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.
- It’s time for the 3rd season from the falls in Kagawong, Manitoulin Island, also known as Bridal Veil Falls. If you missed the other two, click here and here. The opening shot is taken in early June – well both are actually. Again this time, its has a snapshot look to it, but thought it was worth putting up here on the blog.
As I mentioned in my last post, I usually stop here for lunch when I go by on my way to Gore Bay. (A well-informed source has told me that the chip stand across the road from the falls should be pretty good. I’m gonna have to try that this year). Anyway, this shot is taken basically at noon. Not much sunlight down at the bottom, huh? But plenty at the top, on the bushes and the crest. It can be a bit tricky to get a good shot here when the sun is out, with out using bracketed exposures. The shot above is combined with 5 frames , and I was lucky that the couple under falls didn’t move much during my exposure. I left them in there to get a sense of scale. The shot is taken from the same vantage point as the two previous posts.
As you can see in the shot, the water that is going over the edge has slowed down a bit compared to the spring shots. At the end of the fall it gets even worse, as you will see in my last segment from this location on my next post.
The falls goes over the edge in two places. The main one of course, and then a smaller to the right of it. If you remember the winter shot from a couple of weeks ago, that’s why the crack in the ice fall occur But at this time of year, it’s just dripping from small one, and in the shade from the big trees there are some very saturated green colored moss which I couldn’t resist to shoot as well.
We had a “short” heat wave up here last week. Temperatures around the 5°C /40°F. That got things melting, but sure enough, it didn’t last long, so now we are left with some extremely dirty looking snow piles, black and brown from the salt, sand and exhaust. It’s not very pretty to look at. But of course being in Northern Ontario, we probably still have a snowstorm or two to deal with before it’s all said and done. Currently we are back below freezing but its going the right way. It is so nice to feel the heat from the sun as it gets higher in the sky.
Last week I posted a winter shot from Bridal Veil Falls. I thought I would keep going and post some pictures I took in the spring of 2011. They are not exactly fine art shots, but I thought they would tell a story of the spring thaw anyway. They are shot in May, and I’m sure by then the spring thaw has peaked, but it was still a cool to see the amount of water that’s going over that edge, especially when you compare that to a shot taken in late…which I’ll be posting next
weekend ehm.. time.
The opening shot is taken from one of two viewing platforms that over looks the falls. I think this particular one is the lower one. This time of year, I would not go any closer to the falls, because my equipment and I would get absolutely soaked. As you walk down the metal stairs towards the trail, that by the way goes from the falls to downtown Kagawong, you will feel the cold mist coming from the falls on your face. Standing at the bottom of the stairs on the trail looking back, right around that corner are the falls and a spring shower if you get to close… The mist is clearly visible, and even standing here, you can feel it. The trail is borderline muddy, the stairs are wet and slippery, so hang on to the rail and wear practical shoes if you go for a peak your self. And you should…
The Kagawong River or creek runs out in the big Lake Huron, and I found 4 shots in my library that was taken from the same spot right in sequence I put them together in PS and saved it as an animated gif. You may have to click on the image to view the animation. It kind of gives you an idea how this little river or creek really comes to life when spring arrives.
Thanks for stopping by.
Just about once a month, I have the pleasure to go to Manitoulin Island which by the way is the worlds biggest island in a freshwater body. My last stop there is Gore Bay, and to get there I drive right by the beautiful Bridal Veil Falls in Kagawong. It’s a very popular place and guaranteed visited by every single tourist and local that has ever been on this island.
The fall is about 2 hours from my office, and depending on the time, I usually pull over here for a quick lunch, and of course a peak at the falls. So by going there between 12-15 times a year, I get to observe the changes that happens there. The spring thaw, where it’s almost impossible to be at the foot of the falls because of the spray. During the summer where there almost no water is going over the edge. In the fall the salmon comes up-stream to spawn and die right in the pool at the bottom of the falls. That is the end of the
road river for them as there are no way of getting further up. And then of course winter where the 35′ tall fall freezes solid. It looks amazing, so i thought i would share a shot from that location. You are actually able to walk behind the falls through the opening on the right, and you will come out on the other side of the pool. Getting wet is a possibility because water is still running behind the ice build up.
