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Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 34mm ISO 400, f16 @ 1/200 sec Handheld

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 34mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/200 sec
Handheld from canoe

I spent last week up at the family cottage on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario. On the morning of July 17th we were treated to a rather refreshing break from the heatwave we have been enduring with a morning temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. This drop in temperature created the perfect conditions for autumn-like mist to blanket the entire lake. Seeing these conditions I abandoned my plans of heading off in search of a cow Moose and her calf that I had seen the day before in favor of a paddle on the lake. The mist was so thick at times I could barely see the tip of the canoe as I paddled across the lake to a couple of small islands that the sun would soon be rising behind. This was a very special morning whereby the heavy mist conditions persisted for roughly three hours past sunrise, before the sun had rose high enough in the sky to burn off the mist. Best of all I had the entire lake to myself. It was such a tranquil morning to be out on the water enjoying the beauty of the moment and listening to the sounds of nature with no motor boats to rudely disturb the moment.

Each of these images were created handheld while seated in my canoe with various lenses (see captions for details).

Please remember to click on each image to view the larger, sharper version.

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 62mm ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 62mm
ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Misty sunrise over forest, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm ISO 400, f16 @ 1/250 sec Handheld from canoe

Misty sunrise over forest, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm VR Lens @ 500mm
ISO 400, f16 @ 1/250 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm VR Lens @ 24mm
ISO 200, f16 @ 1/160 sec
Handheld from canoe

 

Sunrise and Island on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens @ 18mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec Handheld from canoe

Sunrise on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens @ 18mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60 sec
Handheld from canoe

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Wimberley Sidekick_4769

As a landscape photographer I do not really have a need for a full gimbal style tripod head, however, on more than one occasion I do recall wishing for such functionality in a tripod head with some of the wildlife encounters I stumble upon while shooting landscape imagery. Enter the Wimberley Sidekick. The Sidekick is designed to convert any ball head into a gimbal-style tripod head in seconds and is available from Wimberley. The Sidekick is light weight at 1.3 lbs and can easily fit into a gear bag or the large pockets of cargo-style pants (as I do with my Sidekick). I find the Sidekick to be particularly useful when I am using my Nikon 200-500mm lens. It would also be highly useful for other folks that are using other super-zooms such as the Sigma 150-600mm lenses or the Tamron 150-600mm lens. Although super-zooms are designed to be relatively light weight they do still weigh in at 5-7 lbs (when handholding this gets heavy and can cause arm strain after awhile, especially if you suffer from tennis elbow), by adding a Sidekick to a ballhead the strain of supporting the gear is completely eliminated and you can effortlessly track and photograph you wildlife subjects.

Wimberley Sidekick attached to ballhead with Nikon 200-500mm lens mounted on a Nikon D800

Wimberley Sidekick attached to ballhead with Nikon 200-500mm lens mounted on a Nikon D800

When fitting a super-zoom set-up to the Wimberley Sidekick you will need to slide the lens’ tripod foot in the Sidekick’s quick release mechanism to find the optimum balance for the gear depending on what focal length you have the lens zoomed too. To effectively balance your rig you may need to purchase a long lens plate such as those available from Wimberley here. I am typically using the lens at it’s 500mm focal length for the wildlife subjects I am photographing, so balancing the set-up is usually required once and then I am good to go. To use this set-up you must flop the ballhead into the vertical position and then insert the Sidekick and lock the ballhead’s quick release mechanism. Position the lens and camera in the Sidekick’s quick release mechanism, balance the set-up and lock down the quick release mechanism. Once proper balance is set you can loosen the ballhead’s panning knob and the Sidekick’s five-lobed soft touch knob. You should now be able to freely and effortlessly move the gear around, in all directions, without fear of the lens flopping up or down because it is perfectly balance within the gimbal style set-up.

