I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

A gull checks out the offerings left by the receding tide in St. Anthony, and then takes off with something good.

Saturday, October 19, 2019


Even on our last morning, we visited a museum before heading to the airport. The Insectarium in Deer Lake has a hive of bees (under glass so you watch them dance when they come back from a flower run and tell the other bees where the flowers are), ants and spiders, and a room full of butterflies. I am always a sucker for butterflies.

Saturday reflections

Newfoundland is undeniably photogenic -- almost ridiculously so -- but there weren't a lot of reflections there. This view of St. Anthony harbor before we went whale watching will do though.

I'm almost finished with the Newfoundland pictures, and I'm equal parts relieved and sorry. It was a wonderful trip -- stunning scenery, congenial companions, good food, and fascinating history that I knew very little about -- but it has consumed most of my free time for weeks now. I'm going to see Come from Away tomorrow, and that will be the perfect coda.

Until I can go back.

Friday, October 18, 2019

My own Antonioni moment

This building was near the Point Riche lighthouse and the beach with the caribou. I don't think I noticed the people in the background when I took the picture; I just liked the building and the boat in the distance.

But when I was cleaning and cropping, I took a closer look and it looks as though there could have been, if not a murder, at least some kind of emergency. A man seems to be lying on the ground, held up from behind by a woman. His head looks like he's slumped over. Is he sick or injured and she's trying to help him? Are they just goofing around? It's impossible to tell. There wasn't any shouting or calling for help -- I would have noticed that, and other people were around -- so I assume it wasn't too serious. But it definitely gave me a start.

Everyone has a camera now, all the time, so it's no longer a question of whether something gets photographed, it's whether we'll understand what we're looking at, like poor David Hemmings finding  that the blur in his photos of the London park was really a dead body in Blowup

Thursday, October 17, 2019

(Slightly) better look at the caribou

I wasn't able to get great pictures of the caribou because -- funny story! -- once I realized that there were caribou, I went back to the bus to get my long lens and someone closed the bus door behind me, shutting me in. It was like a scene from a sitcom, where my fellow travelers and Daphne the driver were walking past the bus and I was inside, yelling and waving my arms and pounding on the door and no one noticed me.

Port au Choix beach

We stopped for a group photo at a monument with this as a backdrop. Afterwards, I took several photos of this little building out in the middle of nowhere without noticing that the brown lumps to the left were caribou.

The name Port au Choix does not mean “Port of Choice”, by the way -- the Basque fishermen who visited in the 16th century called it Portutxoa, or Little Port. Later it was part of an area where the French had rights to fish, and the name morphed into its French soundalike.

Port au Choix

The view outside the Visitor Centre, and yet another completely new landscape in Newfoundland. This is a small peninsula on the western side of the Great Northern Peninsula, about halfway between Cow Head and St. Anthony, and looking nothing like either of them.

The barren limestone soil at Port au Choix is excellent for preserving fossils and archaeological artifacts, and they have found evidence of more than 5500 years of habitation. The Visitor Centre has interesting exhibits on what they've found and what it tells us about the indigenous peoples who lived there. One of the staff (whose name I unfortunately don't remember) gave a very interesting informal overview of the history of the First Nations in Canada who, sadly but not unsurprisingly, were treated as badly as we treated our own Native Americans.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

This beautiful star cluster, captured by Hubble, has the very unromantic name of NGC 290. An open cluster like this one, as opposed to a globular cluster, tends to be younger and so has many more bright blue stars. Since all of the stars in an open cluster were born at around the same time, astronomers find them useful for studying how stars of differing masses evolve differently.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble; Acknowledgement: E. Olzewski (U. Arizona)

Early Halloween present

These spooky trees were at the Arches park, across from the beach.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Completely unnecessary beach shot

This is the view looking up the beach from the Arches.

I realize that I have already posted dozens and dozens of pictures of the Newfoundland coastline, but I really like this one for some reason. There's that giant rock, for one thing -- too big to just ignore, but not big enough to get its own park. And the fallen tree in the foreground that I keep thinking is a dinosaur bone. And the memory of how unpleasant it was walking on that rocky shore -- medium-sized round boulders are my least favorite walking surface -- but I managed not to fall and break any bones, so I can enjoy the fact that I am sitting in New York relatively undamaged.

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The Arches

This provincial park on the coast south of St. Anthony features a large rock formation that's eroded by the waves into a series of arches.

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