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Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular

There are still a few spaces open for the upcoming Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Photographic Workshop in February. Below is the workshop info and itinerary.

Please do visit the workshop page on my website for additional events that may be of interest to you as well 🙂

MUSKOKA WINTER WATERFALL SPECTACULAR

Join award winning photographer Andrew McLachlan in Ontario’s Muskoka District on February 8, 9 & 10, 2019 for one full day and two half days of in-depth photographic exploration of the finest waterfalls in the region. Embrace the beauty of Muskoka this winter and learn the skills of landscape photography amid a winter wonderland of snow clad, iconic white pines and the intricate ice formations that adorn the waterfalls and rivers.

This workshop will require the ability to walk approximately 1 kilometre over uneven, snow-covered terrain. I do recommend the use of crampons on this workshop for the added safety they provide against slip and fall incidents if conditions are icy.

I recommend that participants book their accommodations with the Sleep Inn in Bracebridge as they serve a continental breakfast.

Maximum number of participants is 10. (7 spots open)

Itinerary:

Friday February 8:

• Meet at 1:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the Sleep Inn, Bracebridge and carpool to photo session at area waterfall

• Dinner (on your own)

• Optional night photography session at Bracebridge Falls as it is lit with flood lights

Saturday February 9:

• Meet in the parking lot of the Sleep Inn, Bracebridge at 7:00 a.m. and carpool to waterfalls for photo sessions

• Stop for lunch at approximately 1:00 p.m.

• Visit additional waterfalls for photo sessions

• Dinner at local restaurant at 7:00 p.m.

• Get some rested for early start on Sunday

Sunday February 10:

• Meet in the parking lot of the Sleep Inn, Bracebridge at 7:00 a.m. and carpool to waterfalls for photo sessions

• Stop for lunch (on your own) 1:00 p.m.

• Depart for home

What’s Included:

• In-depth photographic instruction during each photo sessions with LCD review

• Saturday lunch and dinner at nearby restaurant

What’s Not Included:

• Accommodations (numerous options available… I will be staying at the Sleep Inn)

• Transportation (car pooling of participants is encouraged)

• Friday night dinner

• Breakfast (The Sleep Inn serves a continental breakfast)

• Alcoholic Beverages

Workshop Fee:

335.00 CDN plus taxes

Payment can be made via email transfer or by cheque. A Waiver of Liability will be sent to those that are registering. A signed copy of this waiver must be returned to Andrew McLachlan in advance of the workshop.

To reserve your spot in the Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular please contact me by clicking here to arrange payment.

Cancellation Policy:

No Refunds.

Check your schedule carefully prior to booking.

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Snowy Owl_6905

Snowy Owl in Flight (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

Over the last couple of days we have received several inches of heavy, wet snow around my home, which has coated the trees and turned the area into a lovely, winter wonderland. I was excited to get out and explore the surrounding farmland near my home for scenics as well as snowy owls. Every year several snowy owls over-winter on the farmland around my home. They gather to feast on mice and meadow voles that are scavenging the soy beans and corn that is spilled during harvest. Pictured above is the only image I have been able to create of a snowy owl so far this year. I do like the over-the-shoulder stare that the owl is giving me as it flies out over one of the fields.

Pictured below are a few of the scenic images that were created during my search for the snowy owls.  My choice of lenses for these images was the Nikon 200-500mm lens or the Nikon 28-300mm lens on either my Nikon D500 or Nikon D800 body.

Winter Tree_6947

Winter Tree in Snow Storm (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

 

Winter Farm_9041

Winter Farm Scenic (Nikon D800 & Nikon 28-300mm Lens)

 

Winter Tree_6932

Winter Tree (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

Winter Trees_6980

Winter Trees (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

Winter Trees_6941

Winter Trees (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

 

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Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular

Join Andrew McLachlan in Ontario’s Muskoka District on February 8, 9 & 10, 2019 for one full day and two half days of in-depth photographic exploration of the finest waterfalls in the region. Embrace the beauty of Muskoka this winter and learn the skills of landscape photography amid a winter wonderland of snow clad, iconic white pines and the intricate ice formations that adorn waterfalls and rivers during the winter months.

This workshop will require the ability to walk approximately 1 kilometre over uneven, snow-covered terrain. I do recommend the use of crampons on this workshop for the added safety they provide against slip and fall incidents if conditions are icy.

I also recommend that participants book their accommodations with the Sleep Inn in Bracebridge as they serve a continental breakfast.

Maximum number of participants is 10.

