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Archive for the ‘Horseshoe Lake’ Category

Water Lilies in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Water Lilies in Wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

All good things come to an end eventually. On July 31, 2019 I bid farewell to the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario as it was sold to new owners. I will miss the area dearly as it is where my love of nature photography took hold. It is where I began to explore woodlands, beaver ponds, and wetlands to gain the knowledge that has allowed me to photograph many of my most cherished images. It is also the place where I perfected my Bullfrog-scapes

After spending a couple of weeks there prior to the closing date of the sale I was lucky enough to be graced with numerous photographic opportunities, so there will be plenty more images to share in the coming weeks. During these two weeks it felt like all the wildlife I photographed over the years had come to bid farewell as I had so many amazing close-up encounters with many of the species that inhabit the lake, and surrounding forest.

I hope to return to the area at least once a year to continue to document the wildlife in the large wetland near the cottage property and to continue my explorations of the small lakes hidden in the forest, but for now here is a selection of imagery that I created during my last two weeks at the cottage. I do have many, many more unprocessed image files from Horseshoe Lake that I will continue to share as time and temperment allow šŸ™‚

Sadly, after 35 years, this chapter of my life has come to an end. However, as one chapter closes another will open and it only takes one step to start that journey.

Stay tuned

Bullfrog_1847

Bullfrog in wetland habitat, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

 

Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta), Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Eastern Painted Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Horseshoe Lake_4124

Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Green Darner_573

Green Darner Dragonfly, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Common Loon (Gavia immer)

Common Loon, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Tree Swallows_9877

Tree Swallows, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Horseshoe Lake_4081

Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Bullfrog_1782-1

Over-under Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Common Merganser_0364

Common Merganser, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Milky Way, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Milky Way over Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

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Amherst Island_1740

Sunrise, Amherst Island, Ontario

It is always fun to look back at this time of the year and reflect on the past year and the images that were created during my travels. In this post I am featuring my favorite photographs of 2018. All of the images featured in this blog post have been featured here over the course of the year with the exception of the opening sunrise image, which was created during a trip to Ontario’s Amherst Island a few days ago. As the sun rose the clouds took on the appearance of what resembled a blazing forest fire. It was a lovely sunrise to complete the year with šŸ™‚

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the very best for a prosperous 2019!

Lake-Superior_7559

Daybreak, Lake Superior, Wawa, Ontario

Rock Iguana_8468

A critically endangered Cayman Brac Iguana, British West Indies

Ice Details, Ontario, Canada

Ice Crystal Details, Georgian Bay, Ontario

Bullfrog_2722

Over-Under Bullfrog, Parry Sound, Ontario

Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea), Cayman Brac, British West Indies

Caribbean Reef Squid, Radar Reef, Cayman Brac, British West Indies

Skeleton River_9777

Skeleton River in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

Spring Peeper_6451

Spring Peeper, Parry Sound, Ontario

Southern Stingray (Dasyatis americana), Grand Cayman, British West Indies

Southern Stingray, Grand Cayman, British West Indies

Storm Clouds Over Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada

Approaching Storm Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada

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Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 440mm (35 Equivalent = 660mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec

 

Earlier this month while relaxing by the water of Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario I took notice of the patterns created by the gentle, undulating surface of the lake. The weather conditions at the time was mostly sunny with numerous puffy white, cotton clouds in the sky. In the sections of water that were cast in shade, the reflected sky and clouds were creating ever-changing patterns of white and blue. Using my Nikon D500 and Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens I zoomed in on different sections of the water to record several images of these patterns as they evolved. I found it best to set the Nikon D500 to record the images at 10 frames per second so I would not miss any of the subtle changes in the patterns. After creating a rather ridiculous number of these images I narrowed down the keepers to these three images. Each of the images in this post are straight out of the camera with only minor adjustments to contrast and some cloning of debris floating on the surface of the water.

Please do remember to click on the photos to see the larger versions.

