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Archive for the ‘Landscapes’ Category

Halfway Log Dump
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

In May of 2016, I made a three day visit to Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula National Park. Today I revisited the folder of images from that trip to optimize several of the photographs that were tucked away due to my backlog in editing the files. Bruce Peninsula National Park can be found at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula near Tobermory, Ontario. It is also on the Niagara Escarpment – an UNESCO World Biosphere site. One section of the park lies on Lake Huron while the remainder of the park is facing beautiful Georgian Bay. Georgian Bay provides landscape photographs with a plethora of stunning vistas with ragged cliffs, cobblestone beaches, and unlimited shoreline details to photograph. A short distance out into Georgian Bay lies the Fathom Five National Marine Park, which is home to the famous Flower Pot Island. If you are a landscape photographer the Bruce Peninsula needs to be one of your bucket list items.

Halfway Log Dump
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Indian Head Cove
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Indian Head Cove
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Flower Pot Island
Fathom Five National Marine Park, Ontario

 

The Grotto
Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario

 

Flower Pot Island
Fathom Five National Marine Park, Ontario

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Brown Booby in flight, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 90mm
ISO 500, f6.3 @ 1/5000 sec.

Originally released in August of 2010 the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens has to be one the most versatile lenses available. Often you can find this lens in the used gear department for approximately $700 CDN. Like most folks, before I purchased this lens for my own gear bag I read several on-line reviews. I did not believe that the lens could really be as bad as folks were leading on. Here is a selection of some items that I noted during my internet readings:

  • softness in the center, sharpening up out towards the corners, and the some more corner softness
  • stopped-down results are downright blurry at the telephoto end of 300mm @ ƒ/36)
  • the 28-300 isn’t a really sharp lens and the corners are mush
  • zoom range exhibited shockingly poor off-axis image quality
  • is not a pro level lens nor one I’d use for critical shoots
  • I’m assuming this lens was defective as I couldn’t get a sharp picture no matter how hard I tried

I determined that in order to find out for myself I would need to add this lens to my gear bag. Right before I boarded the plane for my Cayman Brac Photo Tour in February I did just that. It is now one of my most favorite lenses. The lens does have one annoying habit, or at least my copy does. When the lens is pointed downward the zoom creep is very evident. Nonetheless, my honest opinion is that this lens does produce stellar results when good technique and creative vision is applied. Often I can be found in-the-field with my 28-300mm lens attached to one of my Nikons ready to capture those fleeting moments where changing lenses is not an option. The 28-300mm range is perfect for such circumstances.

I have never been one to trust the so-called internet experts. I much prefer to take gear out into the field and put it to the test. A real world review illustrating the quality of the lens with photographic examples.

Having the ability to zoom from 28mm to 300mm is a definite plus. On Cayman Brac I was able to photograph nesting Brown Boobies at close range and then quickly zoom out to 300mm to capture Brown Boobies in flight as they approached the cliff edge on their return to their nests.

Brown Booby pair at the nest, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 55mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/400 sec.

I also find the lens to be a powerful tool for my landscape work as illustrated in the below image of a winter wheat field at sunset near my rural home in Thornton, Ontario. A Singh Ray 3-stop reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter was also used in the capture of the sunset scene below.

Winter Wheat at Sunset, Thornton, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 82mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 3 seconds.

Having a minimum focusing distance of a mere 1.6 feet throughout the entire zoom range is also a huge bonus to my frog photography. In the past I would have to switch lenses to create my signature frog-scapes and close-up portraits. With the Nikon 28-300 I can simply zoom the lens from wide to telephoto and create both scenarios in mere seconds, as illustrated in the two Bullfrog images below.

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 48mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/800 sec.

 

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/640 sec.