On this trip, i did not bring my boots, so I did not venture down the stairs to the bottom of the falls. But the viewing platform was accessible, so this is what you’ll get this time.
Getting a decent lighting in this location is tough because the river runs north out into Lake Huron, so it’s not a sunrise or sunset location. On both sides are steep hills with tall trees, and to get any light down by the pool, you will have to wait until noon, which is not really a good time to shoot landscape. As always with fast flowing water, I prefer a cloudy day at this location to get a sense of moving water using slow shutter speeds.
To give a sense of size, I included the picture on the right, shot in mid March 2012. At this point the spring thaw was well under way, and the whole scene was not as pristine as you can see on the brownish colors of the snow and ice. Where I’m standing is right at the entrance to walk behind the falls as mentioned above.
I wanted to show you this 4 image panorama I made from this location. Kind of gives you a nice view from the vantage point under the highway bridge. Gorgeous place. I hope to find time to go there again one morning and to find more mist on the water. Of course, this time of year, it’s a totally different image. Colors and leaves are gone, so it’s a bit sad to look at right now to be honest, but i think with the right light and a bit fog, it can be quite interesting. A reminder for next time, a slightly longer lens (this is shot with a 35mm), and perhaps shooting the panorama with the camera vertical. It is a wee bit narrow…
My good friend Ken Bennison asked me to come with him on a trip up the West Branch this past weekend. But before I get to that, I should explain the title on this blog post. It came up as we were waiting for the light to be in the perfect spot, and for the wind to die down a bit.
Extremist is (what I learned on this trip) more or less what his own family affectionately calls him, and it refers to the way he approaches his photography. There is a very good reason why Ken is an incredible artist/landscape photographer. He does what a lot of other people wont do. He gets up at an ungodly hour, drive,hike or canoe for hours, (obviously not at the same time, but most of the time he will have to do all three to get to his location of choice.) And when he gets there he will explore the area, figure out what he want to shot, and wait for the perfect conditions to happen. Ken is not afraid to wait for hours for his shot. He knows exactly what he wants in a picture, and if the conditions aren’t there, he wont even take the camera out of the bag, because he wont be able to use the shot anyway, so if he doesn’t get the shot, he will simply return to the same spot again and again until he gets the shot he has in his mind. And the results speaks for themselves. Check out his website. I should mention that Ken’s is shooting with a Canon 7D, one lens (28-135mm) and his trusty SLIK tripod. Yes, Ken only use one lens.
Anyway, so this past weekend we were up at the West branch north of Webbwood, Ontario. A place I haven’t been to in 2 years, so it was nice to go there again, and revisit some of the places I have shot before. Examples of previous posts can be found here, here and here. We are about 80 km (~50 Miles) in the bush, driving on a gravel logging road. The weather was perfect. No wind, sunshine and frost in the air. After having shot at a couple of locations, we wound up at the little lake where I had taken the Moonshine shot a couple of years ago. All of a sudden the sunshine starts to come through the trees, and lights up some grasses in the lake. Being the extremist that Ken is, gets up and wades out into the shallow waters. Ankle deep in loon and beaver crap he sets up his tripod and starts to compose a shot. I thought this would be a good time to get a shot of him in action, so I took a few of him shooting this sunlit grass, with some mist in the background.
The shot below is my shot from this location. Not being an extremist, I of course did not go into the water.
Time to get close to the water. This is what I really like to shot. To take in the details in the rocks, the flow of the water, and the incredible colors you get this time of year. Often, you will see the colors of the trees reflect in the small rapids.
Where im standing while taking this shot and the shot in the next post, is actually under water during the spring thaw. It’s the very top part of the Onaping falls, or High Falls as some call it. You can see where the water level usually runs when the river is at its peak. As you probably have noticed if you have seen my pictures on this blog, I LOVE to get close in on the falls. I like this shot, but when i got home I realized that the top right corner is blown out. I could crop it out, but it makes the shot boring, so I left it in. I guess I need to get a split grad filter for next time.
