Tag Archives: Westbranch

On The Hillside

Jan Winthers and I continued driving up the Westbranch, looking for a photo opportunity we spotted a location that was interesting.The camera gear was quickly set up.It was approaching lunch time.The day was great and it was warming up.I composed a few shots and headed back to my Ford Explorer to pack the gear away.

I looked down the road and noticed the lighting on the evergreens.The branches of the Birches were sparkling.Taken note of the Birches beside me,they were not covered in frost.The hillside before me was beautiful.So,I rest up my Canon 7D and tripod and made the above shot.I did not want the gravel road in the scene.This shot is all about light and shadow.The dark evergreens contrasting with the Birch trees along with the sunlight highlighting the trees to a yellowish tinge.As many times you travel a location,it is always amazing the shots that are available for you to take.Whether it is the time of year,the lighting available or something you may not have noticed.Even the angle you look at a subject will give you a different perspective to the composition.At this time of year the sun is lower in the sky and the air is colder.Those two conditions will have an effect on your compositions.

Finishing up our shooting,it was time to find a campsite up the road and have lunch.A short way on, I pulled into a campsite under the Jack Pines.A small lake was across the road for our viewing pleasure.Before long I had water boiling in a pot on my Coleman camp stove.With our camp chairs set up,Jan and I enjoyed our lunch with a hot tea.

Well that s it for now.Thank you everyone for stopping by.The tea is still hot so until next time happy trails.

Tamarack

 

This is the time of year that the Tamarack are in their full Fall color before shedding.Tamarack are a species of Larch that is native to Canada.The name Tamarack is the Algonquian name for the species and means “wood used for snowshoes“.The leaves are needle like and turn bright yellow before falling in the Autumn.The Tamarack are commonly found in swamps, bogs, and other low-land areas.

Gerard Leduc arrived shortly after 7:00 A.M. and we were soon on our way to the Westbranch North of Webbwood in Northern Ontario. A quick stop for gas at the Espanola turn-off and a couple of Tim Horton‘s coffee to start the day,we were soon traveling up the Westbranch searching for Tamarack to photograph.There are lots of Tamarack to photograph but find a composition to work.

We stopped at Gordon Chutes at the 20 km mark and Gerard took a few shots of the waterfalls.The falls is part of the Wakanashing River.We continued North photographing as we went.At the 70 km area there are a few lakes to photograph by the road.The moose hunters were out in full force.That meant we had to wear orange jackets for protection.

Since the last rains the water levels of the various creeks had risen,but still not a normal levels.As we drove along we spotted a male Spruce Grouse doing his display.I pulled over so that we could observe this very pretty bird in all his glory.There must be a female nearby.A large creek was now running along the West side of the road.I spotted the Tamarack on the far creek bank. Pulling over Gerard and I set up the tripods and cameras to start photographing.It was a cloudy morning with the sun coming out now and then.I opted to do a close up shot of the bottom of the Tamarack and the resulting reflection to create my composition.There was a nice pattern to be had here.It was just a matter of waiting for the sun to pop out and light up the leaves,turning them a golden yellow.The sun would go back behind the moving clouds and one would wait once again for it to come out again.The thing is you do not want to much sunlight or you will blow out the highlights.

Well that is it for this time.Thank you for visiting and until next time happy trails

 

Painting With Frost

This post is a continuation of the post A Frosty Morning with my daughter.As we drove North on the Westbranch we spotted Rough Grouse on the roadsides.They would disappear back into the woods fairly quickly.I guess you would too if you were constantly being hunting.We soon left the Wakanasin River behind and were now following a much smaller river that meandered back and forth across the road.All the bridges appeared to have been repaired this year.

Looking down an  embankment we saw the above scene and decided to investigate.Gear in hand we carefully made our way down the loose gravel that was still slippery from frost.I still managed to slip and slide down the last third of the embankment on my butt though.

