This summer, my family took a trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia. When planning the itinerary for our stay, one of my must-sees in the area was Peggy’s Cove, which is home to one of the most famous lighthouses in the world. A 45-minute drive from our hotel in downtown Halifax, I knew we would make the trip to see this famous beacon, also known as Peggy’s Point Lighthouse.
Constructed in 1916, the picturesque, fully automated lighthouse overlooks St. Margaret’s Bay and is one of the most photographed of Canada’s more than 160 historic lighthouses. As a landscape photographer, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to create my own take on capturing the century-old lighthouse.
Upon arrival, the unique, rocky terrain surrounding the lighthouse is one of the first things visitors notice. Signs explicitly noting “People have died here” point out the hazards of mindlessly exploring the slippery, unpredictable terrain.
The day we visited was rainy and overcast – and surprisingly crowded for the time of year and weather conditions. The misty conditions, crowds, and my desire to enjoy the site with my family, in addition to capturing images, were all factors in my approach to photographing it.
There was no time or space for a fussy setup with a tripod or to wait for the weather to clear up – I simply had to work within the constraints that presented themselves.
My approach included taking a lot of shots in quick succession using both my Canon DSLR and my cell phone to increase my chances of getting a few images without visible crowds. I also relied on post-production editing to enhance elements, such as the color in the sky, to help compensate for the grey surroundings caused by the rain.
While climbing the rocky terrain, taking in the exquisite views, and posing for selfies, we enjoyed the sounds of a yellow raincoat-clad Alphorn player. The deep, sorrowful melody was an interesting accompaniment to the sounds of the waves crashing in the distance.
Peggy’s Point Village
One of the most beautiful and unexpected aspects of the visit was the charming area directly across the street from the lighthouse. The colorful houses, abandoned wooden skiff boats, and the trappings of an active fishing village provided seemingly endless inspiration for me and my camera. In fact, most of my favorite shots from our time exploring Quebec City and Nova Scotia are from the village in Peggy’s Point.
I was incredibly grateful that we took the time to explore the village and that the residents didn’t seem to mind the three of us poking around with cameras.
According to literature in the Sou’Wester, the restaurant and gift shop on Peggy’s Point Road where we dined and shopped, this area is home to about 35 permanent residents. From what I could see, these individuals live in one of the most idyllic places I’ve ever experienced.