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.
August 19, 2017
While I was traveling throughout the Province of Quebec this past July and August, Landscape Photography Magazine (UK) published an article and portfolio of images celebrating the beauty of Canada - Coast to Coast. I have been reading the magazine for a few years now and it was an honour to be featured amongst the many outstanding photographers worldwide.
August 19, 2017
Mountain Life Media recently published a portfolio of my Georgian Bay photographs in the Summer 2017 issue of Mountain Life - Blue Mountains Magazine. The portfolio spans 7 pages and includes photographs and text previously published in two books in which Laurentian University professor Gerard Courtin and I collaborated on: 'Georgian Bay' (Key Porter Books 2008) and 'Mike Grandmaison's Ontario' (Turnstone Press 2015).
It is no wonder I could not identify the type of cloud shown above that I made a few years ago until just recently. That's because the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) only lately classified it as Asperitas, 1 of 11 new cloud types the WMO added in March of 2017 to their International Cloud Atlas. This is the first update that the Atlas has received in 30 years.
Asperitas (formerly known as Undulatus asperatus) was first observed back in 2006 by a member of the amateur cloud-spotting group in Cedar Creeks, Iowa who sent a photograph of the unusual cloud to Gavin Pretor-Pinney, president of the Cloud Appreciation Society in London, England. After receiving more similar photos, the new cloud type was proposed but only recognized 9 years later this past spring on World Meteorological Day.
I first witnessed these dark, storm-like clouds as I drove into Sault Ste Marie, Ontario around dinner time on May 25, 2008. I was immediately taken aback by the unusual, somewhat apocalyptic formation that appeared like rippling waves. The Asperitas clouds covered the entire sky (360 degrees!) and I had never in my life seen anything like that before. I expected a severe storm to materialize as we were adjacent Lake Superior but nothing happened. In fact, the distinctive, but relatively rare cloud formation almost always dissipates without a storm forming.
As is typically the case, I tend to process most of my RAW images only a few years after I make them, sometimes not until years later! In this instance, it took me more than 2 years to process this image after coming across this series of images I made while working on my Ontario book, which was published in the spring of 2015. The caption which accompanied the image on page 128 read: 'Menacing storm clouds, Sault Ste Marie'. Now, I would write: 'Menacing Asperitas clouds, Sault Ste Marie'.
If you are a photographer who publishes photographs and if you have NOT yet registered with Access Copyright, you may be missing out on some additional income. Each year, I fill out my Claim Form before May 31 and receive a payment in late fall for the photographs and writing that have been previously published. You may claim for publications going back 20 years.
Refer to my previous blog post for additional info on Access Copyright.
The attached photograph is from an article I wrote and illustrated for Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine back in 2014. It features a morning sunrise made at my parent's cottage on Tilton Lake in Subbury, Ontario. Whenever I see this image, I can see in my mind's eye, my dad sitting on the bench sipping his morning coffee watching me work! Photographs can be bring forth very strong emotional feelings of people you love or that have passed on, as well as bring back wonderful memories of times gone by.