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The Atlantic Photo blog is a gathering spot for our favourite customers, photographers, gear hounds, and suppliers.

Here's where we'll share enthusiasm, insider tips, and creative inspiration for everyone from the beginner to the seasoned pro - and we hope you'll share the same with us. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Marc MacArthur of Heckbert Studio & Gallery (Charlottetown PEI), Liam Hennessey of Applehead Studio Photography (Halifax NS), and Chris Lovegrove (Northern NB) for our banner images. We've got a diverse professional community in the Maritimes, and we're proud to be a part of it.

the APS photographer's circle

Q  |  "As a wedding photographer, what does creativity mean to you?"

A  |  "You know that ‘think outside the box’ saying? We like to get outside the box and then run as far away from anyone that seems to be gathered around outside it. We don't do the Public Gardens. Converse chucks are suitable wedding shoes for a bride, groom or photographer. Tattoos are awesome and love does not always need to look at the camera and smile."

~ Liam Hennessy, Applehead Studio, Halifax, NS

on the bookshelf

Portrait Photography by Mark Cleghorn

From choosing the right equipment to artful composition and making your subject comfortable, this book lays out the essentials of capturing moving and unique portraits.

The Photographer's Guide to Portraits by John Freeman

This inspiring, practical guide explores everything from composition and light to digital tweaks. Learn how to set subjects at ease, and how to photograph with all kinds of light, lenses, and tools.

Mastering Black and White Digital Photography by Michael Freeman

With this essential guide, discover how to create a stunning monotone image, and experiment with colors as gray tones, manipulating tonality for dramatic effect, and high contrast, infrared, and pseudo non-silver looks.

Mastering Digital Flash Photography by Chris George

Learn how to decrease contrast and shadows in outdoor portraits, control the light using bounce techniques, and employ high-speed and rear curtain synchronization to create impressive motion-blur images.

The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby

"This book is all about you and I out shooting where I share the secrets I’ve learned, just like I would with a friend—without all the technical explanations and techie photo speak." ~ Scott Kelby

Digital Photography by Steve Luck

Explore the digital explosion, the difference between film and digital, and how to choose a camera wisely. Get a grasp on ISO, megapixels, post-processing, slideshows, printing, and compositional theory.

Black & White Digital Photography by Les Meehan

From basic concepts to advanced techniques, learn how to create great monochrome prints via camera calibration, white balance, and scanning equipment to emulating traditional darkroom techniques.

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Monday
Oct202014

Personalized Photo Calendars

     In today's wired world where our schedules and time space are all delivered by electronic media we often forget about the traditional wall Calendar. For generations it has filled a special place on our walls. When I was a kid, our outhouse always had an up to date calendar from our local general store hanging front and center; Calendars were the center of family planning. Most of all, it was the photographs that made certain months special. My Grandfather always had his favourite in the garage, while Grandmother had our lives marked down to the hour on her Red Rose Calendar. 

I had a Export "A" Toronto Maple Leafs calendar on my bedroom wall. I still have a copy today (memories of glory days past). My point is that the calendar in print has always been a piece of our surroundings, a statement of the world at the moment in time we live in.
 So if you have an opportunity to add a little ambiance to your home as well as put some memories that could eventually become precious keepsakes on your wall, do it in the form of a quality personalized photo calendar. It also is a tremendous gesture to those we care about. Your family and friends - maybe co-workers. It is such a unique way for us to share a true moment in time on 14 different photo pages. 

  
                     Before You Get Started.

 Step 1. Think about a cover photo as well as images for the 12 months of the year, and a back cover as well. You can do it by seasons or by a theme. Perhaps a special event, weddings, anniversaries or your children in 2014, or just a year of wonderful memories that are stored on your computer. Step 2. Once you have organized that, all you have to do is go to the Photo Calendar section of our website and choose the calendar that will fit your style. There are also single image Photo Poster Calendars as well.  Step 3. Upload those photos and organize them by month online. *Hint. It easier to organize and name them by month beforehand. You can also put notes on dates that are memorable such as September 25, which is my birthday. Once finished, click next and go to the shopping cart then check out.

