#1300. A photographic trip to Nova Scotia

By Chris Stump | Travel Photography

Jul 30

My wife, son, and I started what was intended to be an annual vacation to the eastern provinces of Canada a few years back…just before covid. My mother’s side of the family hail from here so I’d like to think it feels familiar. Bonus is we really enjoy the area and people. 


The pandemic and other priorities put things on hold until this year, when we were able to pick the tradition back up, and travelled from Maine to Rothesay NB, Lunenburg NS, Indian Harbor NS, Halifax NS, back to Rothesay and home. 


As different as the towns and settings were, there was really no favorite in the bunch. It was more of a smorgasbord of experiences, each one successful in its own way. A little car trouble along the way spiced things up, as did some torrential rain…apparently the new normal for parts of the world this spring/summer. 


As for kit, I just realize that I was still hauling around full size DSLR gear last time. One afternoon in particular comes to mind. We’d been walking all morning in Charlottetown, PEI. It was hot, and we collapsed at a small outdoor table hoping for refreshments.


Even then, hauling a big Canon body with multiple L zooms around in a bag was just too much like work. So instead the camera and one lens sat strapped across me, heavy and at risk of whacking into tables, chairs, and passersby. But where to set it down safely amongst all the bustle? How uncomfortable. 


Was it then and there that my later decision to sell it all and switch to a smaller, lighter system was born? I suspect that to some degree it was.


This year, my walkabout kit was the Lumix G9 body and one lens…usually the Leica DG 9mm or 8-18mm ASPH, while the 50-200mm sat at home in the sling bag. This system did not weigh me down, nor seem likely to hit and injure itself or others. The one change for next time will be to take the 15mm f1.7 instead of the 9mm. Just a preference. 


At the end of the day, the wet conditions added punch to the already brilliant colors of the area. I did not have any goals in mind while shooting. It was just a family vacation, and mostly I was simply recording whatever caught my eye. But I seem to have captured the flavor of the different towns, and truly enjoyed the process. Success. 


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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Ha ha – poll position again! Maybe you guys need to move the international dateline, or something.

    Chris, one branch of my ancestry hails [that’s a good word for it!] from a town called Elgin, on the north-east coast of Scotland. And after they upped anchored and moved to Australia, none of them ever went back there – not even out of morbid curiosity. Because the place was so cold and grey and wet.

    Novia Scotia seems to owe its etimology to “Auld Sco’land” – and judging from these photos, may be its weather, as well.

    Never mind – you obviously enjoyed it all, despite the gloomy weather. At least it be easier to breath, than the air of the wildfires that have been raging across the continent lately.

    I suspect your decision to change gear reflects a certain wisdom that comes to some of us late in life. That GAS is a process of self-delusion, that “more” is not “better”, and that most of us can get by and take excellent photos with far less gear, than the pack horse loads we’ve been acquiring in the middle years of our lives.

    My packet-size camera hasn’t been used much, since I splurged on DSLRs a few years back, although there’s nothing wrong with it and it takes excellent photos. But my workhorses are my D500 & D850, together with a drawer full of lenses that go with them. Of course it’s impossible to take it all with my, so I have to make a selection before heading out.

    • Chris Stump says:

      Thanks Pete! I’ll have to look up Elgin, and see if it can fit into the next itinerary.
      As for GAS, I’m as prone to that as anyone…in all candor I came close to picking up new gear for this very trip. But I’m very happy that I did not, and remain more than content with the way this kit sees light…in my saner moments, anyway.
      I think that my ‘late in life wisdom’, if I have any, is to simply get out and shoot…with whatever gear you have. 🙂

  • John Wilson says:

    Chris – What a delightful little tour of one of the most delightful part of the continent.

    The East Coast is one of my favourite places in Canada. Great history, great scenery, lovely people and wonderful seafood. Eons ago in a previous life when I worked for the Feds I often travelled on business to Halifax and St.John’s (the oldest city in North America). An easy walk from the hotel in Halifax was a restaurant called McKelvies. They featured an “all you can eat” mussel bar piled with fresh steamed mussels, salad and the best bread (more like cake) fresh out of the oven. They were always my first meal whenever I landed in Halifax. The same for the Captain’s Table in St.Johns.

