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Posts Tagged ‘ontario’

Sunrise at Tiny Marsh with early sign of the ice starting to break-up

Sunrise at Tiny Marsh with early sign of the ice starting to break-up

Today I awoke at 4:30 a.m. to start my 45 minute drive to the Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area in Elmvale, Ontario. I have never had a disappointing day at Tiny Marsh and I often am rewarded with something I did not quite expect to capture during each visit. Today would be no exception. As usual I like to arrive with plenty of time to walk out along the main dike that extends out into the marsh, as I often find this to be most productive for sunrise imagery. Spring is getting underway a little slower here as the wetlands are still quite frozen over, a result of the extended, brutal cold we endured this winter which in turn created thick ice on the lakes and wetlands. In the image below you can see that things are starting to open up some now.

Tiny Marsh at sunrise in early spring

Tiny Marsh at sunrise in early spring

It was a cold morning with lightly formed ice on the surfaces of the newly open water sections. Along the edges of the marsh I noticed thousands of dead catfish, a result of winter kill, which is a common occurrence and quite simply a part of mother nature. These dead catfish will provide food for numerous wildlife, including racoons, snapping turtles, and many others. Having never encountered such an abundance of dead fish from winter kill I could not help but create a few images of them frozen beneath the ice.

Brown Bullhead Catfish winter kill

Brown Bullhead Catfish winter kill at Tiny Marsh

Brown Bullhead Catfish winter kill at Tiny Marsh

Brown Bullhead Catfish winter kill at Tiny Marsh

Tiny Marsh also supports a very large breeding population of Canada Geese and during today’s there were a few pairs hanging out in the open water near the main parking lot. In the distance you could hear the loud cackles of the majority of the marsh’s population.

Canada Geese at Tiny Marsh in early spring

Canada Geese at Tiny Marsh in early spring

Lastly, I wanted to scout out the boardwalk trail to see how things were looking for some of my soon to commence frog photography. The ice has receded completely in this area of the marsh but the water levels are very high this year – a result of the significant snowfall this past winter. I slowly made my way along the boardwalk, which was sinking into the water as I walked along it, and by the time I was done my feet were thoroughly soaked.

Tiny Marsh Boardwalk Trail submerged due to high water levels

Tiny Marsh Boardwalk Trail submerged due to high water levels

For folks that have never visited Tiny Marsh before I urge you to add it to your list of must see destinations, as it never disappoints. For private in-the-field photographic instruction please be sure to check out my newly added Workshops page on the blog by clicking here.

Long Point Workshop

For folks that are interested in a photographic workshop / tour to the tip of the Long Point Peninsula on Lake Erie, a destination that is only accessible by boat be sure to follow this link for further information. This workshop will take place on Saturday, May 31st.

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Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

It was in bright, afternoon sunlight that I found myself along the shore of Lake Superior at the mouth of the Coldwater River in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park, during my trip to the park in September of 2013. I knew that I wanted to create an image whereby the waves on the lake would be blurred to a smooth texture so that they would not compete with the other elements within the composition. But the light was too bright to obtain a slow enough shutter speed to allow for this vision. At the last minute before departing for Lake Superior I decided to throw the B&W 10-stop Neutral Density Filter in my gear bag.I was glad I did. After attaching the filter to the lens I had the extended exposure that was needed for this composition. The above images was the result of a 15 second exposure that blurred the wave action on the lake and captured the passage of the swiftly moving cotton clouds.

For folks planning to attend the upcoming Long Point Workshop I will have this filter on hand for anyone that may wish to give it a try. If you missed the Long Point Workshop announcement you can find it by clicking here for more information.

Please remember to click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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Long Point, Lake Erie, Ontario, Canada

Long Point, Lake Erie, Ontario, Canada

Join me on Saturday May 31st for my inaugural and unique workshop / photo tour, being sponsored by WorkCabin, to the tip of the Long Point Peninsula on Lake Erie. Long Point is a 40 kilometre sandspit that extends far out into Lake Erie and remains one of the last most remote wild places in Ontario, only accessible by boat. It was designated a UNESCO World Biosphere in 1986. The Long Point peninsula is of international significance and comprises one of the most important wetland complexes in southern Canada. Many threatened and endangered species call Long Point home. The typical terrain at the tip of Long Point is one of sand dunes with some wetland habitat in close proximity to the lighthouse.

We will plan to arrive on the tip at 7:30 am and will remain there until 11:30 am at which time we will assemble for the return trip. This means that we will meet the boat captain at approximately 6:00 am at Pier 67 Restaurant at the Turkey Point Marina to sign waiver forms and be given a full orientation on safety before boarding the vessel. The boat that will take us across Lake Erie is a 24 foot Zodiac, previously used by the Canadian Coast Guard as a rescue vessel in the North Atlantic Ocean. This vessel is fast, but smooth and is designed to ride over top of the waves, absorbing them. The boat also meets the strict regulations of transport Canada’s small vessel registry, and is a registered commercial small vessel. Our boat captain is very experienced and knowledgeable on Lake Erie (one of his great ancestors was the second lighthouse keeper back in 1844) and will ensure our safe travel to the tip. Lake Erie is known for its changing weather conditions. If it is not safe for us to cross to Long Point on the morning of the workshop he will inform us, and if he anticipates approaching weather conditions that are adverse while we are on the tip he may need to assemble the group earlier than planned to ensure our safety and return to the mainland. Do keep in mind that we will be more than halfway across Lake Erie and the Long Point Peninsula contains the largest collection of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes. This is simply the nature of visiting such a remote photographic destination.

