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Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

The 3rd Annual Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Photographic Workshop wrapped up today. This year we were blessed with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark with no wind whatsoever. It was quite lovely to be able to photograph without the constant need for gloves to keep fingertips warm. We also had mostly overcast conditions which is the best light of all for photographing the woodland waterfalls we were visiting. A relatively shallow bed of snow also made for mostly easy walking along the trails, although the mild weather did create a few sections where we had to be careful of slip and fall due to icy sections. Nonetheless, we succeeded in completing our visits without incident. I always recommend to folks to bring along crampons for added traction along trails that may have icy sections.

Below is a selection of imagery created at each of our stops on this one-of-a-kind workshop in Ontario’s Muskoka region. I used a variety of lenses from my trusty Laowa 12mm Zero D lens, to my Nikkor 28-300mm lens, and also my Nikkor 200-500mm lens, which is very useful for reaching out into rivers to capture icy details on exposed rocks and such. My filter choices for the vast majority of all my winter photography are those created by Singh Ray Filters and my go to filter choices are neutral polarizers and neutral density filters.

Folks that may be interested in attending the 4th Annual Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Workshop or any other events that I have or will announce this year can contact me by clicking here to be added to my workshop contact list 🙂

Potts Creek in winter, Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

Potts Creek in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

 

Skeleton Creek in winter at Hatchery Falls, Rosseau, Ontario, Canada

Skeleton Falls Details in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

 

Skeleton River in winter at Skeleton Falls, Rosseau, Ontario, Canada

Skeleton Falls in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

 

Rosseau River at Lower Rosseau Falls, Rosseau, Ontario, Canada

Rosseau River in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

 

Potts Creek in winter, Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

Potts Creek Details in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

 

Potts Creek in winter, Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada

Little High Falls in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

 

Rosseau River at Lower Rosseau Falls, Rosseau, Ontario, Canada

Rosseau River in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

 

Skeleton River in winter at Skeleton Falls, Rosseau, Ontario, Canada

Skeleton Falls in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

 

Rosseau River at Lower Rosseau Falls, Rosseau, Ontario, Canada

Rosseau River Details in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

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Milky Way Night-scape at the Algonquin Radio Observatory

I decided not to wait until January to share with you my personal 20 favorite images that I captured during 2019. Many of the selected images were created during several of my workshops this past year. I always teach by example and capture various images to share with participants, in-the-field, so they too can create similar photos. The first image in this post was created during the Lake Traverse Photography Retreat with night-scape scenes of the massive satellite being the highlight of the trip. We have been blessed with clear skies every year for this workshop and hopefully 2020 we will be blessed with the same conditions.

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In-camera Pan Blur of Birch Trees, Wawa, Ontario

Even when photography conditions seem to be less than ideal there is always something to photograph, which is what I demonstrated during my Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat when I created the above in-camera vertical pan blur of birch trees in late day light.

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Over-Under Bullfrog, Parry Sound, Ontario

During some my personal photography days I made good use of my final days with the family cottage to create my all-time favorite frog-scape scenes as can be seen in the above and below images of a large male Bullfrog in it’s watery home within the wetland on Horseshoe lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. These two frog-scapes were created using the Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens on a Nikon D500.

Bullfrog (lithobates catesbeiana) on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

Bullfrog-scape, Parry Sound, Ontario

The following two photographs were created in March on a personal excursion with two past workshop participants. We had an incredible afternoon exploring the icy shoreline and caves of Georgian Bay on the Bruce Peninsula. In fact we loved it so much we will likely be going back again this winter 🙂

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Ice Cave, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

 

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Halfway Rock Point, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

My first-ever Bruce Peninsula Workshop was a great success with many wonderful opportunities, especially those we encountered on two separate mornings at Half Way Log Dump on Georgian Bay. The image below was created during a foggy morning with the Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens. Stay tuned for the 2020 Bruce Peninsula Workshop announcement in the new year.

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Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario

Personal trips to the North Shore Rugged Hiking Trail in Parry Sound always yields impressive vistas. Watch for single day workshops at this location to be announced for the 2020 season.

Georgian Bay at sunset, Parry Sound, Ontario

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Parry Sound, Ontario

Late October found me on the shores of Lake Superior with two back to back events and some of the absolute best landscape photography conditions I have encountered in the area to date. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to photograph this impressive area of the province. Registration is open for the 3rd Annual Lake Superior Wild & Scenic Photography Retreat.

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Afternoon Light on Lake Superior in Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario

 

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Sunset on Lake Superior, Wawa, Ontario

In July I bid farewell to 35 years at the family cottage and will miss exploring the wetland on the lake as it is where I created a significant number of memorable imagery over the years. Below are two photos that were created in the weeks leading up the departure.

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

Fragrant White Waterlilies on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario

 

Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada

Storm Clouds at Dusk in Wetland, Parry Sound, Ontario

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River is a highlight of the Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Workshop and I am really looking forward to being back in the area this coming weekend for the 3rd annual event. If you are looking for a last minute photography workshop in beautiful Muskoka there are still a couple of spaces available. Please contact me by clicking here if interested.