Our Photo Calendars are printed on premium quality McCoy cover stock and shipping is $8.50 coast to coast. Don't wait until the last minute - sign in to Atlantic Photo Supply so all your work will be saved while you work on your project. This also means you won't have to fill in all your credentials each time you check out. We also have a newsletter you can sign up to that will give you all the latest deals and information on our products.  Thank you.



Monday
Oct062014

Lifestyle Wall Art Canvas

The  digital era has greatly influenced the decor of today's home. The average person now has the ability to surround there living and work space with quality Gallery Wrapped canvas. Portraying your important photographs adds to the character of your space. Thick archival gallery wrapped canvas can be ordered from APS with many sizes and styles to choose from.                                                                                                                              Bare walls can pose a challenge for anyone, but one option is to dress them with personalized wall art with the help of our online photo printing. This personalized wall art comes in the form of custom canvas photo prints. Atlantic Photo Supply makes it easy for both amateurs and professionals to create these prints in different sizes, configurations and looks.

These easy to create and personalized prints on canvas are also affordable, with the smallest size starting at $40. What is more, Atlantic Photo works with you to bring a completely different dimension to your images, whether they are fading old family photos with heirloom status, or a picture you took on the fly with your cell phone. The online photo printing works with Facebook and iPhone images as well, so small low-resolution images stand a chance too. The canvas comes in ether 2 inch thick stretchers,or a slimmer 3/4 inch. We can print almost any size up to 54x100 inches.
 One decor tip would be that if you are trying to figure out how big a print you need, it's best to measure the space you want to decorate. If you have a piece of furniture such as a coach, you measure the coach and the best fit is 2/3 the width of the coach. So a 60 inch
would allow you a 40 inches to fill with your life story wall art canvas. keep in mind that you can do a multi image cluster design that can tell a story, or you can divide one image into 3 or 4 separate panels. Like the sample image above. You can have the image wrap around or if there isn't room without cropping something critical out we can add a coloured border!

 The great thing about our canvas is it's archival rating is 100 years. We use 100% Canvas with two coats of protective spray. The wood stretchers are 100% Canadian made, cut and milled in New Bruinswick. Just a note as well that we don't recommend wire for hanging, just a nail or screw for the inside of the stretcher to hang on. make sure you use drywall plugs for those heavier pieces.
 We can also Frame your canvas as well, so for that and any other question feel free to contact us 
 
 

Wednesday
Sep242014

My Air Show Addiction

   Every year I try to get to a couple of really good air shows, I think the interest stems from growing up as an Air Force kid. The shows in Atlantic Canada are fairly small, although I do attend them as well, so I have to travel some distance to find the bigger ones. In recent years Hamilton Ontario, Gatineau Quebec,  Ypsilanti Michigan, Oshkosh Wisconsin, Reading Pennsylvania, Ohio and California. This spring I had the pleasure of attending the Planes Of Fame Air Show in Chino California. 

  Chino is home to the Planes of Fame Museum, they restore maintain and fly many rare World War Two and Korean War vintage aircraft. During the show many other warbird owners and museums bring their vintage planes to Chino to display them to the public. This year there were at least forty planes in attendance and most flew during the show so I do tend to take a lot of photos over the weekend, this year a little over 6800.  The amount of time and money spent restoring and maintaining these aircraft is mind boggling. Today the average fighter sells for a few million dollars.

   Day one of the show the temperature was 105 F. But is was a dry heat, whatever that means. Day two and three the temperature went way down to 95 F.  So with the aid of bottles of water and maybe the odd adult beverage we spent the day wearing out our cameras on the sites on the ground and in the skies above.


   Some of the highlights of this year's show were a team of three P-51 Mustangs doing aerobatics, three F-86 Sabres doing a routine, P-47s, P-38s, Avengers, Corsairs, P-40s, B-17s, B-25s and C-47s to name a few. At some points during the flying there are as may as 20 planes in a pattern so there is always something in front of you. I get teased that my camera starts to smoke at these times.

   


    As mentioned earlier, in addition to the World War Two aircraft there were Korean War planes as well. T-33, F-86s, Mig-17, F-7F Tigercat to name a few.

 Another interesting aircraft was the Northrop N-9M flying wing. This is the only example left and was part of the flying wing program of the 1940s.

