August 31, 2018
Yesterday I was photographing along Lake of The Woods in the extreme Northwestern corner of Ontario. It was the third time in 10 days, finishing up working on a new book for next spring about The Lake of The Woods area, a collaboration with writer and 'book lady' Elisabeth Campbell of 'Elisabeth Campbell Books' in Kenora, ON for Vidacom Publications (Les Editions des Plaines). I was up at the crack of dawn and looking at different angles before proceeding to capture the dawn light as it appeared across the main beach in Sioux Narrows Provincial Park. Just before sunrise (and again just after sunset), the 'Belt of Venus' glows bright pink above the horizon. This 'pink glow' atmospheric phenomenon, also known as an 'anti-twilight arch', extends some 10-20 degrees above the horizon and is caused by a back scattering of reddish light from the rising or setting sun. Minutes earlier, a dark blue band of the 'earth's shadow' was visible below the pink band.
I am always fairly cautious when walking along shorelines as rocks are often wet and slippery. I had photographed at this exact location just a few weeks earlier and I was quite aware of how slippery these rocks were. Nevertheless, and without warning, one of my feet slipped on the wet rock. Before I knew it, I had tumbled head over heels, landing on my back in a shallow pool of water among the rocks. As I was falling, many thoughts rushed through my head! Miraculously, I did not hit my head on a rock! I also managed to keep my camera and lens from crashing on the rocks. Today, I am a bit sore on my backside but things could have been much worse!
I did 'get the shot' (shown above), albeit fully drenched! I headed for the van, stripped down and changed into dry clothes. Considering that it was dawn, I did not get overly chilled. One always has to be mindful of potential hazards! Chalk it up to just another story in the 'life of a nature photographer' !
Want to hear more stories, find out why the image works and all about how to publish photographs? Come and join me, Kristian Bogner (Canmore, AB), Chris Collacott (Vancouver, BC and Tula Edmunds (Calgary, AB) at 'The Business of Fine Art Photography Symposium' in Calgary, Alberta this coming September 24-27, 2018. We love to share our stories and images!
December 2, 2017
The 2018 'Ontario' calendar features my photographs from extensive travels in my home province to which I have returned dozens and dozens of times. In 2015, I also published a book called 'Mike Grandmaison's Ontario' (Turnstone Press). The calendar was 1 of 8 published by Wyman Publishing featuring my photography exclusively. Thank you kindly in advance for supporting my work! Enjoy!
October 23, 2017
In the spring of 2007, I was traveling through parts of Ontario with a colleague as I was working on my ‘Georgian Bay’ book. We had been exploring the shoreline rocks in Killbear Provincial Park for a few hours before sunset. We continued for some time after the sun dipped below the horizon until I decided that I would walk the trail back to the parking lot while my friend chose to take a few more photographs. Another half hour passed and still no sign of my friend; by this time, the sky was very dark. While waiting and walking the parking lot, I noticed that the trees at the edge of the forest near my car produced interesting patterns of branches across the dark blue sky. I set up my camera once more and composed a couple of images, one in which I opened the shutter for 3 minutes and a second in which I left the shutter open for 15 minutes. My friend finally showed up after about an hour and we left to prepare dinner at our campsite.
I had totally forgotten about these two images until a few years later as I happened to be browsing through my many hard drives of unprocessed images. I estimate that about two thirds of my images have yet to be processed. I came across the two images of the branching patterns and, upon enlarging the images to 100% to check both the sharpness and noise, I noticed a number of bright light streaks across the images. What I had unknowingly witnessed that evening of May 12, 2007 was the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. This was truly an unexpected find! On one image I captured 8 short streaks while on the second image I captured 11 obvious light streaks. One of these streaks, at the far left bottom corner of the image, is a little harder to see but it's there!
The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is the result of Earth passing through the orbital path of Haley’s Comet. At this time every year – late April and May - bits and pieces of the comet’s dust crash into the Earth’s atmosphere at about 240,000 kilometers per hour where about half of these rapidly moving meteors (shooting stars) leave ionized gas trails that glow for a few minutes following the passing of each meteor. Typically, you might see anywhere from 20 to 40 meteors per hour streak across the dark sky in more southerly latitudes and about 10 meteors or more per hour in more northern latitudes. The Eta Aquarid meteor shower produces no sharp peak of activity and it can usually best be observed for a one week period around May 6. The best time to look for the Eta Aquarid meteor shower is in the few hours before dawn. Meteors come in spurts so lulls of little or no activity is also part of the experience so you need to observe them for at least a good hour. It takes about 20 minutes for our eyes to completely adjust to darkness. The Earth crosses the orbital path of Halley’s comet a second time in late October giving rise to the Orionid meteor shower that peaks on or near October 21.
February 9, 2017
The 10th Anniversary (Winter 2017) issue of Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine is now at the newsstands. Congratulations to editor Roy Ramsay and the staff at OPC! Ten years ago, I began writing and illustrating a feature called 'Discovering Canada' in each issue of the magazine. With this 40th issue, I explore the northwestern region of Ontario, the Lake of the Woods area in and around Kenora that borders the eastern side of Manitoba. Each issue of the magazine features interesting and topical articles by some of Canada's finest nature and outdoor photographers ... and the images aren't too shabby either! In every issue, editor Roy Ramsay runs a profile with an interview and portfolio of images from either an aspiring or seasoned photographer. And there is much, much more too! I invite you to have a look and join us!
November 4, 2015
F8 and be there! It pays to be ready. Most importantly though, you have to be there! You need to make the effort. I left Winnipeg with my friend Dave Benson on a wet and soggy early morning around 4:30 AM and arrived in Kenora just before sunrise. It rained for most of the two-hour drive. It looked as if the sky would clear just in time for sunrise at Middle Lake and, in fact it did, but it only lasted a few minutes, just enough to create a few images. Had I listened only to the current weather forecast or not made the trip out to Kenora, the top image would have remained unexposed. The sky remained fairly cloudy for the rest of the day but I did return later at sunset to capture the bottom image. I used neutral graduated filters to better balance the extreme contrast of light. F8 and be there!