Greenwich
Greenwich
Panmure
Panmure
South Lake Bothwell
South Lake Bothwell

John Sylvester

For more than 35 years, John Sylvester has photographed every imaginable aspect of eastern P.E.I. – his knowledge about the region’s magical, beautiful places is unmatched. However, he is always delighted to discover a new favorite place to photograph, “the moments a landscape photographer lives for.”

South Lake/Bothwell - I organized a reunion of my old high school friends and our spouses, renting a beach house for a week in Bothwell overlooking South Lake and the dunes and beach beyond, kayaking and walking and soaking up the atmosphere of the place. The beaches are unparalleled: crystal clear water, bleached white sand, towering sand dunes and endless views in every direction.  While I experience a spirit of remoteness and wilderness here, there is also a profound sense of place. On a clear day the view across the ocean extends to the coast of Cape Breton Island and twice daily the Magdalen Islands ferry passes sails across the horizon, both reminders of the Island’s connectedness and proximity to its neighbours.

Panmure Island - Many years ago I created an image of Panmure Island while perched atop my van, revealing a slight aerial view across the road and dunes to the lighthouse and ocean beyond. I later revisited the site at the exact same time of day and year and successfully recreated the image, capturing the appearance of two cyclists. Even the clouds were similar to the original. It has become an iconic image of eastern P.E.I. Because of its north-south orientation, the light for photography or scenic viewing here is excellent both in the mornings and the evenings. A summer stop at Panmure Island is not complete without a meal at the adjacent bar and grill, a gem of a beachside eatery. It serves one of the best lobster rolls anywhere.

Greenwich Dunes - I’ve been privileged to explore this area for more than three decades and am thankful the area is now protected for future generations to enjoy as part of the P.E.I. National Park. I visit Greenwich in all seasons, hiking, cycling and even cross country skiing the trails. My favourite time to visit is in late summer and early autumn when the marram grass is mature with waving seed heads and when storms have swept the beaches of summer footprints and left rippled sand patterns in their wake. To the north, the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence are bounded by sky and a beach that appears to extend to infinity in either direction. To the south is an iconic view over the pond and the signature parabolic dunes for which the area is renowned. I love the fact that Greenwich is the only place in North America where Gegenwalle (concentric low dune ridges) is found. With a soundtrack of wind and the waves and a visual feast of tawny dunes, waving marram grass and ocean surf, Greenwich is truly a feast for the senses.

Eastern section of the Confederation Trail - I’ve cycled the entire Confederation Trail and especially remember the section just west of Elmira. I made a mental note to return and photograph the area in the fall and finally did so in the autumn of 2017. I wasn’t disappointed. With a canopy of autumn leaves suffused in soft October light, it felt as though I was travelling through a tunnel of gold. 

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