Newfoundland Close-up, Heart of the Avalon

Bay de Verde, Conception Bay, Newfoundland, CanadaBay de Verde, Conception Bay, Newfoundland, CanadaBay de Verde, Conception Bay, Newfoundland, Canada

When: June 27 – July 4, 2015 (8 days, 8 nights)

Cost: $2795 CDN plus HST

Maximum participants: 8

Leaders: Professional photographer, author and biologist Dennis Minty with his partner Antje Springmann 

About the Tour

If you enjoy a truly in-depth travel and photographic experience at an ambling pace this trip is for you. Our accommodations are in the historic village of Brigus, the ancestral home of famous arctic explorer Captain Bob Bartlett. We too make this our home base for the duration of the trip so once unpacked you can settle in and enjoy this truly charming village. With its unique stone-lined canals, sheltered harbour, cafes, shops, churches and easily accessible walks, it is the perfect setting to explore and lose yourself in making photographs in your free time. On this trip Dennis and Antje are not only your guides, but also your hosts at ‘Riverside’, their four acre home/retreat on South River in Clarke’s Beach located just minutes from Brigus. Riverside, with its woodlands, meadows, gardens and shoreline will serve as workshop location where, with ospreys, yellowlegs, and kingfishers as our companions, we explore photographic techniques with the unique opportunity to practice lessons right on our doorstep. From here we make daily excursions to explore Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula in-depth, taking us off the beaten path to many places seldom seen by the casual tourist: the windswept hills and meadows of Grates Cove overlaid by a web of stone walls built over the course of two hundred years; the tiny community of Winterton, now centre of the wooden boat building tradition where skills are passed on by master builders to a new generation; Ferryland, home of the Colony of Avalon founded in 1621 and still a very active archaeological dig; the fishing communities of Dildo, Bay de Verde and Port de Grave. Picnics while watching for whales in the bay, a boat tour to Dildo Island, a visit to the seabird colonies and the search for spontaneous photo opportunities that have come to be the trademark of the Human Nature Company all await you on this trip that will leave you knowing the Avalon more intimately than most.



All excursions are day trips from our home base in Clarke’s Beach. There will be no need to change accommodations nor pack and unpack each time we travel. With this approach, we will have a flexible itinerary that allows as to make the best use of each day depending on weather and opportunities that might arise. So consider the following as an example of the tour but our activities may occur in a different order from that listed.


Day 1

The tour starts with your pick up at noon on June 27 in St. John’s. From here we travel to the picturesque community of Brigus, our accommodations home-base for the remainder of the trip. The afternoon is dedicated to an orientation session at the workshop locale in Clarke’s Beach and exploring the immediate surroundings, including the neighbouring town of Cupids, which celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2010, making it Canada’s oldest English settlement.






Day 2 Small Craft Harbour, Bay de Verde, Conception Bay, Newfoundland, CanadaSmall Craft Harbour, Bay de Verde, Conception Bay, Newfoundland, CanadaMinty_20090813_141736_copy

We set off on a day excursion around the northern Avalon. Among the highlights are the remote but very active fishing community of Bay de Verde, and the historic landmark of Grates Cove at the northern tip of the Avalon Peninsula where many generations of inhabitants created a stunning network of stone walls reminiscent of their Irish home land.




Day 3

We’ll start the day with a hike on the Shoreline Heritage Walk which meanders through several now-abandoned communities near Bay Roberts where little coves, pebble beaches, meadows, towering cliffs, and outstanding coastal vistas beckon to be explored. The remainder of the day will be about learning and practice with some illustrated talks from Dennis mixed with shooting opportunities on the expansive riverside property in Clarke’s Beach to put lessons into immediate practice.






Day 4 Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus), Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland, CanadaNorthern Gannets (Morus bassanus), Cape St. Mary's, Newfoundland, CanadaMinty_20040601_113016_copy

We visit the spectacular Cape St. Mary’s, home of the second largest gannet colony in North America and the most accessible one by land. A short hike takes us to the magnificent sea stack that is a favourite nesting place for many thousands of these majestic birds. Here we practice specific lessons and hone our skills to capture birds in flight.









Day 5 New Bonaventure, Newfoundland, CanadaNew Bonaventure, Newfoundland, CanadaMinty_20120725_141249_copy

A drive across the Heart’s Content barrens brings us to Winterton where we visit to the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador and see boats in the process of being built by hand in the traditional way. Here we will see how the simplest of tools were used to turn locally-harvested building materials into the watercraft that sustained Newfoundland families for generations. Then we will drop by Heart’s Content Cable Station, the western connection point for the first communications cable that joined North America with Europe and turned this small Newfoundland town into a global communications hub.




Day 6

Fin Whale, Southwest NewfoundlandFin Whale, Southwest Newfoundland

We are off to picturesque Ferryland, the site of one of Newfoundland’s most important archaeological digs, the Colony of Avalon. We stop for a picnic at the Ferryland lighthouse and sit on the cliffs while we look for the whales playing in the bay. The day will include a side trip to Tors Cove and a slow walk along it’s shoreline.








Day 7

Today we head to the eastern side of Trinity Bay and amble along its shoreline communities. After a stop at the Shag It Café in Whiteway, we set out for Dildo and an outing on the bay with a visit to Dildo Island, where much evidence points to it having been an ancient settlement of Newfoundland’s original inhabitants, the Beothuk.







Day 8 Humpback Whale, Southwest NewfoundlandHumpback Whale, Southwest NewfoundlandMinty_20140610_071518_copy

This morning we spend whale watching in Bay Bulls and Witless Bay with Captain Wayne, the Whale Whisperer. Along the way we also cruise along the Witless Bay Seabird Sanctuary where the skies around us are filled with murres, puffins, and kittiwakes. After lunch we make our way back to St. John’s where your final accommodations await and we enjoy some fine dining during our farewell dinner.



Fitness level: Easy to moderate. Includes hikes on mostly prepared trails in hilly terrain. Footing can be uneven.

Photographic experience: This is a tour for photographers of all levels, their companions and the artistically-minded. Your particular personal needs and interests are addressed in a multi-dimensional tour that mixes experiential learning with one-on-one coaching in an inspiring setting. 

Prices include:

  • All accommodations
  • All meals
  • Ground transportation
  • Your instructor/guide(s)
  • All park/tour fees

Prices do not include:

  • Flights to and from St. John’s
  • Laundry, phone calls, items of a personal nature
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Travel/medical insurance

Please note: Itinerary is subject to change due to weather and other unforeseeable factors