Itinerary:

Friday February 8:

• Meet at 1:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the Sleep Inn, Bracebridge and carpool to photo session at area waterfall

• Dinner (on your own)

• Optional night photography session at Bracebridge Falls as it is lit with flood lights

Saturday February 9:

• Meet in the parking lot of the Sleep Inn, Bracebridge at 7:00 a.m. and carpool to waterfalls for photo sessions

• Stop for lunch at approximately 1:00 p.m.

• Visit additional waterfalls for photo sessions

• Dinner at local restaurant at 7:00 p.m.

• Get some rested for early start on Sunday

Sunday February 10:

• Meet in the parking lot of the Sleep Inn, Bracebridge at 7:00 a.m. and carpool to waterfalls for photo sessions

• Stop for lunch (on your own) 1:00 p.m.

• Depart for home

What’s Included:

• In-depth photographic instruction during each photo sessions with LCD review

• Saturday lunch and dinner at nearby restaurant

What’s Not Included:

• Accommodations (numerous options available… I will be staying at the Sleep Inn)

• Transportation (car pooling of participants is encouraged)

• Friday night dinner

• Breakfast (The Sleep Inn serves a continental breakfast)

• Alcoholic Beverages

Workshop Fee:

335.00 CDN plus taxes

Payment can be made via email transfer or by cheque. A Waiver of Liability will be sent to those that are registering. A signed copy of this waiver must be returned to Andrew McLachlan in advance of the workshop.

To reserve your spot in the Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular please contact me by clicking here to arrange payment.

Cancellation Policy:

No Refunds.

Check your schedule carefully prior to booking.

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Snowy Owl in a near blinding blizzard near Thornton, Ontario, Canada.

 

I am pleased to announce that my Snowy Owl image has been awarded an Honourable Mention in the “Animals In Their Environment” category of the 2018 Siena International Photo Awards, which received the highest international participation ever with close to 48.000 images submitted from amateur and professional photographers from 156 countries worldwide.

To view the gallery of amazing and inspiring, winning images please click here.

I am always fond of creating animate landscape imagery. When I discovered this Snowy Owl roosting on the ground, in a field near my home, during a near blinding snow blizzard I immediately chose to create this small in the frame image of the owl within its habitat during the inclement weather.

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Brown Booby in flight, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 90mm
ISO 500, f6.3 @ 1/5000 sec.

Originally released in August of 2010 the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens has to be one the most versatile lenses available. Often you can find this lens in the used gear department for approximately $700 CDN. Like most folks, before I purchased this lens for my own gear bag I read several on-line reviews. I did not believe that the lens could really be as bad as folks were leading on. Here is a selection of some items that I noted during my internet readings:

  • softness in the center, sharpening up out towards the corners, and the some more corner softness
  • stopped-down results are downright blurry at the telephoto end of 300mm @ ƒ/36)
  • the 28-300 isn’t a really sharp lens and the corners are mush
  • zoom range exhibited shockingly poor off-axis image quality
  • is not a pro level lens nor one I’d use for critical shoots
  • I’m assuming this lens was defective as I couldn’t get a sharp picture no matter how hard I tried

I determined that in order to find out for myself I would need to add this lens to my gear bag. Right before I boarded the plane for my Cayman Brac Photo Tour in February I did just that. It is now one of my most favorite lenses. The lens does have one annoying habit, or at least my copy does. When the lens is pointed downward the zoom creep is very evident. Nonetheless, my honest opinion is that this lens does produce stellar results when good technique and creative vision is applied. Often I can be found in-the-field with my 28-300mm lens attached to one of my Nikons ready to capture those fleeting moments where changing lenses is not an option. The 28-300mm range is perfect for such circumstances.

I have never been one to trust the so-called internet experts. I much prefer to take gear out into the field and put it to the test. A real world review illustrating the quality of the lens with photographic examples.

Having the ability to zoom from 28mm to 300mm is a definite plus. On Cayman Brac I was able to photograph nesting Brown Boobies at close range and then quickly zoom out to 300mm to capture Brown Boobies in flight as they approached the cliff edge on their return to their nests.

Brown Booby pair at the nest, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 55mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/400 sec.

I also find the lens to be a powerful tool for my landscape work as illustrated in the below image of a winter wheat field at sunset near my rural home in Thornton, Ontario. A Singh Ray 3-stop reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter was also used in the capture of the sunset scene below.

Winter Wheat at Sunset, Thornton, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 82mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 3 seconds.

Having a minimum focusing distance of a mere 1.6 feet throughout the entire zoom range is also a huge bonus to my frog photography. In the past I would have to switch lenses to create my signature frog-scapes and close-up portraits. With the Nikon 28-300 I can simply zoom the lens from wide to telephoto and create both scenarios in mere seconds, as illustrated in the two Bullfrog images below.

