - your hosts are middle aged, fat, and out of shape), but there may be steep sections of trail, or multiple flights of stairs. We can offer alternate suggestions if anyone feels that an activity will be too strenuous for them and they would like to sit those parts out. Most of the locations are easily accessible. Depending on weather conditions, we may be up and about very early for sunrise, and/or very late for night photography.
What To Bring
Your preferred camera gear for shooting landscapes, is a definite. Nice to have would be a telephoto lens for wildlife and distant landscapes, a fast wide angle lens for night photography, and a macro lens for intimate nature photos like flowers, moss, insects, etc. In a pinch, you can get surprisingly good results with a super cheap clip on macro lens for your phone from Amazon, if you prefer to keep your bag light. Extension tubes, or a macro filter are also good options.
A tripod for low light photography and waterfalls.
A circular polarizer to cut reflections and glare, and a neutral density filter for slow shutter speeds when photographing water.
Back up batteries and charger.
Extra SD cards.
A rain sleeve for your camera.
A camera bag that you will be comfortable carrying around all day.
Comfortable clothes for warm to cool weather, a windbreaker, rain gear (at least a light poncho), hiking boots and sandals.
There are plenty of ticks in the area and this area does have lyme disease, so bug spray is a must. You may want to wear pants tucked into socks when walking in long grass. A sticky lint roller is great for periodic tick checks throughout the day.
Your imagination, an open mind, and a willingness to participate and learn!
Your passport, which is required now even if traveling from the US.
Meals And Lodging
Since this is a free meetup, meals and lodging are not included. We will likely grab our meals along the way, when the opportunity rises, so if you have a tendency to get "hangry" if not fed on schedule, then make sure to keep some snacks in your bag! There are lots of great restaurants and funky cafes in the area for us to pick from. Seafood lovers will be in heaven here, and we will definitely have at least one big lobster feast as a group!
There are a number of options for lodging, to fit any budget from a free campground up to more luxurious cabins and B&B's. I suggest finding lodging in the stretch between Fundy National Park and The Hopewell Rocks, just so that we are not too spread out. We can discuss in the Facebook Group, if everyone attending would like to pick the same place, which may be advantageous. Here are a few of my recommendations to get you started.
Fundy National Park has serviced and unserviced campsites, from $25-35 (all prices are CAD per night); more "glamping" type options, such as yurts and Otentiks, from $100-115; and there is also a motel with cabins right in the park, with rooms and one bedroom chalets running between $100-125.
There is a FREE campground, called The Shire, located about 20 min away from the park.
Broadleaf Guest Ranch has camping from $20-40; cabins that can sleep up to 6 (if people don't mind sharing double beds) for $165; a huge, 3.5 star chalet that could sleep 20+ (with multiple beds per room and 2 per double bed) for $1000; a dormitory option that can sleep up to 50 people at $10 per person, with a minimum of $150.
If you do a search, you will find countless cabins, B&B's, motels, and campgrounds in this area, those are just a few that I am personally familiar with.
How To get here
The closest international airport is a little under an hour away, in Moncton, NB. There will be some distance to cover in between locations, so for anybody arriving by air, a rental car or carpooling arrangements will be a necessity.
To Explore On Your Own
If you're interested in joining us, but it's a long way to travel just for a 3 day meetup, there is plenty nearby to explore on your own if you would like to extend your trip to make it worthwhile. Here are some of my suggestions.
Within 2-4 hours driving time are:
Prince Edward Island - vibrant red sand beaches, rolling sand dunes, many more lighthouses and plenty of maritime scenery.
Peggy's Cove, NS - One of the most photographed locations on the planet, and with good reason! The lighthouse out on the rocks is iconic, and the adjacent fishing village is chock full of camera fodder.
St. Andrews - a luxury resort town, with plenty of historic architecture. If you are interested in whale watching while you're here, then this is the place to go.
The Fundy Trail Parkway - a unique park with hiking, biking and driving trails through undeveloped and previously inaccessible sections of the Fundy coastline. St Martin's Sea Caves are another interesting place to visit in the area.
Grand Manan Island - Ok, this one may take a little longer to get to because it depends on the ferry schedule, BUT I can't recommend it highly enough. The ferry ride itself is quite spectacular and it is not uncommon to see whales from the ferry. The island has 4 lighthouses, one of which is exceptionally beautiful. Seal Cove is an abandonment lover's dream of old salting sheds crumbling atop tall pilings. There is a campground where you can camp on the edge of a cliff and see and hear whales going by. This is also the only place from the Canadian side of the border where you can get a boat to take you out to Machias Seal Island to see the puffin colony (it is also possible to get there from Maine).
We really hope that we will have an opportunity to meet up with many of our friends and readers from the Photographer's Co-operative website and Facebook group. See you in New Brunswick!