The convenience of this small, light weight accessory to convert my ballhead into a gimbal type tripod head is a huge advantage for me in the field. I never leave home or head down a trail without it. I can make the switch from photographing landscapes to wildlife in seconds, which can often translate into getting the shot or missing the shot.

Below are a few images that I have created over the last several months of using the Wimberley Sidekick with my Nikon 200-500mm lens:

Do click on each image to view the sharper, larger versions.

My dog Koko.  She is often my guinea pig for new photo gear when the need arises.

My dog Koko.
She is often my guinea pig for new photo gear when the need arises.

 

Common Loons at Tiny Marsh Elmvale, Ontario, Canada

Common Loons at Tiny Marsh
Elmvale, Ontario, Canada

 

Blue Jay Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, CAnada.

Blue Jay
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.

 

Gray Jay Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Gray Jay
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

 

Pine Marten Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Pine Marten
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

 

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter Thornton, Ontario, Canada

Female Northern Cardinal in Winter
Thornton, Ontario, Canada

 

Red Squirrel Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Red Squirrel
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

 

Common Loon Horseshoe Lake, Ontario, Canada

Common Loon
Horseshoe Lake, Ontario, Canada

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Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens ISO 50, f16 @ 3 seconds Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens
ISO 50, f16 @ 3 seconds
Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

It has been roughly 10 years since my last trip to Ontario’s stunning Bruce Peninsula National Park. Last week I made a much needed return trip to to the park and spent several days exploring familiar locations within the park as well as discovering some new sections too. From the endless cobblestone beach at Halfway Log Dump, to the iconic view of Georgian Bay from atop Halfway Rock Point, to sunsets in the town of Tobermory, to finding new perspectives from which to photograph the extremely popular Indian Head Cove, this post highlights some initial edits of my favorite images from the trip. As you read the captions you will notice that I opted to use my Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter for the sunrise and sunset images. I never leave home with this filter as it is the one piece of gear I consider critical to creating my sunrise and sunset imagery. You will also notice that I chose to use long shutter speeds for the sunrise and sunset scenes as this will cause the water to blur to a smooth, glass-like surface that will not distract the viewer or compete for attention within the image.

A few of the images within this post were created with the Sigma 12-24mm Lens, which I rented specifically for use during this trip. The stunning shoreline along Georgian Bay within the park begs for extreme wide-angle lenses to be used. I will do a review of the Sigma 12-24mm lens at a later date as time permits.

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

Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1/6 sec Nikon Polarizing Filter

Halfway Log Dump, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/6 sec
Nikon Polarizing Filter

 

Sunrise on Georgian Bay, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1.6 seconds Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Sunrise on Georgian Bay, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1.6 seconds
Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

Halfway Rock Point, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Sigma 12-24mm lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1/5 sec

Halfway Rock Point, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Sigma 12-24mm lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/5 sec

 

Halfway Rock Point, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Sigma 12-24mm lens

Halfway Rock Point, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Sigma 12-24mm lens

 

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Tobermory, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens ISO 100, f16 @ 8 seconds Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Tobermory, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 8 seconds
Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter

 

Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1/8 sec.

Intimate View of Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/8 sec.

 

Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 0.4 sec. Nikon Polarizing Filter

Indian Head Cove, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 0.4 sec.
Nikon Polarizing Filter

 

Indian Head Cove details, Bruce Peninsula National Park Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens ISO 100, f16 @ 1/8 sec.

Indian Head Cove details, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/8 sec.