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Of course I can’t stop going to the Onaping Falls when the trees are putting on a display. For some reason, the colors up there didn’t seem as vibrant and up front and center this year. I was probably too late. I decided to explore a bit upstream from the main trail, and the next few posts are from around the same area, but looking in different directions.
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I got a few more fall shots I would like to share. (My first Fall shots post is here). Still on Hwy 17 west of Sudbury in Northern Ontario. It’s always a treat when the water is calm, and the reflections is like mirrored perfectly.
Fall in Northern Ontario lasts approximately 3-4 weeks by my understanding – if we are lucky. This year it started a wee bit early too, probably due to lack of moisture, so the trees started to turn even before the summer was over. Yes, fall time is nice, but as soon as the colors are gone from the trees, it only becomes a reminder whats coming. -Yes, the white stuff….uggggg. The ‘S’ word is a bad word in this house.
Anyway, fall time – time to get out and get some colors at my regular locations. So here we go. First shot is from the Hwy17 bypass. I drive on this highway quite frequently, and I have been witness to the amazing color change during a period of a couple of weeks, so it was a must have shot. Shot on a chilly and cloudy morning around 8 am.
I surprised my self, and got up early this morning in search for a picture at High Falls in Onaping. I think I got a few keepers that I will share in a later post. After the sun was getting higher in the sky, I decided to explore a bit above the falls. I found what looks to be a good sunset location so ill try to get back there later. On the way, I came across the image you see above, and i thought it was too good to pass up. High Falls is unfortunately littered with graffiti on the rocks because it’s so accessible, especially in the summer where the water levels are low. There are several marriage proposals, X loves Y, and Z was here. To be frank, I wish people would respect the falls beauty and stop painting on the rocks. That said, the graffiti on the rocks in the shot above stood out, so I had to shoot it.
This guy went all out and poured his feelings for his sweetheart out on the rocks, just above the falls. I’m not sure if its readable when it’s scaled down so here is the text letter for letter.
“So here it goes
I’ll try my Best
to explain to you
whats on my chest
I know I can LOVE
when I see the world in you
And your eyes everywhere in the world
Your important to ME in every way
I would tell you that Everyday
To me your the one
your my modivation
our potential to be together
feels as though it would last 4 ever
I want to be ur man
I can to assure u’ll
be a happy
It looks like he was running out of space at the end. That would make sense if he wrote this in the spring, where the water level would be just off the bottom of the frame.
Of course it’s not the most inspiring poem ever written, but he definitively put an effort into it. Who knows if his sweetheart read it and what happened after.
On a trip down Hwy 6 to Manitoulin Island back in October last year, I drive through the town of Espanola. – See more shots and post from the town here, here and here. That morning the fog was pretty heavy and on a hunch I took a detour down on Panage Lake Rd, just in case I would get lucky, and I didn’t get disappointed. It took about an 1 hour before the fog was burned of enough to get this shot – well, shots actually. It’s a panorama made from about 16 images, 8 shots in 2 rows. But in the mean time, I had a lot of fun shooting the morning mist or fog which is magical in a picture. It’s peaceful and a bit mystical. Not a bad thing in an image if you ask me.
I found this shot while going through some shots from 2009. I thought it would be alright for a post here.
The shot is from Harris Creek, which is running under Hwy 17 East of Blind River, Ontario. It’s a nice little spot where it’s easy to get to the tiny falls.
First I would like to say thanks you so much for your nice comments, encouragement and support. It is truly appreciated.
Last round of my “post & run” week.
It’s from my favorite spot to go shoot in my area, and yup, it’s another fall shot from the beautiful High Falls in Onaping and there will
probably be more posts to come from this place.
Second round of my “post & run” week.
The shot above is from an outing up the West Branch behind Webwood, Ontario last year I believe, with my good buddy, Ken Bennison who is an exceptional and award-winning landscape shooter.
