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Archive for the ‘Astrophotography’ Category

Lake Traverse Photography Retreat

Join Andrew McLachlan for an exclusive, weekend workshop deep in the heart of Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park on scenic Lake Traverse for an opportunity to create stunning imagery from this remote, pristine landscape. This event will be held on September 20, 21, & 22, 2019. Lake Traverse is situated in a remote area of the park and is rich in both history and scenery. To reach this remote destination in Algonquin Provincial Park you must enter the park at the Sand Lake Gate. In the early 1900’s lumber baron J.R. Booth established a private lodge – The Booth Turtle Club on the shores of Lake Traverse. Today remnants of this lodge can be found in the woodlands such as impressive stone fireplaces and a rusted old wreck decaying in the forest. The timing of this event will allow for misty sunrises over Lake Traverse and assuming weather conditions co-operate we are in one of the best locations in all of Ontario to photograph the night sky and possibly the aurora borealis. Furthermore, we are situated a short walking distance from picturesque waterfalls on the Petawawa River.

Our accommodations for this event will be at the Algonquin Radio Observatory, located on the shores of Lake Traverse. The Algonquin Radio Observatory is closed to the public and inaccessible. However, exclusive access has been granted to our workshop group for this event. A tour of the immense satellite has been arranged during the mid-day hours on Saturday, when lighting for photography is generally at its worst. Also available to participants is the use of canoes and kayaks during the mid-day hours to explore the lake on your own.

A quick note about the Algonquin Radio Observatory:

The Algonquin Radio Observatory (ARO) is Canada’s national radio observatory featuring Canada’s premiere Earth station facility. ARO is a division of space technology company Thoth Technology Inc. Completed and commissioned in the 1965, ARO’s 46m antenna is the largest antenna in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The observatory is situated on a 100 acre wild and breathtakingly beautiful site in the North of Algonquin Provincial Park on Lake Traverse, deep inside the park. The observatory hosts a suite of state-of-the-art scientific equipment including its own atomic clock and still operates with a state-of-the-art technical capability. ARO is the official ground station for Northern Light, Canada’s mission to Mars.

Itinerary:

Friday September 20:

Meet & Greet Dinner at 6:00 p.m. follow by photographic presentation and a nightscape photo session (assuming weather conditions co-operate)

Saturday September 21:

Morning Photo Session (6am – 10am followed by breakfast, tour of satellite, Petawawa River Session, Rusty Old Wreck Session, Evening Photo Session, Nightscape Session (assuming weather conditions co-operate)

Sunday September 22:

Morning photo session (6am – 10am) followed by breakfast.

Checkout is at 11:00 a.m. however, participants are permitted to explore other areas of the park at their leisure for the remainder of the day.

Do Note: Each location we will photograph at is a short walking distance from our home base at the Algonquin Radio Observatory.

What’s Included:

• In-depth landscape photography instruction by yours truly

• Lodging at Algonquin Radio Observatory • Friday – dinner

• Saturday – breakfast, lunch, & dinner

• Sunday – breakfast

What’s not included:

• Transportation to Algonquin Radio Observatory

• A 3 day, daily vehicle permit fee must be purchased at the Sand Lake Gate to enter the park. This vehicle permit will allow participants to remain in the park until 10:00 pm on Sunday.

• Snacks

• Alcoholic Beverages

Workshop Fee:

$585 plus taxes, per person, based on double occupancy.

$625 plus taxes, per person, for single occupancy.

A non-refundable retainer of $250 is due now to secure your spot in this workshop.

Payments are accepted by cheque or e-mail transfer.

The balance owing will be due no later than June 1, 2019.

A Waiver of Liability will sent to registrants at the time of booking, to be returned with the non-refundable retainer.

This workshop is open to a maximum of 15 participants.

To reserve your spot in this exclusive workshop please contact me by clicking here.

Cancellation Policy:

61 days prior to the workshop date full refund less $250.00 non-refundable retainer.

60 days prior to the workshop date No Refunds

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Join Andrew McLachlan for an all-inclusive photography retreat on Rock Island, a seven acre peninsula along the wilderness coast of Lake Superior. The dates for this event are October 17-21, 2018 (4 nights). Maximum number of participants is 12.