 

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Tobermory, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens ISO 100, f16 @ 8 seconds. Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter In-Camera HDR

Sunset on Georgian Bay, Tobermory, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm Lens
ISO 100, f16 @ 8 seconds.
Singh-Ray 3-Stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter
This image utilized In-Camera HDR feature on the Nikon D800

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Spring Peeper Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Flash Bracket

Spring Peeper
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Flash Bracket

 

About one and a half weeks ago the temperatures around my home warmed up enough to lure the first frogs out of hibernation and into the vernal ponds to chorus. As usual I grabbed my chest waders and jumped into the pond. The first frogs to emerge around my home are the Chorus Frogs, Spring Peeper, and Wood Frog. I had great success with each of these species, including an interesting encounter whereby two male Wood Frogs had mistaken a pair of Spring Peepers, in amplexus, as potential mates. I was also able to locate my first ever pair of Chorus Frogs in amplexus. A couple of nights ago the temperatures rose high enough to bring out the Northern Leopard Frogs (I was able to photograph an awesome grayish-brown phase specimen), which filled the night air with their guttural snore-like song. The American Toads have also emerged, but have yet to start singing. With the next several nights destined to be cooler than normal, with the risk of snow flurries, the ponds will go silent again until things warm up again. Here are a few of my newest images from my outings to the vernal ponds this season.

You may notice in some of these images that my ISO was set at 400. This was my bad as my default setting is always ISO 100 for such imagery. This is a reminder to me to remember to double check my camera settings each time I head out to the ponds. The iTTL flash ensured correct flash exposure even though I forgot to reduce the ISO from 400 down to 100.

Chorus Frogs in Amplexus Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec  Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Chorus Frogs in Amplexus
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Wood Frog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

Wood Frog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Wood Frogs grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Wood Frogs Grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Wood Frogs grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micor Lens ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec. Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Wood Frogs Grasping onto Spring Peepers in Amplexus (the second Wood Frog and Spring Peeper are beneath the water in this capture)
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 400, f22 @ 1/60 sec.
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Wood Frog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

Wood Frog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket

 

Northern Leopard Frog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

Northern Leopard Frog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60 sec
Nikon SB400 Speedlight on a Wimberely F-2 Macro Bracket

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Bullfrog in Wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 31mm ISO 800, f18 @ 1/100 second Nikon Polarizing Filter

Bullfrog in Wetland, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 31mm
ISO 800, f18 @ 1/100 second
Nikon Polarizing Filter

The recent warm weather that we have been experiencing this week has already got me dreaming of the new Bullfrog images that I will be creating in the wetland on Hosreshoe Lake, near Parry Sound, Ontario. While there are numerous locations throughout the province of Ontario that could easily be named as my favorite places, I do feel most at home on Horseshoe Lake. Of all the Bullfrog images that I create each year in the wetland on the lake, this image that was created last summer is by far my personal favorite. This coming year I am looking forward to trying new things with my frog work, which will include video clips. I am all set with LED lighting and microphones for night-time forays into wetlands. I am also intrigued by a new camera concept / design by LIGHT and hope to be able to give this new camera technology a whirl with the Bullfrogs of Horseshoe Lake.

To create the frog-scape image above I simply positioned my canoe alongside of this large male Bullfrog, sat in the bottom of the canoe for greater stability, and using the Live View feature on my Nikon D800, I reached out over the side of the canoe, placing the camera low to the surface of the water to create an image whereby the frog dominates the foreground yet the habitat in which the frog lives is quite apparent.

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Pre-dawn Light at The Torrance Barrens  Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 22mm ISO 100 f16 @ 1.6 seconds

Pre-dawn Light at The Torrance Barrens / Dark Sky Reserve
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 22mm
ISO 100
f16 @ 1.6 seconds

On Friday February 26th I finally had some free time to get out and spend a day in the field creating some fresh winter landscapes. The first stop on my list was to visit Torrance Barrens / Dark Sky Reserve near Gravenhurst, Ontario. This is one of my favorite locations in summer and fall, but I had never explored it in the dead of winter. It was a very chilly morning with a cloudless sky, which meant there would not be mush of a decent sunrise so I chose to frame these scraggly spruce trees against the western sky and wait for the rising sun to cast a pinkish glow on the western horizon.