    One of my fantasy trips is to charter a boat, load it up with my photo buddies and spend a couple of weeks cruising the abandoned outports of Newfoundland and Labrador … spectacular.

    • Chris Stump says:

      Thanks for the excellent recommendations John!
      Early in life, when I knew it all, I thought that trips such as you outline above were for duffers with too much money and too little personal drive…well, not that harsh, but you get my point.
      Lately I’ve actually contemplated taking just such a workshop or excursion. To get away with likeminded folks, arranged for by a professional, to an exotic locale…what fun. I hope you get to take your trip!

    • PaulB says:

      John, that does sound like a fun trip. There is nothing like a workshop to put you together with people and places that can be appreciated. At the very least they make for good scouting trips so you can decide the places you prefer and how long to stay.


  • Lad Sessions says:

    Chris, You have a good eye! I am incurably fond of vivid colors, and the wet conditions helped you find some marvelous scenes. I think the yellows and reds succeed better than greens. Welcome contrast are the misty scenes. Thank you for the enjoyment!

    • Chris Stump says:

      Thank you Lad. I just yesterday was watching a documentary on Saul Leiter I think it was, which focused on his love for yellow and red. I’d never thought really of it, but the author of the piece made a compelling case for it. Saul made truly lovely images. What a wonderful late discovery for me. 🙂

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit the eastern provinces of Canada, and now that I’ve been charmed by your lovely images, a trip is in the planning stages! I’m facing the same situation with a heavy Canon DSLR and lenses weighing me down. My solution of the moment is to simply use my iPhone….until I get used to the Sony mirrorless kit I bought two years ago.
    Thanks for sharing, Chris!

    • Chris Stump says:

      Thanks Nancee. My recommendation would be to start practicing with the Sony now, get as comfortable as you can, and take it along! A light but capable camera is a joy when traveling to parts unknown. 🙂

    • PaulB says:


      I agree with Chris. You need to practice with the Sony, to the exclusion of the Canon, when you are just playing around. Otherwise, you may fail to appreciate its capabilities for an important subject and end up disappointed with the results.

      I can’t count the number of times I have learned this the hard way.


  • Mer says:

    Nice shots – another person making good use of colour, this time in a non-abstract way. This collection works well together, small moments mixed in with wider views, working together to give a bit of a feeling about your time there. Quite atmospheric, if you’ll pardon the pun.

    A couple of your images reminded me of a Netflix series, Locke and Key, so I looked it up and yes – it was filmed in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.


  • PaulB says:


    You have made good use of the might Lumix G9 and the Pana-Leica 8-18mm lens. That is one of my favorite combinations for travel; I usually leave the bigger cameras home unless I am driving.

    Plus, I need to remind myself to look around with a different focal range. The 8-18 is very seductive.


    • Chris Stump says:

      Thanks Paul,

      Yes, the 8-18 is the perfect range for the way I see, and the G9 larger enough than the GX85 to make for very comfortable shooting, without a lot of additional weight.

      I’m aware that wide angle can be over-used, or used where a longer lens might be more effective. And in the article I mention that I won’t bring along the 9mm prime any longer, as it is simply too wide to be carried all day as the only option. But the flexibility of the 8-18mm, from very wide to a lovely moderate wide, fits me very well.

      In fact, my core two-lens outfit is this lens plus the 50-200mm, skipping the mid-range altogether. I then add a fast prime and I’m all set for practically any eventuality. 🙂

  • philberphoto says:

    Chris, what a joy to meander with you from picture to picture. To pick up the noises, the smells, the mood of the place. How inspiring!! If I have to pick a fave, it is your image with the lighthouse and just the slightest whiff of cloud. But so many are so good!

    • Chris Stump says:

      You are too kind Phillippe! Thanks so much. Yes, the lighthouse shot was serendipitous. The photo was taken off the back porch of the cottage we had rented. I took the 50-200mm out there a few times, resting the camera on a railing to practice some 80mb hi res shots. This cloud / fog element came and went in moments. I felt lucky to have seen it!

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