Posts Tagged ‘Horseshoe Lake’

Bullfrog in wetland_1503

Male Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

Looking back over the past year I realized I probably photographed a little bit more wildlife than landscapes, which is some what different for me. Mostly I was photographing frogs and toads for various chapters in the frog book that I am currently writing. As a result it is easy to see why my top 12 images from 2012 contains a few frog photos 🙂

Here is a selection of a few of my favorite images created in 2012.

Tiny Marsh_9697

Tiny Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area, Ontario

Massassauga Rattlesnake_1773

Eastern Massassauga Rattlesnake, Killbear Provincial Park, Ontario

Rosseau River_734

Rosseau River at Lower Rosseau Falls, Ontario


Over-under juvenile Bullfrog


Willet on Liebeck Lake, Ontario

Horseshoe Lake Sunset_2213

Horseshoe Lake wetland at sunset, Ontario

Common Loon (Gavia immer) with chick on Horseshoe Lake

Common Loon with chick on Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

Zimmerman's Poison Frog (Ranitomeya variabilis)_2921-1

Zimmerman’s Poison Frog

Beaver Pond_Algonquin_3429

Beaver Pond, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

Horseshoe Lake_2459

View from the dock at sunset, Horseshoe Lake, Ontario

White-breasted Nuthatch_4543

White-breasted Nuthatch

The White-breasted Nuthatch image above represents the last photograph captured for 2012. It was visiting my suet feeder set-up frequently yesterday while I was out in the blind for another round of winter songbird photography.

Wishing everybody all the best in 2013.

Happy New Year!!!

Please remember to click on each of the photos to see the larger sharper version.

See ya soon!

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Horseshoe Lake at sunset


I have been busy catching up on my processing of images captured throughout the summer and thought I would share a collection of sunsets from Horseshoe Lake. The above image was created after an evening session of photographing Bullfrogs at dusk. While I was packing away my gear to begin canoeing back to the cottage I turned around to notice this impressive sunset and cloud formation in the sky. Since I was in the canoe and my tripod was back at the cottage I cranked up the ISO to 800, activated the Virtual Horizon feature on the Nikon D800 and fired away. With no grad filters on hand I exposed for the highlights and later in photoshop revealed a touch of detail from the shadows.

The two images below were photographed one after the other. Since the colours were somewhat lacking on this night I chose to use a Cokin Blue/Yellow Polarizer on the first image to add some colour to the scene. The final image portrays the natural colours as they were that night. Please do take a moment to indicate which of the two scenes is your favorite and why.

Remember to click on the photos to see the larger, sharper version of each.

Horseshoe Lake with Cokin Blue/Yellow Polarizer

Horseshoe Lake un-filtered

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I don’t photograph near as many outdoor lifestyle images as I would like to. This is probably due to the very fact that I tend to arrive at my chosen destinations during inclement weather, while most folks are still tucked in their beds, after peak summer vacation periods when the human presence is almost non-existent, or folks are not wearing clothing with eye-catching colour. On a few occasions I will wear some colourful clothing such as a red t-shirt or jacket while out in the field, so that when I come across a scene that would simply work more effectively with a human being within the photo I can set the self-timer feature on my camera and jump into the photo.

On a recent weekend getaway to the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario while I was sitting down to breakfast with my daughter, my brother Gregg McLachlan, the founder of WorkCabin, Canada’s  Environmental Jobsite was preparing to go for a morning paddle in his kayak. I knew immediately that his yellow kayak and red life-jacket would look stunning against the blues and greens from the sky and forest reflecting in the water’s of the lake. As I carefully framed each of the photos so not to clip Gregg’s reflection, I pressed the shutter for a series of images only when the kayak paddle was approaching the position that I favoured. I was then able to select the photos with just the right position or angle that the kayak paddle was being held. Here are three of my favourite images of Gregg kayaking on the water’s of Horseshoe Lake.

Do remember to click on each photo to see the larger, sharper version. Also note that I have now added a clickable photo in the sidebar to link you directly to Denise Ippolito’s ‘Creative Photography eMini Magazine’ which is a free to subscribe to magazine that is loaded with great info.


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I have just return from several days up near Parry Sound, Ontario at the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake where I spent much of time getting to know my new Nikon D800 and swimming in the lake with my daughter, who is now able, with floaties, to swim quite some distance out from the dock.

I will do a more in-depth look at the D800 in a future post, but first wanted to share these images of the Common Loon family that reside in our bay on the lake. They have two chicks and both seem to be doing very well, diving on their own and both have very healthy appetites. Last year one chick had perished but hopefully this year’s brood will survive. The first two images in this post were photographed from the canoe, using the handheld Nikon 80-400mm VR lens with an ISO setting of 800 and the last image was captured with an ISO setting of 1250. I did not need any additional focal length to create images of these loons on this particular day, but when I did need extra focal length I could easily select the 1.5 crop mode on the D800 and immediately convert the 80-400mm lens to a 120-600mm lens.

Please remember to click on each photo to view a much larger version.

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Female Wild Turkey on nest

I have spent the last several days up in Ontario’s Muskoka region opening up the family cottage. Aside from the regular chores of opening weekend, I made time for visits to my favorite frog pond in the forest to photograph chorusing Grays Treefrogs, take my daughter in the canoe to a nearby wetland to see what was new in there this spring, my daughter also decided that it was a perfect day for swimming, jumping off the dock, and practicing her doggy paddle in the frigid water, and of course take my dog for several long walks. It was during one of these walks on Friday afternoon that something caught my eye at the base of a massive, rocky outcrop near the entrance to our cottage lot. Something looked different, not quite right, and certainly out-of-place as I remembered it. And then as my eyes adjusted to what I was seeing before me, I made out a female Wild Turkey sitting among the leaf litter. She was not at all alarmed to see me and my dog walk past her at only a distance of about 15 feet. My dog was oblivious to her on the ground and I figured that the turkey was probably quite comfortable with how well concealed she was on the forest floor. I concluded that she was probably sitting on a clutch of eggs. What surprised me most was that every time I passed by her over the course of several days, during the dog walks, she was always in the exact same position on the nest. I have explored the woodlands in this region for over 30 years and not once have I ever seen a Wild Turkey in the vicinity of the cottage and today there is one nesting right on our lot. Nature never ceases to amaze me, but I do wish this turkey had selected a more photogenic location for nesting :).