Often referred to as Canada’s inland sea, Lake Superior offers some of the most dramatic scenery available for landscape photography in Ontario. Being well-traveled along this coast I will ensure that you are in the right locations, receive in-depth photographic instruction, and are inspired to capture breathtaking imagery. We will focus our photographic efforts on landscapes at sunrise and sunset, as well as starry nightscapes. Mid-day photo sessions to specific locations will be based on the current weather conditions that each day provides. There will also be plenty of time set aside each day for image review and Photoshop image optimization instruction. The dates for this retreat were chosen as they coincide with the onset of Superior’s stormy season, which often means rough seas with waves crashing into Superior’s rugged coast.

Our accommodations during this retreat will be divided between two locations; Rock Island Lodge and the High Falls Motel. Availability is limited at Rock Island Lodge, therefore, accommodations at the lodge will be assigned on a first to sign up, first serve basis. Once the Rock Island Lodge maximum is met additional participants will be place at High Falls Motel for their accommodations. Please note that High Falls Motel is located only a few minutes away from Rock Island Lodge.

Itinerary:

Day 1:

  • meet and greet dinner at 6:30 p.m.
  • photographic presentation
  • night sky photo session (weather permitting)

Days 2, 3, & 4:

  • morning photo session
  • breakfast
  • free time / mid morning photo session
  • image review / photoshop instruction
  • lunch
  • free time / early afternoon photo session
  • late afternoon/sunset photo session
  • dinner
  • image review / photoshop instruction
  • night sky photo session (weather permitting)

Day 5:

  • morning photo session
  • breakfast
  • free time / mid-morning photo session
  • participants depart for home at 12:00 p.m.

 

What’s Included:

  • In-depth photographic instruction during each of the photo sessions with LCD review
  • Image review and Photoshop image optimization instruction
  • Accommodation at Rock Island Lodge or off-site at High Falls Motel
  • Wednesday – dinner
  • Thursday, Friday, & Saturday – breakfast, lunch, & dinner
  • Sunday – breakfast

What’s Not Included:

  • Transportation to and from Rock Island Lodge / High Falls Motel
  • Transportation to nearby locations within Lake Superior Provincial Park or Wawa (car pooling of participants is encouraged here)
  • Alcoholic Beverages

Workshop Fee:

$995.00 CDN plus taxes per person based on double occupancy

$1195.00 CDN plus taxes per person based on single occupancy

*All past workshop participants will receive a $50 discount*

To reserve your spot in the Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat a non-refundable retainer of $350.00 CDN is due now. The balance owing will be due no later than May 31, 2018.

To arrange payment or for further information please contact me by clicking here.

Cancellation Policy:

61 days prior to the workshop date a full refund less the non-refundable retainer.

60 days prior to the workshop date or less no refunds.

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Star Trails, Lake Traverse, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 125
f4 @ 30 minutes

We wrapped up the Lake Traverse program this morning to enable folks plenty of time for their long journeys home. We had a fantastic group of participants and created many superb landscape images. I would also like to extend a very BIG thank-you to Don Johnston for assisting me during the program. Don is a great teacher who’s dedication to helping folks get the most of the experience is greatly appreciated.  In the coming weeks I will share the participant images with you here on the blog. Aside from our regularly planned landscape photography locations we organized two night-scape sessions and were blessed with clear skies on both nights, however the second night was the clearest of all due to the first night having a very light haze in the sky. The northern lights were visible for both nightscape sessions but they were not very pronounced. Tinges of color are present within the star trails image above. After spending a couple of hours creating Milky Way Nightscapes over the Petawawa River and the Algonquin Radio Observatory satellite dish we had three participants that wanted to capture a star trail image. We made our way down to the shore of Lake Traverse, set up our compositions, dialed in the ISO, f-stop, and set the shutter speed to BULB. We then tripped the shutters on our cameras and chatted for a half hour while we created our star trail images. We completed our start trails imagery by approximately 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Just in time to grab a few winks before heading back out for misty sunrises at 6:30 a.m.

