Paul Dolk, Marine Wildlife Photographer: Luminous Stages
Artist’s Reception: Sunday 1st July, 6.30–7.30pm
“I have to admit to being a little apprehensive around 20 years ago as we headed out of Trinity Harbour in a Zodiac for the first time. It was a foggy day but nevertheless, we did find a single Humpback Whale. We couldn’t quite believe what we were witnessing. This huge, powerful and graceful animal appeared from nowhere and then started breaching…..over and over again. It breached over 120 times in a row. Our lives were changed forever, we were hooked.”
My name is Paul Dolk, and with my wife Sandra and our wonderful dog Zoey, we have the great privilege of living each year in both Newfoundland an Friesland in The Netherlands. Originally from Rotterdam, we travelled to Newfoundland for the first time almost 20 years ago on our honeymoon. As committed outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers we were fascinated by this island and fell in love with the place. Add to that our passion for wildlife and my lifelong interest in photography and we just couldn’t resist setting up home here.
Luckily, for my ‘day job’, I work as a teacher in Friesland and Sandra is self-employed so we have considerable flexibility to escape each year. After a few years of return visits and lots of planning, we took the plunge in 2003 and purchased an old ‘fixer-upper’ former fisherman’s house in Open Hall on the edge of Bonavista Bay. We were welcomed in with open arms by the people here in this unique place. Over the years, we have made so many great friends, both locals and CFA’s (Come-From-Away’s) alike. We now feel totally part of the community here and adding Newfoundland born and bred Zoey to our family from the Clarenville animal shelter recently seemed a natural move and she agreed.
Wind the clock forward to today and we count ourselves lucky to spend at least 3 months of each year in Newfoundland. Our home in Open Hall is completely restored and wonderfully cozy. We have also purchased a traditional wooden boat which not only is great fun but also critical for my passion for seeking out wildlife on the ocean. 20 years of capturing images and film of this very special place has been an absolute joy. Nothing is ever the same. Every time we head out along the headland or venture out in the boat, we never know what we’re going to come across. We have learned to be very patient, sometimes waiting hours for a glimpse of an otter or for a sperm whale to re-surface from a dive of over 1000 feet.
Nothing gives me more pleasure than capturing a great image of one of the many natural phenomena or wild animals that we have the privilege to enjoy in this part of the world. An even greater pleasure is to then have the opportunity to share these images with you.