One of our instructors will meet you at the airport and transport you to our hotel in St. John's. We will have a welcome dinner and some casual street shooting in this beautiful capital city.
The morning will bring us our first boat tour as we explore the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. Comprised of four small islands, this reserve is home to millions of seabirds that come to shore to nest and raise their young. We will also look for the humpback and minkes whales that make this the whale-watching capital of Newfoundland. In the afternoon we will head back to St. John's and hike up nearby Signal Hill through the Battery, where tiny colourful wooden homes cling valiantly to cliff-sides ravaged by ocean waves. The hill is home to the unmistakable, iconic Cabot Tower, a castle-like structure built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland.
After our morning critique, we will drive to historic village of Trinity. During the 1720's Trinity was home to about 30 permanent families and host to 200-300 seasonal fishermen per year. By 1869, the population peaked at more than 800 people. The preservation of Trinity's cultural and built traditions has made it the most notable "heritage community" in the province. The town offers beautifully restored fishing rooms and saltbox houses. In the evening we will capture the sunset as it strikes the Trinity lighthouse.
We will spend the morning continuing our tour of Trinity, capturing some of the first rays of light to hit North America as the sun illuminates the colorful houses of this eastern facing bay. In the afternoon we will go to the puffin viewing site in Elliston, the closest nesting site to land in North America; even those without long lenses can get closeups of hundreds of pairs of "sea parrots."
It’s a sunrise photo shoot at Cape Bonavista to capture the lighthouses and rugged shorelines. Built in 1843, the light at Cape Bonavista is one of the few in the world where you can still climb up the stone tower and see the same seal oil fueled catoptric light apparatus that was used in the 1800's. In the afternoon we visit Skerwink Trail that skirts the north and south coasts of Skerwink Head, a rocky peninsula that separates Trinity’s harbour from Port Rexton’s. Formed mainly of sedimentary rock (much of it sandstone), its exposed stone profile has been shaped by the pounding it takes from the Atlantic. Notable photo opportunities are the sea stacks and extremely rugged shoreline with pounding surf.
In the morning we head to Twillingate, one of the most picturesque communities in Newfoundland. It is located alongside Iceberg Alley, a vast corridor of ocean that runs from Greenland to the south. It takes three years for these 10,000-12,000 year old icebergs to make it down to Newfoundland via the Labrador Current. We will spend the day photographing these behemoth's from various vistas including Long Point Lighthouse and the Top of Twillingate trail.
Twillingate has long been proclaimed as the Iceberg Capital of the World and we will continue to enjoy these incredible natural wonders up close on a chartered boat tour. One of the highlights of the trip, the boat tour will bring us as close as we can get to the icebergs and with any luck, we can photograph some whales along the way!
Night 1/ day 7
For those ending the workshop after the first leg, we will say our goodbyes at Gander airport. For the rest of us, we will head on to Deer Lake on the western side of the province where we will pick up any participants joining for the second half of the trip. We will then make our way to the quaint village of Woody Point, an especially beautiful artistic hub within Gros Morne National Park, a place unlike any other on earth.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site covering 1,805 square kilometres, the park highlights the spectacularly raw and enigmatic beauty of the physical world. We will photograph in the Tablelands, the place where the theory of plate tectonics was confirmed; its distinctive red landscape of exposed earth’s mantle stands in stark contrast to the rest of lush Gros Morne. As far as wildlife goes, we will keep an eye out for bald eagles and moose. The moose population density in Gros Morne National Park is one of the highest in North America.
Our day begins with a short walk over to the edge of stunning Western Brook Pond. This fjord is surrounded on three sides with the 2,000 feet walls of the Long Range Mountains, the northern most section of the Appalachians. From here, participants will have two options: a short boat ride and long hike or a longer boat ride and visiting another portion of the park. For those that decided to hike, we’ll wander through some of the most pristine wilderness in the world, through forest and meadows and rest under towering rocks and near beautiful waterfalls. After a small but steep scramble, you will be rewarded with one of the most stunning views you can find on the east coast of North America as Western Brook Pond opens below you. The hike is approximately 12 kilometers with an elevation gain of 450 meters. For those who are not up for the hike, you will be treated to a longer boat trip where you will be able to photograph a variety of rock formations and waterfalls, including Pissing Mare Falls, one of the longest in North America. You will then go to Arches Provincial Park to photograph the rock arches that have been carved by eons of tidal activity.
We will spend this day making our way up the Viking trail, the only road up the western side of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula. Here you’ll be at the crossroads of 6000 years of human history. The sea’s bounty drew Maritime Archaic Indian, Dorset and Groswater Paleoeskimo, and Beothuk Indains here long before Europeans arrived. Yet it was those Europeans and their ancestors who left the most lasting imprint on the land and our photography will focus on the quaint fishing villages of Parsons Pond and River of Ponds where the remnants of the cod fishing boom of the early twentieth century offer a window into an earlier time.
For the next three nights, our base will be St. Lunaire, a magical village at the end of the world. There are few places as remote as the northern part of the Great Northern Peninsula, the setting of the Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx's 1993 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. We will hike around Fishing Point Head, known as the "Whale Watching Trail" to spot some of the 29 species, including orcas, and of course, icebergs. With the longest iceberg and whale-viewing season in Newfoundland, we are sure to photograph plenty of each.
We will continue to explore the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula including L'Anse aux Meadows, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vikings, the first Europeans recorded to reach the new world, landed at L'Anse aux Meadows over 1,000 years ago. Norse sagas had spoken of their discovery for centuries but its veracity had been debated until the discovery of a small cloak pin in 1968, by archaeologists Helge and Anne Stine Ingstad, changed everything. This and subsequent archaeological discoveries proved Leif Erickson and crews of Norse explorers settled here in Newfoundland and Labrador (or Vinland as they called it).
Our last full day will begin with our last boat trip of the workshop. We will take zodiacs (inflatable rubber crafts) to get as close to the icebergs as possible, while keeping our cameras at the ready for more whales. Depending on the currents, we may be able to view life under the waves with a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV). Our last night will feature a slideshow of the best work we have created over the last 13 days.
In the morning, participants have the option to fly out of St. Anthony's to one of the larger international airports or they can drive back to airport in Deer Lake with us, stopping for some impromptu shots along the way.