Tag: canoeing


Morning, George Lake, KillarneyNow that the bulk of my “day job” has wound down, I have a bit more free time to write and share (and to complete the jobs on this summer’s “honey do” list!) It also means some time to do the things we most love to do… travel, camp, hike, canoe and, for me, photograph. So, in the last week of June, Laurie and I packed up the car and made our way up to Killarney.

Killarney Shield from Granite Ridgeif you’ve never been to that part of Ontario, then you are missing a real gem. You can either choose among the 20 best rv rentals in Florida – rvrentalscout.com or take your minivan but travelling to Killareney Provincial Park by road is a must things to do. Killarney Provincial Park is uniquely located on the Canadian Shield where a 1.5-billion-year-old batholith is up against the eroded roots of 2.25-billion-year-old mountains that were once the height of the Himalayas – they are now the white quartzite ridges of the La Cloche Range. What makes for spectacular photography, though, also makes for difficult hiking. The 87km La Cloche Silhouette Trail (which we did not do!) is one of the most difficult in eastern Canada.
OSA Lake and Killarney RangeInstead, we opted for car-camping at George Lake combined with day-hikes along the Cranberry Bog Trail, the Chikanishing Creek Trail and the Granite Ridge Trail. We also spent the better part of day canoeing and portaging the 23km round-trip to OSA Lake. OSA (Ontario Society of Artists) Lake is a gorgeous vermillion blue colour set against the deep green of the boreal forest and the white quartzite of the La Cloche Range. Its moniker comes from the fact that AY Jackson and the Group of Seven painted extensively in the area and had a hand in having the area protected from logging. In fact, one of my favourite places is AY Jackson Lake – a 15-minute hike from the George Lake Trailhead.

We camped in the eastern part of the campground in the radio-free (but not necessarily noise-free or idiot-free) part of the park. The idiots I refer to are the twenty-something “guys weekend” group who were not only loud, but also messy campers, leaving food, etc. out which ended up attracting a young bear. Luckily it was one of their tents that was trashed, not ours.

_D8E8724-WEBOur second full day was rainy – a perfect time to spend photographing the wonderful lupines along the Hwy 637 corridor. They were an unexpected splash of gorgeous colour we could not pass up. Given the beautiful, soft light and the light rain, Laurie’s photos from the iPad rival mine made with the D800E! I went to Killarney expecting wonderful landscapes, but came home with some lovely wildflower shots as well.

One of the styles I’m working on with wild flowers is replacing my 105mm macro lens with a wideangle lens, typically my 24mm. It takes just the right set of conditions since the wideangle shows so much more background. I think I was successful with the blue flag iris and the harebell, but less so with the bunchberry.


Of course, in landscape mode, I love working ultra-wide with the 20mm. Given a detailed foreground, the 20mm is unrivalled for giving the feeling of being able to walk into the scene. The 24mm also had a good workout. For both the AY Jackson Lake and George Lake morning ‘scapes, I used my Dawn, AY Jackson Lake, KillarneyND400 filter to get much slower shutter speeds of five to 15 seconds which removed slight ripples on the lake providing a glossy surface for reflections.

Needless to say, it was a fruitful trip, photography wise, and it re-invigorated our love of northern Ontario. The sad part was returning to the bustle of southern Ontario – and the NOISE! It’s really surprising how much noise we put up with down here – and don’t even realize it becasue we’ve become to used to it. The noise of the city becomes painfully obvious after being in a place devoid of that white noise.

For more photos of Killarney, head on over to my Flickr album

Thanks for reading.

The Historic French River

When canoe and backcountry instructor Marty Tannahill of PaddleIn suggested canoeing along the French River, I was thrilled. Although not a knowledgeable historian, I am keen on history, as much here in Canada as I was when we lived in the UK. In Canadian history, the French River is as important as the Nile to the Egyptians or the Danube to Eastern Europe and the Thames to England. We just don’t see it that way because the usefulness of the French River today extends only as far as cottaging and canoeing – neither of which are on the national political or economic agendas of today.

Back in our fur trading and exploration days, the French River was the conduit for all movement to the interior of the continent. Everyone passed along these shores: the coureur des bois; the voyageurs; the French explorers Étienne Brûlé, Samuel de Champlain, Pierre-Esprit Radisson (and, perhaps “gooseberries”, too); various missionaries; and the British explorers including Simon Fraser, Alexander Mackenzie and David Thompson. Canoeing (or kayaking) the French is like following in the footsteps of giants – cool! So, thanks Marty!

Marty and I and friends of his, Sandra and Steve (both experienced canoeists), spent a few days around the area called “The Ladders” – significant due to the double set of rapids that, in the spring are navigable, but in summer are a pile of well-rounded boulders (but made rather unphotogenic due to the mangy brown-black algae). The weather was typical for this summer: we had everything from grey, heavy cloud to full-on thunder, lightning and rain to clearing storm and beautiful sunshine. Of course, to photographers, storms, as they are approaching and receding, provide wonderful drama to otherwise plain blue skies. We were well fed – thanks Adèle! – and managed to make the most of the weather and the shield scapes around us.

Here are six from our trip – click on one to see it full size. navigation links will be at the bottom. The rest of the photos may be viewed over on my Flickr site. Enjoy!