Upon arrival by the creek bank I quickly surveyed the location for a setup.There still was no wind.The clouds were moving quickly.The sun would pop out every now and again.The frost was covering the vegetation nicely.The water was shallow and very clear.This created tremendous depth to the reflections.I choose two clumps of grass on the left to lead you into the picture as well as to add depth. There was a small clump that was different in shape that drew my attention.With that in mind I captured the above photo by waiting for the sun to come out.I had to be quick as the clouds were still moving very fast.When the sun did come out the frosted vegetation would light up.

There was some dead wood on the far shore that I found to be annoying.But at times there was nothing you can do.I purposely did not show a lot of forest in the background.This was to keep things simple as best as possible.You will notice the earth tone colors at the waterline of the plants.This adds a very nice contrast and gives added life.There is a lot of depth in the reflections caused by the clear water.The sun highlighted the evergreens in the background to add a nice touch. I shot this photo with a shutter speed of 0.5 seconds @ f22.

The air was now warming up and finishing up our shooting we headed back to the vehicle.The wind was now picking up with the cloud cover dispersing.We drove further North until we came to a small lake by the roadside.Here we pulled over,unloaded the camp chairs to relax and enjoy a cup of tea and a sandwich.

That is it for this post.I would like to thank all you good folks who commented,hit the like button or simply came for a visit.It is much appreciated.So until next time happy trails

A frosty Morning

My daughter Maryjean and I headed West on Highway 17 towards Webbwood.We made a quick stop for gas and a Tim Horton’s coffee before continuing on.We drove through Webbwood and turned North  on the Agnew Lake road.The temperature was hovering around the -7 C mark.It was a bit nippy at the moment.We arrived at the Westbranch turnoff.The truck was now travelling on a gravel road that is well maintained.

This wilderness area provides timber and recreation for many people.There is good fishing in many of the lakes and rivers with good good campsite choices. This is also a popular area for hunting as a number of hunters drove past us. We observed a few hunters in the bush.With that in mind we agreed to stick to the main road.It would be safer. As we proceeded North the ponds were frozen over with ice.That was not a good sign. We soon reached the Wakonasin River.The scene before us was like entering a magical fairyland.The bare birch trees were covered in a coating of frost.The shoreline tag alders were heavily coated in frost.A bland late Fall scene turned into something spectacular.I am very much familiar with this location as well as many others along the Westbranch Road.

By using the clump of Spruce trees to create depth and being darker to add contrast I composed the above shot.I put the hill in the background to close off the scene,but  all of a sudden the sun peeked over the horizon and lit up the hill and trees in a golden yellow.This was an added bonus to an already great composition.

Maryjean and I continued photographing for a bit longer.There was more of the river to explore so we packed up our gear and headed up the road.We were already happy with the success we had  and we had just started.A great start to the day.One of the greatest things about going out photographing is that you never know what you will come upon.

While that is it for today so until next time happy trails.

A Spring Outing

The sun was shining,the sky was blue and Paul Smith and myself headed up the Westbranch to see what was available to photograph.I had just traded in my Canon Tsi Dsr for a Canon 7D.This was a chance to try out the 7D and become familiar with it.

This is actually a pretty drab time of year with not a whole lot of color and the ice and remaining snow being on the dirty side.The Wakonasin was ice free for the most part.I did not find the water levels very high for this time of year.

Our destination was Gordon Chutes about 30 km up the Westbranch.Upon arrival we decided to sit and enjoy a hot cup of tea and blueberry muffin before hiking along the river.We hiked up to the upper end of the falls and I was able to do some tight shots with the rocks and water flow.The above photo was a result of that.I used the rocks and water flow to design my composition.The rocks have a pleasing color to them and you will see that the small pool has green colored water.I shot the scene with the zoom at 135.The shutter speed was set at 1/13 of a sec with f22.This allowed me to achieve definition in the water that I always strive to accomplish when the water flow is fairly fast.When you have detail in the water you give the water character.

Later in the day a fine cloud cover came in and changed our lighting.The wind was cold as is typical at this time of year.I was more than please with my new Canon 7D and I am looking forward to many more outings with the camera.That is it for this week,so for now happy trails.

