Monthly Archives: January 2016

“Zig-Zag” – High Falls, Bancroft, Ontario

"Zig-Zag" - High Falls, York River

High Falls, pictured above, is the result of a dam built at the terminus of Baptiste Lake to control the flow of the York River, which begins at this point. The river, while very useful for logging, used to cause catastrophic flooding in the town of Bancroft a few miles below. The dam sits atop a large mass of rugged rock above a valley with steep banks. I would love to have seen this area before the dam was built. It must have been quite a sight to see all that water rushing through this valley. While I imagine the lake was lower too, it would still have seen a significant flow, especially in spring.

The nature of the rock below the dam creates some pretty unique flow patterns, especially on long exposure, and it changes with the flow of the water. In spring, when there is a higher flow of water most of the central rocks are obscured. As summer progresses, the flow is reduced and small rivulets of water create intricate patterns between the rocks.

I spent an afternoon shooting a series of photos that cover many aspects of this cascade that I will  share from time to time, each offering a different vantage point and conveying the varied nature of this wonderful place.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm, f/2.8 @ 165 mm
1/8 sec, f/32.0, ISO 250

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“Frosted Shoreline” – Paudash Lake, Bancroft, Ontario

“Frosted Shoreline” - Paudash Lake, Bancroft, Ontario

Winter can be such a thing of wonderment. The photo above was made in December of 2014 while on a trip to A Place for The Arts, an artist cooperative in Bancroft, which I am a member of. The drive was generally uneventful, with the occasional blowing snow and a few drifts over the road. There had been a slight warming the day before and a quick cooling down which created a marvelous, almost magical, frosting on the tree branches along the road. It was beautiful to see the frost shining and twinkling in the trees along the road but it was not till we got into open areas with higher elevation that this effect really revealed itself. Along the far shores of Paudash Lake there are several high ridges and all the trees on these ridges were completely encrusted in a thick, pure white, layer of frost. I have rarely seen a scene of such intense purity as it dazzled in the mid-morning sunlight.

This is like a scene from Narnia where the White Queen has made her presence known in ice and snow. The frosted pines along the shore just accent the effect. A photo can hardly convey this type of scene, but this one come as close as I could have wished for. By early afternoon the frost had melted, or been disturbed by the wind, and the drive home was nowhere near as beautiful.

Now, when I drive along this lakeshore, even in summertime, and look at this shoreline, I will always be reminded of this particular moment in time, when winter came visiting the Paudash shores.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 78mm
1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

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“Snowshoe Tracks on Ahmik Lake”

“Snowshow Tracks on Ahmik Lake”

While winter has been slow to arrive in southern Ontario this year (we’re in fog and rain right now), that was not the case last year. The image above was made last winter on Ahmik Lake, near Parry Sound, Ontario. It had snowed gently most of the night, partially obscuring the tracks of others and was quite cold, but the day quickly brightened up. At the top left of this image is an island which I set out to explore in the morning. The snow on the lake was too deep to just walk on, so I donned my snowshoes and headed out.

As I got back to the cabin, I looked back and saw the scene I’m sharing today. It’s an interesting introspection on the ‘why’s’ of our journeys. When I set out, I headed straight toward the end of the island, but there are rises, drifts, and other structures in the way of a straight walk, so I recalibrated a few times. It’s interesting that these ‘objects’ to not appear on the photo very well, but they were there and very real. Then I adjusted my path a few more times. I can’t think right now why, but it was probably to get a different view of something interesting on the shoreline of the island.

The analogy here is: when looking at my path, you would have no idea why I did not just make my way directly to my destination. Even I, having made the journey, can’t explain the whole thing, only that I made it and enjoyed the experience.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6, @ 75mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0, ISO 200

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“Winter’s Dance”

"Winter's Dance"

A switch today from my mono posts of late and a look back to a winter past, in abstract. The above is a view through the edge of the forest at Fraser lake Camp, near Bancroft. There was a bit of fog in the air and frost on the branches. The whole scene had a dreamy feel to it. Since the vertical elements were present, I decided to try a vertical pan to add more of a surreal feel to the image. When looked at the final product, I had the sense that the trees were dancing, as they seemed suspended above the ground, as the branches wove and blended together. The thin horizon helps to anchor the whole scene.

Nikon D300
Nikor 28-70 mm  f/3.5-4.5 @35 mm
1/2 sec, f/25.0, ISO 200

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“Contemplation” – Marble Lake

"Contemplation"  - Marble Lake

Early one morning in late summer 2014, I went down to the lakefront with my daughter. It was one of those typical cool mornings on the lake where the mist from the warm water rises up and just hangs there for a few minutes before rising higher in the sky to become a cloud.

We spent some time on the dock, both making photos of the ethereal beauty of the mist as it moved in an intricate dance above the water’s surface. I was just about finished when I looked back and saw her standing on the dock and gazing across the lake. Only she can say what she might have been thinking at that moment, but she seemed transfixed by the mist, contemplating the scene in from of her. Given the slight halo around her head, she was probably reviewing her photos. It’s very serene and a moment I’m happy to have been able to capture and carry with me.

I was going for high depth of field to show some of the details in the swirling fog and a faster shutter to compensate for the brightness of the fog. It had a nice effect on the overall lighting.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ 24mm
1/640 sec, f/13.0, ISO 200

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“Millstone & Hammer” Black Creek Pioneer Village

Millstone and Hammer - Black Creek Pioneer Village

It would seem I am on a black and white theme lately?

The photo above was made at a local pioneer village, which is made up of many historic buildings from the area which have been moved to a central location. Inside this village sits Roblin’s Mill which was originally built in 1842 in Ameliasburg, Ontario in Prince Edward County. It is a fully functioning mill, and as such, is the only operating stone mill in Toronto.

I have been to this building may times and made photos of windows, timberland gears. On this particular day, the dim sunlight was shining on one of the mill wheels that was exposed to show how it worked. Someone had left a hammer sitting on the wheel and it made a nice composition.

It was a low light situation and I did not use a flash and was pleased at just how well the VR on my sense worked at 1/10th of a second handheld. I really should have used a tripod!

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6, @ 70 mm
1/10 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800

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“Keeping Score” – Quebec City

Keeping Score - Old Quebec 2012

While on a walking tour of Old Quebec a few years ago, I came across this man sitting in Parc Montmorency. When I first saw him, I had a front view and he was talking to a lady in a nurse’s uniform and she walked away laughing. I imagine she knew him and they had just shared a joke.

As the tour progressed I came around behind him, at a distance. He was now sitting alone and was writing in a note book. The angle I shot from was ideal and incorporated all sorts of elements which make this, in my option, a wonderful photograph. There is the light reflecting off the bench, the diagonal lines of a staircase in the background, wonderful shadows and textures, and the pigeon (which I did not notice when I made the photo).

This solitary gentleman sitting alone in a park, writing in a book, or journal, pulls me in and has me wanting to know more about him and his situation, like: who is he, why is he sitting on a bench writing, what is he writing. The title came from my imagination as I pictured him sitting there, watching the world around him and keeping score as it unfolded.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.4-5.6, @ 300 mm
1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 450

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