The next stop on my list was to make a first-ever winter trip over to Lower Rosseau Falls. Fortunately the road in was plowed and there was even a clearing plowed to allow a car or two to park near the river. Hiking through the woods down to the base of the falls was a little treacherous as there was significant ice build-up beneath a foot of fresh snow – I fell flat on my butt several times.

Due to the bright conditions on this day, to slow down the exposure times to blur the rushing waters I dialed in an ISO of 50 on my Nikon D800 and also used a Nikon Polarizing Filter to further extend the exposure times. I was in such a rush to get out the door and on my way on this day that I also forgot to take along my cable release. To overcome this I simply framed my compositions as I normally would, then activated the Live View feature, as this will lock up the mirror to allow live viewing on the LCD screen, and then finally I selected the 2 second self-timer to trip the shutter.

 

Lower Rosseau Falls in Winter Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 29mm ISO 50 f22 @ 1/10 sec.

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River in Winter
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 29mm
ISO 50
f22 @ 1/10 sec.

 

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 23mm ISO 50 f22 @ 1/5 sec.

Lower Rosseau Falls on the Rosseau River in Winter
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 23mm
ISO 50
f22 @ 1/5 sec.

After a successful shoot at Lower Rosseau Falls I made the short drive over to Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River. There was not a lot of interesting ice development at Hatchery Falls mostly due to high water levels in the river not allow any interesting formations to develop. Nonetheless, the hike in to Hatchery Falls was beautiful and I had the entire location all to myself to enjoy:)

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River near Rosseau, Ontario Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 23mm ISO 50 f22 @ 1 second

Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River in Winter
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 23mm
ISO 50
f22 @ 1 second

 

Frogs of the World Workshop Space Available

For folks that may have missed the announcement for my Frogs of the World Workshop there are still some spaces available should you be interested. The date of the workshop is Saturday, March 5th at 8:00 a.m. with a cost of $85. Please contact me directly at info@andrewmclachlan.ca if you are interested in attending this workshop. For more information about the workshop please click here to see the official announcement.

Frogs of the World Workshop

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Tiny Marsh in Winter Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 200mm ISO 400, f22 @ 0.4 sec.

Tiny Marsh in Winter
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 200mm
ISO 400, f22 @ 0.4 sec.

 

I awoke at 5:00 a.m. this morning to make the drive to Tiny Marsh in Elmvale, Ontario for what I hoped would be some nice winter sunrise scenes over the frozen wetland. As it turned out the cloud cover persisted and eliminated any chance of a sunrise, however, as often happens at Tiny Marsh, there is frequently interesting wind-swept patterns of snow and ice over the frozen marshland. The temperatures were a balmy -3 degrees Celsius and the winds were relatively light – it was a good morning to be at the marsh. In south-central Ontario we have been experiencing unusually warm weather and have just started to get some colder weather settling in to freeze the lakes, rivers, and wetlands. I spent several hours exploring the frozen patterns along the edges of the marshland and located one Snowy Owl but it was too far out across the unstable, newly forming ice to risk approaching it for photos. In fact, for many of the images I created this morning I received no less than half a dozen soakers when I stepped too far off the edge of the shoreline for a better perspective and sank through the ice up to my calfs. By the time I was ready to leave my boots were full of ice cold water and my toes were a tad chilly…hopefully the images were worth the effort:)

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

 

Pre-dawn Light Over Tiny Marsh Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm ISO 100, f16 @ 20 seconds

Pre-dawn Light Over Tiny Marsh
Nikon D800, Nikon 18-35mm lens @ 18mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 20 seconds

 

Winter Details at Tiny Marsh Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm lens @ 480mm ISO 100, f16 @ 1 second

Winter Details at Tiny Marsh
Nikon D800, Nikon 200-500mm lens @ 480mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1 second

 

Winter at Tiny Marsh Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm lens @ 68mm ISO 100,  f16 @ 0.3 sec

Winter at Tiny Marsh
Nikon D800, Nikon 24-85mm lens @ 68mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 0.3 sec

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