Of Gold and Blue

Spring is slowly arriving in my neck of the woods and I am looking forward to getting back out into the woods.

I was going through my files this week and came across this photo taken last November.I love these tight shots were you have only water and rocks.Throw in color and a nice composition is to be had.The above photo is a result of low lighting casting a golden glow on the water and the blue is a result of a clear blue sky. When the lighting is low the rocks take on a soft colorful look to them adding very much to the photo.The only argument to be said about the photo is that there is too much water.I will be going back to this location and shooting with that in mind.

The ice on the rocks at the top right add a nice touch.The zoom was set at 80 mm and I had a shutter speed of 1 sec @ f22.

Well that is it for this week so until next time happy trails.

The Changing of The Seasons

One of the things I love doing is going back to a favourite location time and time again and year to year. I may be passing by a locale and make a quick stop or go there for an afternoon and evening.Many a time the lighting and conditions may not be right or the water level is not good.You will know when you get optimal conditions by looking at the rocks as the colors will glow.This is something that you will develop and get a feel for as you gain expierience in the field.A cloudy day with the right lighting will do that for you.The time of year has a great effect on your photography as the day lengths will vary with the changing of the seasons.This means that if you are getting the best lighting in the evening in July then by November that same lighting is available around noon.The sun in November is closer to the horizon.

The above photo was taken in 2009 in August.I was shooting during the late afternoon catching the last of the lighting coming in and creating shadows.This little waterfalls would be in deep shadow within the half hour.The scene is surrounded by high hills and trees.With that being said you get sunlight filtering through the trees eliminating the harsh lighting caused by the bright sky on this particular day.

I shot this scene with the zoom set at 29 mm.The shutter speed was 0.3 sec @ f22.I was able to capture a beautiful flow of water and rich detail in the rocks.

We will zoom ahead to 2010 mid November.The effects are now quite different.Paul Smith and I decided to head out for the day to see what we could get in the way of photographs.It was a cloudy day with some wind and fairly cold temperatures.There was ice forming on the rocks to add another dimension to the photographs.

The water levels had come up from previous visits during the summer and there was a beautiful glow on the rocks that enhanced the colors dramatically.When you see this effect you will know.Being November the sun is now low to the horizon and the days are also shorter.Evening though it was cloudy the sun can still create diffusing lighting through  the cloud cover to create the much sought after glow.

The above photo was taken at midday with the zoom set at 50mm with a shutter speed set at 0.6 @ f22.This is the same scene as at the beginning but with different lighting different time of year and a year later.The vegetation is also changed in color.

As a side note I came across some elderly gentlemen out photographing whom I had met at a studio tour that I did last Fall.I ended up given some on site lessons to them on where to set up there tripod and composing the shots that I had taken above.This is one aspect that I enjoy.If I can help someone all the better.

With that being said take a moment to show someone  a few of the things you have learned and maybe gain a friend the process.Well that is it for this week so for now happy trails

The Unexpected Shot

A couple weeks ago on a Monday,I headed up the Westbranch North of Webbwood to do some photographing.My destination was about 80 km up the Westbranch to a couple of lakes that I had been exploring this Fall.

These lakes are surrounded by Jack Pine and White Pine so bare deciduous trees are not an issue here.I was interested in one small lake that had an interesting cliff face that I have made a number of attempts to photograph without success.

Upon arrival I loaded up my gear and picked up the trail along the lake.This is a very small lake nestled down in between a series of hills.It was now about 11:30 in the morning. While I was walking towards the cliff face I noticed out of the corner of my eye a display of some beautiful lighting highlighting the evergreens along the shoreline. I set up my camera and tripod and composed a vertical shot using the small rock point as my focal point.At this time of year,mid November the sun is low to the horizon allowing for this kind of lighting at mid day.There was mist over the water to add atmosphere.There was a nice reflection on the water to add depth to the photo.I focused on the rock then I composed the shot.The zoom lens was set at 135 mm with the shutter at 0.5 sec @f22.

