Monday, 4 September 2017

Overnighting in Fortress Louisbourg

I'm still editing away at the Tall Ships 2017 images, so I thought I would post this first.

I recently had the opportunity to spend the night within the walls of Fortress Louisbourg, an option that Parks Canada only began offering within the last few years. We chose to stay in Lartigue House, but there were also four tents available within the courtyard of the King's Bastion. 

Lartigue House at dusk. These tents were left over from a previous function, and we didn't sleep in them.
Fortress Louisbourg typically closes at 5 PM daily, and staff usually leave by 5:30, so I personally have never had an opportunity to photograph the fort outside of normal hours. By spending the night, I was able to experience sunset, nighttime, and sunrise - and got to photograph all three.

Sunset viewed from the wall of the King's Bastion. The four tents available to campers can be seen in the background.
Most of the fortress's buildings are locked up after hours, but otherwise we had the run of the fortress, and I went where I pleased. The only real warning we received from staff was to not climb the walls outside of the normal walking paths, because of the 30 foot drop beyond. 

Sunset behind one of the cannon.
At this point mosquitoes made their presence known, and I had to edit quite a few black spots from these images, which I assume were insects because they thankfully don't appear in any of my images the following morning. 

Sunset behind the cannon of the King's Bastion. The nearer cannon was "fired" during demonstrations during the day.
Even once the sun had set, there were opportunities to photograph the fortress at dusk.

Wide-angle image of the fortress at dusk, with the seawall at left, Lartigue House in the centre, and the walls of the King's Bastion to the right.
After getting my fill of shooting at dusk, I retreated inside to avoid the mosquitoes for a while, and had dinner. The interior of Lartigue House is fairly spartan, from modern standards: we had two double beds upon which to sleep, some chairs, a washroom (without a shower, though we were told one will be added for next year), and a small kitchenette with a sink, small fridge, and microwave. The house had the added benefit of not being located right next to the clock tower, which sounded a bell every 15 minutes - we could hear it, but it didn't wake us up during the night. We were also provided with a Coleman stove for use outside if we wanted to do some cooking, and wood could be purchased for the fireplace outside.

Panorama of the interior, from the central room. The bathroom is to the far left, kitchen to the right (door hidden), and the sitting room in the centre. The two bedrooms are to the left and right of the sitting room. The upstairs of the house is used for storage, and is not accessible to visitors. 
Later that evening, I went back out with my camera for some more shooting. The mosquitoes had mercifully decided to pack it in for the night, and I wasn't bothered by them again.

The yard of Lartigue House. I lit the two tents with a single LED flashlight each, though I may have also painted the tent to the right with a third flashlight. The fortress was partially lit that night by the waxing gibbous moon visible in this shot.

The four tents in the courtyard of the King's Bastion. Only three were occupied that night - one party didn't show up - and the family in the tent to the left went to bed early. The brightly lit room to the left is the washroom available to campers.
Tent campers were provided with a tent for up to four people, a fireplace, and a Coleman stove among other things. All guests, in either tents or the house, needed to bring their own sleeping bags.

Another view of the King's Bastion building and courtyard. The yellow glow in the background is from the modern town of Louisbourg. I was lucky to have the Big Dipper well placed above and to the left of the clock tower. The waxing gibbous moon was not very bright, and this image took 30 seconds at ISO 640 and f/2.8 with my Zeiss Touit 12mm (18mm on an APS-C sensor) lens. I was fortunate the the moon wasn't bright enough to wash out the stars.

The moonlight was just enough for this image taken through the tunnel running through the King's Bastion building under the clock tower. Two cannon can be seen on the wall in the background.

This image is looking in the opposite direction, towards the town, and I used a flashlight to paint the clock tower. 

I took this while on my way back to the Lartigue House for the night. This shot looks down one of the streets to the main gate in the sea wall, and the Big Dipper makes a partial appearance in the top left.
Walking the empty streets of Louisbourg at night is an experience I won't soon forget.

I'm not a big fan of getting up early in the morning, but I felt compelled to try my luck the next day with the sunrise - and it was well worth it! After spending a few minutes scouting locations, I finally realized that one of the apps on my phone would provide me with the precise location of the rising sun, and I discovered that one of the streets in the town was perfectly aligned with the spot on the horizon where the sun made its appearance.

The sun rises between the buildings to the left of the image. I may have <cough> deleted <cough> an offending Parks Canada vehicle that appeared at the end of the street.

I really couldn't believe my luck with how well the sunrise lined up with this street.

It took almost every millimeter of my 12mm lens to fit in the entire King's Bastion building and still have room for the cannon and the rising sun. 

The rising sun captured from inside the tunnel through the King's Bastion building.

Once again, I needed my 12mm wide angle lens to capture the light of the rising sun washing over the King's Bastion building - and I ended up capturing my own shadow to boot. Oops. 

Another angle on the King's Bastion building. I had to erase one of the camper's vehicles from the left of the image.

Most of the yards within the town are fenced, and a number have farm animals in them.
I have not yet gone through my daylight images of the fortress, and I imagine they will result in a separate blog post once I have some time to edit them.

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