Fuji Scotia Part 2: Visiting the Jack Pine Trail + White Point with the X-H1

[This is a set of travelogue posts from my 2019 trip to Nova Scotia with Leona. Here’s a list of the series thus far:  Part 1 | Part 2 |  Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6.]

I woke up at 4:30am in Neil’s Harbour to try and get shots of the sunrise. Our AirBNB was right by the coast so all I had to do was cross the street, walk past the fish processing plants and the docks, and then turn left at the lighthouse-turned-ice-cream-parlour. That put me very close to the water’s edge.

This was the first time I remember going out specifically to try and photograph a sunrise. The clouds were not cooperative, but it was still a beautiful, surreal experience to be there before even the fishermen got to their boats. The pictures are all tinted a little blue because I was still missing the warmer glow of the sun. I grabbed as many shots as I could and then headed back to get a few more hours of sleep.

A close-up view of the coast at 4:45am.
The docks at Neil’s Harbour.

When I woke up after my post-sunrise nap, we had a great breakfast at the BNB and then headed out to our first stop of the day: the Jack Pine trail, just south of Neil’s Harbour. It’s supposed to take an hour, but of course we took longer. That’s why I have all of these pictures to share.

Leona walking ahead at the Jack Pine trail.

The trail ends in a beautiful cove that you can climb down into. This view inspired me to work on some new presets to capture all of the green from the trees and the gorgeous colour of the rock formations. I’m not sure what kind of mineral lines the coast, but I loved all the variation in colour.

An alternate view of the end of the Jack Pine trail (before it loops around).

I took a lot of video on the trail, and I was thankful to have the separate silent video settings that were introduced on the X-H1. This let me use the dials just for photo settings and have a completely different aperture, ISO, and shutter speed for video. I was not impressed with how many batteries I was chewing through. I probably used at least three batteries per day on the trip, so that meant a lot of car charging between destinations.

When you’re confronted with this much blue, standing with your hands in your pockets is the only thing to do.

I also missed having some sort of weather resistant zoom because changing lenses in the field between quick showers was a little annoying. I think primes are great if it’s an indoor shoot and I can just lay them out in the bag or on a table, but I’m definitely more into zooms now while outdoors.

However, I’m really glad that I brought the XF90mm for our next stop. White Point isn’t part of the Cape Breton Island park, but I’d consider it a must-see destination.

Leona at the start of the White Point trail.

It felt like a mini trip to the Scottish highlands and, because it was still a little off-season, we basically had the whole trail to ourselves. It only takes about 20 or 30 minutes to complete, but the trail feels epic right from the start because the rising hills obscure and reveal your ultimate destination.

When you get to the top of the highest hill and see the white cross in the distance, it’s breathtaking. If I remember correctly, that cross is situated above the graves of unknown sailors who were found off the coast and buried there.

There were more highlights from this day, like visiting the lighthouse in Dingwall, but this post is already long enough. I’d like these travel posts to feel more snackable in size and to present the pictures from our trip with some context.

So I’ll end things here with this five-stitch panorama of the Cape Breton coast from one of the roadside stops before sunset. I loved having the XF90mm to compress the landscapes on this trip.

Oh, and I’ll add this picture of the moose that sat himself right in the middle of our lane.

We saw Elliott.

We’d seen a few moose crossing signs a few kilometers before this and Leona had commented that it was very unlikely we’d ever encounter one because they have so much space to roam around.

What are the odds of encountering one? Pretty decent, apparently.

[Ready for Part 3? No? Well, it’s live when you’re free to read it.]