Seems like this year has been the year of the "staycation", so I thought I would do a post featuring some of my favourite places to shoot landscape photos in my home province of New Brunswick.
Landscape Photography is an art form that at times can force you to take the mundane and turn it into the extraordinary. There are several spots in the province that I've been to pretty much all my life, but had never really noticed or even paid attention to. But since picking up the camera, I've come to appreciate these little places more and more, and I can honestly say I've rediscovered the province of New Brunswick since getting started in photography.
There are literally hundreds of amazing places you could choose as a landscape photography destination in New Brunswick. Since it wouldn't make sense to talk about every single one, I've picked 20 of my favourite (and more frequently visited) spots to photograph and have listed them below, along with a few tips.
(PS: These are numbered 1 to 20, but this isn't a ranking. They're all great to photograph if you ask me!)
1. Tantramar Marsh
This is one of my favourite places to go for a drive (with my camera of course). The entire Tantramar area, which is basically between the Nova Scotia - New Brunswick border and Sackville, just looks phenomenal and is very photogenic, with its vast farmlands and views of the Bay of Fundy. For a view from higher grounds, definitely go to Fort Beauséjour — Fort Cumberland National Historic Site. Photo tip: Bring a polarizing filter if shooting during the harsh sunlight to make those clouds and to help saturate colours.
2. Mount Carleton Provincial Park
Mountains, lakes and waterfalls. Need I say more? Ok sure, I will say a little more! Take it from a "Parks Guy", Mount Carleton Provincial Park is by far the most underrated park in New Brunswick. The park is a little more remote than most other big parks in the province, and so you feel even more connected to the land when you're there. The park is nice year round, but my favourite time to go is in the fall. Wake up early and catch low hanging fog on lakes... makes for really great landscape photos. You may even see a moose or two!
3. Sussex Bluffs
One of my favourite trails in New Brunswick! Just minutes after leaving the trailhead, you will already see an amazing view of endless farmlands through the trees. Just stay on the trail and keep walking until you hit the lookout, which is a total of about 2 kilometres. There, you will have a panoramic view of the valley. Little tip... it gets windy up there, so make sure you have a good sweater and a sturdy tripod!
4. Irving Eco-Centre: La dune de Bouctouche
This is one of New Brunswick's nicest beaches, and although quite popular, it's usually not very crowded, which makes it easy to get nice landscape shots without people in them. The boardwalk offers a nice leading line which you can use to lead the viewer's eye. The place always looks nice in the golden hour!
5. Chaleurs Bay
The "Baie des Chaleurs" is one of my favourite bodies of water to photograph in New Brunswick. Its beaches are often rocky and rugged, and make for really great foregrounds for your landscape photos. Try getting up early and catch a sunrise at low tide. The wet rocks look really amazing in the golden light, and the water is often very calm at this time of day. Makes for a peaceful, serene seascape image.
6. Fundy National Park
Anyone reading this who has been to Fundy National Park is probably thinking "well duh!" when they see this place listed as a top place to shoot landscapes in New Brunswick. The park has an amazing rugged coastline, home to the highest tides in the world, and features many lakes, rivers and waterfalls! Can't say it enough, if you're looking for a place to photograph several types of landscapes, Fundy National Park has got you covered! Little tip... waterfall photography generally looks better when it's raining.
7: Village Historique Acadien
Looking for a vintage look to your photographs without having to dust off your old film camera? The Village Historique Acadien, located just outside of Caraquet in the village of Betrand is the perfect spot to capture images of what life may have looked like in the past. The site is open in the daytime. If you want to capture photos of the 1900's section of the park at night (with the lights turned on), you have to stay at the hotel that is on-site.
8. Reversing Falls
Reversing Falls are a must-see attraction if you're visiting the city Saint John! Here's a chance to capture an image with little bit of nature mixed with a little bit of city. If you can manage to get up early enough, try to make it there before sunrise. If you shoot towards the sun, you may want to bracket your exposures and perhaps merge them as HDR in Lightroom in order to capture a broader dynamic range.
9. Fundy Parkway
The most scenic drive in New Brunswick! Landscape photographer or not, you're going to end up taking photos while you're here! The road has viewpoints and lookouts all over. If you have one, bring a polarizing filter with you, it will help you get nice colours in the sky, especially when shooting mid-day, under the bright sun.
10. Kouchibouguac National Park
Kouchibouguac is known for its amazing beaches, it's great network of cycling trails, its amazing campgrounds and its Mi'gmag heritage. Get a sunrise shot at Kellys Beach, catch the sunset at Ryans or venture off on the Bog Trail and get a shot from the observation tower. Tons of photographing opportunities!
