Monthly Archives: April 2009

The Rock… from Many Perspectives: Newfoundland Photography.

Living in Newfoundland and Labrador inspires photography.  The spectacular setting of the capital of St. John’s, as well as the unique local housing, such as Jellybean Row, and Quidi Vidi Village, are frequently photographed.

In “Outports,”  located on the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean,  the ever changing moods of wind, light, and water are a photographer’s delight.  Because the province is very sparsely populated, nature is on the doorstep… many varieties of birds and other wildlife are frequently seen;  wildflowers, trees, and other plant life is always on display.  And of course, rocks and rocky seascapes are everywhere.

Our own photos of Bay Roberts and nearby communities on the Northern Avalon can be found on Flickr:

Because of the quality and variety of  Newfoundland Amateur Photographers who display their works on Flickr and blogs, we have been using these for time as a source for regional photos for both print and websites.  After finding a suitable photo, we contact the person who has posted it and ask for permission to use the photo, assuring him or her that we will credit the work in any publication.    Almost without exception, they have given permission.

Below is a listing of some sites we check very frequently for the quality of their photos:

Karen Chappell  Location: St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada
Karren Chappell - Family views Iceberg

Karren Chappell - Family views Iceberg

Lloyd C. Rees: Location: Chamberlains, CBS (On the other side of Conception Bay from Bay Roberts) – photos of seascapes, birds, wildflowers, historic photos.

Lloyd Rees - Sailing near Bell Island

Lloyd Rees - Sailing near Bell Island

Clyde Barrett: Location: Bishop’s Cove, Conception Bay North (On the other side of Spaniards’ Bay Harbour.) photos of birds, seascapes, icebergs, wildflowers, boats.

Clyde Barrett - Young Bald Eagle

Clyde Barrett - Young Bald Eagle

Geoff Whiteway : Location: St. John’s.  He teaches at the Marine Institute, which is affiliated with Memorial University, in St. John’s.  His photos have a unique look and feel.

Iceberg Off Shore by Geoff Whiteway

Iceberg Off Shore by Geoff Whiteway

Jean Knowles : Location:  St. John’s.  She is a Tour Guide in Newfoundland and Labrador. Her photos are of scenery, wildlife and flowers.

Jean Knowles - Iceberg from Signal Hill

Jean Knowles - Iceberg from Signal Hill

Mark Robertson Tsang: Location: West Coast Newfoundland. He is a ski instructor/coach in the winter months and is also a tour guide.  His photos of wildlife and plants are amazing – he even uses the correct biological terms.

Mark Robertson Tsang - Great Northern Peninsula

Mark Robertson Tsang - Great Northern Peninsula

I will be presenting another list in the near future.  There are just too many to include in one posting.

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Filed under Admiral's Coast, Baccalieu Trail, Bay Roberts, Brigus, Carbonear, Killick Coast, Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Avalon, Photography, Tourism, Western Newfoundland

11 Distinguishing Traits of Newfoundland Outport Culture.

11 Distinguishing Traits of Newfoundland Outport Culture.

1. Respect is part of life.

People have been accepted and respected for who they are. If they are a bit “strange” or “touched in the head,” people in the community make allowance for that. Older people in the community are frequently called “Aunt” or “Uncle” out of respect, even if they are not related. (In Pigeon Inlet, “Aunt Sophie,” “Uncle Mose,” Grandpa and Grandma” Walcott, and the hangashore “Jethro Noddy” represent this tradition.)

2. Two Degrees of Separation exists in outports.

If you hear a person’s last name, you have a good idea what part of the province he or she is from and within a few minutes talking you can find someone who knows someone that you both know. (Just 2 degrees of separation) There is a bond of kinship. In David French’s plays, the story of the Mercer family, a name associated with Bay Roberts, is followed trough three generations. When the Couger Helicopter went down off shore, almost to person, everyone in Newfoundland outports knew someone who knew a friend or relative of the people from Newfoundland outports who tragically died.

3. Music – instrumental, singing, and dance have always had a large role in people’s lives.

There are songs that have been passed down through several generations that most people know and can sing along with, including “The Squid Jigging Ground,” “She’s Like the Swallow,” “Lukey’s Boat,”  and “I’se the By.” Traditional “Times” featured singing and dance.