 

Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 200mm (35 Equivalent = 300mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec

 

Reflected Sky and Clouds on Horseshoe Lake. Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens @ 440mm (35 Equivalent = 660mm)
ISO 400
f16 @ 1/125 sec

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Juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens at 500mm (35mm equivalent = 750mm)
ISO 400, f8 @ 1/250 sec
B&W Polarizing Filter

Try as I may I have yet to find any Bullfrogs within the wetland at my cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. To date I have heard all but one male Bullfrog chorusing so far this season but locating him is another matter altogether. I believe the difficulty in finding the Bullfrogs may have something to do with the very cool and late start of the growing season as the waterlilies are well behind schedule in terms of water surface coverage and blooming. The lake level is also considerably higher this year, by as much as one foot. It is possible that the Bullfrogs are seeking refuge in the dense thickets of leatherleaf that surround the wetland edges and will emerge out into the more open areas of the wetland when the waterlilies provide more coverage.

On a recent exploration of the wetland I did however have the good fortune of locating some very co-operative turtles and water snakes. On one outing I located 12 Northern Water Snakes basking on a beaver lodge! The highlight of my excursions was finding a juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle that was small enough to be sunning on a yellow pond lily leaf. To create the opening photo I chose a low perspective by seating myself in the bottom of the canoe and carefully framed the scene to ensure I maintained the turtle’s reflection in the slice of open water between two lily pad leaves. By resting the lens on the gunwale of the canoe I was able to gain the additional support for this handheld capture. A polarizing filter is pretty much a necessity when photographing basking turtles to eliminate the unwanted glare from the vegetation and the turtle’s carapace, they are also very useful for eliminating the undesirable glare from the scales of snakes. My choice of polarizing filter for use on the Nikkor 200-500mm VR Lens is the B&W 95mm F-Pro Kaesemann High Transmission Circular Polarizing MRC Filter.

Snapping Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 340mm (35mm equivalent = 540mm)
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/125 sec.
B&W Polarizing Filter

The Common Snapping Turtle above was photographed in the exact same manner as the juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle although a passing cloud thankfully provided some temporary over-cast conditions, which eliminated the harsh shadows that were being cast from upward pointing branches on the log. Whenever I locate an overly co-operative subject such as this large snapping turtle I put away my long lens after creating a few images and reach for my wide angle lenses for an unique perspective as shown below.

Snapping Turtle-scape, Horseshoe Lake Wetland, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/50 sec
Nikon Polarizing Filter

 

Snapping Turtle, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-85mm lens @ 78mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/200 sec

Below are two Northern Water Snake images that were captured over the course of the last two weekends. The first water snake was discovered within the wetland complex at rest among the branches of a beaver lodge while the second was found resting on a rock beside my dock in late evening light. Each of these images makes use of killer features found on the Nikon D500. In the first image I could not get in as close I was wanted to due to the branches extending out into the water. The work around was to select the Nikon D500’s 1.3X sensor crop and presto – I had the composition I desired. Once again, seating myself in the canoe and using the gunwale to provide additional support and activating the Vibration Reduction on the Nikkor 200-500mm lens I was able to handhold the shot at the 35mm equivalent of a 1,000mm lens!

Northern Water Snake, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500 (35mm equivalent = 1000mm)
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/160 sec
B&W Polarizing Filter

Often I will venture down to the dock in the evening to see what critters have begun to emerge and was delighted to find the water snake at rest on the rock beside the dock. The only way to effectively photograph the snake was to get into the water. Due to the fading light, hand-holding the image was going to be impossible so I set-up my tripod in the lake allowing me to mount my camera and lens just above the water’s surface. Once again I was wanting to create a slight tighter composition so I set the 1.3X sensor crop. To deal with the low light and slow shutter speed I set my self-timer to 2 seconds, activated the Live View feature, and since the Nikon D500’s LCD screen is a touch screen you can actually touch the screen where you want it to focus. Once focus is achieved an image will be captured. In this case, I touched the LCD screen where the snake’s right eye is and two seconds later the camera recorded the image you see below.

Northern Water Snake, Horseshoe Lake, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D500
Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (35mm equivalent = 1000mm)
ISO 500, f11 @ 1/15 sec

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

 

 

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Daybreak at Marie Louise Lake in Ontario's Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Daybreak, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario

 

Looking back over the past year I came to the realization that I created some of my own personal favorites during 2016. As this year comes to a close here is the selection of my most favorite images. From the stunning daybreak display above on Marie Louise Lake in Ontario’s Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, to the Bullfrogs on Horseshoe Lake, to beautiful vistas along the Niagara Escarpment in Bruce Peninsula National Park, to winter scenes close to home, and to the highest cliffs in Ontario at the Top of the Giant Trail over-looking Lake Superior. I arrived just in time to capture nature’s beauty when she was ready to put on a stellar show!

