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Archive for September, 2010

Red Maples adorn the shore at Gut Lake in Grundy Lake Provincial Park. I have always enjoyed the views at Gut Lake and at Swan Lake within this provincial park located at the junction of Highway #69 & Highway #522. The autumn views at Swan Lake would be a little nicer shortly after the fall colour peaks as there are many aspen trees around this lake which tend to peak just after the sugar maples do.

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The newly discovered Skeleton Falls, from last year, in Ontario’s Muskoka Region is one of my favorites. It is a very secluded waterfall, located a stones throw from Highway #141 and a little bit tricky to find and descend to. About 1.3 kms west of Fish Hatchery Road the highway makes a long left-handed bend, the waterfall is near the outside of the curve in the road and down a very steep forested embankment. I parked on a nearby dirt road and walked back to area near the falls. There is no safe place to park a car alongside of the highway. I would advise strongly to visit with a friend for safety reasons. After a descent rainfall is a small, but picturesque woodland waterfall.

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I discovered the Torrance Barrens/Dark Sky Reserve near Gravenhurst Ontario several years ago. I immediately loved the location. It is full of many, many photographic possibilities. To reach this awesome location take Highway #169 towards the small town of Torrance. Turns South on District Road 13 and follow it for about 5-7 km to the parking lot at the barrens. There are several trails and all offer excellent opportunities. Particularly those near Highland Pond which is where this image was captured.

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Today’s post takes us back to the Magnetawan River, to Brooks Falls, in Ontario’s Almaguin Highlands near Emsdale. This waterfall is definitely on my list of locations to photograph in the coming days. There is a lovely red maple near the top of the falls, but it had lost its leaves by the time I shot this image a couple of years ago. Brooks Falls can be reached by driving north on Highway #11, past Huntsville, watch for Deer Lake Road. Take this road and drive East to Brooks Falls Park. There is a big sign – can’t miss it. This is one of the most picturesque waterfalls I have encountered.

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Today’s autumn primer takes us to Ontario’s Haliburton  Highlands along the Kennisis River. This photograph was shot downstream from Buttermilk Falls. To reach this location you would have to take Highway 35 to Buttermilk Falls. There is a small parking lot near the bridge at the Kennisis River. Park here and follow the path way to some splendid colour alongside river. With cool nights we have been experiencing lately the colours will be moving toward peaking quite rapidly.

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With peak fall colour just around the corner in central Ontario, it will soon be time to gas-up the car and head out in search of autumn’s palette. My favorite region to explore for stunning fall colour is Muskoka. Many wonderful scenes can be found by driving along Highway 141 or Highway 169 and many of the smaller county roads that run off of these highways.

The image for this post was shot about 3 years ago, along a small county road that runs along Lake Rosseau. I was out shooting with fellow photographer Mike Grandmaison, who was then working on imagery for his Muskoka coffee table book. The book has been released and features a multitude of stunning photographs from this region and is available through Key Porter Books. When we happened upon this scene, with great colour and reflection to match, we had to stop and shoot. Soon after a motor boat came speeding by and ruined the reflection. Mike’s version of this scene can be found in his Muskoka book.

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Here is an image of Katherine Cove in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park. It was photographed a few years ago. I have always liked this shot in colour, but something about it always bugged me too. Today, I decided to convert it to black and white using Nik Software’s Silver Efex and I also used their “Tonal Contrast” filter to give this a slight HDR look. I am thankful that I shot this image on the day that I did because the very next day a family was attacked by an injured wolf at this exact location.

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Here is a recent capture from the Magnetewan River in Ontario’s Almaguin Highlands near the town of Emsdale. This is just above Brooks Falls. Brooks Falls is a little know, but amazing waterfall, particularly in spring. I have always liked the jumble of large boulders at this location. It ranks up there as one of my favorite waterfalls in Ontario. I’ll post an autumn image next week as we will be getting closer to peak colour in Central Ontario. Next week I will commence with fall colour posts and there locations, so if you are out and about you can check-out this seasons colour palette.

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As I drove home from the Abitibi Canyon region of Ontario I headed south on Highway 144. A little bit north of Sudbury, near Halfway Lake Provincial Park, I came upon a large area of burnt forest. I had driven by it before, but never stopped to photograph it. This time I stopped to take a few shots and when I returned home I googled this area for forest fires. Several years ago, in May of  2007, a poorly extinguished camp fire would become known as “Sudbury Forest Fire #46″. An astonishing 590 hectares burned. What I found most intriguing here was all the White Pine trees seemed to have survived while the rest of the forest was destroyed by the fire. Upon researching this, I discovered that white pines can survive most surface fires due to their thick bark, mostly branch-free trunks, moderately deep root systems and needles with a relatively low resin content, making them less flammable.

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Many years ago I remember reading an article by the late Galen Rowell about photographers knowing their limitations. I always interpreted this to mean that knowing your limitations could aid creative vision. Further to this, Canadian photographer David duChemin’s (Pixelated Image) phrase “gear is good, vision is better” is solid advice and Darwin Wiggett’s recent column in Outdoor Photography Canada’s Fall/Winter issue is a must read for anyone wishing to upgrade their gear. Links to both of these photographers can be found on my blogroll.

Today our limitations could be gear-related, physical or even monetary. Having a young daughter keeps me very close to home, so last winter I decided to construct a blind for backyard, songbird imagery. Everyday when my daughter would have her nap, I would head out to the blind, baby monitor in tow, and photograph songbirds for a couple of hours. On several days, it was dark, overcast and snowy. Since I am still shooting with, and a tad embarrassed to admit it, a Nikon D200, I do not have the luxury of cranking up the ISO to capture a razor-sharp image of birds in flight on days like these and my main lens for wildlife is the pathetically, slow focusing 80-400 VR lens. These limitations steered me towards being a little more creative, shooting intentional blurs of songbirds taking flight from perches. Capturing a pleasing blur is not as easy as it sounds, but it is fun to play around with various shutter speeds and see what transpires. Of all the blurs I shot last winter I kept only two images – the above Black-capped Chickadee image and another that has been submitted to Audubon’s “Birds in Focus” competition. This Black-capped Chickadee was shot at ISO200 @ 1/60 sec.

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