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River in winter, Rosseau, Ontario, Canada

Hatchery Falls in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

When I discovered the newly emerging Green Darner Dragonfly this summer it was a perfect opportunity to test out my dual flash system for macro photography. More to come on that later 🙂

Green Darner Dragonfly, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada

Green Darner Dragonfly, Parry Sound, Ontario

The Lake Superior coast in Pukaskwa National Park near Marathon, Ontario as long been a favorite of mine. When I had a couple of personal days in between my two Lake Superior events I made the trek further north to explore the impressive ruggedness of the area.

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Lake Superior, Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario

I do not particularity do a lot of bird photography but when a rare visitor of Ontario’s boreal forest over-winters 20 minutes from home it is worth every effort to capture it. My favorite image of the Northern Hawk Owl was created during a light snow flurry on a bitterly cold day. It was not until after the owl landed in this tree that I became aware of the meadow vole it had cached in the tree earlier.

Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula)

Northern Hawk Owl, Schomberg, Ontario

In April I hosted an Ohio State Reformatory Workshop with Sherry Butts. It was a great success and we look forward to meeting the new participants for the 2020 event. If you wish to sign up for the 2020 Ohio State Reformatory Photo Tour please reach out to me by clicking here. The image below with the red chair was created in the library and the sunrays were added using Luminar for a creative effect.

Ohio State Reformatory, Manfield, Ohio, U.S.A.

Ohio State Reformatory, Mansfield, Ohio

The Tan Jumping Spider below was my first attempt at photographing very small subjects using a 105mm macro lens with a Raynox DCR-250 diopter and dual flash tubes. My wife had informed me of a spider on the ceiling in the kitchen. I said I would get me camera ready 🙂  I carefully moved the spider onto a small piece of bark for a natural setting. In 2020, once insects emerge from hibernation please watch for many posts about extreme macro photography.

Tan Jumping Spider (Platycryptus undatus)

Tan Jumping Spider, Thornton, Ontario

The final two images that are among my personal favorites for 2019 were created in the Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Reserve in Muskoka, Ontario on a glorious morning with clear skies and cool temperatures. These conditions were perfect for creating a significant amount of mist rising from the surrounding wetlands, that began to glow a fiery orange when the sun rose over the horizon. A Nikkor 200-500mm lens was used to create each of these images.

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Daybreak in the Torrance Barrens, Muskoka, Ontario

 

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Red Maple in the Mist, Muskoka, Ontario

As 2020 approaches I am looking forward to the new opportunities that will arise, and to meeting new and past workshop participants.

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Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River in winter, Rosseau, Ontario, Canada

Wishing everybody all the very best during the holiday season and a prosperous 2020.

This will be the last blog post for 2019 as folks, myself included, take the time to celebrate with friends and family.

The next blog post will be in early January and will highlight my favorite images created during 2019.

Happy Shooting 🙂

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The Niagara Escarpment at Georgian Bay on Bruce Peninsula National Park

Recently I accompanied a couple of past workshop participants an outing to Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula, which was well planned as the wintry scenes will come to an abrupt end with the onset of warmer, rainy weather forecasted for this week.

The Bruce Peninsula lies between Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. A section of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere, also runs along the Bruce Peninsula. The Niagara Escarpment is known for stunning limestone cliffs and outcrops as well as being home to eastern North America’s oldest trees and forest ecosystem. In winter this region takes on an incredible transformation as the cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment are adorned with massive amounts of ice. There are several caves along the base of the cliffs that are only accessible when Georgian Bay freezes over. The interiors of these caves are  incredible to explore as well, especially with a wide angle lens.

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The Niagara Escarpment at Georgian Bay on Bruce Peninsula National Park

My choice of lens to use on this trip turned out to be the amazingly wide and razor sharp Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens on my Nikon D800. The close focusing capabilities of this lens easily allowed me to capture all the amazing icy details in the foregrounds, yet take in the grand landscape before me. The Laowa 12mm Zero D Lens was also extremely useful when entering the small caves along the base of the cliffs as I was easily able to capture a significant portion of the cave’s interior details while peering out through the cave openings.

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The Niagara Escarpment at Georgian Bay on Bruce Peninsula National Park

All in all the outing to this area was short. We spent a mere 4 hours photographing the wintry details of the Georgian Bay coast. We had hoped for another opportunity on Sunday, but our plans were thwarted by significant winds and rain. Nonetheless, I created some of my personal best winter landscape imagery on the outing.

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The Niagara Escarpment at Georgian Bay on Bruce Peninsula National Park

I was so impressed with the winter landscape opportunities along the Georgian bay coast in Bruce Peninsula National Park that I may offer a winter landscape photography workshop to this region in 2020. Folks that may be interested in such an event should contact me by clicking here to be added to my workshop email contact list.

