On Monday, we visited Cordova Falls, part of the Crowe River, outside of Havelock, Ontario. It was a hot a sticky day, but it was still good to get out for a short drive.
Access to the lower falls is easy enough - IF you can find parking. And there is not a lot of it, believe me. But it is a beautiful spot, with two decent cascades as part of the lower falls.
There are actually three sets of cascades, the most impressive - apparently - is the one directly below the dam at Cordova Lake. We didn’t get there (however we DID find ample parking at the lake itself). I was honestly so mesmerized by the lower falls, I could have spent the entire day just in that location. As it was - and because I technically was not legally parked - we only spent about 45 minutes there. I’m still happy with the images I came away with, and plan to revisit the falls again, perhaps much earlier in the day and with plenty of bug spray
Returning back to the cottage after our dental appointments, the heatwave had dissipated enough that we opened the windows to air out the cottage. That evening we were treated to a beautiful sunset by the lake. I had not brought my camera with me, but I did have my iPhone 11 Pro.
Well, the best camera, as they say....
The light changes so quickly at sunset. Take a photo, look somewhere else, look back, and the scene can be entirely different. As the sun highlights different parts of the clouds, this is reflected (literally) in the water.
I went to bed early the night before, planning to wake up early on Canada Day and go out with my camera. I fell asleep quickly, but woke up, around midnight and couldn’t drift back to sleep for a frustrating two hours. Too many things on my mind. I eventually opened my iPad to edit more of the sunset photos from Wednesday evening. That helped relax me and I was able to get some more rest.
6am came too early, but I forced myself out of bed to see if I could make anything of the early morning, photographically. Driving around, I saw some interesting patches of fog in some of the low valleys around the area, but I couldn’t find a suitable vantage point. With nothing new on the sensor, I decided to try one more spot before heading back to the cottage for a much-needed coffee.
That spot was Centennial Park at the Corner of County Road 2 and Asphodel Line 3. The Ouse river runs slowly past the little park and to my glee, a Great Blue Heron was fishing from a small cascade. I parked the car and loaded my 100-400mm lens onto my camera and started shooting; first from the car and then I gradually made my way across the Line 3 bridge, continuing to capture this elegant waterfowl.
I’ve not had much luck with herons; they have keen eyesight and are pretty skittish, so usually, by the time I’m close enough for a decent photo, the bird has taken to the air. This fellow however, was far more interested in catching breakfast than my presence. I was able to get fairly close - within a few yards - and shoot from a variety of angles.
Right outside the deck, I have a sweet and sour harvest in the process of ripening. Another week or two and I'll have fresh raspberries for pancakes - assuming the birds don't get to them first.
The weather has been …temperamental… these past couple days. Friday brought multiple thunderstorms with torrential downpours - even some hail. But all that climatic turbulence also brought with it cooler temperatures and a reduction in humidity, Overall, it was worth it.
I received some great news on Friday. - one of my images has been chosen by a Canadian puzzle company to be one of their newest jigsaw puzzles! PuzzQuest focuses on fine art photography from contemporary artists and offers a pretty good marketing and compensation package for contributors. I have to sign off on the paperwork, but I’m very excited to see this project move forward and hope that additional images become part of their inventory.
Another Day, Another Sunset
Another evening stroll to the lake to watch the sunset. Or more accurately, to watch how the sunset affects the scene over the lake. The sun is actually setting behind and off to the left of us on the north shore of Rice Lake. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t drama in the sky, especially when there are some interesting clouds. I captured these four images from my chair - THIS TIME with my Olympus camera. The water was rougher, compared to our last visit, but that can add texture and visual interest and a way to pull the eye back from just looking at the clouds. The topmost image was captured at 1/20 second to smooth out the wave action a little bit, the rocks in the foreground acting as a visual anchor to pull you back and forth throughout the photo. I also took the time to remove the buoy line from that image.
Sunset on Hole Four
Friday evening, after a goodly amount of rain earlier in the day, I decided to visit the pond on the fourth hole of the golf course. It’s a beautiful spot and as there was no one else around, also very peaceful. Just me, the frogs and the birds. I’ve photographed this pond many times as one of the views faces directly into the sunset. I get some amazing reflections shots here as well.
This night, though, a lot of the drama was happening opposite to the actual sunset. So for the most part, I change my location to shoot back towards the resort. I climbed a low rise which put me higher above the pond than my tripod would normally allow and afforded me some great reflections in the pond itself.