By the way, the flower from my last post was just a common lily. Pretty amazing huh? (well, not the photo, the flower of course )
It’s time for some more fall-fireworks from High Falls in Onaping, Ontario. Please feel free to click on the images for a larger 1200px view.
Above is from the trail that takes you along the falls and into the bush. If you walk far enough you will eventually end up on a look out that is over grown by now. Its called Sudbury Basin Lookout. Beautiful spot, but the sun was in the wrong place to get a usable shot from there.
One more from the trail. This shot was also posted on Google+
After walking in the bush for a couple of hours with a heavy backpack, I’m back at the falls dead tired and sweating like a ..well you know what I mean. I got there just in time for the late afternoon sun hitting the trees across the falls, which reflects these amazing green and golden colors along with the sky in the water. I could not pass this opportunity to grab a few shots of that. Absolutely gorgeous place.
Before I sign off, I want to say a huge Thank you for all your nice comments and tweets. Please know that they are all very much appreciated.
As mentioned in an earlier post, the weather has been outstanding up here lately. So there is no excuse, just get out there and shoot. I have explored the High Falls in Onaping, Ontario af few times now, and it changes every time I’m up there. The shots in this post are from the end of September, at the peak of the color show. I decided to put more than one shot up today, because I have a lot of shots from this place, and my blogging has been a bit on the slow side lately. It is nice to have some new ammo, so here we go.
Oh btw, if you are on a big monitor, feel free to click the images for a larger view.
The top shot is from the basin at the top of the falls. The incredible colors of the late afternoon sun on the trees and the sky paints the water. Amazing place to shot when it looks like this.
This shot is roughly half way down the falls. At this time of year the water flow in the falls are really low, so there are plenty of opportunity to get very close to the rocks and the falls. It’s a very different story in the spring…
The last big drop before the water slows down and continue its run down the Onaping River.
The fall colors has peaked up here and are starting to look a bit faded, some trees are bare and getting ready for next year.
Its Thanksgiving weekend and the weather the last week has been absolutely outstanding. Currently its 23°C outside which is pretty good for Northern Ontario in the month of October.
I went for a quick drive down the highway to Chutes Prov. Park to capture some tight shots of the falls there. The sun was out so it was perfect conditions to play with my new variable ND filter. (I still can’t believe I didn’t get around to buy one before now…) It is so cool to slow down the shutter speed and get the silky feeling of running water even in direct sunlight without the blinkies.
The shot above was a complete surprise when I looked on the LCD screen on the camera, it looked like gold was running down stream.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 70-300, 70 mm, f/22, 1/8 sec ISO200
It has been a tradition of mine to go outside the country to take part in the World Wide Photo Walk events. I have done that in 2009 and 2010, (both Denmark) so why should 2011 be any different. This year I went to Traverse City, MI. Traverse City and area is an absolutely gorgeous place this time of year. The fall colors are just about peaking, and the landscape is very inviting with lots of hills, beaches, dunes, wineries and orchards. Traverse City claims to be Cherry capital of the world – and that’s probably very true. I urge anyone within driving distance to check it out. Beautiful place.
I had the opportunity to attend two walks. Yes, I know you can only register for one, but that does not prohibit any one for tacking along another group, as long as you notify and get the OK from the leader of the walk. You can of course not submit photos for the competition. Well, I had no problem getting the OK from Ken Snyder, who was the leader of the walk in Glen Haven, MI – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
This place is just gorgeous. Incredible beach and the dunes are just spectacular. I wish we had more time to explore the area and check out the Coast Guard museum, but that will have to be next time.
Above is a 8 frame pano from the Dunes overlooking the lake. Very strong winds that day, but thankfully no rain.
