on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Bonaventure Island, Quebec

Linda McKnight

Linda McKnight

I have been a book designer, art director and photographer for several decades. I primarily designed photography or illustrated books and have become intimately familiar with the work of many photographers, whose work has influenced my own photography in both conscious and unconscious ways.


Bonaventure Island (île Bonaventure) is an island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off the coast of Percé, Quebec. The island is only 4.16 square kilometres, but it is the seasonal nesting site for more than 280,000 birds. The Northern gannet has the largest population, but there are also populations of up to 218 different species, such as black-legged kittiwakes, common murres, terns, black guillemots, razorbills, cormorants, and Atlantic puffins. The island became a migratory bird sanctuary with the signing of the 1916 Migratory Bird Convention between Canada and the United States.

I like to kayak, but the waters were a bit rough on the day we wanted to go to the island, so we took the ferry around the island instead. The ferry travelled fairly slowly, so I was able to get some good shots of the birds and the rocks. Still, one had to be quick to be able to see and shoot as the ferry moved. Sometimes the birds seemed to space themselves evenly over the rocks. It is a phenomenal place. The preceding day I had been photographing thousands of birds on their summer migration to the South. Staying together in a straight line, flying into the strong wind. Why are these birds flying south in July? Where did they start? Where will they end up? What caused this whole cycle of migration to begin with? It is awe-inspiring to see how hard these tiny creatures work to keep the species going.

Professionally, I have been a book designer (mostly visual books) and a designer for National Parks in the US. I got my first camera when I was 10 years old — a Brownie. I like to photograph the wondrous things in life whenever I see them — often we miss them.

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