About the Cover Photo - Georgian Bay on a very moody, "blue" morning. A long exposure softened the clouds and water giving a rather surreal view of "The Bay"
Welcome to my site, and in particular, to this Journal. In here you will find a record of my travels, thoughts, maybe some techniques you might find useful, perhaps a bit of philosophy from time to time, and just general "stuff" that I might feel like writing about. The reason for this page is I have found
by following other photographers, I have picked up on all kinds of little tricks and ideas (never too old to learn, right?), so this page is my way of giving back a little bit to the community. I will update things somewhat frequently, but probably on an irregular basis. Obviously if I'm in the field (and when I'm "in the field",
that more often than not means I'm in the backcountry and nowhere near anything even resembling WiFi) then updates may be a bit slow to come. When I'm not though, things could be added quite frequently as the mood strikes me. So I hope you'll sit back, have a read and enjoy. Thanks for checking in. Oh, by the by, if you find the pages seem to load a little funny, hit your browser's refresh button and all should be ok. Thanks.
Just got back from a (mostly) fabulous 3 days on Flowerpot Island, which is part of the Fathom Five National Marine Park off the north shore of the Bruce Peninsula. I have to say right off the bat, the Parks Canada people are spectacularly good at administering and maintaining the parks in Canada, and this one is certainly no exception. These people work hard and are always courteous and more than a little helpful. Flowerpot Island is so named because of the sea stacks there, which are formed due to erosion of the relatively highly soluable limestone rock which formed from coral when this area was part of a tropical sea coast. That, of course, is an incredibly brief description of the process, but I can't do it justice here. Anyway, the base becomes more worn than the top thus the overall shape of these things is similar to a flowerpot, thus the name. Technically they are sea stacks. What is neat is, if you know where to look, and what to look for, you can see where newer ones have started to form but are nowhere near as far along in their evolution as the 2 main stacks. There is a large stack and a smaller one, with the large one being some 30 to 40 feet in height (wild guess on my part). They take millions of years to form so you are really looking into a serious piece of history when observing these. We are incredibly lucky to have such formations in a freshwater lake protected as they are, and as I say, Parks Canada does a fantastic job of making them accessible, at the same time as trying to keep them as pristine as possible. Sadly, there is a downside to this story, but more on that in a minute.
I traveled over to the island via Blue Heron Cruises on the Blue Heron 8. This is a new glass bottom ship they have and they give you a fantastic ride. Talk about traveling in comfort! My previous trips over to the island were in a sea kayak, and one of those trips involved navigating 2 to 3 metre seas! We got wet, to say the least. Traveling on the Blue Heron 8 was pure luxury, and we made stops at the Sweepstakes shipwreck in Big Tub Harbour, following which we cruised through a couple of the islands just south of Cove Island, all of which is part of Fathom Five National Marine Park. From there we headed straight over to the lightstation on Flowerpot, then I got deposited on the new dock/reception area on the island at Beachy Cove. Camping on the island is strictly backcountry style with few facilities on the island. You must be prepared and totally self reliant if you are going to stay there, and reserve well ahead. It's a popular destination. That said, the tent platforms are well built and well maintained and they, along with the rest of the island, are spotless. One couldn't ask for a better backcountry experience.
Sadly, there is one caveat to the whole experience. There are some incredibly ignorant tourists that come over to the island, who feel they will go down in immortality by defacing the stacks. They obviously know nothing of the history and reason-for-being of these incredible natural features, and proceed to write their names in indelible ink on the stones that make up the stacks. Please, if all these scarce and fragile natural features of our great land mean to you is something for you to deface and vandalize, stay away. You should know (in case you haven't figured it out for yourselves) that other people are watching, some of us with cameras. I know that if I see someone desecrating any protected object or species, I WILL take your photograph, and I WILL pass those photographs off to Parks Canada, where you will be prosecuted. That bit of vandalism could end up costing far more than you ever would have expected! I have taken photographs of the graffiti on the stack and have been in touch with Parks Canada at Tobermory. It is quite possible they will be able to match registrants who obtained permits to the park with the names and dates put on the stacks. From there, it wouldn't surprise me if some of the perpetrators end up in court. ''Nuff said.
OK, rather a long entry today. I hope you enjoy a sample of the images up on the site. I may put a couple more up yet from the Blue Heron 8 as we viewed the Sweepstakes through the windows in their vessel. My thanks to them for assisting my transport over to the island (and back) and to Parks Canada and all the staff there for making my stay so educational and enjoyable. I look forward to my next trip to a Canadian national park!