The above shot was taken in the same location as the first shot.I was attracted by the lighting on the far trees creating a nice lighting pattern and reflecting into the water.The sun always creates a beautiful gold color when it highlights evergreens.The zoom was set to 100 mm an d the shutter speed to 0.4 sec @f22. This allowed me to create a nice peaceful mood.

I never did get my shot of the the cliff.Oh well next time.Before I go I want to thank everyone who has visited my blog as I have now surpassed a 1000 hits.This is a milestone for me.So for now happy trails.

Bog Island

Small lakes and bogs can created interesting subject material.With that said Paul Smith and I have found such a location to photograph.I had previously photographed this little island before.If you go back a couple post you will see the same island.

This time I captured the island at a different angle.I set the tripod up half way down a slight incline and waited as the lighting changed.As I watched the various light beams I was also aware of the sun’s angle as it was setting to the West.It would not be long before the sun would shine into the lense.

As the sun lowered it began highlighting parts of the island shoreline and backlit the trees beautifully.I now had a problem with the sun glare in the lense.Using my ball cap to fend of the glare I captured this wonderful exposure.The lighting highlighted the reddish growth along the island shoreline.The deadheads added character to the photo with a ghostly affect. With so much light on the island the background was darker,consisting of dark green evergreens that are common to this part of the country.

This photo was taken with a zoom setting of 120 mm and the shutter at 0.4 f22.I was forced to to tight crop this shot with only a bit of reflection in the water due to the lake surface not being calm.This was another case of having to go back a number of times due to unsatisfactory conditions and just waiting.

In the end it is well worth it,so till next time,Happy Trails.

Persistance Pays off.

It was the past Friday that Paul Smith and I came across some new locations up the Westbranch North of Webbwood.We were now 90 km up the Westbranch and exploring new country.The moose hunters were setting up there camps getting ready for the opening of moose season on Saturday.It was a sunny day,but the wind was creating havoc and towards sundown was still blowing.It was scratch day one.

The next day I headed back up alone early that afternoon.When I arrived on location the wind was blowing pretty good.I waited til late evening but to no avail.I headed back home again with no photos.Sunday came and being my youngest grand son’s birthday, I stopped off at my son’s apartment to enjoy the BBQ and wish  the little man a happy birthday.He was 1 year old.I hadn’t been on the Internet for a week as I had left my usb modem down South well we were visiting. I logged on an checked my email . My good friend Jan Winthers had emailed me earlier saying he was available for the weekend to go out photographing.I gave Jan a quick call and asked him if he could meet me in an hour.

I met up with Jan and we transferred his photo equipment to my truck. As we were driving up the Westbranch Jan realized that he had forgot his tripod. We have all forgotten something at one time or another. The third day turned out to be a blessing with the wind cooperating for a change.

Late fall brings with it much more subdued colors as the grass and ferns turn brown and rusty red.I myself like this time of year for the challenges it offers.Jan and I were walking along a small lake when we spotted a little island across the way. There was some very interesting lighting come from the side onto the island.The evergreens had wonderful lighting filtering through to break up the dark mass in the background.This creates a background with more detail .The gray color of the dead branches give character to the trees along with the remaining tree growth being highlighted by the sun.Take in the brownish shoreline and you have a very earth tone photo. There is enough reflection in the water to create depth.

I shot this scene with the zoom set at 100 mm and a shutter speed of  0.4 sec @ f 22. You must always be watching for unique lighting and color patterns.

Moving along the shoreline I was attracted by the lighting and colors that you can observe in the above photo. The clump of reddish brown grass was nicely lit by the sun.Light was filtering through the trees in the background creating lovely reflective patterns along with a beam of light hitting the reddish brown grass along the shoreline.I positioned my tripod to put the island of grass in the foreground and the lighted grass on the shoreline in the background.The idea here is to have the reddish brown grasses stand out.

I shot the above photo with a zoom setting 135 mm.The shutter speed was set at 0.5 sec @ f22.

Jan and I had a wonderful day together and I am looking forward to our next outing. Until next time happy trails.