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The Niagara Escarpment at Georgian Bay on Bruce Peninsula National Park

 

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The Niagara Escarpment at Georgian Bay on Bruce Peninsula National Park

 

 

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Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular

We still have a few last minute spots available for those that wish to photograph Muskoka’s most scenic waterfalls amid a majestic winter wonderland. The workshop dates are February 8th, 9th, & 10th. The registration fee for this workshop includes lunch and dinner on Saturday, February 9th.

Please click here for more information about this event

Hope to see you there!

For a full list of available workshops please click here. Folks have been signing up regularly over the last few days so please do not sit on the fence too long or you may miss out on these events.

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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 🙂

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

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Daybreak, Lake Superior, Wawa, Ontario

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A critically endangered Cayman Brac Iguana, British West Indies

Ice Details, Ontario, Canada

Ice Crystal Details, Georgian Bay, Ontario

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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

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Skeleton River in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

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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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Snowy Owl in Flight (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

Over the last couple of days we have received several inches of heavy, wet snow around my home, which has coated the trees and turned the area into a lovely, winter wonderland. I was excited to get out and explore the surrounding farmland near my home for scenics as well as snowy owls. Every year several snowy owls over-winter on the farmland around my home. They gather to feast on mice and meadow voles that are scavenging the soy beans and corn that is spilled during harvest. Pictured above is the only image I have been able to create of a snowy owl so far this year. I do like the over-the-shoulder stare that the owl is giving me as it flies out over one of the fields.

Pictured below are a few of the scenic images that were created during my search for the snowy owls.  My choice of lenses for these images was the Nikon 200-500mm lens or the Nikon 28-300mm lens on either my Nikon D500 or Nikon D800 body.

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Winter Tree in Snow Storm (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

 

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Winter Farm Scenic (Nikon D800 & Nikon 28-300mm Lens)

 

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Winter Tree (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

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Winter Trees (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

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Winter Trees (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

 

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Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular

Join Andrew McLachlan in Ontario’s Muskoka District on February 8, 9 & 10, 2019 for one full day and two half days of in-depth photographic exploration of the finest waterfalls in the region. Embrace the beauty of Muskoka this winter and learn the skills of landscape photography amid a winter wonderland of snow clad, iconic white pines and the intricate ice formations that adorn waterfalls and rivers during the winter months.

This workshop will require the ability to walk approximately 1 kilometre over uneven, snow-covered terrain. I do recommend the use of crampons on this workshop for the added safety they provide against slip and fall incidents if conditions are icy.

I also recommend that participants book their accommodations with the Sleep Inn in Bracebridge as they serve a continental breakfast.

Maximum number of participants is 10.

Itinerary:

Friday February 8:

• Meet at 1:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the Sleep Inn, Bracebridge and carpool to photo session at area waterfall

• Dinner (on your own)

• Optional night photography session at Bracebridge Falls as it is lit with flood lights

Saturday February 9:

• Meet in the parking lot of the Sleep Inn, Bracebridge at 7:00 a.m. and carpool to waterfalls for photo sessions

• Stop for lunch at approximately 1:00 p.m.

• Visit additional waterfalls for photo sessions

• Dinner at local restaurant at 7:00 p.m.

• Get some rested for early start on Sunday

Sunday February 10:

• Meet in the parking lot of the Sleep Inn, Bracebridge at 7:00 a.m. and carpool to waterfalls for photo sessions

• Stop for lunch (on your own) 1:00 p.m.

• Depart for home

What’s Included:

• In-depth photographic instruction during each photo sessions with LCD review

• Saturday lunch and dinner at nearby restaurant

What’s Not Included:

• Accommodations (numerous options available… I will be staying at the Sleep Inn)

• Transportation (car pooling of participants is encouraged)

• Friday night dinner

• Breakfast (The Sleep Inn serves a continental breakfast)

• Alcoholic Beverages

Workshop Fee:

335.00 CDN plus taxes

Payment can be made via email transfer or by cheque. A Waiver of Liability will be sent to those that are registering. A signed copy of this waiver must be returned to Andrew McLachlan in advance of the workshop.

To reserve your spot in the Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular please contact me by clicking here to arrange payment.

Cancellation Policy:

No Refunds.

Check your schedule carefully prior to booking.

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Snowy Owl in a near blinding blizzard near Thornton, Ontario, Canada.

 

I am pleased to announce that my Snowy Owl image has been awarded an Honourable Mention in the “Animals In Their Environment” category of the 2018 Siena International Photo Awards, which received the highest international participation ever with close to 48.000 images submitted from amateur and professional photographers from 156 countries worldwide.

To view the gallery of amazing and inspiring, winning images please click here.

I am always fond of creating animate landscape imagery. When I discovered this Snowy Owl roosting on the ground, in a field near my home, during a near blinding snow blizzard I immediately chose to create this small in the frame image of the owl within its habitat during the inclement weather.

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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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