Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On Leaving Peggy's Cove, June 2, 2009


PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL - "Peggy's Cove, Future Thoughts":

I left Peggy's Cove without all of the shots I wanted. I'd reserved Tuesday passage on, "The Cat," the ferry from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor. No cat sailed Wednesday, and I doubted whether I would find enough in Peggy's Cove to linger until Thursday. I no longer think that's correct.

1. I had arrived with a primary mission of photographing the harbor. One can almost make out it's mouth, left of center in this image. The cove is a narrow groove with steep slopes, a classic and there are many shots of it. I wanted to find my own.

Where to stand? I wanted to look down the length of the cove, to take in as much of its complexity as I could; I wanted a picture that would embody the concept, "harbor"; that would be a classic rather than a cliche. Perhaps it is always a mistake to preconceive a picture that way. The moment often brings a thousand little pleasures that are quite different from what one is after. In any case, this was the place to do such a classic. I wanted to be at the mouth of the harbor in the afternoon and at the back of the harbor in the morning, but all my attempts to get to the mouth that afternoon and on my previous visit were blocked by, "Private property - no trespassing." I made some afternoon images from the back of the harbor, but the June, afternoon sun is a dragon breathing into the cove. It was not a subject for backlighting, certainly not what I was after. The next morning I was up at 4:30, but the sun barely appeared, and the light wasn't especially useful. From the few images I made then at a moment when the water in the cove was almost still, I realized that wind and tides were more important than early sunshine. I have a hunch I want to shoot near low tide. It's always a mistake to preconceive the picture.

2. Where can I hire a boat?

3. There's no lobstering after May 31. What is Peggy's Cove like when the fisherman are active?

4. After a short, early morning shoot I went back and made a panorama from the deck of my room at the B&B. The B&B is somewhere behind that big white building to the left of the cove mouth. My deck overlooked the harbor, a splendid view and a successful panorama but not my shot. I packed my bags - good breakfast and conversation before heading off for Yarmouth. It was with some amazement that I pulled off at the flight 111 memorial site, just outside of Peggy's Cove, and looked back. I took this just before the rain came, wilting my eagerness and obliterating the view. The photo makes clear that there's at least a half mile of road between me and the church steeple worth walking and exploring for photographs. How many moods can the sky and the landscape conjure over several days? I never know what it will look like until I get there.

5. Since returning I've read that the bushes on the barrens turn vivid color in October.

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