My buddy Ken Bennison and I had the great idea to take a trip into the bush north of Sudbury last Sunday mainly to feed the mosquitoes and black flies. – and of course to do some shooting. Our subject was to shoot a very nice waterfall that is hidden a short 15-20 min hike from the main gravel road. At this location we are about 50 clicks up a logging road, the landscape is beautiful with lakes, islands, rocks, trees and bushes. We had located the falls on an earlier trip, but due to a lot of rain, at least I didn’t get any shots that day. Just for your amusement, the forecast had predicted rain, about 5 mm or less than 1/4″ and they were right…. but that amount of rain over about 60-80 minutes was enough to get me soaked right to the bones. I can not recall the last time i had been so wet with my clothes on. So since the rain didn’t look like it would let up anytime soon, we hiked back out and went back to Ken’s Ford to wait out the rain. Ken aka “The Extremist” went back to the falls after about an hour wait. I decided to dry out some more and have a nap instead and not risk damage to my photo gear. At this time I was out of dry clothes anyway. Ken returned about 90 min later, soaked like sponge, and blood – yes blood – from bug bites running down his neck. It looked like he had shaved with a bread knife. The bugs had been busy while Ken was back at the falls. Now, we both have bug jackets which are vital if you want to spend any amount of time in the bush at this time of year. And the way I see it, there are two ways to wear a bug jacket. – Hood on or hood off. If you don’t own a bug jacket or haven’t tried one, when you have the hood on you greatly reduce the risk if getting bitten. Of course if you don’t wear the hood, well….take a guess.
I guess Ken has a different opinion, because I have yet to see Ken actually zip up the hood. But then again, Ken is an extremist, a bush guy, you know, the farmer type. Bug bites doesn’t really bug him to much – pun intended. I am on the other hand a city guy and I guess a wuss, cause I had that thing zipped up so tight the whole time. And i didn’t get bit… that day. One thing I think you should know if you never have had a bug jacket on “as intended” is that it gets really hot under there, really fast. And it is really tempting to take the hood off and get some fresh air. You have of course a net in front of you, and as you breathe out, the air and heat gets trapped in there. It’s a bit unpleasant at first but the alternative is far worse in my mind, and you will quickly figure out to slow down and take it easy. It also prohibits a clear view of your cameras viewfinder, so relied on the LiveView feature.
So back to our outing last Sunday. We arrived at the site shortly before 3 pm. We parked at what looks like a turn around or equipment parking, and we were going to walk the rest of the way in. Our dinner guests had already arrived and were very excited to see us again, Ken in particular i think. They must have recognized him from last time because they treated him like a superstar. They swarmed around him in like he was a free “all you can eat buffet” which turned out wasn’t that far from the truth. Well to be honest, it wasn’t that bad right at the car. A slight breeze kept the bugs at bay, but as soon as we got deeper into the bush where the wind don’t reach down to the ground they were bad. Down at the falls they were downright nasty and very pushy dinner guests. So out came the bug jackets. Btw, be sure to wear a long-sleeved shirt under the jacket. And gloves. I can highly recommend using a pair when you are in the bush. Mechanic gloves works like a charm, and it will keep the biting down significantly, and at the same time you will still be able grab on to picky branches, wet rocks and work with your camera. Another tip is to carry a bottle of frozen water on you. The particular bug jacket I own is stored in its own pocket when it’s folded up and put away in my closet, and when worn, the pocket is on the inside of the jacket. Perfect size for a bottle of frozen water. Why on the inside? So you can drink while your hood is still on. That way you don’t have to unzip it and let the bugs get at you. A bit of practice and you will be able to easy slide up the bottle under the jacket, unscrew the cap and drink while at the same time keeping the bugs from bugs entering the jacket from underneath. Oh, and frozen water so it will stay cold, and keep you chilled under there while its melting slowly. A note to my self (and perhaps to you as well) for the next time I go out in the bush. Wear long socks or tie your pant cuffs closed if they can’t reach into your hiking boots. The
little shits bugs will crawl up your legs and feast on you when you kneel or sit down. That’s where they got me on this trip.
We finally got some shooting done at this gorgeous location, although the weather was almost too good. A little too much sunshine and not enough clouds made it hard to get the lower shutter speeds that makes shooting waterfalls a fun thing to do. The shot above is just a tiny fraction of the falls, one of the smaller ones that happened to be in the shade. I placed the camera directly on the ground and very close. Put the camera in LiveView mode, and shot a few frames. The fall looks big but in reality is only about 6-10 inches high.
Of all the outings I have had with Ken, this was probably the best one so far, in the sense of the landscape we were in, and the animals we saw. You can go 2 hours up a next to no traffic gravel road and see absolutely nothing. But on these last two trips, we have seen 2 moose, 6 turtles (2 different species), 1 rabbit, frogs, tad poles, a woman’s bare butt, squirrels, chipmunks, hawks, a grouse mom with tiny little chicks and other interesting birds. Observing nature is incredible, especially when it decides to show up.