WELL!! Bet you didn't see this coming, right? Yeah, me neither! I got inspired by Marc Adamus' site, and based on what I learned from building the previous site, I decided to have another crack at my own site. Now, I'm a very long way from having the top professional site out there (bet you didn't see that either, did ya!) but for better or worse, it's all mine (and I'm sure it shows (gulp)). The images are all reprocessed and there are a bunch of "new" ones up there that you may not have seen before. However, you'll see a lot of turnover fairly early on in this iteration as I'm adding new images very frequently now. That said there will be a bit of a lull coming up in June while I make the first of my long range trips to the Maritimes as well as Newfoundland and Labrador, so don't look for anything much during June. There should be lots by the end of July though, and most of the older images (except for the very best of the best) will get swapped out for newer work. I also have a "New Work" gallery in addition to the Nature/Wilderness gallery, which will make it easier to see new stuff coming in.The plan is that newer images will go there first, then get cycled out to the regular gallery as still newer work gets ingested.The end result is I hope to keep a pretty fresh flow of images coming through here for your viewing pleasure. Anyway, hopefully this site works as planned and it provides some entertainment value, and even better, a message about how important conserving our natural areas is. Thanks a bunch for looking in. Enjoy!
I love the rain. Especially those soft, foggy and drizzly days, and even more in the Spring. The light has a really special quality to it and with the new greens coming along nicely now, there's almost a glow in the air. Such as it was this morning and I grabbed my gear and headed out for an area of hills with the fresh greenery on them. Unfortunately, I didn't get that far before the heavens opened up and the deluge took out that nice foggy look. I love shooting in the rain, but not when I'm in danger of drowning (lol). So, with the skies starting to clear now, I'm back on the computer (bah, humbug) and updating my site a wee bit with some new stuff I got a few days ago while out on the Bruce Trail, and doing some online courses in Photoshop and Lightroom. Gotta stay on top of the technology, don't ya know :) . Anyway, have a gander when you get time, and as always, if you don't see any new photos from the last trime, just hit your browser refresh button and you should be good to go. Oh, I did "practice" a bit with a light Orton effect on the Trilliums, so don't worry, your eyes aren't giving out on you (well, maybe they are, but don't go by the photos of the Trilliums!). Have a great day and happy shooting.
Spring is very definitely "springing" now! There's a small gorge not too far from where I live which is often pretty nice during the run-off (melting of the ice and snow), so as yesterday was a perfect day for shooting, I headed down there to see what was up. I was hoping for lots of greenery but not expecting much as the leaves really aren't out to any degree yet. However, what I had forgotten, was that the gorge has mostly cedars surrounding it. That turned out to be perfect, and along with the rushing water through the gorge, I had a whole lot of fun for about 2 hours, shooting away. Some of the images from that shoot are up on the website now. Refresh your browser if you don't see new content. I've been learning about some new techniques in processing from various people online (Steve Perryespecially!) which has really upped my game in that department. I hope you'll agree when you see the images. That's it for now. Flowerpot Island off the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula is my next trip, which is coming up in roughly two weeks. That should be loads of fun!
I love the change of seasons, especially in the north country. Now I know that many people in Southern Ontario consider Algonquin Park to be in Northern Ontario, but in fact, it's still very much in Southern Canada/Ontario and lies almost at the very southern edge of the Canadian Shield. Still, it has a very northern "flavour" to it, and that works for me. With the winter now behind us, I headed north to photograph the ice departing the lakes with the advent of Spring, a phenomena that completely blows me away. On the surface it just looks like the ice kind of melts and goes away, but it's actually a fairly complex process that does vary slightly with the climatic conditions of the year, but overall follows a very regular pattern. Anyway, with the ice leaving the lakes and rivers, all kinds of animals, birds and other wildlife return or come out of their wintering areas and many are in full breeding plumage. The world has quite suddenly gone from being mostly silent and seemingly empty to that of a level of business that would rival downtown Toronto or Montreal. I was up there for 3 days and barely stopped shooting from dawn to dusk. Along the way I had the good fortune to meet a couple of people, one of whom is one of the most famous photographers and naturalists in Canada - Michael Runtz - and another fellow who occupied the campsite next to mine whose name is Bob "Y" and who provided some very pleasant conversations and a great story on how he obtained his wall tent, of which I have slept in while winter camping in Algonquin many years back, and which brought back some good memories - thanks for your company Bob - hope to run into you again at some point. Some of the photos I obtained from this past week are up on the site, so I hope you'll go have a gander (and yes, pun intended - you'll see what I mean if you check out all the photos :) ) when you get time. As always, I find I need to refresh my browser (deleting the history doesn't hurt either) before checking the site out in order to not see the cached images from before. Looking forward to getting some waterfalls down south with my good friend David over the next week or two now that the leaves are starting to make an appearance, so stay tuned. Till next time... .
