Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland – by Anthony Lanzilote

Anthony Lanzilote
Born and raised in Detroit, Anthony Lanzilote graduated from the College of Creative Studies in 2004 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in photography. In 2009 he completed the Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program at the International Center of Photography in New York City. Today he splits his time between New York and Detroit.

The town of Trinity with an ice berg in the background

The trip almost didn’t happen. Flying into St. John’s, Newfoundland, the capital of Canada’s easternmost province, was no problem, but every rental car in the city was already booked. I needed to get to the rural Bonavista Peninsula for a travel story do in at the New York Times in 10 days and wasn’t planning on walking the 150 miles to the collection of former fishing villages. I ended up flying Gander International, an airport so small I walked 50 feet from my plane to my rental car.

The next morning I arrived in Trinity, a community with a year round population of about 30. The former cod fishing town, is part of an area that was largely abandoned after Canada enacted a moratorium on most commercial fishing in the region. But recently the Peninsula has been on the up swing, thanks to a booming tourism industry. The rocky sea side cliffs, ice bergs floating down from Greenland, and whales feeding on the spawning capelin fish, make the region a natural draw for travelers looking for an excursion in the rural north.


A rock formation in Elliston.

The tip of a ice berg the size of a small apartment building stuck out of the Atlantic just beyond the house I was staying, or so I was told. Fog completely obscured the white hulk until, a small break in the weather on my 2nd day of shooting. Driving around a bend I saw a white spot peaking out of the ocean. I positioned myself on a hill overlooking Trinity, I pulled out my camera just in time, to watch a heavy fog roll in and again obscure my shot. A hike on the internationally praised Skerwink Trail proved equally frustrating, I could hear whales 100 feet below the seaside cliff I was standing on, but all I could see was a gray haze. The story was due in 3 days.


Goats on the farm at the Bonavista Social Club in Upper Amherst Cove.

The third day of shooting proved much more fruitful. The first clear day of the trip, I drove up to Elliston the self proclaimed “root cellar capital of the world,” to shoot the famous puffin nesting site. Arriving early in the morning I beat out the large crowds, that frequent the area, I caught a few puffins standing a the seaside bluff, and raced  Bonavista Social Club, a seaside restaurant and farm. The restaurant is quite possibly the only place in the world where you can sit on the front porch, eat wood fired pizza, and watch a whale and a calve, swim in the nearby Upper Amherst Cove. Returning to Trinity, I finally got a clear shot of my iceberg. That ended up being the lead shot for the article.


A small ice berg near the Random Passage waterway.

I drove back to Gander at sunset, returned my car, and waited at the airport for my 5am flight.  Exhausted, I slept uncomfortably on a airport bench, knowing I had a story to deliver to the paper the next day.


Puffin in Elliston.

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