Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Amherst Island_1740

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!


Daybreak, Lake Superior, Wawa, Ontario

Rock Iguana_8468

A critically endangered Cayman Brac Iguana, British West Indies

Ice Details, Ontario, Canada

Ice Crystal Details, Georgian Bay, Ontario


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

Skeleton River_9777

Skeleton River in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

Spring Peeper_6451

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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As I drove home from the Abitibi Canyon region of Ontario I headed south on Highway 144. A little bit north of Sudbury, near Halfway Lake Provincial Park, I came upon a large area of burnt forest. I had driven by it before, but never stopped to photograph it. This time I stopped to take a few shots and when I returned home I googled this area for forest fires. Several years ago, in May of  2007, a poorly extinguished camp fire would become known as “Sudbury Forest Fire #46”. An astonishing 590 hectares burned. What I found most intriguing here was all the White Pine trees seemed to have survived while the rest of the forest was destroyed by the fire. Upon researching this, I discovered that white pines can survive most surface fires due to their thick bark, mostly branch-free trunks, moderately deep root systems and needles with a relatively low resin content, making them less flammable.

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Here is another photograph of the Abitibi River. This image was shot just above the Abitibi Canyon Dam at dusk. In hindsight, I would have preferred to shoot this scene as a panoramic image, I think the river’s shoreline lends itself to a panorama composition. Next time I make the 14 hour drive to this location I will make a note to shoot a panoramic here. I enjoyed traveling to this remote location in Ontario’s boreal forest, however, signs of human activity were also abundant. As I drove along the Otter Rapids Road I past many clear-cut logging sites, that have scarred the boreal forest with left-over brush piles and cut trees discarded on the ground. To learn more about boreal forests and their significant importance click here and here.

Below is one such example of the abandoned clear-cut logging sites I encountered along the way.

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A couple of weeks ago when I turned on to our cottage’s driveway, in Ontario’s Muskoka Region, I was greeted by this sign placed by the local hydro utility. I was immediately irritated by what I consider to be not only a colossal waste of time and money, but a complete disregard for the environment in a time when we are suppose to be vigilant about saving our natural world from our destructive habits. The local hydro utility has also marked several trees to be removed at a later date. Many of these trees are large mature sugar maples, that are frequently used for nesting by rose-breasted grosbeaks, and also some large dead trees. Dead trees are an essential part of the forest’s ecosystem. Some of the trees that have been marked for removal are no threat to any of the hydro lines, but nonetheless they will be removed. I am certain, in some way, shape or form the the removal of these trees and the pesticides used to kill plant life (and who knows what else) around the hydro corridor will be reflected on our hydro bills. My hydro bill actually has a “debt retirement charge” on it. In a nut-shell, this means that I have to pay for their poor management and excessive severance packages. Not to mention the hydro workers I encountered at a small restaurant asking a waitress for some empty tubs so they could pick blackberries during working hours. I guess that must be written into their job description. I won’t be picking blackberries on our cottage property this year as this pesticide was also sprayed on our blackberry patch.

Can we please try a little harder to save our natural world!

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This past spring was a quiet one and that I find quite disturbing. Behind my home lies about 40 acres of abandoned cattle pasture. This is traditionally a wet meadow with numerous vernal ponds resulting from the melting snow. I have lived here for 13 years and every spring we are serenaded to sleep by frogs and toads during the spring chorus. This year was an exception.

Normally, around my home, the frogs emerge from hibernation in the following order: chorus frogs, wood frogs, spring peepers, toads with leopard frogs, green frogs and gray’s treefrogs to follow. This spring began like any other – the chorus frogs were singing their hearts out by the end of March. The wood frogs and spring peepers followed, but as conditions warmed further where were the toads. Perhaps they would not arrive at the ponds until the first warm rainy night. Warm rainy nights came and went, but no toads. The toads never arrived this spring to chorus in any of the ponds within this field. The leopard frogs and green frogs did arrive, but only two gray’s treefrogs were heard chorusing on one occasion. I find this to be disturbing and puzzling. It is puzzling because during my forays to the ponds I could hear toads and gray’s treefrogs chorusing in distant ponds, but why not in these ponds? What happened? Where were they? I have no answers to these questions. Only more questions. I wonder if it is the first sign a frog populations in decline near my home.

All around the world frog populations and other amphibians too are in decline. Amphibians are considered to be  “indicator species.” When their numbers are decreasing it indicates that there is something drastically wrong with their environment – a sign of biodiversity disaster.

Amphibians have been around for some 250 million years and survived when dinosaurs did not, but will they survive the impact of humans. We continue to destroy habitat. Wetlands are filled in and paved over all in the name of “progress.” In Southern Ontario, over 80% of original wetlands have been lost due to human development. Moreover, dryer summers as a result of global warming will mean there is a greater chance of vernal ponds drying out before amphibian larvae are able to complete their metamorphosis into adults. It would only take one or two such occurrences to have a drastic effect on local amphibian populations.

Declining amphibian populations is something that we should all take seriously. It is a warning sign!

Below is a selection of images to celebrate these amazing critters. Many of these images are older ones, captured on slide film with a Minolta X700, macro lens, and a cheap $5 Vivtar flash (purchased from a scrap bin at a Toronto camera store) mounted on a homemade flash bracket. The last two images are recent digital captures.

Hope you like the photographs.

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