 One act, that is a real crowd pleaser, is when a current military aircraft flies in formation with vintage warbirds, known as a heritage flight. This time it was the US Airforce F-22 Raptor in formation with a P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Lightning and a P-51 Mustang. I noticed my camera heating up on these passes.

 

   All too soon it is late Sunday afternoon and time to head out to fly home on the red-eye out of LAX. We have had a great weekend of air show action and the weather co-operated as well, which is always a concern with outdoor events.

   Plans are already in the works as to where we will go next year, I think the Planes Of Fame show is going to be one of the trips. Afterall it never rains in California.

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Sep182014

Wish Upon A Star

A couple of weeks ago I attended Nova East, the year-end gathering of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), at Smiley’s Provincial Park just outside Windsor, Nova Scotia.  The group gathers there every year around the same time for three days to set up their tents and trailers for a good old fashion camp out.

What makes this different from most camping events is that everyone brings a telescope.  The variety of scopes is amazing, from small to very big and everyone is enthusiastic about spending a couple nights under the stars.

This year Nova East was hosting Atlantic Photo Supply for a night of public viewing.  We invited our customers and friends to come down to the park to have a look through the many telescopes and to get a tour of the night sky with one of the many astronomers present.  Also this year we were asking people who showed up to make a donation to the Children’s Wish Foundation. They are our chosen charity in our "Pay It Forward" campaign.

The evening started with a few presentations before dark by a number of presenters from RASC in preparation for what we hoped would be a great evening of viewing.  The skies, however, were not cooperating.  For most of the evening as skies darkened they were covered by cloud and to make it worse – to the south and west of the park it was clear but not heading our way very fast.

I crossed my fingers and was assured by many present that there was a pretty good chance the skies would clear, at least for a couple hours.

While we waited for the skies to darken and in between presentations I got out my Phantom Vision 2 quadcopter and gave a brief demo to all those present.  I think everyone was more interested in it than the new Celestron Evolution telescope I brought.  I guess that’s understandable – telescopes they’ve seen; flying cameras... well, maybe not so much.

The sky grew dark and sure enough it cleared.  As people gathered, Paul Heath - the current president of the Halifax center of RASC - gave a fascinating tour of the night sky as he pointed out constellations, stars, nebula, and galaxies.  He waved his laser pointer around the sky and told stories about the various things we could see and held us all, well, spellbound.

Throughout the evening I think I heard Paul give the tour at least two more times and small crowds of people moved from scope to scope with the hopes of seeing something really cool.

One thing we never really thought out was how do you accept donations from people when it’s pitch black, flashlights or other lights are discouraged, and you can barely see your hand in front of your face?  Paul, when he finished his night sky tour, made sure to remind people to make a donation to Children’s Wish, and those who found me did give generously. 

As the night progressed and the clouds started to threaten things quieted down a bit and we packed it in for the night while the folks from RASC optimistically continued to work with their scopes, viewing and taking pictures.  Our tally for the evening was a little less than $150.00.

A couple days after the event I got a call from Blair MacDonald, one of the organizers of Nova East, with some unexpected news – the weekend gathering had gone really well for RASC this year and they had some extra funds left over and wanted to make a donation to Children’s Wish.  Late last week Blair dropped off a cheque for $200.00 from the Halifax Centre of RASC as a donation.  Fantastic!

All in all it was a great event – the weather wasn’t the best, but this is Nova Scotia.  At least this year they weren’t chased from the park by a hurricane as they had a couple times in the past few years.  We look forward to doing it again.

Every year in January or February we have a star party in our parking lot outside our Dartmouth store. 

Perhaps once again we’ll ask people to wish upon a star for Children’s Wish.

 

Monday
Sep152014

Sable Island

As I stare at this screen in front of me, I struggle to find the right words to express the story that I never thought I would be able to tell. Letters and fragments of sentences fill my head with pieces of an entity that is difficult to grasp, and I’m nervous that they won’t do justice to the virtually untouched splendor that is Sable Island. With that being said, I can’t even attempt to make this a short post – so get comfortable.

This story begins a few short years ago in a photography class that I was taking at the time. Our professor stated that today was to be a special day – we’d be watching a documentary on the wild Sable Island horses. Now up to that point I’d only ever heard of the island in passing conversation. All I knew was that it was a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia that was home to hundreds of wild horses. Which is certainly not false. However, it’s also not entirely true… there’s so much more to it than that.

