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Archive for the ‘Landscapes’ Category

Join Andrew McLachlan and Mark Pepper (Understory Enterprises) for an exclusive photography retreat within the Cordillera Escalera, near Tarapoto, Peru. This location is situated within the foothills of the Andes Mountains, in Amazonian Rainforest. The dates for this event are October 19 – October 26, 2019 (6 ½ days of photography). Maximum number of participants is 6 / 8 depending on participants attending (if two couples are attending the tour we can extend the capacity to 8). The minimum number of participants for this tour is 3. The photo tour fee is $3800.00 US Currency. We need to arrive in Tarapoto, Peru on October 19, 2019 and we will depart for home on October 26, 2019. Depending on everybody’s departure time on October 26, 2019, we may be able to fit in one additional half day of photography.

The focus of this photo tour will be landscapes and micro fauna of the Cordillera Escalera. There is nothing quite like watching the sun rise over the foothills of the Andes Mountains as each new day awakens, standing in awe at towering waterfalls, photographing dart frogs in their natural habitat, or venturing out to explore the night life of the Amazon rainforest. One highlight of the night-time excursions will be photographing the endangered Cochran Frog, which has a very limited range in the Cordillera Escalera. We will also be photographing many species of insects endemic to this region. The biodiversity of the Cordillera Escalera leaves no shortage of subjects to photograph.

For more info or to register, please contact Andrew via e-mail.

Mark Pepper

We could not ask for a more friendly and knowledgeable guide. Mark Pepper has been exploring this rainforest environment for over 15 years. Mark has even worked with BBC film crews filming in the area. Using his extensive knowledge and keen eye he will locate several species of dart frogs for us to photograph, not to mention some very fascinating insects!

Some locations during this tour will require the ability of being able to walk several kilometres over uneven terrain in a humid environment. If you have any concerns regarding this please do not hesitate to inquire for additional information.

Our accommodations will be at the luxurious Understory House, which is also equipped with a gorgeous infinity pool over-looking the Cordillera Escalera, within the foothills of the Andes Mountains and Amazonian rainforest. There are two rooms with one queen bed each and one room with two sets of adult bunkbeds. Many of our morning sunrise sessions will be conducted on site, as we have an outstanding view of the sun rising over the mountain range.

Itinerary:

Daily excursions will be determined based on the current weather conditions.
Image review sessions will be conducted both in the field via LCD and at the Understory House via laptop computers.
Breakfast – at the Understory House
Lunch – at various locations during the tour based on each day’s travel plans
Dinner – in the town of Tarapoto at one of the many fine restaurants

What’s Included:

In-depth Photographic instruction
Accommodation at the Understory House
Transportation to and from Understory House and to all photographic destinations
Pick-up and drop-off at the Tarapoto airport for your arrival and departure
Free Wifi at the Understory House
All meals

What’s Not Included:

Your airfare to and from Tarapoto, Peru (via Lima).

Alcoholic beverages
Travel insurance
Medical insurance

The Details

Photo Tour Fee: $3800.00 US per person.

To secure your spot a non-refundable deposit of $1,200 US is due now. The balance of the fee, $2600.00 US, is due no later than March 31, 2019. A signed Waiver of Liability form must accompany the non-refundable deposit. Waiver of Liability forms will be emailed to those wishing to register.

Travel Insurance: Participants are encouraged to purchase their own medical, travel, and trip cancellation insurance.

The Cancellation Policy:

Full refund less $1200 US non-refundable deposit up to 91 days prior to Photo Tour date.

No refunds 90 days prior to the date.

If fewer than three folks sign up you will receive a complete refund that will include your non-refundable deposit.

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Join Andrew McLachlan and Rick Isaacson on July 9th & 10th, 2019 for an exclusive, breathtaking journey to one of Ontario’s most spectacular waterfalls hidden deep within the remote boreal forest of the Abitibi Canyon. We will travel by freighter canoe, for 21 kilometres, along the same route used by the Coureurs De Bois and Voyageurs in the 1800’s. We will have the opportunity for a short photo session at a Hudson Bay gravesite found along the banks of the Abitibi River that is over 120 years old. This gravesite is only accessible by canoe. We will explore New Post Falls from below and make our way up the side of the gorge to photograph the falls from above too. The timing of this tour has been arranged when water levels are typically lower, which may allow for the opportunity to photograph the waterfall from within the river gorge itself.

This exclusive opportunity is available to only 4 participants!

After a full and exhilarating first day we will camp at the base of New Post Falls. As we gather around the campfire Rick Isaacson will explain the history and tell us stories of life on the river.  Afterwards, if skies are clear we will enjoy a night-scape photo session and perhaps the Aurora Borealis as well. We will rise early the next morning to photograph New Post Falls at sunrise and continue to photograph the surrounding area until it is time to paddle upstream to our take out location at Abitibi Canyon.