I would advise folks to bring along a plastic bag to protect their photographic equipment from wave and wind conditions while traveling across the lake and a warm weather resistant jacket as well. Temperatures on the point can be cooler than on the mainland. Once we arrive at the tip it we will have a wet landing so folks should plan to wear rubber boats, I will be wearing my hip waders.

My brother Gregg McLachlan is the founder of WorkCabin.ca, Canada’s largest conservation-focused environmental job board, and is also a nature photographer who lives near Long Point. He will be assisting me with this workshop.

The cost of this workshop is $250+HST, which includes the zodiac trip to the tip. We will need a minimum of 4 participants for this workshop to run and it is open to a maximum of 9 participants. Folks interested in attending this workshop should shoot me an email for further info to my personal address: mclachlan@bell.net in case I am away from the office or out in the field.

Hope you will join us to this remote destination.

Long Point sand dunes

Long Point Sand Dunes

Long Point Sand Dunes

Long Point Sand Dunes

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Hatchery Falls, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Hatchery Falls, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

This morning I awoke at 5:00 a.m. to begin my journey north to Ontario’s Muskoka region to meet up with fellow photographer / friend Kyle McDougall. Do take a moment to check out Kyle’s work as he is a very talented photographer.The plan was to visit several of the areas secluded, woodland waterfalls. The weather forecast was for cloudy conditions with temperatures hovering around 2-3 degrees Celsius. Perfect weather for a comfortable day photographing winter waterfalls.

Ontario’s Muskoka region has been hit hard this winter with tons of snowfall. There is roughly four feet of snow on the ground and significant ice formation at some of the waterfalls, due to the brutal cold temperatures encountered this winter. At each of  the destinations it was somewhat tricky getting into position for some of the images as I would often sink to my waist in deep snow along the riverbanks. My lower back problems did not appreciate this very much and are now getting even with me for heading off without my snowshoes.

Potts Creek, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Potts Creek, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada (10-stop Neutral Density Filter Used)

On today’s waterfall excursion I experimented with some new techniques, gear, and camera features. In the image that opens this blog post I used the focus stacking technique, whereby I created three separate images with each focused at a different point from foreground to horizon and then assembled them in photoshop to create one image file. In the above image at Potts Creek I was very disappointed to see lots of foam floating in the creek below the falls, but I noted that it was floating around in a circular motion. By attaching a B&W 10-stop Neutral Density Filter to the lens I was able to create an image with a 30 second exposure that would record the circular motion making it a pleasing element within the composition.

Skeleton Falls, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

Skeleton Falls, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada (in-camera HDR)

The final experiment I tried was setting my Nikon D800 to it’s in-camera HDR function. By doing so the camera would create a natural-looking TIFF file of 100 MB. I was quite pleased with the in-camera HDR results and will use this mode often. For winter imagery I found it opened up the shadowed areas nicely and brought out the greens in the cedar trees well too. While optimizing these images I chose to add a touch of Nik / Google’s Detail Extractor filter from Color Efex 4 to bring out the fine details in the snow.

Please click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper version.

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Snowdrift, Thornton, Ontario

Snowdrift, Thornton, Ontario

I am bound for the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac, which is the most easterly of the Cayman Islands. As a result, the blog will be relatively quite for the next two weeks, but if I can find a wifi connection I will stop by with a Smartphone Snap update. I am quite excited about this trip for a number of reasons. First and foremost I am going to try my hand at underwater photography and secondly there is a wide variety of wildlife subjects to photograph including; numerous species of wading birds, Ground Boas, Cayman Racers (another type of snake), Iguanas, Parrots, Brown Booby (nesting season), crabs, and even several frog species :)

As I write this post we are being hit with yet another round of snow from Mother Nature. Around my home the road signs are virtually buried in snowbanks, and the wild winds of last week have created many cool snowdrifts along the county roads as well. On my way to pick my daughter up from school the other day I had a few minutes to kill so I decided to grab a couple of fresh snowy pics to share. Hope you like the new photos. I’m outta here – palm trees and sand here I come :)

On a side note – the February issue of Denise Ippolito’s Creative Photography eMini-Magazine is now available, please click here to check it out, and to see the article by yours truly click here. To check out Denise Ippolito’s blog follow this link.

Please remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions.