As I sat there watching the documentary, I found my eyes welling with tears; not only during the last scenes that are intended to leave their mark, but throughout the entire film. I was in complete and utter awe.  As the film ended and the professor turned the lights back on, I remained in a stunned stupor, completely mesmerized by what I’d just seen. So much history, so much magic and so much beauty in one place. It was hard to imagine. How could I get there? I had to get there.

Oh. It’s how much money? And that much trouble and effort? Suddenly this beautiful place seemed MUCH farther away.

It was impossible.

I forced Sable, its horses and timeless appeal to the back of my mind… but I’m only human. On occasion it would creep back in, forcing that old slew of emotions back to the surface. I’d remember how the horses looked as they ran through the dunes, their dread-locked manes blowing erratically in the wind. The image of miles of windswept beaches scattered with seals, some drift wood and debris and not much else. I could imagine nothing separating me from the horses but my insignificant little camera. My heart would flutter at the thought but immediately calm at the realization that I was dreaming of something unattainable; the ultimate tease.

A few months ago I was chatting with my boyfriend’s family. In passing, they briefly mentioned that Mike’s uncle was leaving for Sable Island that weekend to bring over more supplies to the people who live and work there. My head jerked to attention so fast that I thought I’d given myself whiplash. They were caught off guard and laughed at me but I didn’t care. Did they really just say that?  Was there a chance that this could be my connection…and should I even ask? I stewed on that for no longer than a minute before blurting out something to the effect of, “#@*! The horses… I’ve been…  %$#@*… how do I get on that boat! How does it work? Does he ever bring anyone with him? If not, can I just go as a stowaway?”

After some more lighthearted laughter and jokes, they filled me in on his job and what it is that he and his crew do for the Island. Mike’s dad would speak to his uncle the next chance he had to run the idea by him. I left that day with a glimmer of hope that I’d be able to visit the place I’ve visited so many times before in my dreams. It was a great feeling.

As the weeks passed, I waited patiently for some news. Eventually I learned that – in fact – I’d be able to travel with them to Sable Island. I hardly heard them mention the numerous hardships that I would face over the thrilled squeal that escaped through my lips. It was real! I could do this; I’d do whatever it takes!

 

“They don’t get much notice as to when they’ll be leaving again.”

“It’s 24 hours by boat, each way.”

“Even if you can make your schedules line up, the weather may stop you from actually getting onto the island.”

“Lots of times they’ve gone and not seen any horses.”

“It’s raining and foggy the majority of time there: your pictures may not turn out.”

 

All of these things were real possibilities, but I really didn’t care. It’s a chance I couldn’t imagine passing up, even with everything working against me. So we waited. And waited. As my wedding season crept closer, I began losing hope (again) that I’d be able to make it work. What with my full-time job at Atlantic Photo Supply and my part-time work as a Wedding and Portrait Photographer, my free days were next to none and decreasing with each day that passed.

We got the call on a Wednesday afternoon – two days before the ship was to leave the harbor. For Mike, getting time off wasn’t an issue.  I – on the other hand – would never be able to take time off work with such short notice.

And just like that, my hopes were dashed as soon as they’d formed.

With a heavy heart, I went into my bosses office the next day and shut the door behind me. When the chance first arose months back, I had mentioned the slim possibility… just in case this moment was to arise. After taking a deep breath, I explained my situation as calmly as I possibly could but I’m sure my voice was shaking. The approximately five seconds of dead air between the time I’d finishing asking to the time I heard him say “yes” seemed like an eternity. I thanked him a million times, stopping short of leaping into his arms for a bear hug, and I think I floated down the stairs to the lab afterwards. In fact I’m sure I did. Those 24 hours to follow were a blur of working, packing, planning, and brainstorming.

After the whirlwind settled and we finished off our last minute appointments, we packed ourselves and a small army of photo gear into my little car

We were to be at the dock at midnight on Friday. Upon arrival we were given our bunks, a tour and a safety session which included putting on a survival suit. Apparently you’re supposed to be able to put them on in under a minute, but five minutes of struggle later I finally zipped that zipper to the tippity top and was given the “passing” nod. By the time we pulled away from that dock I was a mix of nerves and excitement, anxiety and hope for what was to come. Or not come. The only thing I was sure about was that I was stuck on this ship for the next 24 hours, and it would be about 36 before I would see the Island with my own eyes on Sunday morning.