Do note this is not a photo tour for the faint of heart. We will be camping over-night in very remote boreal forest. Our guide, Rick Isaacson is a seasoned woodsman, with 35 years of river tripping experience. He has made countless trips down the Abitibi River to New Post Falls and is well experienced in remote wilderness travel, not to mention very knowledgeable in the history of the area. Safety will be a top priority during this trip and we will follow Rick’s direction in that regard.

Itinerary:

  • Meet in Smooth Rock Falls on the morning of July 9th 2019 for a hearty breakfast
  • Travel as a group to the Abitibi Canyon to launch the freighter canoe at 8:30 am
  • Travel 21 kilometres to New Post Falls where we will spend the day photographing the area and where we will camp over-night.
  • On the morning of July 10th we will photograph New Post Falls at sunrise and explore other photo opportunities in the surrounding area. The exposed river bed is a great place to find fossils.
  • Launch the freighter canoe to return to Abitibi Canyon at 3:30 pm on July 10th (there may be opportunity to extend our time a couple of hours depending on the current weather conditions at the time.
  • On route, just before we launch there will be opportunities to photograph the very scenic Abitibi Canyon gorge.

What’s Included:

  • Tent
  • In-depth photographic instruction with on-site LCD review to ensure that you are capturing the best possible imagery
  • Breakfast, Snacks, Dinner, & Beverages on Wednesday July 9th
  • Breakfast & Snacks, & Beverages on Wednesday July 10th

What’s Not Included:

  • Dry Bags for camera gear and clothing
  • Sleeping Bag

Maximum Number of Participants:

  • 4

Workshop Fee:

  • $850.00 CDN plus taxes
  • Payment can be made via email transfer or by cheque.
  • A signed Waiver of Liability must accompany your payment. Waiver of Liability forms will be provided via email to those who wish to register for this event.

 To reserve your spot in this once in a life-time opportunity a non-refundale retainer of $400 is due now. The balance of the payment is due on March 1st, 2019. Please contact me by clicking here to arrange payment.

This photo tour will run rain or shine.

Cancellation Policy:

Payment balance refunded 61 days prior to photo tour

No refund 60 days prior to photo tour

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Join Andrew McLachlan in Ontario’s Muskoka District on October 1st, 2nd, & 3rd 2018 for 2 ½ days of in-depth photographic exploration of the finest waterfalls and rivers, forests and wetlands of the region. Embrace the beauty of Muskoka and learn the skills of landscape photography amid the palette of autumn. If we are lucky enough to have clear night skies we will add on a starry night-scape session too. Maximum number of participants is 8.

Do note that there will be some walking involved, through woodland trails with uneven ground. The longest walk will be roughly 1 kilometre in length. Please do not hesitate to inquire should you have any concerns regarding physical limitations that may affect your ability to attend this event.

Itinerary:

Tuesday, October 1st:

  • Meet in the parking lot of Brooks Falls (Huntsville area) at 7:00 a.m. for waterfall photo session
  • Stop for lunch (on your own) at 1:00 p.m.
  • Oxtongue Rapids (Huntsville area) photo session
  • Dinner (on your own) at local restaurant at 7:00 p.m.
  • Get some rested for early start on Wednesday

Wednesday, October 2nd:

  • Meet at 6:00 a.m. at pre-determined location in Bracebridge and carpool to waterfall for photo sessions
  • Stop for lunch (on your own) at 1:00 p.m.
  • Additional waterfall / river sessions
  • Sunset photo session
  • Complimentary dinner at local restaurant

Thursday, October 3rd:

  • Meet at 6:00 a.m. at pre-determined location in Bracebridge and carpool to Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Reserve for sunrise and morning photo session
  • Depart for home 12:00 p.m.

What’s Included:

  • In-depth photographic instruction during each photo sessions with LCD review
  • Dinner at nearby restaurant on Wednesday October 2nd

What’s Not Included:

  • Accommodations (numerous options available… I will be staying at the Sleep Inn in Bracebridge – they serve a continental style breakfast)
  • Transportation
  • Car pooling of participants is encouraged to arrive at each location
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Alcoholic Beverages

Workshop Fee:

$325.00 CDN plus taxes

Payment can be made via email transfer or by cheque.

 

To reserve your spot in the Muskoka Autumn Colour Spectacular please contact me by clicking here to arrange payment. Please do not delay in booking your accommodations as hotels / motels in the area will fill up quickly.

 

Cancellation Policy:

No Refunds. Check your schedule carefully prior to booking.

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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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