Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fundy Rocks Favorite Photographs of 2014!

Favorite Photographs of 2014

Photography by Chris Sheppard

I'd like to share a selection of my personal favorite photographs from my adventures in 2014 along with a few words about each image. My goal is to convey my thoughts and feelings about the scenes and details in Nature that I have found and excite me. It is rarely a simple process to find the essence of a scene and share my vision. It becomes easier when I am feeling connected, I am focused and my mind is relaxed. When I am engaged in the art of seeing I can be clear about what it is I find most intriguing or beautiful about a moment or scene. I remember clearly all of these moments. The entire experience. So, here it goes and I hope you enjoy.

Sunrise, Telfer Lake
Dramatic and rapidly changing light at sunrise painted in the clouds and reflected on a small lake in Queens County, Nova Scotia. I have been visiting this place since I was a small child and in my heart there is magic happening in this little piece of wilderness. For me, making photographs involves finding the balance between the analytical, technical side of working with my camera and my emotional response. I photograph what excites me and I am enthusiastic about.

Belt of Venus, Little Cove at Scott's Bay

Sometimes the most magical light is behind you when facing east for sunrise. My goal on this cold February morning was to photograph a Winter sunrise over Little Cove on Scots Bay but it was the incredible light behind me at Twilight that completely captured my attention. I was able to photograph the Earth's shadow over Scots Bay seen as the band of blue above the water with an incredible display of the subtle pink atmospheric phenomenon called the Belt of Venus above. The ice covered glowing yellow lichens and snow added intriguing visual design elements to my composition.

Twilight, Paddy's Island

Many of my personal favorite photographs are the result of careful planning. I study the weather and tides and pre - visualize how many of my favorite locations will look under certain conditions as photographs. I have a few go to places close to the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia that are visually interesting and seem to continuously change mood with the different seasons, weather and lighting. Paddy's Island is definitely one. For this photograph I waded into the tide at twilight then kept perfectly  still in order to capture the sandstone island completely surrounded by the reflected glow.
The Hidden Gem
On a rockhounding trip near Ross Creek I hiked up into one of the several small coves to visit a delightful little waterfall that carves a pool in the Early Jurassic Scots Bay Formation where Black Brook finds the beach. The hues of these rock formations vividly contrast with the nearby dark basalts. These are fascinating places to explore, full of rich geological history, conifer fossils, jasper and fine agates.
Descending Three Pools

We hiked out to Three Pools in White Rock, Nova Scotia shortly after sunrise in a light drizzle, the Autumn morning fog slowly receding. A few yards into the trail we were greeted by a Barred Owl landing on a branch across the stream almost completely camouflaged against a tree except for the large dark eyes staring back at us. I was elated by the sight and feeling very connected to the place as we hiked and climbed up to the pools. This was the first exposure I made in the soft morning light from the edge of the top pool with the Hell Gate Falls directly to my back and the water rushing beside me. I stood for a long time taking in this scene, the water flowing down into the pools and the glowing canopy below.
Twilight Arch, Paddy's Island

The twilight arch, a narrow band of intense yellow and red on the horizon well before sunrise in this case is another favorite atmospheric phenomenon of mine. Watching the ripples created by the receding tide I was able to line up a thin line that leads the eye into the reflection of the window in the sandstone island. This was an absolutely magical moment. The silence and stillness of Twilight broken only by the sound of a seabird's wings beating the air above me as it flew by.
Autumn in Nova Scotia

At first light with a trace of mist in the air the glassy surface of this Hants Co. river near Martock beautifully reflected the Fall foliage. It was a breathtaking scene and needed only a simple composition to share the experience.

Sun Reflection, Telfer Lake
 Wading in the shallows of Telfer Lake in Queens County with my camera I noticed the sun's reflection as it appeared burning through a break in the overcast skies above. I fumbled to quickly position my tripod on the muddy lake bottom, holding my breath as I waited for the ripples to disappear. I wanted to place the sun at the tip of the motionless pickerel weed's shadow. This image is a highlight of my photographic journey thus far. One of those rare, exciting (and elusive) moments when absolutely everything comes together when I click the shutter. A minute later the wind was up and the sun was too bright to make this photo possible.

Carpet of Leaves, Gaspereau Ravine

The almost metallic hues of a mid- November carpet of leaves in deep shadow in the Gaspereau Ravine. I studied the ground for a very long time to find the perfect example to illustrate the incredible texture and colour of the decaying leaves. This arrangement caught my eye and I framed the image with my close-up lens.

Not all of my favorite photographs required hiking great distances in the dark, getting out of bed at ungodly hours, being attacked by swarms of bugs, getting wet, frozen or covered in mud.
I had just finished shooting the sunset from the back porch of my in-laws' house in East Sooke, Vancouver Island and went up over the ridge to a fire pit to enjoy the company of my brother in-law. I set my camera on the tripod several yards away, framed in and focused on a massive tree that made an intriguing silhouette which I considered capturing some stars surrounding later on and went back to the fire. A half hour later I looked back over at the Basin and saw a dark cloud bank rolling in over the mountain with a lovely band of afterglow on the horizon. With beverage in hand I walked over, coolly  snapped off a few shots with my cable shutter and went back to the fire. This was one of those shots. 

I carefully planned this trip knowing that I wanted to capture the sea stacks or spires as we call them at Twilight with a safe working time based on the outgoing tide. Despite the sun being obscured by clouds, the incredibly calm water allowed me to step out onto the partly submerged boulders to make some long exposures. After I made a few photographs I went back up the beach to sit with a cup of tea watching as the silhouettes of hundreds of gulls circled the spires, their sound echoing off the cliffs behind me. A perfect moment as I waited for my friends and the long hike back through the darkness.

Evangeline, Morning Mist
First light through the mist and fog that surrounds the statue of Evangeline at Grand Pré National Historic Site. The mood created by the light and shadow this morning was mysterious and beautiful. Artist's Light for sure. I felt privileged to be there (joined by a skink busily moving around the lawn behind me.) I grew up not far from here and daybreak is my favorite time to visit the park and reflect. I found it especially powerful in this light.

Mill Bay Twilight

For me the quality of light is everything in my photography. For Mill Bay Twilight my father in law graciously shuttled me to some locations on Vancouver Island. The plan was to hit the road at 4:00 a.m. to catch twilight at Mill Bay. I had seen these pilings the day before in mid afternoon light and immediately visualized what they could look like at dawn if the water was absolutely still. This was an incredible dawn, the Twilight silence broken by a seal exhaling as it swam amongst the pilings. I love the effect the long exposure has on the reflection.
 Reflecting on my work this past year I am privileged to have experienced some incredible moments in Nature and glad that I could share them with my photography.  Please visit our popular Facebook page Fundy Rocks for my weekly photography adventures. I am currently preparing an exhibition of my work that will be displayed in Wolfville, Nova Scotia in January 2015 at the Wolfville Public Library.


Here are two links to my photostreams of high resolution images from the Annapolis Valley, Cape Split, Cape Blomidon and beyond on Flickr and 500px. All of these images are available as high quality prints in many different sizes and formats. All of the printing is done locally. Shipping is available. Contact Fundy Rocks at fundyrocksgroup@gmail.com for more details. Follow the links here:

Chris Sheppard Photography

All images ©Chris Sheppard. Please do not use, copy or reproduce without permission. 


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