Monday, 21 May 2018

Hopewell Rocks, via Advocate Harbour

          Victoria Day weekend traditionally marks the beginning to the Canadian Summer.  For us, we decided to take a short trip to Advocate Harbour to see the land that Jackie's ancestors settled on.   Lt Robert Spicer was one of a handful of English Loyalists who were granted land after the American Revolution.   He, and his wife Priscilla, started a family that will go on to become quite famous in the sailing industry of Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.

          It was about a three hour drive to cross into Cumberland County, where we came upon the Age of Sail Heritage Centre in Port Greville.   A must see !!   They ask for a small admission fee, but it is well worth the change from your pocket.   Please stop by if you are in the area.   PS.  We even found a couple pictures of the "big four" Spicer Sea Captains and some of the treasures they brought back from the Orient.

Low tide in Advocate Harbour 

View from Advocate Cemetery

          From there, we continued along the coast until we came to Advocate Harbour.  Now, I have to admit, there isn't a whole lot going on in this part of Nova Scotia.   At one time, it was home to the largest ship building industry in the province, but that has since faded away.   But, but, a BIG but, if you are in the Advocate Harbour area you have to stop by Wild Caraway for lunch or dinner.   This is a hidden treasure.  You would never expect a gem like this to be tucked away in such an unpopulated part of Nova Scotia.

          Along with our choice of cider & beer, I had the ploughman's lunch and Jackie had the seafood board.   You can check out their menu in the link provided at the bottom of this post.   And I will say this again ... don't pass this place up !!

My ploughman's lunch

Jackie's seafood board

          After this delicious lunch, we made the 10 minute drive to the Cape Chignecto Provincial Park and took a short hike to see what we could see.   The park is known for their wilderness trails, but they do offer a great "day use" area.   I think we will be back to explore their wilderness area ... with proper gear, of course.

          Long story (drive) short, we ended up in Moncton that evening.   Our plan was to visit Hopewell Rocks the next morning ... come rain or shine.   And the forecast was for rain - argh !  But, to our delight, the rain held off and we only had to fight a very dense fog.   We were at the park a few minutes before 8am, and the only ones there when the gates opened.   Low tide was not until 10:56, but we knew that the ocean floor would be clear when the park opened.   So, we made the short trek to the steps leading down, and what a surprise.   Not only were we the only ones on the floor, but the fog actually gave me a nice curtain for the background to my pics.

          I am terrible at picking out "just a few" pictures to show off, so here are quite a few.   Jackie, in her neon green jacket, shows you how big these rocks really are.   We were joyfully surprised how far we were able to wander.  It seemed that every time we thought we had reached the end, we either rounded a rock or walked through a natural void.   This too, is a must see if you ever get to the Moncton, New Brunswick area.  

          PS.   Get there early.   We arrived at 8 and didn't see another soul (except for the Park Employees) for a good hour.


A few links:

Saturday, 31 March 2018

The benefits of using RAW

          Imagine you've just returned from a day out and about, with your camera swung around your neck.   An SD card full of special images, or so you hope.   Upon opening up your favorite photo editor you discover that one very special image is smiling back at you.   Upon closer scrutiny you find that the image isn't so ... perfect, after all.   Your composition is spot on, but a few shadows are a bit darker than you prefer, and more saturation would be great.   Or worse yet, you realize the camera picked the wrong white balance - the entire image is a bit colder, or blue toned,  than you prefer.   You can try to fix those issues, but a JPG image just doesn't have enough data to get the job done.

          That is why I shoot everything in RAW, no matter what I plan to do with the image.   A RAW image file records 10 times (or so) the data that a JPG image records.   That might not mean a lot to you, but let me show you what the difference is.   This morning I took an image that will be the perfect example of why more data is such a good thing.   I will show you that image four different times, each representing a extent of processing.   Ok, that didn't make much sense to me either, so let me show you.

          This first image is straight out of the camera.   No editing at all.   Overall, not a particularly bad image, but I think it's missing that pop.   Let's see what we can do to help it out a bit.

          This next image is what can be done with a typical JPG file.   You'll notice some change, but nothing that gives us the "wow" factor.   Because I originally used a RAW file, I had to stop my editing short - trying to mimic the extent that a photo editor could improve a JPG image.   Amongst other changes, I lightened it up a bit, and to be honest I'm not even sure it looks any better.

          This image is edited as much as I would normally edit any RAW image, with the exception of running it through an HDR (high dynamic range) process.   You can tell that I improved most aspects of the image ... I even warmed the image a bit by changing the white balance.   You can't do that with a JPG file.

          And finally, I ran the above file through the HDR process and came up with the image below.   Which ever preference you have (HDR or not), a RAW image gives you the flexibility to go either way.   Generally speaking, if I have a lot of shadows that I want to bring out, or I want to better balance the highs and lows of the dynamic range, I will run it through HDR.

          And that is why I always shoot in RAW.  Of course, not every camera allows for RAW files - most don't.   But, if you have the option, I hope this helps to swing you in that direction.   If nothing else, most D-SLR cameras allow you to shoot each image in JPG and RAW at the same time.   That way, you can use the JPG files as you normally would, and you have the RAW image just in case you get that very special picture smiling back at you.

          Until we meet again ... enjoy !