Archive for the ‘Maritime’ Category

The Day the Trees Fell   Leave a comment

On September 29, 2003 Hurricane Juan landed on the shores of Nova Scotia, causing what many describe as the worst storm to hit Halifax since 1893. I was living in Virginia at the time and other than what appeared on the nightly news and photographs posted on a variety of social web sites, the devastation was incomprehensible to me. This is often the case of the effects of natural disasters seen only through the lens of the internet. I recall distinctly my first trip back to Nova Scotia the following summer and was, as many still are, awe struck by the force of nature and the wrought it had on one of Halifax’s most famous parks, Point Pleasant.

I visited Point Pleasant this past summer, some 12 years later, and was again taken aback by the new landscape. My memories of this place still deceive me and my expectations, despite my familiarity, trick me into thinking what was once there still is. Ironically, that very notion is what drew me back to write my first blog entry in two years. My hiatus broken, literally and certainly figuratively by the once towering park I grew up near.

Despite the ravages of the storm, some trees still stand, as monuments to our memories and reminders of natures wrath. Peeled of their nature,  sculpted by wind and time, these trees stand tall with a new meaning and resolve.

These are the trees that remain.

© 2013 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography


© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

© 2015 Paul Coffin Photography

Thanks for stopping by and please, your comments are most welcome.


The Photo That Got Me Started   Leave a comment

Landscape #1

© 1980 Paul Coffin Photography

In a recent blog I read, a question was posed about the photo that got you started. It made me think and I went deep into my archives to find that one image that I could trace my love of photography roots to. As it happened I found a few. Not surprisingly, they were landscapes and seascapes that  also had the sun low in the sky, reflecting on the water. It was 1980 and I was 15. I had purchased my first camera, a Nikon FE with my newspaper route money. I wasn’t aware then, as I am now, the impact photography would have on my life, and how ultimately, it would shape the person I would become and how I see the world.

It never ceases to amaze me, how at a very young age, our personalities, tastes, sense of humor and overall sense of who we are is cemented forever. I see it in my own sons over and over. Who they were when they were 5 or 15 or 20 is fundamentally who they are now.

If you are not living a life that is true to who you were when you were young, look back into your personal history books and pick up an old hobby. I firmly believe it is what keeps us young at heart and is at the core of who we are.

Landscape #2

© 1980 Paul Coffin Photography

Posted October 28, 2012 by Paul Coffin in Art, Landscape, Maritime, Nature, Photography

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Pucallpa – The industry of the River   1 comment

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

I’d like to say that the boat we boarded to begin and end our mission on the Ucayali river, was moored on a  dock in an area that was suited to easily boarding and departing, but unfortunately, it was not. Instead, we literally were pushed up against a muddy, much polluted river bank in between the fisherman’s loading area and a local boat builder. It was not what I had expected, but it did offer some interesting views of a world more foreign than I have ever visited.

The days started early for those that made their living from the river, and the constant sound of the humming motors, like a whir from a lawn edger or ailing lawn mower, was my wake up call. Sunrise cast a warm glow over an otherwise dirty and exhaust smelling embankment, with hard working men carrying blocks of ice, bananas and what looked like saw dust to each of their boats.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

The conditions were harsh, hot, humid and exhausting and yet somehow, through it all, I managed to get a smile from a local fisherman as I peered though my lens and snapped his picture.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

No matter the conditions, whether in the village, on the river bank, in the city or in the local tourist towns, people smiled at me. I didn’t for a second ever feel resented or reviled. It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. It would be easy for me to judge those I encountered and compare their lives to mine, but that would have been presumptuous and egotistical. Instead, I accepted their happiness for what it was, a celebration of life.

© 2012 Paul Coffin Photography

It is odd now, a week later to reflect on that world, as it was then and is now. Mine, a fleeting presence, left with an indelible mark.

A World at War   3 comments

When I first started to write this blog, I decided it would be wholly dedicated to my photography and the stories behind the images. I have been tempted to deviate from this mission from time to time by  including pictures that are not my own and have resisted that temptation until now. In looking into my digital library, I came upon a series of images and newspaper clippings from a time before my own that, while not part of my personal history, is a part of my family history.