After hours of sleeping, reading, walking up to the deck, into the wheelhouse, reading some more, sleeping some more, and of course, eating, I went to sleep on Saturday night knowing we were anchored off of Sable’s shore. Before bed, I tried and tried to peer through the absolute darkness, but no sign of anything other than the surrounding water was to be found. I don’t know if I even slept at all. Regardless, I was awake and ready for the day at 6AM. Much to my disappointment, the entire crew (including Mike) had already made the five-minutes-by-Zodiac trip to shore. I could see them from the deck, first loading the supplies from the barge onto the other boat, and then unloading the supplies from the boat once they made it ashore.

I was stuck.

I contemplated swimming. More than once.

This wait seemed longer than the entire trip already had! FINALLY, after about 3 hours of pacing the deck and wheelhouse, the crew came in for a break. I ran up to Mike, who gave me a playful shove and teased that he got to set foot on Sable Island before me. I shoved him back, and he could tell that I was anxious. But he had good news: after lunch I’d be heading to Sable.

When the crew was ready to go back to work, they found me on the deck – life jacket on, bags packed, and I’m sure the biggest smile was on my face.  I hopped in the Zodiac and we headed to the barge… they were working, after all. So I waited, took some pictures, and basically started jittering with excitement as soon as I realized that the boat was loaded with supplies and ready to go.


The sand was pure white from a distance, like the sand you see in advertisements for southern all-inclusive vacations. The water, a deep turquoise, followed suit; littered with hundreds of black spots. Those black spots happened to be seals, and if you watched closely (or not so closely) you could see them swimming under and around the boat, curiosity peaking their interest. Every so often their heads would break the surface, their little faces looking inquisitively in our direction.

 


Our boat grazed the sandy beach of the Island and I leaped from it’s deck to the place I’d only ever set foot in my dreams.  I stood there in awe; it’s the only thing I knew how to do at that moment.

A man from Parks Canada walked over to me to explain the ins and outs of what I was allowed to do while on Sable. Oddly enough I also had a connection to this man, and he was about to find out.  We know the same people, and his grandson happens to have been birthed by a friend of mine! After we got that fairly hilarious “the world is so small” conversation out of the way, we parted ways and I was left to my own devices. Mike was not going to join me – he was going to continue working. So here I was, on Sable Island, absolutely alone for the next four hours.

PERFECT.

 

So I started to walk. And walk. And I’ll have you know: the sand is not easy to walk on, especially carrying a backpack and a large dolphin case full of camera gear. And it was a hot 28 degrees. Needless to say it was slow going. But I didn’t care. My only sadness came from the fact that I’d never physically be able to cover the entire island during my short stay. And of course, the fact that I may not see any of the horses. After about an hour, my second fear would become irrelevant – I was about to spot my first horse.

At one point, I’d chosen to walk towards the centre of the island rather than continue down the shore. I chose two very large dunes to walk in between and explore (and if you’ve ever been to Sable you’re laughing at me right now because the WHOLE ISLAND seems to be one large dune). Regardless, when I peaked over the edge of the hill I was walking up…one lonely horse was standing there, grazing. My breath caught in my throat; I remember it distinctly. All at once I jumped out of my sandals, grabbed the camera at my side and took one massive leap forward – gracefully, of course. The horse didn’t seem to mind. He’d occasionally look up at me, discover how incredibly boring I was and continue grazing along the hill. I, on the other hand, was the complete opposite of bored. My first horse!

I walked all around him, seeing what he’d allow me to do. I couldn’t believe it when he spun around twice and dropped to his knees, falling to his side with a loud snort. And then he rocked. Back and forth, side to side, grunting and snorting with happiness.  It was while he was on his back that I noticed his hoof. It was a shiny brown, and shaped like what I can only describe as a spirally half-moon. All I could do was stare. Was he in pain? How did this happen? Why? (I’d ask about it when I’d made it back to the ship later on and learn that he was actually a well-known horse on the island due to his hoof and that no, he wasn’t in any pain.)

 

That was it. I could leave Sable Island happy at this point.

