It came as a delightful shock to receive SLR cameras for the duration of our time here in Witless Bay. Up to now, I’ve only ever wielded point and shoots, and so I’ve been fumbling around with my fancy new contraption rather cluelessly. Some more aperture here? On the landscape button maybe? ISO, what does that do again? I think I’d assumed that with a decent camera, one could unthinkingly capture the world in all its glowing splendour. Sadly, this has turned out to be mostly untrue. I therefore felt great anticipation for today, photography day, the day that photography know-how might be ours! Guha Shankur and Brian Ricks patiently taught us some basic principles, and then we quickly descended upon two wonderful settings in Witless Bay, cameras at the ready. We were to photograph everything, and later select three photos for an evening discussion.
We first visited Sheila Ryan’s house, one of the oldest in Witless Bay. She opened the doors of her home, and allowed us to snap our way around all the nooks and crannys we felt inclined to explore. There are many quirky and magical scenes to discover around her place. Some of my favourites included the unicorn atop the fridge, the tiny garden gnome amongst the greenery, the face of her shed door, and the mummers that currently live in the top floor of her shed.
I chose this photo as one of my three. I like her sideways glance, coupled with the jaunty angle of her spectacles. I think she has a lot of personality. You can see another one of Sheila’s mummers in the background, but there were plenty more besides (along with a few similarly crafted witches.) Sheila told me that she puts her characters in her yard at both Hallowe’en and Christmas. I could be wrong, but I think she told me that they recline on top of her fish chairs.
There was an array of writing on the inside of the two sheds on Sheila Ryan’s property, too. I’m so curious about the stories behind it all!
Our next destination was Joey Yard’s shed. There was a lot of character and surprises to be found in here, too. Joey has recorded many interesting occurrences on the walls of his shed over the years. He’s commemorated snowstorms, days partying with the b’ys, the death of a beloved pet, and even the day of the cod moratorium. His shed feels like a kind of diary.
This was the second photo I selected of the three. I chose this photo because I found the subject very remarkable. It feels like a momentous shift frozen in time; an epitaph for the day that everything changed.
Afterwards, we visited Joey Yard’s fishing store, and clambered along the rocks on the shore. We shot photos of the fish stages and ocean waves, and also a few of each other.
I chose this photo of my classmate, Sharna, as my third photo. It conveys some of the whimsy and fun of her personality. It also feels honest to acknowledge that I am not alone in the landscape- it can be a relief to let a fellow classmate wander into the frame.