One of the spots I like to go shoot is about 1 hour drive from my house. I drive by this place just about once a week as part of my daytime job, so I can kind of keep an eye on whats going on there. It’s the Duchesney Falls in North Bay, Ontario. Being visible from the highway, it’s fairly easy to determine if there’s too much water going down or too little. Too much water, and you wont get the small interesting trickles or mini falls over or between the rocks – those are the ones I like to shot, it’s also a bit tougher and of course very dangerous to get to close to the falls. Too little water is just as bad.
Nevertheless, it’s still a great place to practice photographing water falls all year round.
The shot above could be an example on why it’s not such a good idea shooting water falls in direct sunlight. The foaming white water, the wet highlights are instant blinkies even at fast shutter speeds, and remember fast shutter speeds will not give you the silky look. This is shot with my new Nikkor 16-35 mm f/4 lens, and I did not have a 77 mm polarizer or ND filter to put on, so I decided to try some bracketing on this location. In Photomatix, I made 2 tone maps. 1 for the overall scene and then a shadow map for some contrast (see Rob Hanson’s blog for this very cool technique ). In Photoshop I combined the overall tone map with the shadow map, and masked in the water from exposure that looked the best.
To me, one of the coolest things in photographs are when there is a sense of movement, there is an energy or a power in the shot. Examples of that could be lightning, storm clouds, streaking cars or trains. Water does the trick for me. I love shooting running water and by playing around with long exposures you get some pretty neat effects. To me, a tag sharp image of water falling or running is less interesting than if there is a blur to the water. Water in rivers and creeks moves, sometimes fast, sometimes slowly usually depending on the time of year and to me that movement needs to be in a shot of, lets say, a waterfall. In order to get the sense of flowing water or that cool silky look, the shutter speed needs to be slowed down – way down.
Here are a few tips on how to achieve that look.
- Use a good solid tripod.
- Use a cable release or use the timer on the camera.
- Keep ISO low.
- Use aperture mode and choose a small aperture like f/16 or f/22
- Shoot at dawn or dusk, or on an over cast day.
- To cut even more light use a polarizer, which not only remove reflections and boost colors, but also eats at least one stop of light – slowing down the shutter speed even more..
- Or you can use a ND filter also called natural density filter. The will usually reduce the light between 1 and 10 stops depending on which one you buy.
- Your goal is to end up with a shutter speed at around 1/10 sec or slower. It depends on how fast the water moves of course, but generally at that shutter speed the magic starts to happen and you get that silky smooth feel of water running.
Try it out next time you are out shooting running water, it’s very rewarding. Btw, the shot above is from Moose Creek, Levack, Ontario.
You don’t buy that do you? I probably have about 20 versions of this image, and I have wanted to post one of them for a long time – well at least since I started this blog. Most of my versions are B/W with different levels of blurred back ground. Then the other day I was playing with this image again, I moved the temperature slider in LR3 by mistake instead of the Exposure slider, and I really liked what the blue cast did to the image, sort of like a moon beam hitting the rocks in the lake, so explored that a bit more from there, and this is what I came up with. I like this image a lot, and it’s probably one of those shots I going to make a 18×12 print of and hang in one of my bed rooms. I’m just not totally sure if I’m finished with it.
Your input and advice is always appreciated.
Mike Olbinski announced yesterday that he is organizing a Photo walk in downtown Phoenix, AZ on June 10th. Man I wish I could go. Judging from the pictures on the blogs I frequent, Arizona certainly has a few gems, just waiting to be photographed.
A couple of days ago, Brad announced on Scott Kelby’s blog that the 3rd annual World Wide Photo walk will take place on October 1st & 2nd 2011 So with all the talk about photo walks, I thought I make a post about it. I have participated in both SK WWPW, and as it happened both took place while I was on vacation back in Denmark, so I joined the city that was closest to my hometown. You might already have seen a shot from the first Photo walk on my blog, it’s the post here, from Odense, Denmark. I did not submit that one though, I just like the shot, and I had a great time walking around with the other shooters. Last year was in Aarhus, Denmark, and I had the honor to make it to the final 1112. True story, – I still can’t believe it. Anyway, it’s the shot you see above. Just a guy sitting by the harbor front doing a little fishing.