Winter Farm Scene, Thornton, Ontario

Winter Farm Scene, Thornton, Ontario

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Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Capturing pleasing images of songbirds at my backyard bird feeding set-up in a pleasing pose is always a challenge. When I select perches to use I am always mindful of how I will position them during use. This is mostly because I prefer to capture the songbirds that frequent my set-up in such a pose whereby the tail feathers are not merging with the branch. Often the birds arrive on the perch and move about quickly, as a result I find it is best to pre-focus on the perch and when a suitable subject comes in for a landing a will fire off a burst of images. By doing so you are almost certain to capture an image with the tail raised up away from a merging position and you will likely get the head angle in a pleasing position too. One of the hardest birds to photograph at my set-up is the Northern Cardinal…try as I might I cannot get them up onto the perches, but they do frequent the snow covered ground below as they forage for any spilled seeds. Here are a few songbird images from my last sitting in the backyard photo blind a few days ago, as I took a break from my preparations for my upcoming trip to Cayman Brac in the Caribbean Sea. Hope you like the images :)

Please click on the images to see the larger, sharper versions.

Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Blue Jay in Winter

Black-capped Chickadee in Winter

Black-capped Chickadee in Winter

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter

 

 

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Windswept Snowscape

Windswept Snowscape

Today was a day of wickedly, wild winds, snow and numerous road closures. As the daylight began to fade I could not resist grabbing my Sony RX100 for a troll down the rural road that I live on and play around with a few compositions of windswept snow patterns amid the blowing snow. Above is my favorite image that I captured. Operating the tiny controls on the Sony RX100 is just a tad difficult with gloves on so I had to work quickly with bare hands, tucking them into my jacket pockets to warm up when I had the chance. After about ten minutes my hands were thoroughly frozen and it was time to head back into the house to warm them up.

Please do remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper version.

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Snowy Owl in a Snow Storm - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in a Snow Storm – Thornton, Ontario

Today amid snow squalls and strong winds I made another trek over to see the neighborhood snowy. As usual she was plunked down in the middle of a field that was planted with soy beans last summer. Most likely the field mice and meadow voles are foraging beneath the snow for spilled beans from the harvest, which is likely why this owl is so content on staying at this field, with the well stocked buffet.

To create this image I used a tripod mounted Nikon 80-400mm VR lens on a Nikon D800. After framing the scene accordingly I utilized the Live View function of the camera to manually focus on the owl. An ISO of 1250 was dialed in and an aperture of f16 @ 1/1000 second was used for the exposure, due to the high winds and my desire to enough depth of field for the owl and the distant trees, as well as wanting to capture some of the snow flakes in the air.

Hope you enjoy the images. Please do remember to click on the image to see the larger, sharper version.

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Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park – Toronto

On Friday January 17th I decided to make the drive down to the Toronto region to search for Snowy Owls. This year we are experiencing record numbers of of Snowy Owls in Ontario as they have migrated down from their Arctic home.. My destination for the day was going to be Colonel Samuel Smith Park. Upon my arrival a strong wind was already picking up off the lake, which was sure to make things a little uncomfortable and cold. After much searching I came to realize that I was not going to have any luck at my chosen destination. After a few icy shoreline images I decided to head a little to the east and try my luck at Humber Bay Park – at least it is good for ducks and I can usually find a few co-operative Long-tailed Ducks, which also migrate down to this area from the high Arctic.

Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Lake Ontario at Colonel Samuel Smith Park – Toronto

Long-tailed Duck (formerly Old Squaw) at Humber Bay Park - Toronto

Long-tailed Duck (formerly Old Squaw) at Humber Bay Park – Toronto

Alas my day would come to an end and I would make the long trek home so that I could make it on time for a chiropractor appointment in Barrie and then pick-up my daughter when school ended for the day. After picking up my daughter, we began to drive home and wouldn’t you know it, not 5 kilometers from my home there are two Snowy Owls. As fate would have it I drove roughly 200 kilometers in search of Snowy Owls when they were virtually waiting at my doorstep, but had I stayed home I would not have captured my best image, to date, of a Long-tailed Drake.

On Friday evening and today as well, I went out to create some photos of these Snowy Owls and will continue to do so as long as they are wintering here. No more long drives to find them :)

Snowy Owl on Hydro Pole - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl on Hydro Pole – Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight – Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Flight – Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Winter Farm Field - Thornton, Ontario

Snowy Owl in Winter Farm Field – Thornton, Ontario

 

 

 

 

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OPC PROFILE

The Winter 2014 issue of Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine, which just hit the newsstand, is featuring yours truly in the Profile section of the magazine. The Profile piece spans six pages and features ten of my images. I am very pleased and honored to be featured and interviewed for the current issue of this wonderful publication. If you have not yet checked out the magazine please do pick a copy up as you will find them to be full of useful tips and info by many of Canada’s top photographers. Whether you are looking to develop your skills as a photographer or find that next great photogenic location in Canada, Outdoor Photography Canada is the magazine for you. To read the on-line portion of the Profile / interview please click here and to read the full interview or to learn more about yours truly you can pick-up a copy of the magazine at your local newsstand or simply subscribe to Outdoor Photography Canada by clicking here.

Hope you enjoy the article :)

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