Category Archives: Travel

“Early Evening Over Marble Lake”

“Early Evening Over Marble Lake”

“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” 
― Sarah Williams

I spent Saturday evening with my son, on the dock at the camper near Bancroft, Ontario. Conditions were not ideal, as there was a fine have in the sky and the waxing crescent moon had just set, but we took the opportunity to make a few images despite these conditions.

The results, while not quite what I was after, are pleasing and capture the mood from the dock nicely, including traffic on Highway 62, which runs along the west end of the lake, creating the light streak to the lower right of the photo.

Nikon D800
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 17mm
20 sec, f/2.8 ISO 3200

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“End of Day Cool Down”

“End of Day Cool Down”

“There’s a special quality to the loneliness of dusk, a melancholy more brooding even than the night’s.” 
― Ed Gorman

After a day filled with sunshine, family, volleyball, and too much food, a quick dip in the lake after the sun has set is in order. As I considered this photo of my son standing in the shallow beach waters at Sauble beach, surrounded by the incredible reflected dusk, I realized how strange it may appear to someone who did not know that the water is so shallow.

The beach is made up of long underwater dunes which reach far out into the lake. From the shore the water is very shallow and a few meters out, drops to about waist or even chest level, depending on the shape of the dune (and your height). The water then becomes quite shallow, again, as the next dune rises, say, knee deep. In the photo, my son is on the outside of the second dune, where the waters once more drop a bit deeper.

It’s also a bit of an unusual photo for me because my landscape and nature photos tend to deliberately omit people. In this case, I like the inclusion of the silhouetted form of my son, being part of the beautiful scene that spread before me, after the sun had already set. As a side note, I joined him in the water soon after this image was made, enjoying my own cool down and revelling in the beauty of dusk on Lake Huron.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/120 sec; f/1.8; ISO 32

Thursday Doors | August 17, 2017

“582 Sherbourne Street” James Copper House, Toronto

This week’s submission to Norm 2.0‘s Thursday Doors. 

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world.

“582 Sherbourne Street” James Cooper House, Toronto

Today, a return to another of the grand old houses of Toronto’s Sherbourne Street. This one has fascinated me for some time now. Whenever I drive by, I’m drawn to the interesting statues installed on the property. So, when I had the opportunity to walk the area a few weeks ago, this was definitely on my list of places to check out.

I had no idea of the history of this majestic “Second Empire” style building. The building was built in 1881 for James Cooper, a wealthy merchant and show retailer. This area was one of the wealthiest places in Toronto at the time the house was built and it’s in the best condition. After Cooper departed, the building became home to the Keeley Institute for Nervous Diseases, an organization assisting those with alcohol and substance abuse problems. In 1910, it became home to the Toronto Knights of Columbus, who used the facility as a meeting and fundraising venue for almost a century. In 2008 the property was purchased by the Tridel Group, with the intention of building a condominium tower on the site, which is designated by the City of Toronto as a heritage building, so it had to be preserved. Or, in this case, moved.

It turns out, it’s also one of the heaviest moves of a building in Canadian history. In 2008, the 800 ton building was moved twenty feet east and five feet south from its original location, to make room for a condominium tower being built on the same property. The move cost the developer a reported $1M but preserved an architectural treasure from Toronto’s past. The developer has taken great care to maintain the house, which serves as an amenities centre for the adjacent condominium tower.

Oh, yes, and back to the statues, the property has several, all in a wildlife motif, with wolves, stags, and foxes attached to metal bases, with a reflected statue beneath it. The wolf and the fox sit horizontal, but the stag is a vertical installation, quite eye catching. I’ve included the Google Streetview link, though it does not do it justice, as well as an image of the house being moved.

The things you learn when you look for nice doors.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/120 sec; f/1.8; ISO 32



“We’re always attracted to the edges of what we are, out by the edges where it’s a little raw and nervy. “
– E. L. Doctorow

Similar to my photo from a few days ago “Transitions and Sunsets“, this is another transition photo, made on the same shoreline, at a different time. The elements remain the same, but the light and weather conditions are different.

