•COMING IN SEPTEMBER, 2015•

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

by Emery Roth

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Catching Sunset, Peggy's Point Lighthouse, No.1


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: As the forecast for Wednesday was rain, we went to Peggy's Cove on Tuesday afternoon, the second full day of the workshop. We were free to photograph anything while we were there, but we were also assigned to make an image of the famous lighthouse that, "is not your usual lighthouse shot."

Having an assignment was to some extent a distraction, though I enjoyed the challenge, and I knew it would be fun to see the various solutions. However, as we reached Peggy's Cove, I think we were all affected by the barrens that surround the village. Huge boulders dropped by the receding glaciers balance singly or in groups amid scrubby, rolling landscape. They are like the game balls of old Titans that have temporarily come to rest. I don't recall any other place I've visited feeling so old, while everywhere the stunted, seaside vegetation was flashing May vitality.

In the center of this wasteland the tiny fishing village hangs onto rocks surrounding the harbor cove. It is the quintessential Atlantic fishing village preserved in its decay and still with a few active lobsterman. It was definitely the kind of place I'd hoped to find in Nova Scotia.

Taking the assignment seriously would mean considerable scouting over a maze of treacherous, seaside boulders - slow going. This lighthouse can be seen and photographed from all sides and in some directions from far away. I'd want to explore it all. There was hardly time to photograph either the cove or the barrens well, and either one seemed more exciting to me than the lighthouse.

In the end I chose to concentrate most of the afternoon in the fishing village and take my chances on the lighthouse as the sun began to fall. I even skipped dinner to keep shooting in the cove, though I realize now I was working against the light.

When I finally turned my attention to the lighthouse I found one of my colleagues on some near rocks squatting by a small pool with his tripod close to the ground. I had to stoop down to where he was to see what he was shooting. Soon a bunch of us were taking turns composing reflection shots of the lighthouse in the pool.