(Dale Roth is one half of the photography duo, Roth and Ramberg. As writing is not his strong suit, he has asked his teenage son to correct his lack of punctuation and when possible, add in big words. However, Dale does know how to do a perfect scheimpflug.)
We’ve traveled a lot during our career, mainly around Canada, but also to a few places throughout the world.
By far our most favourite place we have been is Newfoundland and Labrador. Over the years we’ve been fortunate to have travelled there 7 or 8 times. Each time is a different trip where we meet different people. Our first tripped involved me, Michele and our friend Mark Scholtz. Although he was not born in Newfoundland, Mark’s family and extended family live in a place just outside of Saint Johns which they refer to as “the compound.” A few houses share the property, one of which belongs to the eldest of the family, also known as the Governor. The rest of the houses are mixed with family members young and old. Mark’s parents house was at the back of the property. His family was kind enough to let us use their motorhome for the next ten days as we explored Newfoundland.
The first night in the compound there was a party held (of course) to meet the new people and “Screech them in,” which is a traditional Newfoundland welcome for guests that involved kissing a cod fish and having a drink of Screech rum. They had the rum that night, but were lacking a cod. They instead had tiny frozen fish called capelins. Biting the head off a capelin apparently had the same significance as kissing a cod.
The next morning we packed up the motorhome, which we named Maggie, and set off. The plan was to drive North to Twillingate then take our time driving along the coast, making our way back to Saint Johns. Although the road to Twillingate ran through the middle of Newfoundland and not along the coastline, it was still quite beautiful. Along the way we would often stop and talk to people. Some we photographed, others we shared stories with. It became clear the people of Newfoundland were different from the people back at home. Everyone was friendly, happy, and willing to sit down and talk with you.
On these trips, we tended to go to restaurants and bars, as these are the places to meet the locals. After a few days on the road we pulled into Twillingate, an incredibly picturesque little town, know for its icebergs that drift by off the coast. We stopped at a local cafe for breakfast and it was no surprise the owner was friendly. We mentioned we were photographers on a road trip. We had seen a sign that advertised Iceberg tours and asked him what he thought about the tours.
“I can do better” he said. He gave us directions to his brother-in-law’s place down the road.
“Tell him I sent ya,” he said.
After finishing up breakfast we drove down the road. As we rounded the corner, we saw a massive iceberg floating in the bay! We pulled up to Dax’s house and introduced ourselves and soon we were in a boat checking out the iceberg. We got a little closer than we were supposed to… which was part of the adventure for sure. He showed us the best spot for our motorhome that night. In Newfoundland you can go wherever you want and park wherever you want, so we had nice little spot overlooking the iceberg and the ocean.
After dinner there was a knock on the door, it was Dax with handful of fresh cod as a farewell present. We quicky became friends and have visited him every time we make it back to Twillingate. Sadly, he recently passed away, but we will always remember his warmth and kindness.
This warmth became a theme on that trip. People would invite us into their homes, give us food and drinks and a present when we left. Whether it was tea towels, food or booze, they gave what they had. It was really quite amazing.
I recall pulling into a liquor store for our daily supplies. The woman behind the counter and I struck up a conversation and within two minutes she said, “Listen, if you travel two minutes down this road, there is a yellow house on the left. Turn right and go all the way to the end of the road and you’ll get to my house. Park your motorhome there, go inside and have a shower and make yourself at home. Just tell my kids that it’s okay.”
This was a common occurrence. The people in Newfoundland are by far the most friendly people you will ever meet. We never did end up going to her house. I always wondered just how old those kids were.
The hospitality is not the only asset in Newfoundland. The scenery there is quite remarkable in itself. Newfoundland is a rugged place, the ocean beats away at it’s cliffs constantly. They call it “The Rock” for a reason, as there is not much soil and the trees are all pretty small. Being a fan of the water, it’s impressive to watch the waves rolling in or crashing on the shore. We were lucky most nights to park our motorhome on a beach and every night we had an incredible view.
We recently had the pleasure of visiting another part of the province called the Torngat Mountains, situated in Northern Labrador. In order to access it you have to catch a small charter plane that lands on an abandoned US air strip. From there you are met by locals with rifles whose job is to shoot polar bears that get too close. You then board a boat that takes you on a 45 minute trip to basecamp. The camp has yurts and igloo domes for accommodation and is surrounded by electric fence, again to keep the polar bears out. We spent 4 or 5 days up there and had daily trips to visit various locations.
They say it is a life changing place and I believe them. To be standing, overlooking an incredible view, knowing that maybe you are one of 100 people to have ever stood on that particular spot is amazing. I could explain more but the pictures always show it best.