4. Story telling grew out of isolation.

Stories of events in the community (sometimes written in verse), ghost stories and fairy stories have been passed from generation to generation. In the days before modern telecommunications, media and transportation, people were isolated in the winter months and entertained each other with stories and recitations. Each community had several well know story tellers. Ted Russell enshrines that tradition in his “Smoke Room on the Kyle.”

5. Traditional food is served.

Fish and brewis, fish cakes, duffs, flipper pie, bakeapple jam – and other recipes are known by most people. Certain foods are cooked in special ways for Christmas Eve or Good Friday, or other holidays and celebrations. At Newfoundland times and weddings, traditional foods are served. In many homes, even today, there is a traditional menu of  meals for each day of the week – for example, fish was served on Friday.

6. Heroes and characters are well known through generations.

“Characters” were eccentric people. In a gathering, each person tried to tell one better about things that community “characters”  had done. “Heroes” are people of the community, sometimes sea captains, sometimes people who had miraculous escapes from disaster,  who had achieved amazing feats, and whose stories are told and retold.

7. Language and dialect differs from outport to outport.

Each community has a slightly different accent (often based on the part of England or Ireland from which their ancestors came). Use of phrases and names of places are unique to that community. Often the names of places have a story that relates to the name. The Klondyke Causeway in Bay Roberts was built at around the time of the Klondyke Gold Rush. It was a time when the fishery had failed and the economy was in a state of decline. People that were hired to work on building the causeway felt it was the town’s version of the “Klondyke.”

8. Nicknames are very common in outport communities.

Because a number of people in some communities have the same family name and first name, each branch of a family has a nickname which is well known in the community. In Bay Roberts and surrounding communities the name Graham Mercer is very common, so each family has its own nickname. The names were sometimes named after the occupation – “Painter” and “Baker.” Sometimes named after a long forgotten incident – “Fox” another Mercer nickname is perhaps named after an incident with a fox. The Mercers through generations are called Joey “Fox,” or Fred “Painter” and everyone in the community knows which from Mercer family that person originated.

9. Various demoninations of the Church have played an enormous role in outports.

Activities in the community are determined by the church calendar – advent, Christmas, lent, and Easter; and church organizations such as the CLB, UCW, play roles in community life. They were even more important in the past, sometimes having a negative impact, but more often helping people through hard times and tragedies.

10. The sea was the reason for existence for most outports, so it dominated life.

The seasons associated with the fishery give a cadence to community life. Stories are told of well-known Captains, voyages, and dangers. Building boats and parts for ships, preparing and mending nets and pots, preparing fish for market, were a major part of life.

11. Survival skills have been honed by a harsh environment.

Many outport dwellers had an ability to do many things well. Men knew all about fishing, but many were carpenters, wood workers, painters, boat builders, loggers, and farmers. Women were homemakers, but they were also skilled gardeners, seamstresses, needleworkers, and community organizers. Most families cut their own wood for building and for fuel, grew and preserved vegetables for winter, remade old clothes for younger children in the family, coloured old flour bags and hooked them into mats, and raveled old sweaters, using the yarn to make new ones. Although the term was never used, recycling was common. Little was wasted. “This Bear Got Heart” ( is an example of this tradition. Betty uses old clothing to make teddy bears and decorate them with traditional needle crafts.

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Filed under Clients, Newfoundland and Labrador

Social Media.

Over the past few months, we have been exploring “social media” including Blogging, Flickr, YouTube, FaceBook, and most recently Twitter.


We have just started with Twitter recently.  Twitter has a number of obvious values.