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Male Bullfrog in wetland

Over the course of last weekend I photographed many Bullfrog images. I have had trouble locating the adults in the Horseshoe Lake wetland this year. Not because they are hard to find, but because their numbers have been decreasing over time. I remember when my parents first bought our cottage, 30 years ago, and how the Bullfrog’s calls would fill the night air, but now it seems that there are substantially less frogs singing. On another note, many bullfrog tadpoles have emerged from their watery home to begin their new life above the water’s surface. Hopefully many of these froglets will make it to adulthood and replenish some of the frog numbers here.

Many of these new Bullfrog images will round out the images I require for a project I will be beginning shortly that pertains to frogs. To photograph the ‘frogscape’ above I used my 12-24mm lens set to its closest focusing point, a polarizing filter, a 2-stop grad filter and a bubble level. While handholding the camera just above the water’s surface, I leveled the camera according to the bubble level and fired away.

Below is a collection of images of a large, rather plump male Bullfrog that was most cooperative while it was at rest on a floating section of waterlily roots. Aside from the usual assortment of predators (herons, snapping turtles & water snakes), the juvenile Bullfrogs are also preyed upon by the adult Bullfrogs that have voracious appetites. If they can stuff it in their mouths they will eat it.

Male Bullfrog

Male Bullfrog

Male Bullfrog

Male Bullfrog

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Beaver Pond and Fall Colour

Over the last few days I was up at Horseshoe Lake and took advantage of the over-cast, rainy conditions to shoot some backwoods beaver ponds that I frequently explore. As usual, there are always a few trees that go into peak autumn foliage several weeks early than the rest of the trees. I made my way to this pond by following along several older beaver ponds and streams that connect the ponds, making note of the bear tracks along the way. As I made my way around a large fallen log at the edge of one pond I heard a splash in the water. I looked down to see my Lowepro lens case that I keep my Nikon 12-24mm lens floating in the pond. I jumped in to fetch the lens, unzipped the case and drained out the small amount of water that had leaked in. After drying the lens off with my t-shirt I began to examine the lens and it appeared that no water had leaked into the lens and no water reached the lens contacts. I further dried the lens with some micro-fiber cleaning cloths and created the image above, mostly to test the lens for moisture. So far all looks well, but just to be sure the lens will spend the next few days in a bag of silica gel that will absorb any moisture that cannot be seen. Being prepared for mishaps, should they unfortunately arrive, may just save the day. I always take along several micro-fibre cleaning cloths, clear plastic bags (for rain), knife, bear spray, electrical tape and an assortment of other things including my asthma inhaler. Many of these items are never needed, but you never know when they will be required.

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Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

After my early morning paddle on the Horseshoe Lake I would return to the cottage for a hearty breakfast and black coffee. I like having my coffee out on the deck only this time I decided to attached a small twig to the hummingbird feeder and try my hand at shooting hummingbirds. The above image represents the best pose I captured during the week, however the original capture is a smidge out of focus. Being familiar with how Fractalius handles image detail I knew I could apply a contrast mask to the hummingbird and then apply the Fractalius plugin to the image and it would be just fine as an artistic rendering of this Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

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Above is the original version of a dewy spider web I shot while canoeing through a wetland on Horseshoe Lake. I was immediately drawn to the way that the dead, lichen covered, black spruce branch was framing this particular web. I also knew that once I returned home and began processing my images that this was going to be a good candidate for the photoshop plugin Fractalius. below you will see my two alternate versions of this image with the Fractalius filter applied. Which do you prefer?

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Horseshoe Lake at daybreak

I have spent the last 9 days up at my family’s cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. Each morning I would be in the canoe well before sunrise, my favorite time of day, paddling to some of my most favorite spots on the lake. The days were filled with lots of sunshine and the nights were cool. These cool nights are perfect for mist rising off the lake’s surface as it begins to cool down with the changing of the seasons. Unfortunately, the best vantage points for many of these scenes is out on the lake where the use of a tripod is rather difficult to say the least. As a result, handholding the camera is the only option. When I am handholding the camera from the canoe I always use my grid-lines on the focusing screen to keep things level and wait for the canoe to settle after paddling into position. My two favorite lenses for shooting from the canoe are the Nikon 80-400 VR lens and Nikon 12-24mm lens. When shooting from the canoe the 80-400 mm lens is used with the VR activated at all times and the 12-24mm lens is most useful for shoreline details.

On one morning, while I was canoeing about a mile from the cottage I found our boat that was stolen a year earlier. A fellow cottager had found it across the bay from their cottage, half-submerged in the lake. They managed to bail it out and then took it back to their cottage and pulled it up on shore. It appears that the thieves decided to pull the drain plug out after removing the motor, but the boat has significant floatation in it so it did not fully sink to the bottom of the lake.

In the days to come I will post many more images from this past stay at the lake. I was presented with many nice situations on my morning outings. Hope you like the images.

Horseshoe Lake at daybreak

Early morning light on Horseshoe Lake

Shoreline details on Horseshoe Lake

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