The weather turned out to be perfect, we had no issues on the trip over and I’d seen a wild Sable Island horse. I spent the rest of my four hours roaming around, dipping into dunes and mostly without any luck.  I was having a blast anyway. At one point I noticed that I wasn’t alone. In fact, I had hundreds of eyes on me! As I’d walk, countless numbers of seals were swimming in the same direction with me, stopping every so often to watch me and then keep swimming to catch up.

THAT was cool.

 

One dune I managed to scale led me to a vast open space with ponds scattered all around. Now, here is where I wish I had a guide or some knowledge as to where I was located on the island. I knew this place must have a name, and I wanted to talk about it when I went back. There were two horses drinking from one of the ponds, so I headed down to check it out. At this point, I’d scrapped my shoes and opted for bare feet. I didn’t care that the rough sea grass was somewhat irritating to walk on; there were WILD HORSES here for crissake. So I headed in, barefoot, with no gear except one camera and a 24-70 lens.

How was I to know that I could have used a longer lens, not to mention some shoes, for what was about to happen?

 

I made it to the opposite edge of the pond to snap some images of the drinking horses.

A few minutes had already passed when I heard some noise coming from my right hand side. A few other horses came over the top of a small hill and joined the other horses by the water. Okay, this was going great so far!  As I looked around I noticed a small group of about 6 to 8 horses in the distance walking this way, which would bring the total to around 15-20 horses in this one spot. I started to get anxious, only because I didn’t know what to expect being surrounded by all of these very beautiful, very wild creatures. I took a deep breath, for the millionth time that day (it was a theme for the trip), and kept shooting.

All of a sudden… I felt a strange feeling overcome the whole area. I wish I was exaggerating for you, but I assure you I am not.  There were noises coming from beyond a dune close to my left. The noises continued and grew louder until I realized they were not just any noises, but snorting and neighing. Before I could put together what was happening a very large black stallion broke the edge of the dune and was galloping at full-speed towards the other horses. He slowed down to a trot and got uncomfortably close to where I was standing, pawed the ground a few times and threw his head from side to side, snorting. The other horses stilled and were staring at this very angry looking male as I started to take some steps backwards, slowly, as to not cause any distress. A brown horse began to mimic the stallion, marching with intent towards this big bully. What unfolded before my eyes was a tangle of hair, sandy dust and fear – my fear, of course. The next series of images I am about to show are not what one would call “good pictures”. Most are horribly out of focus and not composed in the slightest – what we’d call “spray and pray” shots.

Well, I sprayed… and I prayed.

(At one point I had three horses bucking and fighting together right in front of me, but I back focussed and got the dunes in behind them sharp as a tack while the horses are an indistinct blob of fur and sand – sorry, not even worth posting).

 

The fight probably lasted two minutes. Okay, maybe three.  You should have seen me. I was walking backwards, at times leaping back, while these two horses went at it right in front of me. I pressed that shutter button like mad, half looking through the viewfinder and half looking at the horses with my camera pointed in their direction, still pressing. See, if I’d had kept my distance with a longer focal length I may have been able to better capture that incredible few moments. Especially when the two jumped onto their hind legs to kick at each other with their front legs. And especially when they turned to buck at each other.  Regardless, I can’t change what I did or didn’t do. All I know is that I was in the middle of a horse fight and wanted to be as far away, yet prepared as possible! These fast few minutes are definitely something that stands out for the entire trip when I think back on it now, and I wouldn’t change it.

After that fiasco, I think I called it a day and began the trek back. I was probably two hours down the beach at this point and knew I’d have to turn around now if I was to be back in time. I saw a few more horses, hundreds of seals, and got a really ‘nice’ sable island sunburn. When I reached the place we’d landed the boat, the crew was there and Mike was taking pictures of a horse down the beach a little farther. I walked past the boat headed in his direction, watching the motionless horse the entire time. When I got there, Mike signalled that he was asleep! Apparently he’d been standing there for over an hour and a half, eyes closed, facing the dunes with his back to the water.  We got some shots in before he woke up and groggily made his way out of sight.

 

The blog is getting fairly long, and I appreciate those of you who have made it to this point. I’ve got a few more things to say, though, but I’m almost done!

