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Archive for June, 2011

Ball’s Falls on Twenty Mile Creek

A couple of weeks ago I had some spare time and the weather conditions were favorable for photographing waterfalls, so I headed off to a few additional falls that I had hoped to shoot this year before the river’s flow diminished too much. Many of the Niagara Escarpment, a world biosphere, waterfalls dry-up in summer, so you must shoot them in spring and early summer or during periods of extended rainfall. In the image of Ball’s Falls above the cascade is substantially reduced due to a couple of weeks of dry weather. On this particular day it did begin to rain, rather heavy at times and I was forced to seek shelter beneath the gorge wall where I photographed this composition with my 12-24mm lens and polarizing filter attached. A more intimate view of the falls was composed below using the 80-400mm VR lens (with VR off).

Ball’s Falls details

Below you will see Grindstone Falls found in the town of Waterdown, Ontario. This waterfall also goes by the names Great Falls, Waterdown Falls and Smokey Hollow Falls. A couple of months ago when I was at this location is was not possible to shoot the falls from below the cascade due to substantial and very dangerous river flow. After a couple of weeks of dryer weather I returned to make this image. Above the falls too much white sky was visible and the viewing platform would be an unpleasant distractions so I composed the scene to eliminate these. A rotten stench would drift by periodically and I soon became aware of a dead white-tailed deer among the rocks on the far bank of the river. I presume the deer had become caught in the river over had gone over the falls and drowned – a testament to how dangerous the river was upon my first visit.

Grindstone Falls

Beamer’s Falls in the town of Grimsby along Forty Mile Creek (photo below) was another waterfall that was too dangerous to attempt photographing in early spring so again I returned after a dry spell to photograph this picturesque cascade. This waterfall was reduced to a mere trickle, however, enough water was flowing over the crest to create this pleasing image. In hindsight, I wish I had shot this one as a panoramic…..something to keep in mind for my next visit.

Beamer’s Falls

I am off to Parry Sound for a few days. I am hoping to photograph the Common Loons that have returned to Horseshoe Lake and successfully hatched two adorable chicks!

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Morden Tombstone with Silver Efex & Fractalius applied

The Nipissing Road began as a colonization road for settlers in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. It is now part of the Trans-Canada Trail. This road, 120 kilometres in length, connects the town of Rosseau on Highway 141 to Nipissing on Highway 534. It is best described as a road of broken dreams. Abandoned settler’s cabins and graveyards tell the stories of hardships faced by those who settled the land. The Canadian government granted free land to those who would clear the land and build permanent homes. However, the fertile soils of the Canadian prairies beckoned and the Nipissing Road was destined to fail as a colonization road. Nothing illustrates the hardships faced by these settlers more than the tombstone marking the graves of James and Janey Morden’s six children that died, possibly due to diphtheria, between the 14th and 19th of January in the year 1902. No more than twenty paces from the Morden tombstone is another grave that marks the Ashton’s four children that died in January and February of the same year. A sad reminder of the hardships faced by those who settled the land.

Ashton Tombstone – Silver Efex Sepia Tone

Morden Tombstone in color

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Tiffany Falls

After processing more of my waterfall images from a couple of weeks ago, I have decided to include them in my soon-to-be-released eBook. These are essentially the horizontal versions to some previously posted waterfalls from Hamilton, Ontario. Tiffany Falls pictured above is a quick 5 min walk from a busy Hamilton road. Hard to believe – looks like you hike many miles deep into the wilderness to some secluded oasis.

Hope you enjoy the images!

Webster’s Falls on Spencer Creek

Looking down-river from the crest of Webster’s Falls

Looking down-river from the crest of Grindstone Falls

Tews Falls on Logie’s Creek

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For some reason Green Frogs always remind me of the 400 year old folk song Froggie Went-a-Courtin’. I first heard of this song several years ago when Bob Dylan recorded his version of the song. Last week I photographed numerous Green Frogs out in the pond. One frog in particular was quite striking – a uniform green color not the usual mottled appearance that they have. As I was framing a close-up of this fella, pictured above, he lunged forward to bite the lens. When frogs detect movement they usually try to eat what is moving, due to voracious appetites. No worries, I remained unscathed by the attack :).