In this image, made mid afternoon, the water is beginning to recede, having been pushed ashore by high winds and waves. The small ripples in the water are the only indication of this wind, all else would seem calm, the timeless ebb and flow of waves on the shore. The effect the water has on the tone of the sand, making it slightly darker, is what first caught my eye, as well as the sorting of sand grains between light and dark, which is so common on beaches around here, creating the streaks of tan and gray.

It’s yet another image that I simply enjoy looking at and drawing meaning from.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/270 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20


“Transitions and Sunsets”

“Transitions and Sunsets”

“There was no sudden, striking, and emotional transition. Like the warming of a room or the coming of daylight. When you first notice them they have already been going on for some time.” 
― C.S. Lewis 

While enjoying one of several sunsets last weekend, I could not help but be fascinated by the light playing on the sand at my feet. The sun reflecting from the sand glowed a coppery orange yet the receding waters picked up the blues from the sky.

It’s one of those ‘elemental’ moments of transition. The transition from land to water is accentuated by the warm and cool colours, just as the day is transitioning to evening, in a similar fashion. There is also the matter of varying texture, from the rough yet ordered pattern of the sand versus the soft, flowing ripples of the water.

So much going on, yet simple and soothing. Yet another moment of the day to consider in its complexity and simplicity. I like the image, as it seems to continually resonate with me in different ways. It is is simply, ‘there’.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 300mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6 ISO 800

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“No Volleyball Today” – Sauble Beach

“No Volleyball Today” - Sauble Beach

“All human plans [are] subject to ruthless revision by Nature, or Fate, or whatever one preferred to call the powers behind the Universe.” 
― Arthur C. Clarke 

I made this image almost immediately upon my arrival at Ontario’s Sauble Beach. The forecast was for a mostly rainy weekend and our group had resigned itself that it might not be ideal for playing our favourite beach sport, volleyball.

As we drove towards the lake we were shocked by the immense waves, the like of which we had never experienced here, even during storms. After unpacking, several of us headed towards the dunes to check out the beach, which no longer existed. This is what we saw.

The combination of extremely high water levels in the Great Lakes this year coupled with steady winds directly from the west caused the water to literally stack up on the beach. You can sort of see the ‘stacking’ nearer the horizon, as the water from the deep lake hits the shallower waters of the wide beach about two hundred meters from shore. The wide, shallow sand bar acts as a buffer but the water still has to go somewhere and inevitably rolls over the sand bar and washes out the beach.

On a typical day, the beach front is about where the second row of waves is in the photo and the volleyball courts are about two meters above the lake level. On this day, expecting to miss out on volleyball due to rain, we found the courts under several centimeters of water.

The image does not effectively convey the force of the wind or the water, as the height of the waves is limited by the shallow waters, it became a high wild chop. Needless to say, it was a ‘wild’ day. So, between gale force winds and high water, there was no volleyball to be had.

By the next day, the winds had died off, the waters had receded, and as the sun warmed the ground, the beach was drying out, leaving us with pristine, flat surfaces for the rest of the weekend. A total change for this scene which greeted us on arrival.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0, ISO 100

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“Sauble Beach Sunset Number 3”

“Sauble Beach Sunset Number 3”

“The beauty of the unexpected lies within the surprise of the momentum,
not only at its tipping point, but also within all the moments waiting.” 
― Akilnathan Logeswaran 

Sauble Beach, on Ontario’s Lake Huron, is known for its sunsets. This one did not disappoint. It was the last day of a long weekend with friends and family. We had just finished our supper and packing the car for the drive back home, when this sight presented itself. So, I ran to the top of a dune and snapped a couple of shots with my iPhone.

It’s funny, I had spent the past two evenings on the beach photographing sunsets, each a lot different than the other. Day one was the end of a wind storm, the waves just beginning to calm, and narrow clouds stretched out across the red horizon. The next day was also filled with wispy cloud, yet the sky was filled with more pink and purple hues. I was not even thinking of a sunset on our final day, since I was occupied packing up. Yet, of the three sunsets we experienced, I enjoyed this one the most, perhaps because it came as a bit of surprise.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/950 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20