Tag: provincial park

Lake Superior II – LSPP

LSPP – Lake Superior Provincial Park – is a large, 1556km2 natural environment park along the eastern shore of Lake Superior, 200km north of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. The Trans-Canada Highway (Ontario Hwy 17) passes through it north-south, about ½ along the coast and ½ through the interior. (Note: A “natural environment” park means Ontario Parks allows limited natural resource extraction. In the case of LSPP, only hunting is permitted as commercial trapping, forestry and mining have been discontinued. This is unlike Algonquin Provincial Park, where “sustainable” forestry is still permitted in 65% of the park. But that’s another issue for another day!)

Our base for this part of the trip was Rabbit Blanket Lake, a smaller, quieter campground of 60 sites in the northern part of the park. With access to the Peat Mountain trail from the campground, the South Old Woman River Trail across the road and Rabbit Blanket Lake itself, there were plenty of photo ops without having to drive. That being said, we spent a few hours further south along the Pinguisibi River (Sand River) Trail, just because we like photographing waterfalls. But there are plenty of hiking opportunities in the park – too numerous for the short four days we were there. There is also the Coastal Hiking Trail which Kerry and I completed part of back in 2008 (Flickr Album). Given our earlier trip, we decided to concentrate on the interior places including rivers, small lakes, waterfalls and rapids.

The beauty of LSPP, beyond the raw nature and hummocky landscape of the Canadian Shield, lies in the moist forests. This whole area was logged up to about 100 years ago, so the forests are still quite immature. They may seem like a climax forest, but they are still far from it; give them another couple of hundred years to fully mature into the huge behemoth trees that were so desired by the loggers.

Being adjacent to what amounts to an inland sea, the mixed but mostly coniferous forests along the Lake Superior coast, receive plenty of precipitation – about 1000mm per year – on the cusp of a true maritime climate. But, given its low evaporation rates, that moisture stays in the soil producing a rich diversity and abundance of beautiful ferns, mosses and lichens covering logs and rocks under the canopy of mostly spruce trees. Years ago, I spent a number of hours in a light rain along the South Old Woman River Trail and I was excited to be back there again. It seemed different this time, but lush, green and beautiful. It was like being in a miniature version of a BC temperate rainforest.

On our final morning, we were up at dawn and were greeted with beautiful mist on Rabbit Blanket Lake that persisted for almost two hours. The best part for us: we were the only ones around! Every campsite was occupied, but not one person came down to the lake that morning. At 8:30am, walking back to our campsite, which was not by the lake, people were just getting going. To my mind, they missed the most beautiful part of the day. But, then again, perhaps that’s why people find photos like these so compelling.

Here’s a gallery of my photographs from Lake Superior Provincial Park…

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!

Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

Just back from 5 days of canoeing in Algonquin this past week with my daughter Allison. WAe canoed in to Biggar lake via North Tea and the Kawawaymog (Round) Lake access point. Great views of moose, sunrise mist, clouds, thunderstorms, etc. Check out the pics at my Flickr site (for now). Here’s one to get you started:

Ontario’s Natural Gems Goes Live!

Ontario’s Natural Gems is a series of nature and outdoor photography workshops that I will be conducting in Ontario provincial parks this summer.

Join me for a weekend of great photography at:

  • Killbear Provincial Park – July 16-17
  • Grundy Lake Provincial Park – August 7-8
  • Rondeau Provincial Park – August 13-14
  • Sandbanks Provincial Park – August 20-21
  • Arrowhead Provincial Park – TBA
  • Bon Echo Provincial Park – TBA

Each workshop includes:

  • Friday Evening Introductory Session: 7-9pm
  • Saturday Morning Field Session: Dawn to 11am
  • Saturday Afternoon Image Review and Wrap-up Session: 1-4pm

During the Field Session, Terry will work directly with participants on creative composition, close-up techniques, landscape photography and making best use of outdoor lighting.

