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Posts Tagged ‘night sky’

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.

Itinerary:

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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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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The Milky Way Over Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 30 seconds

The Milky Way Over Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 30 seconds

I have just returned from another week up on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. During the past seven days I spent a lot of time exploring the night sky. Photographing the starry night sky is quite addictive and each night, roughly two hours after sunset I would head down to the dock and create images of the Milky Way above the lake. Fortunately, the Milky Way can easily be seen from the dock, however, there is some noticeable light pollution from the town of Parry Sound, visible on the right side of the images. In the above photo I was quite surprised by the subtle green and pink hues present when I viewed the images on the computer the next morning. I did not see any of these colors in the sky as I created the images. In addition, I was also quite surprised at how each of the night scenes photographed considering that each was created at roughly the same time each night. Isn’t nature amazing 🙂

Here are a couple of additional photos of the starry sky above Horseshoe Lake. In an upcoming post I will cover the learning curve to creating and the special processing techniques to these addictive images. I found on my Nikon D800 that I was getting the best pin-point stars at 20 second exposures. In the opening image the 30 second exposure the stars are not all quite pin-points, some have tiny trails starting.

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

 

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 20mm ISO 6400, f3.8 @ 20 seconds

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 20mm
ISO 6400, f3.8 @ 20 seconds

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 20 seconds

Milky Way Above Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 6400, f3.5 @ 20 seconds

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Pre-Dawn Light on Lake Travers in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 100, f16 @ 8 seconds Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Pre-Dawn Light on Lake Travers in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 8 seconds
Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Towards the end of last week I spent several days up on the shore of Lake Travers in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park. The first morning of my stay in the area provided the best conditions for daybreak imagery. The nights turned rather cool after this day and subsequently the heavy mist rising from the lake made visibility very poor, until the sun had rose high enough in the sky to burn off the misty conditions. The above scene was created at approximately 5:30 a.m. on the first morning. No less than half an hour later the sun still hidden by the horizon began to light the clouds hovering above the lake – as seen below.

Sunrise on Lake ravers in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 19mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1.3 seconds Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Sunrise on Lake Travers in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 19mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1.3 seconds
Singh Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

After the sun had risen and the colors faded from the sky I jumped into the canoe and paddled out across the lake. After about an hour paddling about the perimeter of Lake Travers I turned to look over my shoulder (photographer’s must remember to do this – sometimes what is behind you is more interesting than the scene before you) and was more than impressed by the cloud formations. Using my Nikon 18-35mm lens with a Nikon Polarizing filter attached I composed the scene and created several varying handheld compositions. Each and every time that I create a handheld image, before clicking the shutter, I take a breath and hold it as this will often eliminate the risk of breathing from causing movement that may contribute to un-sharp images.

Cloud Formations Above Lake Travers in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 200, f8 @ 1/25 second Nikon Polarizing Filter Hand-Held Capture

Cloud Formations on Lake Travers in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 200, f8 @ 1/25 second
Nikon Polarizing Filter
Hand-Held Capture

On my very last night in the park the skies were so unbelievably clear I could not resist the temptation to experiment with photographing the starry night sky. I think night photography will become a bit of an addiction 🙂 I can’t wait to give it another go!

The Milky Way Above the Algonquin Wilderness Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 6400, f4.5 @ 30 seconds

The Milky Way Above the Algonquin Wilderness
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 6400, f4.5 @ 30 seconds

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

I am on the road photographing again next week, but promise to return with lots of images to share and tips too 🙂

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