  • The 140 word limit  is its greatest asset.  Sort of like “the elevator pitch”  The writer has to think about each word to ensure that the meaning is clear and interesting.
  • Its length ensures only one topic per posting.  By experience, we have learned that people only focus on one topic per email – there is no point in including more than one.  Perhaps because many people use handhelds to receive and send email.  Twitter intuitively leads to just one topic.
  • Its currency is another value.  News stories are ofter posted to Twitter before they a posted to news services.  In addition, people attending ongoing events can send moment by moment postings with photos and/or video.
  • Because you can follow people you choose, you are getting the information that you want – as opposed to having to filter through useless information to find what you are seeking.
  • Links to blogs, news articles, videos, and photos allows the reader to explore these options if he or she is interested in further information, if not it is easy to move on to the next topic.
  • The ability to block is extremely important.  We have found that certain posters seem to offer a gateway to others.   They are fairly easy to recognize because they usually have 10,000+ followers and have made only 10 posts.  You can remove a great deal of “noise” by blocking these people as soon as possible.
  • Twitter brings many voices from everywhere.  It is the best source of easily found, recent information in  graphic design, website design trends and methodology, and search engine optimization.  In just a few minutes, we bookmark a number of relevant links.  However, it is less productive for other types of information such as tourism marketing and funding charities.    Perhaps this because it is relatively new and because people involved in technology tend to use it more.
  • From the point of view of marketing, it has to be done subtly and intrinsically, as opposed to overtly.  Being bombarded with a sales message is extremely annoying on Twitter, just as it is in everyday life.  Social media are just that.
  • For clients, we sometimes upload links to websites, giving them greater exposure in search engines.

As a bottom line, we think Twitter is the best thing since Google.

Flickr – Baccalieu Consulting’s Flicker Site –

Because of the quality and variety of  Newfoundland Amateur Photographers who display their works on Flickr, we have been using Flickr for some time as a source for regional photos for both print and websites.  After finding a suitable photo, we contact the person who has posted it and ask for permission to use the photo, assuring him or her that we will credit the work in any publication.    Almost without exception, they have given permission.   Two photographers whose work we have used extensively are:

Clyde Barrett – who lives in Bishop’s Cove –

Clyde, who lives across the Harbour on the Bishop’s Cove Shore, receives numerous awards for this photography through Flickr.  His photos of birds, including resident Spaniard’s Bay bald eagles, are outstanding.

Dean Ducas – who lives in Quebec –

Dean and his wife, neither of whom we have met in person, are outdoors people whose interests include ecotourism and birding.  We have used a number of his photos of the Bay Roberts Shoreline Heritage Trail.  Last year we used one of his photos as the cover of our BAY ROBERTS TOURISM AND LEISURE GUIDE – 2008

Use of Flickr for Marketing We have started uploading more of our own  photos and photos taken for client’s websites to Flickr.  In descriptions of photos, we link back to clients’ websites.  These links give clients another Search Engine entry, in addition to bringing people who look at the photos to the client website.

YouTube – Baccalieu Consulting’s YouTube Channel  –

Having seen how well YouTube videos index in Goole, we decided to add some of our own.  We converted a number of MS PowerPoint, Flash Presentations, and other types of presentations to YouTube and uploaded them.   For our clients, this offered another point of entry for persons seeking information.


Unlike Flickr and YouTube,  FaceBook’s value to business is not immediately evident.

For the FaceBook that is mainly to use with Baccalieu Consulting,  it has been possible to align network of contacts, most of whom are familiar anyway.  We place links to work created for our clients, which again is helpful in promoting clients.  However,  we are not sure if the amount of time spent on FaceBook will translate into enough business leads to justify the expenditure of time.

FaceBook – Pigeon Inlet – Town of Bay Roberts –

The Uncle Mose FaceBook is a little different.  The town of Bay Roberts, our most active client,  has initiated the Bay Roberts Cultural Foundation.  One of the activities will be host to a series of dramatic productions each summer called “A Time in Pigeon Inlet.”  The production is based on the work of a well-known Newfoundland author, Ted Russell, whose main character was Unile Mose Mitchell.  With the Uncle Mose FaceBook we have attempted to make contact with three main groups of people – those with an interest in Newfoundland cultural heritage, the artistic community (including musicians and actors), and journalists.  We have added a Pigeon Inlet Group and have begun posting Pigoen Inlet events.

As the town is building towards this summer’s performances, we will have a good list of potential patrons and local media to inform.   At the end of the summer, we will be able to determine the success of this approach.


Filed under Social Media