Posts Tagged ‘algonquin’

Lake Traverse Photography Retreat

Join Andrew McLachlan for an exclusive, weekend workshop deep in the heart of Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park on scenic Lake Traverse for an opportunity to create stunning imagery from this remote, pristine landscape. This event will be held on September 20, 21, & 22, 2019. Lake Traverse is situated in a remote area of the park and is rich in both history and scenery. To reach this remote destination in Algonquin Provincial Park you must enter the park at the Sand Lake Gate. In the early 1900’s lumber baron J.R. Booth established a private lodge – The Booth Turtle Club on the shores of Lake Traverse. Today remnants of this lodge can be found in the woodlands such as impressive stone fireplaces and a rusted old wreck decaying in the forest. The timing of this event will allow for misty sunrises over Lake Traverse and assuming weather conditions co-operate we are in one of the best locations in all of Ontario to photograph the night sky and possibly the aurora borealis. Furthermore, we are situated a short walking distance from picturesque waterfalls on the Petawawa River.

Our accommodations for this event will be at the Algonquin Radio Observatory, located on the shores of Lake Traverse. The Algonquin Radio Observatory is closed to the public and inaccessible. However, exclusive access has been granted to our workshop group for this event. A tour of the immense satellite has been arranged during the mid-day hours on Saturday, when lighting for photography is generally at its worst. Also available to participants is the use of canoes and kayaks during the mid-day hours to explore the lake on your own.

A quick note about the Algonquin Radio Observatory:

The Algonquin Radio Observatory (ARO) is Canada’s national radio observatory featuring Canada’s premiere Earth station facility. ARO is a division of space technology company Thoth Technology Inc. Completed and commissioned in the 1965, ARO’s 46m antenna is the largest antenna in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The observatory is situated on a 100 acre wild and breathtakingly beautiful site in the North of Algonquin Provincial Park on Lake Traverse, deep inside the park. The observatory hosts a suite of state-of-the-art scientific equipment including its own atomic clock and still operates with a state-of-the-art technical capability. ARO is the official ground station for Northern Light, Canada’s mission to Mars.


Friday September 20:

Meet & Greet Dinner at 6:00 p.m. follow by photographic presentation and a nightscape photo session (assuming weather conditions co-operate)

Saturday September 21:

Morning Photo Session (6am – 10am followed by breakfast, tour of satellite, Petawawa River Session, Rusty Old Wreck Session, Evening Photo Session, Nightscape Session (assuming weather conditions co-operate)

Sunday September 22:

Morning photo session (6am – 10am) followed by breakfast.

Checkout is at 11:00 a.m. however, participants are permitted to explore other areas of the park at their leisure for the remainder of the day.

Do Note: Each location we will photograph at is a short walking distance from our home base at the Algonquin Radio Observatory.

What’s Included:

• In-depth landscape photography instruction by yours truly

• Lodging at Algonquin Radio Observatory • Friday – dinner

• Saturday – breakfast, lunch, & dinner

• Sunday – breakfast

What’s not included:

• Transportation to Algonquin Radio Observatory

• A 3 day, daily vehicle permit fee must be purchased at the Sand Lake Gate to enter the park. This vehicle permit will allow participants to remain in the park until 10:00 pm on Sunday.

• Snacks

• Alcoholic Beverages

Workshop Fee:

$585 plus taxes, per person, based on double occupancy.

$625 plus taxes, per person, for single occupancy.

A non-refundable retainer of $250 is due now to secure your spot in this workshop.

Payments are accepted by cheque or e-mail transfer.

The balance owing will be due no later than June 1, 2019.

A Waiver of Liability will sent to registrants at the time of booking, to be returned with the non-refundable retainer.

This workshop is open to a maximum of 15 participants.

To reserve your spot in this exclusive workshop please contact me by clicking here.

Cancellation Policy:

61 days prior to the workshop date full refund less $250.00 non-refundable retainer.

60 days prior to the workshop date No Refunds


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Star Trails Over Lake Traverse, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

The Lake Traverse Photographic Workshop wrapped up about a week ago. This late follow-up is the result of being off the grid immediately after the workshop in Ontario`s remote boreal forest in the James Bay Lowlands to scout  a potential workshop offering for 2020. Stay tuned for some incredible photo opportunities from this remote area of the province. I returned a couple of days ago and after getting caught up with submissions and prepping for other upcoming workshops finally have a day or two to breathe.

Photogrpahing the starry night sky at this location is always tons of fun as it is one of the darkest areas within the province. When clear skies prevail there are numerous options for starry night skies and star trails too. Although not visible to us during the creation of the star trail image above, the 45 minute exposure did record faint colours from the aurora borealis.

