Archive for October, 2012


A couple of artistic renditions of dewy spider webs to celebrate the day. To create both of these images I used the Photoshop plug-in Fractalius available from Redfield Plugins. To see the larger, more spooky version please click on each of the images.

Hope everyone has a safe night of trick-or-treating. I will be accompanying my lovely daughter Ava, who is dressing up as Tinker Bell this year.

Gotta go find the pixie dust tree πŸ™‚

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The Cove at the base of Lover’s Leap

In the small Ontario village of Elora, the Grand River has carved a path, 70 feet deep, through the limestone. This is known as the Elora Gorge, and it is a wonderful location for landscape photographers to visit, especially when the river is low and one can walk out across the river for many different perspectives. My favorite access point to the Elora Gorge is the one found in Victoria Park. There is a staircase that enables you to safely make your way down to the bottom of the gorge. Once you have descended down the staircase you will find yourself at the Irvine Creek in the Irvine Gorge. If you walk down stream in a minute or two you will be in the Elora Gorge on the Grand River. The area where the Irvine Creek and the Grand River meet is known locally as The Cove. The most notable feature in the The Cove is the rock formation that is known as Lover’s Leap. Legend has it that an aboriginal Princess threw herself over the cliff upon hearing that her lover had been killed in battle.

The Elora Gorge and Victoria Park is mentioned in my eBook ‘A Photographer’s Guide to the Ontario Landscape’ under the ‘Roadside Attractions‘ section, but one could easily spend an entire day exploring this fascinating terrain and should make a point of visiting this stunning location at least once. During my fall colour excursions this year I made a point of visiting the area for some autumn colour photography. While I was a little early for peak colours I was quite pleased to find some of the maples beginning to turn and the river levels were low enough that I was able to cross the river and photograph from a small island found in The Cove. I often prefer the period just before the fall colours peak so that I can frame the autumn trees among some greenery as well. Upstream from The Cove is a waterfall that was producing lots of unappealing white foam in the river. To overcome this unwanted element I simply used a polarizing filter and a 3-stop neutral density filter to slow down the exposure enough to blur the foam and create a sense of the passage of time by photographing the movement of the foam throughout the frame.

The Grand River at the Elora Gorge

Looking upstream from the small island within The Cove, towards the waterfall hidden by the gorge, I was drawn to the layers created by the overlapping, limestone walls of the gorge.

The Grand River in the Elora Gorge

Before leaving the area, I made sure to grab a few aerial-type images from the bridge on Wellington Road 7 that gives you a lovely view of Lover’s Leap and The Cove in the Elora Gorge. Please note in the photo below I evicted the small concrete viewing patio that is found on top of Lover’s Leap to re-create the natural look to this scene.

Do click on each of the photographs to see the larger, sharper version.

Aerial view of Lover’s Leap, in The Cove, at the Elora Gorge

Next time you find yourself in the vicinity of the Elora Gorge, take some time to explore this fascinating location. I hear it can also be very impressive in the winter as ice formations develop on the gorge walls. Stay tuned and I will let you know after I make a stop here this winter πŸ™‚

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Green Frog (male)

The two images of the male Green Frog (Rana clamitans) may very well be the last frogs I will photograph in the vernal ponds behind my home. As followers of this blog know my home backs onto an abandoned cattle pasture which has several low lying areas that fill with rain water and snow melt, thus creating vernal ponds. These ponds are temporary and dry out by the end of summer, but they do hold water long enough for numerous species of frogs and toads to reproduce. According to my dear, elderly neighbors that arrived in Canada, from Germany many, many years ago after the war, the field has been laying fallow since about 1975. This 40 acre plot of abandoned agricultural land is used by many ground nesting songbirds such as Bobolink, Meadowlark, Horned Lark and Upland Sandpipers. Deep in the ground Chimney Crayfish await the rains to emerge and breed in the vernal ponds. Hawks, Owls, Fox , and Coyote hunt the Meadow Voles that inhabit the field also. During the winter months I take my daughter skating on the frozen pond. Most importantly though are the vast numbers of frogs and toads that arrive at the vernal ponds each spring to reproduce – a sight and sound to behold. Having sat in the ponds among the frogs and toads during peak chorus, I can honestly state that they are louder than any RAMONES concert I ever attended πŸ™‚ A truly remarkable experience, but…

Green Frog and Water Scorpion

It is with great sorrow that today I report on October the 18th this has been wiped out. The field was recently sold to a farmer that has cut down every tree that lined the field to open up more fields and has since tilled the soil for the planting of crops. This of course will mean more fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. I have always believed that this little corner of nature, located in Simcoe County, would one day be wiped out for either agriculture (it has always been zoned for agriculture) or housing developments, but I do wish I did not have to witness its destruction.With amphibian populations in serious decline around the globe, largely due to human impact, such loss of habitat, even on this small 40 acre plot of land, can yield a deadly blow to the local populations of frogs and toads.

I do hope that I am wrong, but I believe that in the fields behind my home, the Spring of 2013 will be the season without song. A sad, but all too familiar occurrence in the world that struck home on October 18, 2012. Below you will see the photos of how the field looks today.

In the photo above you are looking out over the field where each spring the largest vernal pond is to be found.

In the above photograph you are looking back toward my home, and again, across the field where additional ponds are found each spring. My home can be found immediately behind the trees on the right side of the image.

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Β©2012 Denise Ippolito

I would like to thank all the wonderful folks from the Country Images Camera Club for being such a great audience for my presentation on Tuesday, October 16th. It was lots of fun and I metΒ  many great folks eager to learn and share their stories of their time out in the natural world.

The image above of the pink butterfly ribbon was created by a good friend, New Jersey based photographer, Denise Ippolito to show support for breast cancer. And since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month I requested a copy of the lovely ribbon to post over here to show support for the cause as well.


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Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

On Tuesday October 16th at 8:00 p.m., which is tomorrow evening, I will be presenting at the Country Images Camera Club’s October meeting. If you happen to be in the area feel free to drop by for the presentation and do say hello if you do. The presentation will cover numerous inspiring landscape locations that may be found throughout the province of Ontario, many of which can be found in the eBook ‘A Photographer’s Guide to the Ontario Landscape‘ written by yours truly πŸ™‚ I will also be presenting how I photograph frogs and toads, winter songbirds, tips for captive wildlife photography, and also my techniques for creating inspiring artistic renditions of some of my most cherished photos.

The Country Images Camera Club presentation will be held at the:

Art Ferguson Building

16195 Bayview Avenue in Newmarket, Ontario @ 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16th (tomorrow evening)

Hope to see you there!

Please remember to click on each of the images in this post to see the larger, sharper version.

Oxtongue River Blur

Junkyard Grunge

Rosseau River

Poison Dart Frog Fractalius

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Above is a fairly recently created, over-under juvenile Bullfrog that I photographed while at the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. To find out exactly how I managed to create this unique frog photo while staying completely dry and to see the Fractalius version too, please head over to the Creative Photography eMini-Magazine which is a free publication that is published by the very talented Denise Ippolito on a monthly basis. Once you visit the mini-mag’s home page simply enter your email in the appropriate field and press the subscribe button to receive your free monthly copy of this awesome online magazine. Enjoy!

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