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 48mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/800 sec.

 

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/640 sec.

While photographing Wood Ducks in Toronto, Ontario I am also able to create stunning portraits and close-up feather details due to the short, minimum focusing distance. While I was photographing feather details of a Wood Duck hen that had chose to sit beside me on a particular outing I had noticed that a lovely drake Wood Duck had also come into close proximity allowing me to zoom out and create a tight head shot of him. The versatility of the Nikon 28-300mm lens allowed me the opportunity to create both these images without the need to switch lenses , which would likely had caused one of the two birds, or both, to move further away.

Drake Wood Duck, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 2000, f5.6 @ 1/250 sec.

 

Hen Wood Duck Feather Details, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 1000, f11 @ 1/80 sec.

While walking along the shoreline of the Caribbean Ocean in Cayman Brac I came upon a dead crab. The shell of the dea crab was beautifully colored with interesting details too. To create the below macro shot of the crab shell details I used my Canon 500D Close-up Filter on the Nikon 28-300mm lens and stopped down to f22. There is some minor softness in the extreme corners of the image but this is due to the curvature of the shell. Ideally I should have used the focus stacking method to gain perfect sharpness in the corners.

Crab Shell Details, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/40 sec.

For those of us longing for some cooler temperatures in this heat wave, I have included a winter river detail image from my Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Workshop this past January 🙂

Winter River Details, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1.6 sec.

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Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario

On January 27th & 28th we held our first-ever Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Photographic Workshop. We had 5 fabulous clients that made the entire event lots of fun. Our conditions at the waterfalls could have been better but we all made the best of the conditions that we were presented with. The area experienced a real swing in temperatures throughout January from -30 Celsius to +10 Celsius with lots of rain. The rain and warm temps melted away much of the snow that had accumulated early in the month and the rain over the course of the last few weeks created some treacherously, icy conditions. The ice was so made at some locations that it did prevent us from accessing certain vantage points at some waterfalls for safety reasons. On the flip side though there were some really cool ice formations along the river banks that we all took advantage of with our long lenses. To illustrate the effect of the warmer than usual weather and excessive rains the image below of an old weathered boathouse on Lake Rosseau pretty much sums it up.

Lake Rosseau Boathouse in Winter, Muskoka, Ontario

In the coming weeks I will share some of the images created by the particiapnts with you here on the blog. From what I have seen so far, you are in for a real treat 🙂

In the photo that opens this blog post you can see the glare ice at Hatchery Falls and this ice extended down to the base of the falls making it impossible to access the lower area for different perspectives. My trusty Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D lens was used to create this extreme wide angle view.

Ice details at Potts Creek, Muskoka, Ontario

The ice detail images that I created were captured with the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens mounted to a Nikon D800. This is a great b-roll lens that produces razor sharp images, which is quite the opposite to what the so-called internet experts have to say. I will do a thorough review of this lens in the coming weeks.

Ice details at Potts Creek, Muskoka, Ontario

The timing of this workshop also coincided with the3rd annual Bracebridge Fire & Ice Festival. After supper a couple of us decided to see what Bracebridge Falls looked like all lit up at night and explore the fireworks display that was to occur later that evening.

 

Bracebridge Falls at Night, Muskoka, Ontario

 

Bracebridge Fire & Ice, Muskoka, Ontario

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Hatchery Falls on the Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D
ISO 50, f16 @ 0.5 seconds

Each of the three images featured in today’s post were created with the Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero D Lens. I often receive emails from folks asking me various questions about this lens, complimenting me on the extreme wide-angle scenics I have created with it thus far. The Laowa 12mm Zero D lens quickly became my favorite lens in my gear bag. It is very small, all metal construction, and razor sharp too! Not too mention a fraction of the cost when compared to Canon, Nikon, or Sigma alternatives. With such an extreme wide angle of view it is very important to look for strong foreground elements and then get in very close to those elements. Once you think you are close enough, chances are that you can get a little closer to make the elements within the composition stand out even more for a more effective image. This is exactly what I did for these Muskoka area scenes. Often I was positioning the lens so low and close, the only way to compose the scenes was by utilizing the Live View as I could not physically get close to the camera and tripod because they were sitting on thin ice.

Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D
ISO 50, f16 @ 1 second

You to can photograph these scenes by attending the first-ever Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Photographic Workshop on January 27th & 28th. The workshop is going to be tons of fun with top notch photographic instruction to ensure that you create stunning winter scenics in Muskoka’s winter wonderland. There are only a couple of spots still available and folks can contact me by clicking here for more information.

Skeleton River, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Laowa 12mm Zero D
ISO 50, f16 @ 1 second

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