We went back to the ship and ate supper and relaxed for a little bit. Around 6 the captain came to find us to let us know they were going to take a little trip in the boat to explore farther up the island. So we made our way again, and this time Mike was going to join me. They dropped us off together and stayed in the boat; it was only Mike and I, alone in this wondrous place.  When I look back now, this is the night that will never fade from my memory. The rest of this day was priceless, but this evening was magic. Pure and humbling magic.

We were walking towards the centre of the island and the sun was getting very low in the sky. A few horses were grazing in the sea grass in the distance so we made our way in their direction. When we cleared the top of the dune my breath was again knocked from my lungs in one instant.

For the millionth-and-oneth time that day.

 

There were horses everywhere. We counted thirty in our immediate vicinity, and two ponies. We looked at each other and laughed, because the biggest goofiest grins were spread across our faces. We walked down into the horses and began to take pictures. Mike has a GoPro so he was taking videos mostly.

We were experiencing Golden Hour together on Sable Island.

As a photographer, my insides were twisting and jumping with joy. As an emotional human being, it brought tears to my eyes as I stared at the wild beauty that was literally surrounding me from all sides. Through the flowing tears, I shakily pressed down on that shutter button.

That was one of the most awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping most incredibly magical moments I’d had the pleasure of experiencing in my entire life.  And to be able to share it with someone so close to me was insanely special. So many feral horses in one place; the hot late evening summer sun set over the tops of the dunes, pouring it’s warmth over us and the backs of such stunningly beautiful wild animals.

I walked away from that place knowing I’d probably never see it again. And that was and still is okay with me. The perfection that had just unfolded before my eyes was enough, and I understood that if I were to have another opportunity to visit this incredibly humbling island that it wouldn’t be like this perfect, once-in-a-lifetime trip we were so blessed to havealready had. And we’d still be coming back the next day.

The next afternoon after the work was done, our second and final day, we all hopped into the work boat and set course for the island once again. This time, we travelled up the shore, towards a large barren area of beach that was wide open, with no dunes in sight.  We hit the beach and jumped ashore, along with two of the crew: Boots and Donnie. Boots was on a mission to find buoys, and Donnie just wanted to go for a walk.

We went our separate ways and for a few hours we were alone again, left to do whatever it is one does on an island full of nothing but sea grass, seals and wild horses. We didn’t see any while we were on the island this night, other than the few black beauties we spotted walking the edge of the dunes as we pulled away at the end of our trip. What we did see, however, is a sable island onion. That’s right – an onion.

 


As well as some old rope, and remnants of trees and driftwood.

 


The sand was also littered with hundreds of old bottles and pieces of trash. Sadly, tons of debris from all around the world ends up on these sacred shores each year, not to mention dead animals. In this case, seals. The reality of being surrounded by so much wildlife is that sometimes you see things like this.

 


Moments before, while we were approaching the dead seals, they were surrounded by approximately thirty to fifty other seals and birds. It was quite a sight, and we both agreed that it looked like they were having a funeral.  Completely surrounded, no noise, and they were hesitant to jump back into the water or fly away as we approached – as if they were protecting it from danger.  You can see the visible signs of animals huddled around just seconds before I took these images.

 


Regardless, that’s the way life is. It broke my heart, and at the same time I knew that that’s just the way it has to be.  I decided to show these images because it’s real. It’s what I saw, and it’s what happens on this island daily – on any island, for that matter. Sable, regardless of it’s intense pull of beauty, wonder, and magic is also a real place, full of real things like garbage, debris and death. I’m so happy to have been able to experience both sides of that coin.

All of this happened over the span of about ten total hours spent on the island; a mere blink in the story of my life. It was all honestly a small miracle.

I’ll be the first to admit to you that I have a terrible memory, and that I’m scared that some of the things I was able to see and experience here may one day fade from my mind. But I’ll always have the images. And I’ll try my best to always remember the salt air blowing against my face and the roughness of it’s spray on my bare skin. The grit of the rough white sand stuck in between my toes. The chilling, perfectly clear turquoise water that sprayed me from the shoreline. The way the horses smelled – of sweat, salt and sand – and the way their matted hair twisted and spun on their backs in the wind. I’ll remember the heat of the late evening sun on my face as the warm tears that fell from my eyes seemed to cool my reddened, flushed cheeks.

I’ll never, ever, forget this beautiful island.