This season I was finally able to capture Green Frogs with their vocal sacs inflated. This is rather difficult as they only inflate them for a moment, unlike Toads and Gray Treefrogs that inflate their sacs for a longer duration. Here is a selection of Green Frogs from this season.

Green Frog with vocal sacs inflated

Male Green Frog

Female Green Frog

The Happy Couple

Green Frog with vocal sacs inflated

Male Green Frog

When you assume a very low camera position, a frog’s eye view if you will, leave some space in front of the frog and you will be able to capture the frogs reflection also. As you can see in the two images below.

Male Green Frog

Male Green Frog

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Grindstone Falls

A couple of weeks ago I decided to take a break from my springtime frog photography and spend a day doing landscapes. I hadn’t been out to do fresh landscape imagery for awhile so it felt great to get out. We have been having much rainfall this year and on another drizzly day I ventured out to the city of Hamilton, Ontario. Hamilton is known as the “waterfall capital of the world” with close to 100 waterfalls listed. Many of these waterfalls are merely the result of spring run-off cascading down the Niagara Escarpment, however, there are many substantial waterfalls to photograph. It is best to photograph these waterfalls during the spring as they will have nice flow. Usually by mid to late summer they dry up, but with the amount of rain southern Ontario has been having I think they will remain quite photogenic for longer this year. I found some of the falls to have too much flow, making it impossible to capture the scene I really wanted, due to excessive mist coming off the falls. In situations like this I often head up to the crest of the falls and shoot down river. When I need to shoot in the mist I use a clear plastic bag over my camera. I can compose my compositions and adjust my polarizer filter to my liking through this bag. When ther is a lull in the mist being cast I will take the bag off, quickly focus and trip the shutter. I then dry off any water drops from the polarizer filter and am ready to go again.

Webster’s Falls

Webster’s Falls is found in the Spencer Gorge Wilderness Area. It is hard to believe that you are only a stone’s throw away from a city of 500,000 people when you visit Webster’s Falls. This is the most impressive waterfall in Hamilton. Right now it has substantial flow and is well worth visiting.

Tews Falls

Tews Falls, on Logie’s Creek,  is also found in the Spencer Gorge Wilderness Area. Next to the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara, Tews Falls is the highest waterfall in southern Ontario with a height of 42 metres. Logie’s creek is a very shallow river so this waterfall will be reduced to a trickle or dry-up altogether during dry spells.

Tiffany Falls

The best place to shoot Tiffany Falls was to climb up the steep side of the gorge to a spot where there seemed to be little or no mist. The problem here was I could not fit the falls into a pleasing comp with my 12-24mm lens. The solution – shoot a vertical panoramic. I stitched together two horizontal images to give me this wide-vertical composition that includes the elements I wanted in the scene.

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Gray Treefrogs are true masters of camouflage. Their ability to change color and blend in with their surroundings is amazing.. When photographing them, I much prefer to shoot them in the ponds behind my home as they turn a beautiful green, to blend with the field grasses.  When I photograph them in temporary ponds in the forests around Parry Sound, Ontario they tend to be much darker – a result of the dark colored, wet leaf litter at the edges of the ponds. On occasion, I find them at rest on some sandy spots adjacent to the ponds where they take on a tan-colored appearance to match the sand more closely. In the ponds behind my home a couple of Silver Maples have taken hold and some of the treefrogs are climbing up the small trees to chorus. This has provided some very pleasing situations for photographing the frogs at night as clean, dark backgrounds are possible, making the frogs really stand out. Here is a collection of Gray Treefrogs photographed this spring…….so far.

All frog images were photographed with a Nikon D200, Nikon 105mm micro lens and a small Nikon SB400 on a home-made flash bracket. Each image takes about half an hour to one hour to process as I really hate the flash generated specular highlights common with shooting these little critters in their wetland habitat under the cover of night. There is usually much cloning to be done, but the end results are usually worth the extra effort.

Hope you enjoy these images!

 

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