Fortress of Louisbourg

During our recent photography tour of Nova Scotia, we spent half a day exploring the Fortress of Louisbourg. This is one of the largest historical reconstructions in the world and is located about 40 minutes from Sydney Nova Scotia.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 22.9mm, efov 61.8mm, f/8, 1/160, ISO-160

The original settlement began in 1713 and over time developed into a centre for fishing and trade. The fortress and town had a population of about 4,000 in the mid 1700’s.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 42.4mm, efov 114.5mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-160

The town was fortified between 1720 and 1740, and subsequently besieged twice by the British before it was destroyed in 1760.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/8, 1/160, ISO-160

It wasn’t until modern times that the Fortress of Louisbourg began to be investigated by archaeologists. In 1961 the Government of Canada began a historical reconstruction of the site.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 15.2mm, efov 41mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-160

About 25% of the original town and fortifications have been rebuilt and represents what Louisbourg would have been like in the 1740’s.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO-160

Where possible some of the original stones were used in the reconstruction. In order to create an accurate replica many of the workers on the site learned French masonry techniques from the 18th century and other skills.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 28.7mm, efov 77.5mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-160

From a photographic standpoint the Fortress of Louisbourg offers a treasure trove of creative opportunities. Tours are available as well as a self-guided option. My wife and I chose the self-guided tour so we could explore and photograph at our leisure.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-160

Camera gear will depend on your specific photographic interests. Since we were photographing quite a few street scenes as well as capturing images on the inside of many of the buildings, having a wide angle zoom came in handy.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 30.3mm, efov 81.8mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-160

Using an ‘all-in-one’ zoom lens does provide a lot of flexibility in this type of photographic environment.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/500, ISO-160

The buildings tend to be a bit dark on the inside so you’ll likely have to use higher ISO’s at times, or shoot at slower shutter speeds. A few of the buildings are a bit cramped making potential use of a tripod a bit tricky. In most other areas there would be sufficient room to use a tripod or monopod.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 19.2mm, efov 51.8mm, f/5.6, 1/80, ISO-3200

Many of the displays in the buildings are roped off, or have some other kind of structure to control access.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/13, ISO-3200

While you will need to shoot around these types of structures, they can often be used as support when shooting at slow shutter speeds as I did in the image above.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 15.2mm, efov 41mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-160

You will find a good mix of landscape, architectural, and detail-type image opportunities during your visit to the Fortress of Louisbourg.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 16.1mm, efov 43.7mm, f/8, 1/160, ISO-160

There are also re-enactments staged at various times of the day. To capture the mussel flame and resulting smoke in the scene above I used a somewhat slower shutter speed (i.e. 1/160) and shot my Nikon 1 J5 at 20fps in AFC.

The Fortress of Louisbourg is one of the sites featured in our Nova Scotia Photography Tour e-Book, which is available for $12.99 CDN.


Technical Note
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held in available light using Nikon 1 camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro 11, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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Article and all images Copyright 2017 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use. Posting comments on offending web sites and calling out individuals who steal intellectual property is always appreciated!

6 thoughts on “Fortress of Louisbourg”

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for adding your experience to the discussion! We’ve visited three times over the past 35 years or so. The first couple of times the weather was a bit better with more sunshine.

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