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Archive for the ‘Muskoka’ Category

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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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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Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f11 @ 1/6 sec

 

In the summer of 2016 Venus Optics released the Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens, the world’s fastest 12mm lens available for full frame cameras. The Zero D designation stands for zero distortion. Recently I purchased one of these lenses for both commercial and landscape photography. The Laowa 12mm lens is a fully manual lens (exposure and focusing). The Exif data recorded for images created with this lens will show no value for f-stop used or focal length of the lens, but that is by no means a deterrent to using this lens. All metal construction give this lens a “built like a tank” feel. It is also a very small lens and light weight at only 609 grams!

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f11 @ 1/6 sec

While this is not intended to be a lens review I will mention a few of things I like and dislike about the lens. First of all, light fall off is very acceotable and virtually disappears as the lens is stopped down. Chromatic aberration is also very well controlled and any that does become visible is easily fixed by simply checking the Remove Chromatic Aberration box in ACR. As mentioned the lens is an all metal build and this includes the two lens hoods. Yes I said two lens hoods. The lens has a small built-in lens hood that helps to protect the bulbous front element and there is also a removable petal-style lens hood as well. A disappointing note about the removable lens hood is that it causes slight vignetting. I simply choose to not use the removable lens hood when photographing with this lens, although at some point I will likely modify it so that it can be used with no vignetting.

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f11 @ 0.3 sec

The front element of this lens has what is called a “Frog Eye Coating” for repelling dust and water. What I have noticed with the coating is that water droplets will bead on the front element and can thus be easily wiped off the lens. I love this feature!

Does the lens live up to the claim of zero distortion? Yes! If the camera is square with the world straight lines will be straight. When you point the camera up or down you will notice that trees will have a tendency to lean in or out depending on the angle at which the camera is pointed, but this common to all wide angle lenses so it is not really a downside to the lens.

Oxtongue River, Dwight, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 1/8 sec

 

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f11 @ 1/13 sec

As mentioned this lens is a manual focus lens. It also has an excellent hyperfocal scale engraved on the lens barrel that can be reliably used for focusing the lens. I simply compose the scene before, dial in my chosen f-stop, set the hyperfocal distance on the lens barrel, and click the shutter – everything from near to far is in sharp focus. To learn more about hyperfocal distance please click here for an excellent article that explains it in depth and how to apply it to your own photography.

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River, Muskoka, Ontaro
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 50
f16 @ 1/10 sec

The Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens will not accept filters due to the bulbous front element, but there are specialized filter holders available that will permit the use of polarizers and 100mm square or rectangular Graduated ND Filters or ND filters. I am currently awaiting the arrival of the NISI filter holder and will post a review of the functionality of that filter after I have had a chance to  put it to use. Today’s images were all created without a polarizing filter. I would normall prefer to photograph waterfalls and rivers with a polarizing filter.

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f11 @ 1/5 sec

 

Oxtongue River, Dwight, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 100
f16 @ 0.3 sec

If you are looking for an affordable, extreme wide angle lens for your full frame camera then look no further. The Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens will produce razor sharp imagery at a fraction of the cost of the Canon 11-24mm or Sigma 12-24mm lenses and at a fraction of the weight.

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

 

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Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikkor 18-35mm lens @ 35mm
ISO 100, f11 @ 1/60 sec.

With each and every excursion I undertake into natural environs the negative effect of humans on our natural world is sadly noted. From the highly destructive nature of ATVs, to the illegal dumping of garbage, degradation of the environment through vandalism or trampling, and to photographers engaging in unethical practices for personal financial gain have become commonplace within our wild places. It is time for a change.

This is where the ‘League of Landscape Photographers’ comes into place. They are a group of artists that have bound themselves to photograph by a code of ethics. To better protect our wild places, the flora, and the fauna, developing a code of ethics in which we conduct ourselves is of the utmost importance to protect the places we love.

In my own photography I have always maintained a high ethical standard whereby the welfare of my photographic subject rises above any photographic opportunity. For me it is always about the experience first, with resulting images being an extension of the experience. Whenever possible I photograph the degradation of our environment and publish resulting images on social media to help raise awareness of such concerns. I show respect for the environment with each visit and to each individual I encounter along the way, hoping they will exhibit the same level of respect to me, to others, and to the environment. Education is also paramount to the protection of our environment, therefore, informing others on how the negative effects of their behaviour will impact a given situation is brought to their attention whenever it is safe to do so.

Please visit the League of Landscape Photographers by clicking here.

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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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Autumn color at Hatchery Falls, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens ISO 100, f16 @ 0.8 sec. Singh Ray Thin Mount Warm-Tone Polarizing Filter

Autumn color at Hatchery Falls, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Laowa 15mm Macro Lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 0.8 sec.
Singh Ray Thin Mount Warm-Tone Polarizing Filter

Now that the leaves have fallen from the trees I have found time to process some of this year’s newly created autumn scenes. I took the time to photograph a few typical fall color scenes with the brilliant reds and oranges of the sugar maple trees and the surrounding landscape as seen above and below, but mostly I noticed I focused on different elements of the season.

Georgian Bay near Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 85mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1/10 sec Nikon Neutral Polarizing Filter

Georgian Bay near Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 85mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/10 sec
Nikon Neutral Polarizing Filter

 

Georgian Bay, North Shore Rugged Hiking Trail in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens " 18mm ISO 50, f16 @ 1/5 sec. Nikon Neutral POlarizing Filter Sing Ray 2-stop Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Georgian Bay, North Shore Rugged Hiking Trail in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 50, f16 @ 1/5 sec.
Nikon Neutral Polarizing Filter
Singh Ray 2-stop Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

Oxtongue River, Dwight, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1/5 sec Nikon Neutral Polarizing Filter

Oxtongue River, Dwight, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/5 sec
Nikon Neutral Polarizing Filter

As I began editing the new image files I noticed that many of the photos had a more intimate view of the season. The cinnamon tones of dying ferns, autumn colors reflecting in flowing rivers, and impressionistic-style blurs of a grander scene reflecting in quiet ponds. Below are a few of these intimate autumn scenes that were newly created this year during several excursions into the autumn woodlands. The autumn fern scene was created on a particularly blustery day that required me to dial in an ISO of 800 and wait for a bit of a lull in the persistent breeze. After a lengthy wait I was rewarded with a moment of stillness.

Interrupted Ferns, Torrance Barrens, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 800, f8 @ 1/20 sec.

Interrupted Ferns, Torrance Barrens, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/20 sec.

One afternoon I decided to park beside a small quiet pond to have my lunch when I noticed the interplay of reflected sugar maple trees and paper birch trunks on the surface of the pond. Using my Nikon 200-500mm lens I zoomed in on various sections of the reflection to create several impressionistic blurs of the scene.

Autumn Reflections, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 500mm ISO 100, f16 @ 0.3 sec.

Autumn Reflections, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 500mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 0.3 sec.

On another afternoon I found myself at McCutcheon’s Falls on the Black River in the village of Vankoughnet. After creating a few various compositions of the waterfall and surrounding autumn color I became drawn to a small section of the river where a sunlit sugar maple tree was reflecting off the river’s surface. Once again using my Nikon 200-500mm lens I zoomed the lens out to this section of the river to create this intimate view of the flowing water with stunning, blazing color as it reflected on the water.

Autumn Reflections, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 450mm ISO 100, 16 @ 0.3 sec.

Autumn Reflections, Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 450mm
ISO 100, 16 @ 0.3 sec.

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