Swan’s Island: cove drifting, tides, photography

19Feb13

Two years ago I spent six months living on Swan’s Island, one of the most beautiful spots on the planet.  The house that I stayed in was relatively isolated and so I spent a good deal of time by myself, reading and writing, of course, but also spending time down at the two coves that edged up against the property where I was staying.  Swan’s Island is shaped a bit like a pair of eyeglasses, and the spit of land that connects the two halves of the island is known as the Carrying Place because the Native American inhabitants used to carry their boats across at this point.  The two coves that that lie on either side of the eyeglass bridge are called Back Cove and — one of my favorite place names ever — Toothacher Cove.

Because of the incredible tide differentials in this part of the world — the Bay of Fundy isn’t too far away — both of these coves experience dramatic changes over the course of a day.  Back Cove empties out to the point where you can walk several hundred meters out into areas that would normally be covered in water.  These are clam flats, and at low tide it’s possible to walk out into Back Cove, dip your hand into the mud about halfway up to the elbow, and pull out a dozen soft-shelled clams in the course of twenty minutes or so.  Toothacher has a steeper slope and is much rockier.  It’s not really a spot for clamming (though I did find an enormous quahog shell there once), but all throughout the cove you can see the distinctively colored floats that mark the lobster pots below.  When the mood would strike me I would sometimes take the handmade wooden canoe out into Back Cove and drift around the shore, often with a camera in tow.

These are a few of my favorite photographs of the two coves, the Carrying Place between them, and the woodlands around the house.

Photo information by order of appearance:

1) Voigtlander Bessa-L, 15mm Heliar, unknown film

2) Fujifilm GF670 (Voigtlander Bessa III), unknown film

3) Voigtlander Bessa-L, 15mm Heliar, unknown film

4) Ricoh GRD2

5) Voigtlander Bessa-L, 15mm Heliar, unknown film

6) Voigtlander Bessa-L, 15mm Heliar, unknown film

7) Voigtlander Bessa-L, 15mm Heliar, unknown film

8) Voigtlander Bessa-L, 15mm Heliar, unknown film

9) Voigtlander Bessa-L, 15mm Heliar, unknown film

10) Fujifilm GF670 (Voigtlander Bessa III), unknown film

Note: Sorry about the lack of film information.  I had the negatives scanned while I was still in the States and by the time I was uploading the imagines I had the negatives packed away where it was impossible to check what film I was using when taking these shots.  Chances are it’s either Fuji Superia 400, Kodak Gold 400, or Kodak Natura 400 (for the medium format shots).



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