Signal Hill, St. John's

That is Signal Hill in the distance viewed from The Rooms, the art and history museum in St. Johns.

Like Frederic Church, I'm standing on Signal Hill looking for icebergs. Just like then, nothing. No bergs. The man went north.

Bye Bye Bergy...

Just as it's time for us to leave Upper Amherst Cove, our iceberg has started to break up and is sailing out to sea.  It's been amazing to have the time to study and photograph this iceberg and to learn all of it's nuance. The timing of it's arrival to greet us a week ago and now it's break up and exiting at the same time as we are, is truly magical. We're headed to St. John's next, the capital, to spend a few days before we catch the 16 hour ferry to Nova Scotia and then our long drive home.

Private Charter

The weather cleared and we went out again to visit the big iceberg. We did a private charter with Skipper Derm to get us out to the berg at sunset. I asked if he could keep the boat positioned between the iceberg and the setting sun and he was very accommodating. What I wanted to capture is the warmth of the setting sun on the iceberg. What a great evening that was.

Earlier in the day, the water was calm so naturally when we got on the boat the wind kicked up and the ocean became a real ocean with swells, rough water and a lot of up and down and side to side and often all at the same time. Needless to say, I was feeling it. I learned a long time ago, allow yourself to be sick and then you'll be fine and that's what I did. Barbara mercifully didn't capture that. Surprisingly, crab cakes were not the best choice for lunch.

Pancakes and Postcards

We were in the mood for something homey and pancakes were at the top of the list. There were no pancakes to be found -- Newfoundlanders eat toutons with molasses or corn syrup which are fried dough and delicious but not what we were craving. We looked for pancake mix, just to keep it easy, but found none. I spotted scone mix and scanned the ingredients and thought this could be pancake mix! While we were out, Barbara googled Scone Mix Pancakes and found King Arthur Flour's recipe. Worked out great. We highly recommend it. Walnuts and real maple syrup came from home. See recipe below.

  1. Recipe from King Arthur Flour....
  3. 1 1/2 cups (about 8 1/2 ounces) Scone Mix
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 large egg, beaten
  6. 3/4 cup (6 ounces) milk
  7. 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) melted butter or vegetable oil (7/8 ounce)
  1. Instructions:
  2. Preheat your griddle while making the batter; set the heat at medium. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the salt into the dry mix. Whisk together the egg, milk and oil, and add to the dry ingredients, mixing until everything is evenly moist. If the batter seems thin, let it sit for 10 minutes, to thicken; if it seems thick, add additional milk until it's as thin as you like. The thicker the batter, the thicker the pancake (and vice versa).
  3. Spoon the batter by the 1/4-cupful onto the lightly greased griddle; a muffin scoop works well here. When you see the edges begin to look dry and bubbles come up and not break, turn the pancakes over to cook for about a minute on the second side, until cooked through. Serve warm.

Later that day, we were sending out postcards that were adorned with a watercolor of an iceberg. I realized they might not hold up in the mail. I remembered from my art school days, that in a pinch, you can use hair spray as a fixative. Worked like a charm.

A New Big Berg in Town

We spotted a new iceberg, a huge tabular in the distance. Last minute, we went out with Skipper Dermot Hickey of Bonavista Puffin and Whale Tours at sunset, a six mile mile trip on a very cold night. Here I am, incredibly overwhelmed and very happy.

Skipper Derm circled around the berg until sunset. 

The 300 foot iceberg against the sun breaking through the clouds. This berg started it's journey 3 or so years ago from Greenland and here it is in Bonavista Bay for me. A magical night.

Iceberg Stakeout

Now that the iceberg has broken up and is grounded in the cove, it will remain here for a while, so I will have time to study and learn all things visual about this berg. The iceberg is smack in the middle of the front window and is in a great position compositionally and because the house is on a slight hill, my camera position is elevated to give the iceberg a sense of space within the ground plane. I'm very fortunate that I have a comfortable (heat is a good thing) room for my iceberg stake out -- I'm going to be in this room for the next couple of days and nights.

I chose the element on the right for it's shape. I concentrate, over the next few days, on this -- viewing it throughout the day from sunrise through midday, all the way through sunset and beyond. I  capture all the nuances of light. -- from overcast with heavy cloud cover to sunlight breaking, illuminating the water and turning it into a sea of diamonds to magnificent sunsets with reflected light of the sky on the face of the iceberg. (Photo: The red lines you are seeing is called focus peeking, it is showing me where the lens is focused.)

My camera is a Sony RX-10 IV. It's feature set includes a Zeiss zoom lens, 24-600 mm, a superb lens. Shooting through a window is not a problem for a long telephoto lens. You can actually shoot through a window screen with no problem. You have to make sure that your auto focus is disengaged and you set focus manually. Lock the focus on the subject and your focus will always be right on so long as you or the subject doesn't move.