I arrived home late this afternoon and immediately unpacked and began packing for my departure tomorrow afternoon to the rainforests of Tarapoto, Peru.

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Summer 2017 Issue of ON Nature Magazine

The Summer 2017 issue of On Nature Magazine has hit the newstand. On the cover of this issue is a starry nightscape created by yours truly. I created this image from the deck of my cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario with a Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens mounted to a Nikon D800 and pointed it straight up at the sky. The wide angle view of the fisheye lens also caught the tree tops as they were silhouetted against the dark starry sky.

Ontario Nature (formerly known as The Federation of Ontario Naturalists) dates back to 1931. They are dedicated to protecting our natural places through conservation and education. To find out more about Ontario Nature and how you too can get involved please click here .

Please click on the photo to see the larger version.

Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about a nightscape workshop in one of Ontario’s absolute best locations for viewing the night sky.

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Milky Way Over Horseshoe lake near Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 6400, f3.5 at 20 seconds

Milky Way Over Horseshoe lake near Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 6400, f3.5 at 20 seconds

 

For those who embark on photographing the night sky for the first time are sure to find it addictive. It is a ton of fun to say the least. A few days ago I wanted to try something a little different and rather than create a sharply focused starry night sky, I opted for an image of star trails above Horseshoe Lake. The two photographs that accompany this post are the exact same scene photographed with two different techniques.

After creating some initial starry sky scenes from Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park several weeks ago a colleague pointed me in the direction of an eBook by Royce Bair – “Milky Way Nightscapes.” I highly recommend this eBook to anyone interested in photographing the night sky. This 140 page eBook is jam packed with all the info you will need to get started with photographing the night sky and applying the special processing techniques to eliminate any noise generated from using very high ISO numbers.

Essentially the scene above was created to confirm my composition before commencing with the star trail scene below. Do note the different settings used in each of the images to capture the desired effect. While I do enjoy the 30 minute exposure at f4 for the star trails, I am wishing that I had selected a one hour exposure at f5.6 for a longer trail. I tried to do this on the next evening but storm clouds rolled in. When creating these night scapes do be sure to activate the long exposure noise reduction feature and since this feature is creating a second “black” frame to analyze the data and reduce noise, a 30 minute exposure will take an additional 30 minutes for the camera to process. Subsequently, if an one hour exposure is selected an additional one hour will be required by the camera, therefore, it is also important to ensure that you are using freshly charged batteries for long exposure star trail imagery. Shooting a quick frame to confirm the composition will reduce the need to retake the one hour star trail scene…after all you would only be able to create one image every two hours.

Hope you enjoy the starry night imagery.

Which scene do you prefer – star trails or pin-point stars?

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

Star Trails Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 125, f4 @ 30 minutes

Star Trails Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 125, f4 @ 30 minutes

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The Milky Way Over Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 30 seconds

The Milky Way Over Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 30 seconds

I have just returned from another week up on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. During the past seven days I spent a lot of time exploring the night sky. Photographing the starry night sky is quite addictive and each night, roughly two hours after sunset I would head down to the dock and create images of the Milky Way above the lake. Fortunately, the Milky Way can easily be seen from the dock, however, there is some noticeable light pollution from the town of Parry Sound, visible on the right side of the images. In the above photo I was quite surprised by the subtle green and pink hues present when I viewed the images on the computer the next morning. I did not see any of these colors in the sky as I created the images. In addition, I was also quite surprised at how each of the night scenes photographed considering that each was created at roughly the same time each night. Isn’t nature amazing 🙂

Here are a couple of additional photos of the starry sky above Horseshoe Lake. In an upcoming post I will cover the learning curve to creating and the special processing techniques to these addictive images. I found on my Nikon D800 that I was getting the best pin-point stars at 20 second exposures. In the opening image the 30 second exposure the stars are not all quite pin-points, some have tiny trails starting.

Please remember to click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper versions.

 

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 20mm ISO 6400, f3.8 @ 20 seconds

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 20mm
ISO 6400, f3.8 @ 20 seconds

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 20 seconds

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 20 seconds

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