Petawawa River, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

I was quite pleased to receive this unsolicited email from Lake Traverse workshop participant Geoff:

First and foremost I’d like to thank you for the wonderful weekend up at the Observatory in Algonquin Park. It was nice to spend some time with people whom shared common interests. You put things together really well. It was quite a new experience for me with the astro photograghy. It was the perfect spot to observe the night sky as we were so far into the park and beyond a lot of light pollution. And the trip up the satellite dish, way bigger than I ever thought, was a real surprise. 

      And putting that aside for a moment, what a beautiful place to take landscape photos. The lakes and rivers were so plentiful and in actual fact in our short time up there we only sampled a small amount of what Algonquin Park has to offer. It truly is a nature lovers delight. And where ever we went there were no crowds. 

      As for you personally I just wanted to thank you again. I’ve had you teaching me about macro photography in your Frog Photography workshop. I’ve had you teaching me about my camera, lenses and filters. And of course this latest workshop in Algonquin with a new group of people. The nice thing was the fact that it wasn’t so large a group that you couldn’t spend time with each and every photographer. You were still able to help each person with there specific issues. This is the greatest thing about your workshops. I’ve heard about others that were large numbers of students and time with the instructor was scarce. I will look forward to attending another work shop with you again. I may even do the Algonquin trip should you plan on another next year

Algonquin Radio Observatory Laser Light Painting
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

New for this year`s workshop was having the ability to paint the massive satellite dish with lasers for an other-worldly effect.

Rusty Old Wreck, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

My favourite part of these workshops is visiting the rusty old wreck hidden in the surrounding woodland. The images I created during this year`s workshop I applied a light treatment with Topaz Impression 2 to create an old time feeling.

Stay tuned for the 2019 announcement of the Lake Traverse Photographic Workshop. To be added to the early bird notification list please do shoot me an email by clicking here.

Milky Way, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

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© Barb Marszalek

Today’s post is featuring the imagery of participants from the Lake Traverse Photographic Workshop that was held in September. The caption for each image will indicate which participant captured each of the published photos. I selected the dates for this workshop to coincide with a new moon and hoped that we would have crystal clear skies photographing the starry night sky. We did! We were also blessed with a touch of autumn colour in the surrounding woodlands and the weather conditions prior to our arrival were perfect for getting various mushrooms and fungi to flourish.

In the first three images we see three different takes on how the participants captured the massive satellite dish at the Algonquin Radio Observatory. Barb Marszalek chose to capture the vertical orientation that also included mush of the Milky Way. John Weatherburn went for the horizontal view and also managed to capture much of the Milky Way. Finally in Dave Dennis’ mid-day image of the satellite dish he placed the sun directly behind the dish and went with a somewhat creative edit, which works quite nicely I think.

© John Weatherburn


© Dave Dennis

Our mornings were spent on the shore of Lake Traverse photographing sunrise. During September most mornings there is much mist rising from the lake as it cools down for the coming winter. At times there can be too much mist and focusing on details can be a very beneficial option. Workshop assistant extraordinaire Don Johnston alerted the participants as he captured a fabulous detail image of a group of reeds that were very close to shore, while Mandeep Bal created an iconic autumn in Algonquin sunrise by waiting for the sun to rise high enough in the sky to break through the persistent mist.

© Don Johnston


© Mandeep Bal

As mentioned earlier the conditions were ripe for mushrooms and fungi in the forest and Nijole Mockevicius found a beautiful coral fungi cluster on the forest floor and processed the image file beautifully to keep the natural whites of the fungi as they appeared.

© Nijole Mockevicius

Dave Dennis brought along some mini-people as props to create some fun images during the workshop and I just love how his hikier being chased by the bear turned out. Barb Marszalek brought some mini-wildlife subjects with her and loaned the bear to Dave. These look like so much fun I may have to buy myself some 🙂

© Dave Dennis

A very short walk from our base camp at the Algonquin Radio Observatory is the Petawawa River. I had hoped that I could guide folks upriver to the waterfall, but high water levels on the river this year made that an unsafe trek, so we photographed from the single lane bridge that gives a clear view of the rapids on the river. Barb Marszalek created the autumn scene of the Petawawa River below and framed the composition very nicely. In my honest opinion I think it belongs in a calendar 🙂

© Barb Marszalek

Mid-day cloud cover provided perfect conditions for the participants to work on intimate, autumn forest scenes. A small cluster of Aspen trees and Bracken Fern provided the ideal subject matter for such imagery. Don Johnston captured a lovely colour version and do note that Don was very careful not to let the aspen trunks merge with each other. John Weatherburn created an image very similar to that of Don Johnston, but John went for a B&W conversion that I find to be very effective as well.

© Don Johnston


© John Weatherburn

Mandeep Bal also chose to go with a B&W conversion of his minimalistic, but very effective capture of a small island in Lake Traverse. Dorion Liebgott photographed another iconic scene from Lake Traverse – fisherman among the rising mist. Dorion’s image illustrates just how thick the rising mist can get at times as you cannot see any of the land surrounding these fisherman. Finally Mark Kannegiesser created a wonderful and fun image of workshop participant Bruce Monick as he went out to explore the lake in a canoe during a break in the workshop activities. I must say Algonquin and canoes go so well together!

