A Night at Onaping Lake

Last week was fantastic. My family on my dad’s side all traveled about an hour north of Sudbury to Onaping Lake for a vacation / family reunion. Onaping Lake was the location of my grandparent’s cottage for many years, and it is also the resting place of my father. It was amazing to be back there for a relaxing and fun visit.

Canon let me test-drive a few lenses for that week, one of which was absolutely perfect for night landscapes. This is probably the best image from the entire week:

Taken from the dock of the cottage that we were staying in. The light you see on the horizon is not from sunrise or sunset, but rather light pollution bouncing off of the bottom of a cloud (likely from Levack). The light was so faint that it was pretty much invisible to the naked eye, but the camera picked it up nicely.

Another favourite activity when camping is sitting around the campfire. I’ve always been mesmerized by campfire and love the great conversations that happen around one. Recently, I’ve taken to looking to the sky on these nights to see the beauty in the stars that I rarely ever see living in a city:

The trees are lit almost exclusively by the light of the campfire; The milky way jumps right out. That might even be a faint trace of the Northern Lights in the bottom right of the image.

Now, the “big lens” that Canon sent my way was their 800mm F/5.6L IS lens, with a 1.4x telephoto extender. I was hoping to get a nice moon shot with this, but weather and timing didn’t coopoerate. Instead, I got some outstanding nature and action shots that I’ll be posting over the next week. Check back soon!

And thanks to James for snapping that pic of me – much appreciated!

Busy Bee: Focus on a Leaf-cutter Bee

I like setting a goal for myself when I am out taking pictures. On a recent trip to a patch of wildflowers, I heard something unusual. It was a bee, but with a high-pitched sound coming from its wings. I traced the sound to this little gal here:

After some research, I have concluded that this is a female Leaf-cutter Bee. In the Megachile genus, probably M. rotundata or M. brevis. They store pollen on the underside of their abdomen and not cavities in their legs, like most other bees. This little one was sticking her backside in the air when she entered a flower, likely to prevent any pollen from falling off from abrasion against the flower.

I really didn’t know much of this when I was taking the photos, but I learned a lot about my subject after I took the image! Anyhow, back to goals: I set a goal to grab a photo of this particular bee species in flight. They would jump very quickly from flower to flower, which gave me plenty of opportunities. I got this after about an hour:

Part random chance, part skill, part patience. I would have gotten that shot if I didn’t tell myself exactly what image I wanted to walk away with. I would have been happy with the first one. Macro photography is a great way to learn about nature!

The World at Our Feet: Insect Macros

As many of you know, one of my favourite areas of photography is macro. Seeing a world that we never pay attention to, or normally cannot admire the details of, fascinates me to no end. Take for example, this image of a honey bee in flight:

The proverbial bee’s knees of bee knees in action! Or, a red dragonfly resting its wings for only a moment before continuing its hunt:

Many of these images are taken between 1:1 lifesize and 3:1 lifesize. However, one of the wonders of this type of photography is that the closer you get, the more details you see. This image was taken at 6:1 lifesize and cropped significantly, giving you the eye of a Deer Fly filling the frame:

Check out the gallery, I’m sure you’ll be fascinated. I have more of these – I’ll post more soon for those interested. 🙂 and hopefully get out photographing more before the end of summer!

Return to Black Creek Pioneer Village

Last weekend, I organized a trip with the Barrie Photo Club to Black Creek Pioneer Village. Spending hours there with camera in hand, I was able to seek out some interesting photo opportunities, like the blacksmith working away at the forge:

I featured a photo of the Blacksmith on my previous post about the village, but I like this one quite a bit more.

Another favourite from this outing was far simpler, just an old cart in a barn:

In breaks the 1860s period by having an aluminum ladder stacked in the background, but I love the light sneaking in. There are quite a few great photos to check out in the gallery. As always, thoughts and comments appreciated!

Dancing in the Sun

Almost a month ago (I need to catch up!), I had a great opportunity to head out to photograph birds along-side fellow photographer Nathan Beaulne of PWT Photography. The destination was the Bear Creek Wetlands, a small pocket of diverse wildlife here in Barrie. While things were fairly quiet, I did capture a few great moments:

I had seen this Eastern Kingbird playing with something in its mouth, and was randomly firing off bursts of shots hoping to catch something, or catch it taking off. I didn’t know I got this shot until I was reviewing the images at home. Looks like a June Bug to me!

Later that evening as the sun was beginning to set, Nathan knew where the Cedar Waxwings would come out to play and feed, so we waited there. Sure enough, they were in and out of trees right near the boardwalk through the marsh. As the sun set further, the birds clustered in the last rays of light:

The waxwings were using the very low-angled light to see backlit insects to dart after. I would often see them hanging off of a branch, almost twitching as an insect flew by that wasn’t the perfect catch. They did this until the sun set, and we headed out.

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