Eastern Canada is a Travel Photographer’s Dream—Just Ask Erin Lindsey of Escape Brooklyn.
When she wants to get great photos at a travel destination, Erin Lindsey, founder of the travel site Escape Brooklyn, has a list of things she looks for. “I’m on the hunt for any body of water, dramatic terrain, deep forest, picturesque towns, dirt roads, historical sites, wildlife, moody weather, colorful sunsets, or thick fog,” she explains. The area in and around the Newfoundland city of St. John’s has all of that, as Lindsey discovered on a recent trip there. “I literally never set my camera down, except to sleep,” she says. Here’s where she went.
“I literally never set my camera down, except to sleep”
This high lookout point, once the scene of a colonial-era battle and later the site of the first transatlantic wireless broadcast, is a 5-minute drive from downtown St. John’s. “Signal Hill is a great first place to visit, as you get a real sense of the city from the hill—but also because of the stunning scenery and land formations,” Lindsey reports. “One minute you’re looking down over this little seaside town, and the next you’ll swear you’re in another hemisphere altogether.”
Lindsey scored a seat at The Merchant Tavren—and enjoyed it so much she came back again. “The food was spectacular, and watching the open kitchen, I was struck by how happy they all seemed,” she says. “You could tell from the way the food was presented, and how good it was, that these people loved their jobs! That was way cool.” Housed in an old bank, the spot was great for interior photos, too.
Keen to get killer coastal photos, Lindsey made the 15-minute drive to this scenic point three separate times. “It’s such an incredibly beautiful place, and each time, the landscape felt dramatically different,” she says. “When it was clear, Cape Spear felt like a painting, with tall grass blowing in the wind around a big, beautiful lighthouse. But my first trip out, it was a total wall of fog. It did feel a little eerie, but I loved having it all to myself. Adding to that, I could hear the ocean, but I couldn’t see it—the cliffs just kind of disappeared into the sea of fog. It was incredible.”
“It’s such an incredibly beautiful place, and each time, the landscape felt dramatically different,”
Painted in a range of vibrant colors, the historic homes in downtown St. John’s are a no-brainer for social media. “It’s very distinctive—I loved it. All the color combinations and the way the light hits the houses at different points of the day made for some fun scouting and photography,” says Lindsey, who also liked the sense of community spirit. “It’s so cool when an entire town picks a ‘thing,’ and literally everyone goes in on it.”
This classic route around the Avalon Peninsula clocks in at about 200 miles. Sampling a small piece of it, Lindsey realized she’d probably need a couple days to do it right. “My definition of a good driving tour for photos? Pulling over to the side of the road every five minutes for photos, which I totally did on the Irish Loop,” she says.
“There are so many epic photo-ops: winding roads, wildlife, rivers, lakes, mountains, cliffs, islands, lighthouses, kooky souvenir shops—you name it. My advice for fellow photographers doing the loop: Bring a picnic, an extra camera battery, and if you’re traveling with someone else, make sure they’re really patient.”
There’s abundant wildlife on the coast around St. John’s, and boat tours to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve bring you within easy camera range. “The boat tour was one of my favorite parts of this trip! I’ve wanted to go whale-watching for as long as I can remember,” Lindsey says. “We didn’t just see one or two, either.” She tagged along with Gatherall’s, a family operator that’s been taking visitors out for three decades, which hooked her up with dozens of whale sightings. Earlier in the season, icebergs are a highlight, too.
With St. John’s such an easy flight from her home in New York, Lindsey was able to do this trip the way she likes best: with minimal planning. “I purposely don’t over-research a place before I go there, because the feeling of ‘discovering’ something is a total addiction for me,” she explains. “In and around St. John’s, I was absolutely feeling that. And because of the crazy landscapes, I felt a world away from New York. It was like no other place, anywhere.”
Originally published: www.gq.com