I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of 2017 as I will commence several new ventures with my photography, including a schedule of upcoming workshops that I will announce shortly.

I would like to take a moment to thank you all for your support of my work and to wish you all a very Happy New Year and all the best for the year ahead.

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

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Bullfrog in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

Bullfrog in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Winter Stream in Thornton, Ontario

Winter Stream in Thornton, Ontario

 

Daybreak on Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

Daybreak on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Red-eyed Tree Frog - captive

Red-eyed Tree Frog – captive

 

Top of the Giant, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario

Top of the Giant, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario

 

Interrupted ferns in autumn in woodland setting, Torrance Barrens, Ontario, Canada

Ferns in Autumn Woodland, Torrance Barrens, Ontario

 

Northern Water Snake, Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

Northern Water Snake, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Night Scape on Marie Louise Lake in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Minor crop applied to fix tilted horizon.

Night-scape, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario

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A male Green Frog in wetland Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 400, f16 @ 1/125 sec

A male Green Frog in wetland
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/125 sec (Handheld – 1.5 DX CROP)

In June 2015 Venus Optics announced the release of their Laowa 15mm f4 1:1 Macro Lens. I discovered this lens a few months ago and became quite intrigued by it’s specifications, most notably the ability to focus down to 4.7mm from the front element of the lens. There is currently no other lens on the market that is capable of doing what this lens can do. It is a master at wide-angle macro imagery. I had a hunch that this lens would be deadly for creating my frog-scape style imagery even though the lens requires 100% manual operation, including focusing and setting of the diaphragm as there is no coupling to the camera meter. I had hoped to include within this review the results of how the lens performs for landscape photography but unfortunately I suffered a very painful flare-up of my chronic lower back problems. As a result my mobility has been severely limited for the last week or so. I will do an update to this review at a later date to give my impressions of the lens’ performance for landscape use.

A handheld Nikon D800 was used for each of the images in this review and were photographed using the full frame sensor or the 1.5 DX crop. Notations within the image captions will indicate FULL FRAME or 1.5 DX CROP.

Each of the featured images in today’s blog post were created in my favorite wetland on Horseshoe Lake in Muskoka near Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada.

Lens Barrel of the Laowa 15mm f4 Macro Lens The inner ring controls focusing The outer ring controls the diaphram

Lens Barrel of the Laowa 15mm f4 Macro Lens
The inner ring controls focusing
The outer ring controls the diaphragm

The Laowa 15mm f4 1:1 Macro Lens is a well built lens of metal construction. The front lens cap, rear lens cap, and lens hood are of plastic construction. Do note I did not use the lens hood for any of the images within this post as the lens hood would have either shadowed the subject or created unpleasant reflections in the foreground water due to focusing so closely on the subjects. The lens will accept 77mm threaded filters and I was quite pleased to see that my Singh-Ray 77mm Warm-Tone Thin Mount Polarizer did not vignette when used. The lens also incorporates a shift mechanism that allows for 6mm of upward or downward shift, but I did not test this feature as I did not photograph any landscapes as of yet. The focusing and diaphragm rings both have smooth and easy operation. One downfall of the lens is that it does have strong barrel distortion, but since I am primarily using the lens for my frog-scape imagery it is of little concern to me – each of the images featured in today’s post have had no distortion correction applied to them. Chromatic aberration is very well controlled and when present is easily corrected. Center sharpness is excellent but corners do get a little soft, which improves when the lens is stopped down and is seldom worrisome at macro distances such as those in the featured imagery.

In the next series of photos I will illustrate how I go about creating my frog-scape imagery while handholding this set-up.

Arms extended outwards to pull the camera strap tight around my neck for added stability. Live View  and Virtual Horizon activated Thumb is positioned on Zoom Button Index and Middle Finger are positioned on the Focusing Ring

Arms extended outwards to pull the camera strap tight around my neck for added stability.
Live View and Virtual Horizon activated
Thumb of left hand is positioned on Zoom Button
Index and Middle Finger of left hand are positioned on the Focusing Ring

 

While in Live View my left thumb will zoom into the scene. I would then place the frog's eyeball within the area of the red square and using my index and middle-finger on my left hand, rotate the focusing ring until sharp focus is achieved.