Very recently a friend discovered a fox den very close to where we live. It's located along a trailway nearby, so one evening when the light was good we headed off to see if we could get some photographs. Turned out to be an excellent opportunity, and we certainly weren't the only ones there with that in mind. I shot probably for about a half hour, with the kits being the only ones present. They were practicing their hunting skills on a rather dilapidated carcass of something (looked a bit like a possum, but at this stage it was almost impossible to tell anymore), all very close to the den entrances. A short time later 'moms' came back and seemed quite concerned about our presence, even though we were a distance away and using a very long lens. Nevertheless, we both decided that it was time to leave as no photograph anywhere of any living thing is worth the health of the animal. I did return the following morning at sunrise and again the light was beautiful. It took a while for the kits to show up, and I saw mom way out in an adjacent field heading for a nearby woods, so I spent a bit of time shooting some birds in the area. My patience was rewarded however, and after about an hour, the kits made an appearance and went back to their usual routine of horsing around and learning their craft of hunting. Within the hour the mother returned and at first didn't seem too concerned about me being there, but after several minutes (during which I was able to shoot her) she started to appear a bit agitated. Again I figured I had all the shots I really needed and discretion seemed the better part of valour, so I left the area. It was an exciting experience to see the foxes in the wild doing their normal 'thing' and I have to admit I really enjoyed my time with them. My one big concern is that while the trailway is signed such that dogs must be on a leash at all times, I have on numerous occasions noted that not everyone heeds the sign. I hope for the sake of the foxes and their pets that they do obey the rules and keep their dogs leashed.
Well, Spring looks like it's finally trying to make a serious effort to appear in Southern Ontario. It seems like the winter-that-wasn't-really-a-winter has been hanging on forever and a day, including dumping a load of ice on us as recently as a week ago. Yesterday though, we finally made it up to +18C (a bit warm for us for this time of year, but we'll take it!) and last night it stayed above freezing for the first time in a while. Good to see! Now if we can just get some leaves going, that'll be a good thing, but in the meantime, there are a lot of forest plants and flowers to shoot before the leaf canopy shuts off their energy source (the sun). So things should finally start getting busy for me, which is long overdue. In the mean time, check out my new Feature Image, which is another sure sign of Spring - migrating birds! Hope you like, and until next time, happy trails (as Roy Rogers used to say... man, I think I just severely dated myself!! Oh well :) ).
Ugghhh. Got up this morning and decided to head out hiking and shooting instead of doing my regular exercises. Well, by the time I got through looking for my gear and assembling it, the light was gone and so was my mood. So today is about nitty stuff. I'm cleaning, organizing, packing and generally getting myself set up so that if the mood hits me, I can be out the door in a matter of minutes. However, this is going to be an all day job. Yup, that's definitely what I want to be doing today - inside cleaning and reorganizing! NOT! Anyway, it's a necessary evil. I'll get all the batteries recharged (I carry about 5 or 6 extras with me), the cameras and lenses cleaned, and all the rest of the gear organized and packed. Oh well, it's a good time of the year to do that. We are in that "in-between" season where it's not winter and it's not spring. Mind you, around these parts, we've been in that season for about 2 months now. It's been a horrible winter for shooting, to be honest. Hopefully the spring brings lots of fog, mist, drizzle and other neat atmospheric stuff that can send a nature photographer into ga-ga-land. We shall see, but for now, it's back to work. Later people :) .
It's always exciting when one gets to share in something they love and enjoy as much as I enjoy photographing Canada. Unfortunately, sometimes life really sends you for a loop and brings one back to earth in a hurry, but also puts things in perspective. My heart and deepest sympathies go out to all those in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, and beyond who have suffered the terrible tragedy that occurred there last night (06-Apr). Fifteen of Canada's youths lost their lives through a terrible bus accident while on their way to a playoff hockey game in Nipawin, Saskatchewan. Other players and staff suffered terrible injuries. One can't imagine the pain the families are going through at this time, and there aren't the words to bring relief to such an event. I can only hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it will make itself known in short order.
Well, here it is. At last! None too soon either. The all new and improved site. Betcha you thought this was never going to happen, right? Well, it was never in doubt. Sort of. Maybe... . OK, so I was beginning to wonder myself, but with a bit of perseverence and time at Lynda.com in training,
I finally put together something that I'm pretty pleased with. One new item I have that is long overdue is a price list and way of ordering prints (FINALLY!-see the "Licensing and Prints" link at the top of the page). I don't print the images myself, but have a professional printing house do them for me
instead. The images in my gallery now are all of my first passion - backcountry Canada. Raw nature at it's best. I may deviate from this a bit over time with some Canadiana, should there be something that really strikes my fancy, but for the most part, I'm all in with Nature Photography. Never has the need
for more protection of the environment been more urgent, and I hope that's the message you take away from this site. Anyway, there you have it. Hope you enjoy the imagery, and better yet, I hope you them inspirational to your own work.