The cost is $175 per person. Pre-register at least one week in advance and pay only $150. There is a maximum of 12 participants per workshop – so reserve your place now by calling Terry at 519-265-4151 or emailing info@luxborealis.com. For more information, visit the website: www.ontariosnaturalgems.com

Hope to see you there!

Please note that the fee is for the workshop only. Accommodations and meals are not included. Please visit www.OntarioParks.com to reserve your campsite.

Successful first series of photo courses

This week brings to an end the first series of photo courses for 2010 – and what a success! The Point & Shoot Starter, Digital SLR Starter finished Tuesday and Wednesday and Intro to Photoshop finishes Saturday morning.  Some great exploring and discussion of menus, options and technique has made a real impact on those involved.

With March on the horizon and April not too far away, we’re just about ready for the next round of courses:

March 2010

  • Advanced Photography – Wednesday Evenings, March 3, 10, 24 & 31
  • Photoshop Elements – Saturday Mornings, March 6. 13, 20 & 27

April 2010

  • Digital SLR Buying Guide – Saturday Morning, April 10th ($30)
  • Point & Shoot Starter – Tuesday Evenings, April, 6, 13, 20, 27
  • Fine Art Photography 1 – Wednesday Evenings, April 7, 14, 21 & 28
  • Travel Photography Workshop – Friday Evening, Apr 16 + All-day Saturday, Apr 17
  • Spring Woodlands Workshop – Friday Evening, Apr 30 + All-day Saturday, May 1
Each course & workshop is $140 per person. If you register at least one week in advance, the price is only $125.
As well, the confirmations are coming in for Ontario’s Natural Gems nature and outdoor photography workshops held this summer in some of Ontario’s best provincial parks. We’ll be in Rondeau, Grundy Lake, Sandbanks, Bon Echo, Killbear and perhaps Arrowhead. Two confirmed dates are:
  • Grundy Lake Provincial Park – August 6 & 7
  • Rondeau Provincial Park – August 13 & 14

Each workshop has three sessions:

  • Friday evening Intro Session from 7-9pm
  • Saturday morning Field Session from dawn to about 11am or Noon. We’ll concentrate on capturing the glorious morning light with small group hands-on instruction on landscapes, close-ups, metering, lighting, creative composition – whatever the participants needs specific help with.
  • Saturday afternoon Image Review & Wrap-up Session from 1pm to 4pm.

This schedule allows you to dedicate some quality time to your photography as well as having some time with your family camping. The workshop fee for Ontario’s Natural Gems is $175 per person. However, if you register at least one week in advance, the price is only $150. Each workshop is open to a maximum of 12 participants so email me to reserve your spot early. Please note that this fee is for the workshop only – you will need to reserve your campsite through OntarioParks.com.

If you have any questions or want more information email Terry at info@luxborealis.com.

I hope you continue to enjoy the winter photography!

Sandbanks Provincial Park in Early Spring

Last week was March Break for most of North America. I managed one day of photography mixed in with a few days of preparing a slide presentation for my parents’ 50th Anniversary – but more on that later… this post is about Sandbanks Provincial Park [for images, see my Picasa Web Album]

Wetland Area, Sandbanks Provincial Park, OntarioSandbanks is not a place I would typically go to. In the summer it is crawling with people and I prefer a more natural scene. At other times of the year I don’t really have the time on a weekend to make the 4 hour drive. I also learned that it is damned expensive to stay overnight in the area – motels and B&Bs are around $100/night even in the off-season. While I love B&Bs and I am sure the ones in Prince Edward County are beautiful, the folks around Sandbanks seem to be squeezing the market. After all, B&Bs were originally cheaper alternatives to the motel/hotel scene – but not here in Canada, it seems.[Aside:  In Europe, I can understand why B&Bs are more expensive, but here, the only reason is gouging because land prices, taxes and upkeep for these old homes is not nearly as expensive here as it is in Europe – I know because I have lived there!!]

Anyway – enough about B&Bs. Sandbanks has amazing potential for photography. The dramatic sand dunes, naturalizes shorelines and wetlands amongst the dunes offer images that will keep any photographer busy for days.