While in Live View my left thumb will zoom into the scene. I would then place the frog’s eyeball within the area of the red square and using my index and middle-finger on my left hand, rotate the focusing ring until sharp focus is achieved.

 

Left index finger and middle-finger positioned on the focusing ring to adjust focus

Left index finger and middle-finger positioned on the focusing ring to adjust focus

The Laowa 15mm f4 1:1 Macro Lens is a versatile lens that is capable of producing dramatic wildlife imagery when focused closely on the subject matter. There are many pros to this lens such as:

  • low chromatic aberration
  • excellent center sharpness
  • 1:1 Macro capability
  • Focuses down to 4.7mm from the front element of the lens
  • smooth focusing
  • smooth aperture control
  • shift mechanism
  • inexpensive at approximately $499 US

The only downfalls IĀ  noticed were the barrel distortion and soft corners. When focusing in at macro distances and stopping down to f16 I found the corners to be more than acceptable for my frog-scape style images. The barrel distortion while more noticeable in some images than others again is of little concern to me. In nature we do not encounter perfectly straight lines that often, therefore, I find the distortion to be not too big a deal and can sometimes be used to one’s advantage for creative effect. I will likely not be using this lens for architectural work or for ocean sunrises where the barrel distortion would become very problematic.

Here are a few additional images that I created using the Laowa 15mm f4 1:1 Macro Lens.

Bullfrog in Wetland Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 800, f16 @ 180 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog in Wetland
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 800, f16 @ 180 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60 sec Handheld 1.5 DX CROP

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/60 sec
Handheld
1.5 DX CROP

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 4000, f16 @ 1/20 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 4000, f16 @ 1/20 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 2500, f16 @ 1/80 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 2500, f16 @ 1/80 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15 mm Macro Lens ISO 400, f16 @ 1/125 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15 mm Macro Lens
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/125 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 400, f16 1/80 sec Handheld 1.5 DX CROP

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 400, f16 1/80 sec
Handheld
1.5 DX CROP

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Marco Lens ISO 5000, f16 @ 1/25 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Marco Lens
ISO 5000, f16 @ 1/25 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 500, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 500, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 800, f16 @ 180 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 800, f16 @ 180 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

Bullfrog Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm macro Lens ISO 4000, f16 @ 1/25 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm macro Lens
ISO 4000, f16 @ 1/25 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

And one B-Roll image from the wetland. A very co-operative Northern Watersnake that was found sunning itself on a log within the wetland. The front element of the lens is roughly one inch away from the snake’s head in the photo below. This extreme close focusing capability of the Laowa 15mm f4 1:1 Macro Lens makes it my new go to, never leave home without it lens. It is quite simply to versatile and deadly for creating up-close and personal photos of wildlife subjects within their habitat. Spending my hard-earned money on this amazing lens was a good investment!

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

Northern Watersnake Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 800, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld FULL FRAME

Northern Watersnake
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 800, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld
FULL FRAME

 

 

 

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Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 34mm ISO 400, f16 @ 1/200 sec Handheld

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 34mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/200 sec
Handheld from canoe

I spent last week up at the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. On the morning of July 17th we were treated to a rather refreshing break from the heatwave we have been enduring with a morning temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. This drop in temperature created the perfect conditions for autumn-like mist to blanket the entire lake. Seeing these conditions I abandoned my plans of heading off in search of a cow Moose and her calf that I had seen the day before in favor of a paddle on the lake. The mist was so thick at times I could barely see the tip of the canoe as I paddled across the lake to a couple of small islands that the sun would soon be rising behind. This was a very special morning whereby the heavy mist conditions persisted for roughly three hours past sunrise, before the sun had rose high enough in the sky to burn off the mist. Best of all I had the entire lake to myself. It was such a tranquil morning to be out on the water enjoying the beauty of the moment and listening to the sounds of nature with no motor boats to rudely disturb the moment.

Each of these images were created handheld while seated in my canoe with various lenses (see captions for details).

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

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 62mm ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 62mm
ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Misty sunrise over forest, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm ISO 400, f16 @ 1/250 sec Handheld from canoe

Misty sunrise over forest, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/250 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm
ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Sunrise and Island on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens @ 18mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens @ 18mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec
Handheld from canoe

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