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Father-son enterprise combines photography and historical tales

Working as a photographer for 20 years, Maurice Fitzgerald said the Northeast Avalon offers a wealth of opportunity for frame-worthy shots for visitors.

In fact, he is counting on it for the success of his latest small-business enterprise.

The landscapes, said Fitzgerald, are what draw his attention.

They're also what he believes have interested the visitors he has begun to take on his Far East Photo Tours.

One of the sights around the northeast Avalon that are featured on a Far East Photo Tour. Photographer Maurice Fitzgerald (bottom) takes visitors to iconic sights and gives them a quick photography lesson so they can make the most of their holiday snapsho

Working as a photographer for 20 years, Maurice Fitzgerald said the Northeast Avalon offers a wealth of opportunity for frame-worthy shots for visitors.

In fact, he is counting on it for the success of his latest small-business enterprise.

The landscapes, said Fitzgerald, are what draw his attention.

They're also what he believes have interested the visitors he has begun to take on his Far East Photo Tours.

Fitzgerald began offering the half-day trips this summer, bringing tourists around to the major historical or "iconic" sites of St. John's and the surrounding area and showing them how to get the best photos for whatever camera they normally use.

"You don't have to be a professional - you can just take your point and shoot," he said.

Fitzgerald said the goal is to send people home with unique snapshots of places like Quidi Vidi and Cape Spear. He encourages capturing shots from different perspectives, making them stand out from those taken by the thousands of tourists who visit the sites each year.

Beginning Far East Photo Tours this summer meant Fitzgerald had to invest in his second photography-based business.

Second business

Already working as a partner in Carter-Fitzgerald Photography, Fitzgerald said his focus is often called to portraits, wedding photos and product images.

Yet one type of photography does not often come up.

"Landscape has always been my first love," Fitzgerald said.

"I got into photography by painting years ago" he said, explaining he would often paint from a photo of a particular landscape.

Increasingly, Fitzgerald said he was interested in taking the perfect photo to paint from.

That desire led him to begin formally studying the art form at Cabot College.

Now, his work with Far East Photo Tours has been allowing him to work again in landscape and employ all of the lessons he has taken in over the years.

The professional provides tips for beginners in everything from how to properly hold their camera to basic composition.

For more experienced photogs, he answers questions on filters, lenses and camera models.

The tour is for all skill levels, said Fitzgerald, for anyone interested in catching, "different perspectives at iconic spots."

Father and son

Far East Photo Tours includes transportation to the various sites to be photographed. It all starts with Signal Hill and the harbour.

"It starts right in the harbour, because there's so much history in the harbour" said the instructive photographer.

Of course, thankfully for Fitzgerald, his father knows plenty of stories to provide tour participants with some of that history during the drive.

"Dad has got all this knowledge of Newfoundland history and culture and things you'll never find in a travel brochure," said the photographer.

With 25 books published including various tales, Jack Fitzgerald provides background at each site visited along a Far East tour, sometimes inspiring photographers with stories of people, buildings and creatures.

Whether a story of early executions, the Second World War, or a giant squid, Fitzgerald never allows himself to tell the same set of stories on any two tours - making each tour unlike any that have come before.

One of his favourite stories, he said, is the tale of the Newfoundland connections to the lost treasure of Lima - connections explored in his book "Treasure Island Revisited."

"Newfoundland is one of the richest places in folklore and offbeat stories and so on," said the author.

"The trick is to find things that will appeal to the people you're with."

That has been a learning experience, said the author, but one that he said he has enjoyed so far.

Both Fitzgeralds are committed to continuing with their new enterprise.

Far East Photo Tours has been registered with Destination St. John's and the Department of Tourism and is taking bookings for the 3 1/2hour tours year-round.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Cabot College, Department of Tourism

Geographic location: Far East, Northeast Avalon, St. John's Newfoundland Quidi Vidi Signal Hill Lima Treasure Island

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