It is a story that has been told many times and to this day remains as powerful and as intimate of any I can imagine. It is the story of bravery, love, tragedy, death and hope. It is the story of my first cousin, once removed who served in the Canadian Navy in 1940.

What follows is a glimpse into his life, detailed in correspondence with his mother, my father’s Aunt, and newspaper stories of the tragedy of two ships colliding in the dark of night in the North Atlantic ocean. It is the story of the loss of the Canadian destroyer Margaree and the death of Harold F. Gray on October 22, 1940.

The tragic news of my great Aunt’s sons death arrives.

Soon after receiving the news through formal channels, the local Halifax Herald and Halifax Chronicle newspapers ran the story.

Seaside Retreat   2 comments

Lately I have been pining for the simplicity of life in retirement. It’s far too early of course to be thinking such “foolishness” as my mother would often say, but I none the less look forward to a retirement filled with adventure and many photographic endeavors. I have lived near the ocean, for a time near the mountains and now am very much land locked in the suburbs of Atlanta.

I believe to my core that when you grow up near the most magnificent of Gods naturals gifts, you are forever marked by the indelible impression they make, and continue through life to be drawn back to them. The ocean, for me, is that unquenchable lure that reels me back to a life filled with the sights and sounds of the Maritimes. While a city boy at heart, and certainly not one to lay claim to living off the sea, I deeply appreciate the cliché, “You can take the man out of the Maritimes, but you can’t take the Maritimes out of the man”.

During a recent uneventful evening in a hotel while traveling, I stumbled upon the television show “Swamp People” on the History channel. It struck me how very committed and content the alligator hunters of the Louisiana bayou were with their lifestyle and heritage. The younger generation learning from those that came before them and eager to teach those that followed.

This photograph stands as a reminder for my life goals and for a time when, the two seats will be filled with a pair of aging Maritimers, charmed by the adventures they share together, in love with each other and the land they came from.

History Revisited   Leave a comment

Historic Properties

Continuing in my B&W phase :), I decided to resurrect a couple of photographs from my trip to Halifax last year to see how well they stood the proverbial test of time as measured by their suitability to B&W conversion. This night shot of Privateers Wharf, located in the area known as Historic Properties, reflects what must seem to the sea not a very long time ago, a time where men and I suppose a woman or two, spent many an evening walking along the moonlit cobblestone in one state or another of inebriation. Not surprisingly, times have not changed, and to this day, many a fine ale has been consumed and subsequently relieved of along these streets.

Traveling along the coastline of Nova Scotia is a visual wonderment. Small fishing communities dot the landscape; colors of all vibrance and hue paint the seaside. The sweet salty air, rich with the smells of seaweed and all that the ocean treats the senses with, is abundant at every turn and adds to the charm of the real maritime experience. If I could put that in a bottle, I’d be rich selling it to all the Maritimers who long for home from afar.

Rocky Foundation   1 comment

Seaside Inn

It never ceases to amaze me where people will build a house. When this building was first constructed did the builder envision this outcome? How could he not? It now remains an artifact of some oddity, that I am sure I am not the first nor will I be the last to photograph.

I have been reading about composition lately, among the many blogs I peruse. It is not something I consciously consider in my photography; the rule of thirds, contrast, balance, how the eye travels though the image, yet I “see” how all these elements of imagery impact our perception of the two-dimensional world that we experience through photography. I tend to be a color junky of sorts and have to sometimes switch into B&W, in order to see how composition presents itself without the visual assistance color provides. It is a healthy way to rediscover images from the past and force tonality on my visceral thinking. Digital photography, for all its benefits, truly neglects B&W photography, at least when it comes to the psychological impact that shooting B&W film had back in the day. At least for me, I need to work harder at thinking in B&W without the benefit of having B&W film in the camera.

I am going to review my archives and select some of my favorite B&W images to post and write about. I love color and splash it liberally throughout my blog, but I think some monotone is in order. I hope you enjoy the diversion.