11. Hopewell Rocks
Everyone who resides in New Brunswick carries a photo of the Hopewell Rocks in their pockets. That's right, our Medicare card features the famous flower pot rocks. The park is definitely a must-see for landscape photographers in New Brunswick. The place gets very busy in the summertime, but access is possible at low tide during the winter months, so for nice shots that have no people in them, put a toque on and brave the winter cold! Plan to be there at low tide around sunrise for optimal light.
12. Pabineau Falls
Just outside the city of Bathurst is the small Mi'kmaq community of Pabineau First Nation. The falls are a set of rapids in the Nepisiguit River. Bring your tripod and go for a long exposure in order to get that silky smooth look on the water. You can park near the falls, and it only takes a minute to get to the falls, so no real "hiking" required. Careful not to slip on those rocks!
13. Grand Manan Island
With its rugged coastline and its close proximity to the ocean in every direction, Grand Manan Island has a ton of photographic opportunities. Make sure to make time to visit the Hole-in-the-Wall rock, a truly unique rock formation located near North Head. You're gonna want to wear comfortable footwear for this one, since a short hike is required to get there.
14. Moncton Skyline
From the Riverview side of the Petitcodiac River, use the walking trails and find a spot you like to photograph the cityscape. I take my workshop students here all the time, because this place provides ample opportunity for landscape, cityscape and wildlife photography. Great place to watch the sunset, too! And as soon as you're done shooting, cross the Gunningsville Bridge and find a good watering hole in Moncton's downtown to end the day with a well-deserved drink!
15. Parlee Beach Provincial Park
The main reason Parlee Beach Provincial Park is one of the most popular attractions in New Brunswick is because of its beautiful sandy beach, its facilities and its restaurant. But in the early evening, after all the beach-going crowds leave, the place becomes very serene. Calm waters, the occasional sailboats, and the ripples in the sand at low tide really set the scene to create beautiful sunset images. Hot tip: After you're done shooting, pack up your gear and stop in town to eat a delicious lobster roll!
16. Cape Jourimain National Wildlife Area
Many people think of Prince Edward Island when someone mentions the Confederation Bridge (and probably rightfully so), but there's two sides to this bridge! While the PEI side of the bridge is packed with gift shops and ice cream shacks (which don't get me wrong, are really great), the New Brunswick side is home to the Cape Jourimain National Wildlife Area. There are plenty of landscape and seascape photography opportunities here. Hike the trail to reach the lighthouse for sunrise, or make your way down to water level to shoot crashing waves by the bridge in the early evening.
17. Cape Enrage
Cape Enrage is located between the villages of Riverside-Albert and Alma in Southern NB, on the Bay of Fundy. The lighthouse was the first lighthouse to be built in the Upper Bay of Fundy in the 1840's, and the site has become a popular tourist destination. While the lighthouse is extremely photogenic from the top, it's hard to get a grasp on how impressive the cliff's height is (145 feet) without going on foot at water levels. Of course, you have to do this at low tide. Use the little tide pools for reflections in the foreground. Make sure to plan this outing carefully and give yourself plenty of time to get back to shore before the tide comes in!
18. Dutch Point Park
Hampton is a small community located on the gorgeous Kennebecasis River, just northeast of Saint John. The entire town is beautiful, surrounded by wetlands and marshes. But what amazes me is how great Dutch Point Park is... Probably one of the nicest municipal parks in New Brunswick! Bring a wide angle lens to capture the foreground, and aim to be there in the late afternoon / early evening for some great light.
19. Memramcook Valley
I rarely go for a drive in the Memramcook area without bringing my camera. The village, although not very dense in population, is HUGE in size. The Memramcook and Petitcodiac rivers are great starting points if you're looking for landscape photography subjects. There are several farms that are beautiful to shoot too. The valley here is just spectacular! You don't really have to look for landscape photo ops here... They're everywhere!
As mentioned earlier, the Chaleur Bay is one of my favourite places to shoot. If you want to shoot it from an elevated point of view, go for a drive in the Acadian Peninsula and plan for a stop at the Pokeshaw Lookout. From there, you will see "Pokeshaw Rock" (also very photogenic). Go there in the early evening for nice golden light on the cliffs that go towards Grande-Anse. Bring a wide angle lens AND a telephoto here. This is the kind of location you could shoot in so many different ways. I will certainly be back there soon again and try something completely different! For access to the beach, find the trail and get down to sea level, for another completely different point of view of this great spot!
It's kind of crazy that I've compiled a "Best Landscape Photo Locations in NB" list and have not mentioned awesome places such as Grand Falls, Mary's Point, Fredericton Miscou, St. Andrews, Grande-Digue, Mount Sugarloaf, or the Restigouche or Miramichi Rivers!
If you're looking for travel ideas within the province of New Brunswick, I strongly suggest you check out Tourism New Brunswick's website.