Daylilies for Days
The night before, while I was heading up to the fourth hole for the sunset, I also noticed a large patch of orange Daylilies. The light wasn't right at that time but I promised myself I would return the following day.
Daylilies are in fact, NOT part of the lily family.
The next day was very hot and sunny, so mid-afternoon I headed back to that spot to capture the blooms. As their name indicates, Daylily blossoms do not last long. They are such a vibrant orange that at first glance, you don't often notice all the spent blooms, hanging somewhat limply and whithered, very near flowers in all their glory. This makes finding aesthetically pleasing compositions - other than tight close-ups - a bit of a challenge. Also in the same area were some colourful thistles and some pretty, but fairly toxic, Cow Parsnip.
We took a short drive Sunday and ended up around the Hope Mill (which is reopening for small group tours this first full week of July). While I didn’t photograph the mill this time, you can see my older story on the building here. This time, I just captured a few images outside the fence, sticking with my orange theme from earlier.
The last weekend of vacation came up too fast, as they always do, it seems. It was going to be a big weekend; a visit with my mom, sister and my niece! I haven't seen my mom or sister since Christmas of 2020 and my niece for more than a year.
I started Friday morning super early. 5 am early, to be precise, making my way down to the lakeshore. It was a very overcast morning, but I thought this was a perfect chance to do some long exposures. Adding my ND256 filter further extended the long exposures up to 10 seconds, resulting in an almost transparent foreground water surface.
The colour temperature was quite cool (blue) that early in the morning, thanks in part to the heavy overcast. I opted not to correct the colour balance in my final images - except for removing ALL colour by switching to black and white. The contrast was low that early in the morning (again, thanks also to the cloud cover) which opened up the shadows quite nicely and allowed me to show detail virtually everywhere in the compositions.
Another cause for celebration on Friday morning: my first official haircut since October of 2020! Moving from a barely controlled mop of grey to something I can pretend is stylish, with enough product in it.
Saturday morning we opted for a drive to Warkworth to visit some local shops. While the store I was hoping to visit had shut its doors (Metaphorhome is still open in Peterborough, I learned, later), it was still a nice drive in the countryside. We (I?) decided to head to the Ranney Gorge suspension bridge in Campbellford, before heading back to the cottage.
On the way from Warkworth to Campbellford, we found a great little view of this split section of the main Trent river, complete with fly fishermen. Had we not opted to head to Campbellford, I would never have known about this little spot. My Zuiko 100-400mm zoom came in quite handy for capturing the fishermen, without disturbing them.
New Work at Elmhirst's Resort
Returning from our little road trip, we headed to Elmhirst's Resort for a late lunch on the recently reopened patio at the Great Blue Yonder pub. This was also an opportunity for me to hang two new photos in a noticeably bare spot in the downstairs gallery lobby. These two images are very recent and I'm very proud of how well they turned out.
As always with my ongoing exhibit at Elmhirst, I balance quality work with reasonable prices, while still making some profit. My feeling is that no one visits a hotel or resort with the intention of buying art. I admittedly do not spend a lot on frames - I keep the framing and matting simple (you're not there to buy a frame). It is my hope that guests are inspired by the work enough that shedding a few extra dollars for a keepsake of their stay is worthwhile. And I'm yet to be proven wrong. I have sold more than 24 framed prints from the Elmhirst show over the past two years, with some guests making multiple purchases!
Lavender Fields Forever
Well, maybe not forever, but Rocky Meadows has over 500 lavender plants and for the month of July have opened their field to visitors. For a small fee you are guided through the field, educated on the wide variety of lavender and then you're free to wander the field, inhaling the scents, commune with honey bees and of course, make photos.
The lavender field was so peaceful, you could literally hear the bees flying from blossom to blossom. Rocky Meadows staff were so friendly and knowledgeable.
When we arrived, there was a painting class in full swing by the field as well. As a photographer, I always find it fascinating to see how others view and translate reality based on their perceptions. The students in this intimate class were doing a stupendous job.
Led by Bracebridge artist, Janice Feist, I watched as the student's work evolved while Janice painted along with them, and guided them on their own illustrative journeys.
I am sure I will return to Rocky Meadows, and I anticipate at least one or two of these images making it into my photography exhibit at Elmhirst's Resort.