While photographing Wood Ducks in Toronto, Ontario I am also able to create stunning portraits and close-up feather details due to the short, minimum focusing distance. While I was photographing feather details of a Wood Duck hen that had chose to sit beside me on a particular outing I had noticed that a lovely drake Wood Duck had also come into close proximity allowing me to zoom out and create a tight head shot of him. The versatility of the Nikon 28-300mm lens allowed me the opportunity to create both these images without the need to switch lenses , which would likely had caused one of the two birds, or both, to move further away.

Drake Wood Duck, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 2000, f5.6 @ 1/250 sec.

 

Hen Wood Duck Feather Details, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 1000, f11 @ 1/80 sec.

While walking along the shoreline of the Caribbean Ocean in Cayman Brac I came upon a dead crab. The shell of the dea crab was beautifully colored with interesting details too. To create the below macro shot of the crab shell details I used my Canon 500D Close-up Filter on the Nikon 28-300mm lens and stopped down to f22. There is some minor softness in the extreme corners of the image but this is due to the curvature of the shell. Ideally I should have used the focus stacking method to gain perfect sharpness in the corners.

Crab Shell Details, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/40 sec.

For those of us longing for some cooler temperatures in this heat wave, I have included a winter river detail image from my Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Workshop this past January 🙂

Winter River Details, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1.6 sec.

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Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area, Ontario

I was pleased to sign-up two more participants for the Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat this morning. There are now only 4 spots remaining for this event. Folks that are sitting on the fence should act soon before they miss out on this amazing event being held in Ontario’s most scenic location!

On Sunday April 22nd during Tiny Marsh Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop we were blessed with gorgeous spring weather. Unfortunately we did have clear blue skies which are not ideal for sunrise but we were able to work with the conditions and create some lovely daybreak images nonetheless. receding ice on the wetland also provided us with some lovely foreground elements, as seen below. The stillness in the air also allowed for beautiful reflection imagery as seen in the cattail reflection image below and the shoreline forest reflection image also. In the coming weeks I will be announcing a second Tiny Marsh Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop. Folks that are interested in being contacted for this event should contact me here.

 

Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area, Ontario

 

Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area, Ontario

 

Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area, Ontario

 

Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area, Ontario

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Join me on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area for a Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop that focuses on photographing sunrise imagery. Tiny Marsh is located near Elmvale, Ontario on the Tiny Flos Townline Road. With sunrise being at 6:48 a.m. we will meet in the parking lot at 5:45 a.m. This will allow us time to cover some basic information while we walk out along Trotter Dyke to our best vantage points for photographing sunrise. This event will conclude at 11:00 a.m.

During this workshop you will learn the principles of photographing sunrise. Topics covered will include composition, filters, seeing the shot and much more. After sunrise is over we will continue to explore other areas of Tiny Marsh in search of more landscape opportunities as well as any wildlife / birdlife opportunities that we may find.

Tiny Marsh is a designated Important Birding Area (IBA) and at this time of year it is a major staging area for numerous waterfowl, geese, trumpeter swans and many other species of birds. While birds will not be our main focus of this workshop do note that there may be opportunities to photograph such species after sunrise. Bringing a long lens is highly recommended for both sunrise and wildlife / birdlife opportunities. While our chances of a stellar sunrise our at the mercy of the current weather pattern of the day, I have often been rewarded with sunrises at Tiny Marsh. One of the best advantages of Tiny Marsh is that there is always something to photograph.

All walking trails at Tiny Marsh are flat and by no means strenuous.

The cost of this Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop is $65 plus applicable taxes. To register for this event please contact me here for further information. The maximum number of participants for this event is 8.

During Teaching Moment Photographic Workshops you will receive friendly, in-the-field instruction and guidance. Do remember that attending A Teaching Moment Photographic Workshop allows you to earn rewards – after attending 5 of these events you will receive a $50 discount on any future workshop of your choice! Please note that attendance at any of my workshops will also earn you an automatic $50 discount to the Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat.

Cancellation Policy for Teaching Moment Photographic Workshops: Due to the small group / shorter notice of these events participants are encouraged to check their schedules carfefully as a no refund policy does apply.