© Mandeep Bal


© Dorion Liebgott


© Mark Kannegiesser

Stay tuned for the upcoming announcement in early November for Lake Traverse 2018. Any folks that are interested in attending the 2018 Lake Traverse Photographic Workshop can notify me by clicking here to be added to the contact list.




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Star Trails, Lake Traverse, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens
ISO 125
f4 @ 30 minutes

We wrapped up the Lake Traverse program this morning to enable folks plenty of time for their long journeys home. We had a fantastic group of participants and created many superb landscape images. I would also like to extend a very BIG thank-you to Don Johnston for assisting me during the program. Don is a great teacher who’s dedication to helping folks get the most of the experience is greatly appreciated.  In the coming weeks I will share the participant images with you here on the blog. Aside from our regularly planned landscape photography locations we organized two night-scape sessions and were blessed with clear skies on both nights, however the second night was the clearest of all due to the first night having a very light haze in the sky. The northern lights were visible for both nightscape sessions but they were not very pronounced. Tinges of color are present within the star trails image above. After spending a couple of hours creating Milky Way Nightscapes over the Petawawa River and the Algonquin Radio Observatory satellite dish we had three participants that wanted to capture a star trail image. We made our way down to the shore of Lake Traverse, set up our compositions, dialed in the ISO, f-stop, and set the shutter speed to BULB. We then tripped the shutters on our cameras and chatted for a half hour while we created our star trail images. We completed our start trails imagery by approximately 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Just in time to grab a few winks before heading back out for misty sunrises at 6:30 a.m.

I arrived home late this afternoon and immediately unpacked and began packing for my departure tomorrow afternoon to the rainforests of Tarapoto, Peru.

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Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/160 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/160 sec


On the morning of January 25th I awoke early and made the two hour trek north to Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park to spend the day photographing Pine Martens with my new Nikon D500. It turned out to be a very productive visit with many wonderful opportunities. I mounted my Nikkor 200-500mm lens on the Nikon D500 as this combination as been proving to be quite deadly, especially given the fact that the Nikon D500 has an APS-C size sensor, therefore the 200-500mm lens becomes the 35mm equivalent of a 300-750mm lens. Here are a few of the Pine Marten images that were created during this visit to Algonquin. All images were created with the Nikon D500 and Nikkor 200-500mm lens firmly mounted to my tripod with a Wimberely Sidekick attached to my ballhead.

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

Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 220mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/800 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 220mm (330mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/800 sec


Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/80 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/80 sec


Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 310mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/320 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 310mm (465mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/320 sec


Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 420mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/320 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 420mm (630mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/320 sec


Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 400mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/420 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 400mm (600mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/420 sec


Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 640mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/320 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 320mm (480mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/640 sec


Pine Marten - Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 270mm ISO 1000 f8 @ 1/640 sec

Pine Marten – Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500mm lens @ 270mm (405mm equivalent)
ISO 1000
f8 @ 1/640 sec

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Algonquin Provincial Park

I love going out to shoot in overcast, drizzly weather conditions and my favorite lens to use on these days, if I am not shooting waterfalls with my wide angle zoom, is my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens. I love to use this lens to extract images from within the landscape and to shoot blurs. The Nikon 80-400mm VR lens has one major drawback to it though, and that is the poorly designed tripod collar. When I first began using this lens, many years ago, I immediately became aware of the vibration transmitted through the lens by the camera’s mirror. Vibraton that will compromise image quality. Fortunately there is a solution available. Kirk Enterprises offers a tripod replacement collar that firmly cradles the lens eliminating the vibration problem. You can view the replacement collar here. When I use the lens to shoot blurs I like to use it in the 200-400mm range and often I will handhold the lens for camera movement blurs. When I am relying on mother nature to create the blur via wind or flowing water, I lock the camera and lens firmly to my tripod by means of the replacement tripod collar.  Some of my recent  intimate landscapes and blurs can be seen below that were created with this lens during this year’s autumn outings. Head over here to see my favorite image from my Lake Superior Provincial Park trip in September. Don’t forget to hit the ‘like’ button :).

Lichen Covered Dead Tree

Autumn Reflection in Horseshoe Lake

Torrance Barrens near Gravenhurst, Ontario

Handheld Autumn Birch Tree Blur

Torrance Barrens near Gravenhurst, Ontario

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Just returned from fall colour shoot through Ontario’s eastern region…much editing to do over the next few days. Here is one of my first images processed from trip. This sunset was photographed at Grand Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park’s north-eastern region accessed by Barron Canyon Road. I arrived at the Achray campsite minutes before this sunset peaked. A Singh Ray 2-stop grad filter was used to hold back the sky. Throughout this week I will be posting images from this recent shoot. Hope you like them.

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