Larry Peyton is a drone hobbyist and is halfway finished his #NSLighthouseProject, which brings him across the province with his drone shooting aerial footage of every lighthouse in Nova Scotia, to post and share online.
With no firm knowledge of the number of lighthouses standing in Nova Scotia, Peyton didn’t know what he was getting into when starting two years ago. He’s since been to 10 lighthouses in Digby County, ten in Yarmouth and seven in Shelburne for the project, and 135 overall.
“It’s a labour of love. I intend to capture each lighthouse and preserve them through photo and video,” he said.
Beginnings of the project
Inspiration struck just under three years ago when Peyton and one of his daughters, Brooklyn, were in Sydney for a soccer tournament.
Peyton learned of the Low Point Lighthouse in New Victoria and headed over to grab some shots with his drone.
After interrupting a news interview onsite, Peyton learned this lighthouse needed money and that many more are dangerously dilapidated because of similar needs.
And thus, the idea of the #NSLighthouseProject was born.
“I decided to do something to help capture and preserve these structures that are such a part of our maritime culture,” said Peyton.
“The best way I could think of to do that was aerial footage, to show the whole building and its landscape.”
Getting the shot isn’t always easy
There are more lighthouses in Nova Scotia than any other province in Canada.
This is but one of the many lighthouse facts Peyton has learned since undertaking his project.
Getting to each one has proven difficult. Driving time from Waverley, where Peyton lives, to each lighthouse is long, and sometimes tiring.
The remaining 35 lighthouses Peyton will capture are also all in locations requiring assistance – most likely a boat ride – to get to.
“It’s hard to arrange these. I’ve got no funding for this, so when people can help me get out to capture a lighthouse it’s really appreciated,” he said.
Using a drone can also be tricky since weather conditions like precipitation, fog and the cold can ruin its functions.
Three trips were needed to capture Cape Forchu in Yarmouth due to fowl weather. Another trip last winter to Spry Bay was so cold the drone wouldn’t even fly.
“It’s taken longer than I thought, but I love what I’m doing. I wouldn’t keep doing it if I didn’t,” he said.
'These lighthouses aren’t just beacons'
Peyton has captured nearly 30 lighthouses in the last three weeks and will travel to Shelburne this weekend to capture a few more.
His coverage is entirely non-profit and non-funded. Footage from the project will be accessible online to all.
“This really is meant to create a montage of places, of memories, that people can share and celebrate together,” said Peyton.
While posting frequently to his Nō Ka ‘Oi Drone Guys Facebook page, Peyton also uploads content to Youtube, with original music composed and provided by his friend, Cory Webb, who also sometimes assists Peyton on shoots.
“I want people to know what they’ll see when they get off the 100-series highways,” he said.
“I’ll never sell any of this – it’s just meant for people to enjoy.”
As more and more lighthouses fall into disrepair – eventually just falling – Peyton’s project has become even more significant.
Some have disappeared in recent years, like the Churchpoint lighthouse destroyed by a blizzard in 2014.
Some he’s photographed have or are on the verge of collapsing or being destroyed.
“These lighthouses aren’t just beacons – they represent everything that Nova Scotia is,” said Peyton.
“In Hawaii, there’s a saying that if you take care of the sea, it takes care of you. Well if we take care of our lighthouses, everything they continue to represent will take care of us.”
If you want to assist Larry, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To follow his #NSLighthouseProject, see his photos and videos, or message him a different way, see the following links:
Lighthouses he’s captured
In Digby County: Bear River, Point Prim, Digby Pier, Gilbert’s Cove, Belliveau Cove, Cape St. Mary’s, Boer’s Head, Grand Passage, Peter Island and Brier Island (Western Light).
In Yarmouth County: Cape Forchu, Bunker Island (Bug Light), Tusket River, Green Island (Chebogue Point), Candlebox Island, Pease Island, Whitehead Island, Abbotts Harbour, Salmon River, Pubnico Harbour
In Shelburne County: Woods Harbour, West Head, Cape Sable, Seal Island Light Museum (replica lighthouse with the actual Fresnel lens from Seal Island), Baccaro Point, Sandy Point and Carter Island.
The lighthouses remaining for Peyton to capture in the tri-county area are in Shelburne County: Gull Rock, Cape Roseway, Cape Negro Island, The Salvages, Bon Portage, Stoddart Island and Seal Island.