Percé Rock, Percé, Quebec Canada

Percé Rock, Percé, Quebec Canada

As you wind your way around the eastern perimeter of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec along Highway 132 you will enter the beautiful little community of Percé, famous for Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island which is home to the second largest Northern Gannet population in the world. The entrance to Percé from the north provides a beautiful vista that is typical of the Gaspé Peninsula. Percé Rock is on the left and Bonaventure Island is in the back ground.

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The village of Percé was first settled in the mid nineteenth century and was named after its famous rock which was originally named in 1603 by Samuel de Champlain who called it Pierced Island because of the then two large holes that pierced the rock. Percé is home to about 3,000 people although that number swells in the summer with the influx of tourists.

Percé Rock is made of limestone and measures 1,500′ long, 300′ wide and 300′ high at the highest point. It sits about half a mile from shore and a narrow sand stone bar between the rock and the shore allows one to walk across to the rock during low tide. If fact, when the tide is low it is possible to walk all the way to the fifty foot high hole in the rock. Due to the large amounts of rocks that fall from the rock people are discouraged from walking to the rock, however it is quite a thrill to do so.

Percé Rock is very photogenic and the many different vantage points allow for many great views. Its difficult to get unique images of the rock, however always fun to try. This first image is a simple profile of the rock showing its relation to the town. Originally there were two holes in the rock however the larger of the two collapsed in June 1845 leaving the obelisk that now stands alone at the end of the rock.

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About two miles off shore from Percé is Bonaventure Island, which is a round island of about 1.6 square miles. It is home to the second largest colony of Northern Gannets in the world as well as other pelagic species that nest there in the summer months. It is estimated that there are more than 110,000 Gannets on the Island. You can see Bonaventure Island in this next shot.

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Mount Joli is the distinctively shaped cliff on one end of the sandbar than connects Percé Rock to the mainland (The sandbar is easily seen in the above image). Mount Joli provides a perfect belvedere for photographing Percé Rock….so much so that you now have to pay $2.00 to take the path to a small wooden platform from where you can get that iconic view of the rock. The previous shot and the next few pictures were taken from Mount Joli.

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When given the opportunity to include something of interest in the fore ground of an image, it is generally a good idea to do so. The question is to know just how much to include as you don’t want the fore ground inclusion to compete with the object of the image. This next image may have too much however I really like the result and thats the great thing with photography…its a purely subjective art.

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The Gaspé Peninsula has a Roman Catholic religious heritage and churches and crosses are commonplace throughout the region. An old white cross is found on Mount Joli and it was fortunate to have a gull fly by at the perfect time to make an interesting addition to the image.

Gaspe Cross 02

We arrived in Percé late in the afternoon and after checking into our hotel we took the concierge’s recommendation for a good spot to eat. The place he recommended turned out to have completely forgettable food although it did provide a view of the rock that has become one of my favourite images of the trip…always take the camera with you when you go out for diner 🙂

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As mentioned, unique shots of iconic objects are difficult to find. Here are a few atypical but probably not unique images of Percé Rock.

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While in Percé we stayed at the Hotel Le Mirage and I would highly recommend that you stay there if you are in the area. Everything was great with our stay at the hotel, especially the view from our second story balcony, from where the next image was taken.

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….and the same shot taken a few hours later.

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Night photography is a very enjoyable niche that is really quite simple as long as you have a good tripod to keep the camera completely motionless over the long time exposures that are required. It is especially enjoyable when you can practice night photography from the comfort of your hotel room balcony as with these next images. Perhaps because of its location at the tip of a peninsula, the weather conditions are constantly changing around Percé. The winds and clouds are quickly changing and the scenes are rapidly unfolding in front of the camera. The next images were all taken over a period of about an hour.

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The previous two images are shorter exposures as the cloud detail was very important to the image and therefore any motion in the clouded had to be minimized in order keep the clouds in sharp focus. The next two images have much longer exposures to allow movement in the clouds which blurs them in the image creating a very different feel.

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The approaching storm!

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I trust the images in this post have given you a glimpse of what the little village of Percé with its iconic rock is like and I hope that its enough of a glimpse to influence your future travel plans as a personal visit to the area would never disappoint. Its a spectacular and unique corner of our great country that really needs to be seen in person. Even the best photographs can not do the area justice.

With the exception of the night images, which were taken with the Canon 5D and 16-35mm lens, all of the images in this post were taken with the Fuji X-E2 and 18-55mm lens.

6 Comments

  1. va3im

    Scott, these are truly great pictures of Perce Rock, and will always be a great reminder of our trip with you and Deb. Mom especially likes the picture with the flowers in the front. Looking forward to your next blog.

  2. A most excellent post Scott as always. I would imagine that it would have been difficult for you to decide when you had enough images of this spectacular location 😉 It seems to be irresistible. Even though it is very difficult to choose, I do like image #5 with the flowers in foreground.

    • Thanks Arni and you are correct about not knowing when to stop…..you always need “just one more shot”. Thankfully external hard drives are quite affordable 🙂

  3. Carol Crossman

    Did you not get over to Bonaventure island to photograph the Gannet population??
    I really enjoyed the care you take in getting these photos to share with us.

    • No Carol, the weather was bad the two days we had available to get over to Bonaventure Island, so that will have to wait until next time. I do have some Gannet pictures that I will post in an upcoming blog though.