 

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On Tuesday March, 27, 2018 I will be presenting my “Ontario & Beyond – Wild Places Wild Faces” program for the Ajax Photography Club at the Ajax Community Centre located at 75 Centennial Road in the HSM Room. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. Guests are welcome to attend for a $10 admission fee. Mark the date in your calendars and come on out for an enjoyable evening of nature photography and learn the secrets behind how I capture and optimize my my landscape and wildlife imagery.

Hope to see you there 🙂

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Cayman Brac_743

Sunrise at Pollard Bay on Cayman Brac

Today I begin my journey home. Assuming flights are on time I will arrive in Toronto at 5:40 p.m. and then make the one hour drive north to my home.

It was a great honour to have bird photographer extroadinare Arthur Morris and previous workshop attendee Anita North as participants for Cayman Brac 2018. We had a great time and created tons of Brown Booby nesting season images.

I remained on island for an additional week after the conclusion of the photo tour and was able to create some of my very best underwater imagery to date using a Nikon D500 and Nikkor 18-35mm lens in an Ewa Marine housing.

Yesterday, towards the end of the day, I was rewarded with a sighting of the critically endangered Sister Island Rock Iguana. He was most cooperative allowing me to photograph for about 10 minutes before he disappearred into the think underbrush of the surrounding forest.

Here are a few of my most favorite images created during my two week stay on Cayman Brac. There will be many more images to share in the days to come.

Cayman Brac 2018 Participants_685

Andrew McLachlan, Anita North, & Arthur Morris

Brown Booby_7019

Brown Booby in Flight

Caribbean Reef Squid_1609

Caribbean Reef Squid

Sister Island Curly Tail_229

Sister Island Curly-tailed Lizard

Sister Island Rock Iguana_8461

Sister Island Rock Iguana

Peacock Flounder_3914

Peacock Flounder

Stonefish_6682

Spotted Stonefish

West Indian Whistling Duck_783

West Indian Whistling Duck

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Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario

On January 27th & 28th we held our first-ever Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Photographic Workshop. We had 5 fabulous clients that made the entire event lots of fun. Our conditions at the waterfalls could have been better but we all made the best of the conditions that we were presented with. The area experienced a real swing in temperatures throughout January from -30 Celsius to +10 Celsius with lots of rain. The rain and warm temps melted away much of the snow that had accumulated early in the month and the rain over the course of the last few weeks created some treacherously, icy conditions. The ice was so made at some locations that it did prevent us from accessing certain vantage points at some waterfalls for safety reasons. On the flip side though there were some really cool ice formations along the river banks that we all took advantage of with our long lenses. To illustrate the effect of the warmer than usual weather and excessive rains the image below of an old weathered boathouse on Lake Rosseau pretty much sums it up.

Lake Rosseau Boathouse in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

In the coming weeks I will share some of the images created by the particiapnts with you here on the blog. From what I have seen so far, you are in for a real treat 🙂

In the photo that opens this blog post you can see the glare ice at Hatchery Falls and this ice extended down to the base of the falls making it impossible to access the lower area for different perspectives. My trusty Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens was used to create this extreme wide angle view.

Ice details at Potts Creek, Muskoka, Ontario

The ice detail images that I created were captured with the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens mounted to a Nikon D800. This is a great b-roll lens that produces razor sharp images, which is quite the opposite to what the so-called internet experts have to say. I will do a thorough review of this lens in the coming weeks.

Ice details at Potts Creek, Muskoka, Ontario

The timing of this workshop also coincided with the3rd annual Bracebridge Fire & Ice Festival. After supper a couple of us decided to see what Bracebridge Falls looked like all lit up at night and explore the fireworks display that was to occur later that evening.

 

Bracebridge Falls at Night, Muskoka, Ontario

 

Bracebridge Fire & Ice, Muskoka, Ontario

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