Grates Cove Boardwalk

During our Newfoundland photography tour earlier this year, I had the opportunity to explore the Grates Cove Boardwalk. This was an interesting photographic experience given the weather and the condition of the boardwalk. All of the images in this article are displayed in the order in which they were captured.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 66 mm, efov 132 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200

Grates Cove is a local service district and is the most northerly community on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula. As we entered the settlement and drove past a parking lot overlooking the small harbour, we were greeted by a Fisheries and Oceans Canada sign. As you can see, it was a foggy day. We decided to drive down to the small harbour before the fog got any worse.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 41 mm, efov 82 mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-200

There was only one boat in the harbour when we arrived, so I grabbed a couple of quick images. Our visit was before the tourist season so the hamlet was very quiet.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 21 mm, efov 42 mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-200

To put the boat in context, I composed a wider angle image with the parking lot in the upper right hand corner of the photograph. You can see part of the boardwalk in centre frame.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 86 mm, efov 172 mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-200

As you can see in the out-of-camera jpeg above, the effects of fog are amplified by the distance to a subject. In this case I was shooting across the harbour towards the boardwalk.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 86 mm, efov 172 mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-200

The image above was processed from the corresponding RAW file. I used DxO ClearView Plus to bring out more of the details in the photograph, while still maintaining some of the effects of the fog.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 17 mm, efov 34 mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-200

Using a wider angle focal length and moving in close to a foreground element can add depth to a landscape image, while accentuating the blurring effect of fog in the distance.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 57 mm, efov 114 mm, f/5.6, 1/640, ISO-200

After parking the car I decided to compose a few images in the picnic area adjacent to the parking lot. A brightly coloured chair caught my eye and seemed perfect for a ‘rule of thirds’ composition.¬†

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 15 mm, efov 30 mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-200

I also wanted to put the harbour and boat in context so I shot down towards the small harbour. I used a corner exit in both compositions.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-200

After we finished our lunch, I decided that I would explore the Grates Cove Boardwalk. After taking a quick look at the condition of the structure my wife decided to stay in the rental car.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/4, 1/1250, ISO-200

I suspect that the warning sign at the top of the boardwalk may have impacted her decision.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 13 mm, efov 26 mm, f/8, 1/320, ISO-200

I thought is was important to put the warning sign in perspective so I captured a couple of images. The first was looking down the initial run of the Grates Cove Boardwalk.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/160, ISO-200

In the second image I placed the warning sign in the bottom right corner of the composition, with the viewpoint looking down towards another section of the boardwalk and the cliff and ocean beyond.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

After walking about 1/3 of the way down the first run of the Grates Cove Boardwalk I turned around and composed a photograph looking back up towards the parking lot.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

I stopped a second time to create an image that included another section of the boardwalk… which is visible on the right hand side of the composition above.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 20 mm, efov 40 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

The Grates Cove Boardwalk has a break along the way so it is necessary to hike on some rocks and grass in open terrain. This can get slippery from condensation and/or rain so some caution is advised.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

Portions of the Grates Cove Boardwalk are very uneven which also necessitates some caution… especially when the boards are damp and slippery. From a photographic perspective the severe slanting on some of the sections can be disorienting when standing on an angle and attempting to compose images.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

Fortunately my E-M1X has a built-in level graphic that can be engaged, and is visible through the EVF and on the rear screen. I used this to compose my photographs so I could keep my horizons straight. It also helped to visually illustrate the experience of walking on the slanted boards of the Grates Cove Boardwalk.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 100 mm, efov 200 mm, f/8, 1/125, ISO-200

After arriving at the bottom of the last section of the boardwalk I captured a few images from that vantage point.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

The focal length range of the M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS was very useful during my visit.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 31 mm, efov 62 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

As regular readers know, I don’t like spending a lot of time in post working on my images. I was able to process all of the individual images in this article very quickly. I started by putting each RAW file through a custom DxO PhotoLab pre-set that I created earlier for the M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS zoom lens when it is used for landscape photography.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

I then exported a DNG file into PhotoShop CS6 and made three very minor adjustments to Contrast, Clarity and Saturation.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

I then opened up the Curves function in CS6 and selected the Enhance Monochrome Contrast pre-set option for all of my images. I finished each of my files using the Nik Collection… specifically the Pro Contrast function found in Color Efex Pro 4. I’ve found this is one of the fastest and most effective tools I have to adjust for fog.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

As I hiked back up the Grates Cove Boardwalk I stopped multiple times to capture images during my ascent.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

As you review the EXIF data you’ll notice that I kept my focal length and aperture settings consistent for most of my decent/ascent on the boardwalk. I did this purposely so I could create a photo log of the journey.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

I also incorporated handrails in most of my compositions as this adds intimacy to an image, and helps create a feeling of actually being on the boardwalk.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

Using this approach also has the benefit of incorporating a consistent foreground element that can add a feeling of depth and perspective to a composition. A portion of a handrail can also serve as a leading line in an image.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

Handrails can be positioned to act as a corner exit to help enhance eye flow.

M-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-200

Even though our visit to the Grates Cove Boardwalk was on a dreary, foggy day it still ended up as an interesting creative experience.

 Technical Note

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. This is the 1,314 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

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