Tag Archives: Bancroft

“The Crossing”

The Crossing”

“… there’s a silent voice in the wilderness that we hear only when no one else is around. When you go far, far beyond, out across the netherlands of the Known, the din of human static slowly fades away, over and out.” 
― Rob Schultheis

I titled this ‘Crossing’ because it illustrates my point in a prior post about the lack of straight paths in the Boreal forest. A large tree has fallen across the path in front of me, ‘crossing’ my path.

It’s the way of trekking cross-country, and changing my way, slightly to get to my next destination. Here, I chose to go right and slightly up hill, to get to my destination, which is a nearly unseen beaver pond just past the crest of the hill. Though, you can see a bit of a reflection between the trees at the centre, just below the shining beech leaves. My destination is straight ahead, but my path is far for straight. A true “Boreal Path”.

You’ll notice another ‘snag’, or pile of dead brush along that path as well. Like I said, there are no straight paths through this forest. I’m also ‘crossing’ the hill to get there and two of the Hemlocks in the foreground are ‘crossing’ over each other, almost weaving together.

This is a place of peace and quiet, of circuitous paths, and a place so different from the human world I have escaped from. There are no clear paths, plans must flex situationally, with only the chatter of the ever-present Red Squirrels to replace the noise and busyness of the world outside this refuge.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@70mm

1/4 sec, f/7.1, ISO 400

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“Hilltop Hemlocks”

“Hilltop Hemlocks”

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

At the crest of a hill, the trail drops sharply in front of me. In this region of wilderness, near Bancroft, Ontario, there are very few flat places. The landscape is dominated by steep, folded hills. The valleys are the realm of spring fed creeks and beaver ponds.

The walking in the high ridges is a bit easier, as the dominant hemlocks are fairly well spaced, yet it only takes one which has fallen to make for a long detour. There are few straight paths between the hills and valleys of the “Boreal Trails” and the only markers along the way are the trees themselves.

When I was younger, I used to have a fear of getting lost in the forest. My father, an avid outdoorsman, never balked at heading into the densest bush. I’m not sure when things changed for me, but I have acquired that same sense of direction that he had. But, I always have a compass with me, no matter how familiar the forest may be, as I have found myself turned around a few times.

In this forest, I tend towards the high ground, following the parallel ridges north and south. Trekking in the valleys, strewn with debris of slash and boulders, and choked with balsams, is tough walking.

Besides, the view from the ridges is much more appealing than the darkness of a tangled spruce bog.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@70mm
1/4 sec, f/11.0, ISO 400

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“Birches at the Bend”

“Birches at the Bend”

“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.” 
― George R.R. Martin

Welcome to “Boreal Trails”. I thought I’d start the series off with this image of a clump of birches at the bend in a trail. Figuratively, a turn in the seasons.

You will notice, as this series continues, a few splashes of colour against a duller green background. Gone now are the warm days of Indian Summer its bright colours. The Boreal forest is dominated by hemlock, spruce, cedar, and, pine. Small groves of maple and oak exist as well, but it’s a green cold forest at this time of year, with traces of snow in the air, falling from leaden skies.

As you can see in this image, the birches bring light to the gloom and a few hearty beech trees, add splashes of colour to the muted canvas and will continue to do so for some time, as the final bearers of colour.

It sounds a bit somber, but there is incredible beauty here. A beauty I intend to share over the next several days.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@75mm
1/4 sec, f/11.0, ISO 400

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“Urgency”

“Urgency”

“Water is the most perfect traveller because when it travels it becomes the path itself!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

This image is another of High Falls, near Bancroft, Ontario. I really could spend a day photographing various parts of the waterfall, as light shifts and different elements of the flowing water reveal themselves.

The ancient rock structures in this area add so much character to the waterfalls through their deep textures and colours. These are ancient Canadian Shield structures, known for their age and diverse mineral content. I provide more information on the falls themselves on a previous post.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/13 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200 

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“Downward Plunge”

“Downward Plunge”

“Life moves very fast. It rushes from Heaven to Hell in a matter of seconds.” 
― Paulo Coelho

This past weekend, I took a little side drive to High Falls, which is really a former chute, turned to a waterfall by the installation of a dam nearly one hundred years ago. The dam closes off the end of Baptiste Lake, just north of the town of Bancroft, Ontario.

Because of the dam, the lake itself is a lot larger than it was originally, by about fifteen feet. As I stood along the side of the falls, I tried to picture this area before the dam was built. It must have been quite a sight, watching the massive flow of water surging through this narrow chute.

The dam was built to regulate the flow of the water from Baptiste Lake into the York River, which begins here and flows through the town of Bancroft several miles below. Spring floodwaters used to cause a lot of damage to the town. Even with the dam, the York River catchment basin is big enough to cause flooding in the town in the spring, as snow and ice melt. It must have been crazy before the dam was built.

I made several long exposures of various section of the falls, till a sudden cloudburst ended my day and I had to scramble back to the car, satisfied with only a few images. Of the five images I made, this one resonated with me the most. It shows the water spreading beyond the narrow rift and flowing over the surrounding rocks. The water was a bit higher than usual, in part because of our excessively rainy summer.

There is something about water that calms me, even rushing water. As I edited the image, I found myself zooming in on sections, taking in the complex movement and textures of the water as it rushes over teh rocks and downward to the rapids below.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200 

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“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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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