September 26, 2000

Delaps Cove (The Valley, Nova Scotia)

I'd first been to Delaps Cove in 1995, but the images I did there only whetted my appetite for more. Set on the Bay of Fundy, near the world's highest tides, the space is very bizarre, with long sheets of layered basalt
4"x5" film
The main motivation for the visit to Delaps Cove was to show Peter, who was visiting from Europe, the only waterfall I knew of in Nova Scotia. Peter is an avid photographer of waterfalls, and I felt honour bound to try to show him at least one good fall during his stay. I only had a vague recollection of the fall itself, but as it had a good write-up in a book on Nova Scotia waterfalls, so I felt pretty safe recommending the space for Peter to work with.

As I only get a chance to work this far from home when a friend or model has a car, I was more than happy to take to opportunity to photograph the space. While the space, as usual, really called to me for a figure to be incorporated in the images, it had more than enough visual wealth to fill my ground glass with rich possibilities.
4"x5" film
 While Peter's primary focus was on the waterfall, the rock beach below it held more interest for me - nestled in the middle of it was an old engine block that had been worn and battered by the tidal flow until it looked more natural than man-made. The real difficulty was the lighting - the late afternoon sun was coming across the beach, and making everything really contrasty. My answer to this was to have Joy hold my dark cloth between the sun and the engine block, so it was cast into even, diffused shadow. The final result, to the left, is much better than would have been realized with a straight exposure; even with exposure compensation, I doubt the contrast between the soft lines of the rocks and worn metal would have been apparent.
4"x5" film
I did end up making an image of the waterfall; the last two times I'd been on the beach, there had barely been enough water to trickle down the rock wall. Given that it was in full flowing, I thought it was prudent to document it this time, on the probability it would be dry the next time I visit. The result, to the right, is pleasing enough, but as with many of my other attempts at landscape, it simply lacks something for me. I am not sure why I find it so difficult to approach straight landscape; as pleased as I am when I frame an image up on the ground glass, inevitably, landscapes fall flat when I realize the final negative and prints.

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