The Streets of Bairro Alto & Estrela

I ventured out a little further today to the streets of Bairro Alto and Estrela. I set off just after breakfast to see as much as I could before the heat became too hot to bear. Walking uphill into Chiado and then back down towards Bairro Alto and Estrela I found myself at the Basilica da Estrela. Venturing into the church I snapped a shot of the interior before quickly exiting as it seems that mass was about to begin and I didn’t want to disturb those in attendance.

Bascilica da Estrela Interior

Basilica da Estrela Interior

Across the street from the Basilica is the Jardim da Estrela. This park provides a haven from the sounds of the bustling city just outside its walls. The central point of Jardim da Estrela is the green wrought-iron bandstand decorated with elegant filigree and where, I hear, musicians play during the summer months. Seems I’m a little late to the party (or possibly just too early) as no bands were playing today.

Bandstand in Jardim da Estrela

Bandstand in Jardim da Estrela

The park has numerous exotic plants and trees, ponds and various sculptures for visitors to enjoy. My favourite part of this park was a small pond where a statue of a girl sits in the water. I’m not sure if she is feeding the ducks or just gazing into the water to see her reflection.

Statue in Pond

Statue in Duck Pond

Exiting the park on the opposite side from where I had entered, I headed back downhill (didn’t I already do that?) and continued to explore the streets of Bairro Alto and Estrela. As usual, I find the funniest things when I explore. Today I discovered a door with dog door handles (or possibly wolf?). Where does one get door handles like these?

Door Knocker

Door Knocker

Walking back uphill (does it ever end?) I came across another park, Praça do Principe Real which sits at another high point in the city where you can look out over the rooftops of the city below. In Praça do Principe Real there is a large cedar tree whose branches rest on a trestle and casts its shade on the benches below it. A nice break from the heat the sun beating down on you.

Praça do Principe Real

Praça do Principe Real

There are so many treasures here in Lisbon and just not enough time to see them all. I could spend weeks and months here just exploring. Luckily I still have a few days left to try to see more. Tomorrow I go back to Alfama and explore Castelo Sao Jorge.

Eclipsed by Mazinaw Rock

On our last full day at the park we decided to get out in the kayaks and paddle over to Mazinaw Rock. Last year I brought my GoPro with me but this year I decided to bring along my Nikon D800 with me. I just prayed I wouldn’t tip the kayak over and lose the camera. (Spoiler: I didn’t flip. Whew!)

Feeling Small

Feeling Small

Paddling out the rock its hard not to feel small as Mazinaw towers over you. One of these days I”m going take the ferry over and hike the top of the rock. 

Getting up close with Mazinaw Rock

Getting up close with Mazinaw Rock

It’s an unforgettable experience to be out in the water and up close and personal with Mazinaw.

A Bon Echo Sunset

Sneaking away for a quick sunset shoot, I hiked over to a secluded beach with a direct view of Mazinaw Rock. Someone had left their red canoe on the beach which just screamed for me to take its photo, so I positioned the canoe to point towards the sunset as the sun lit up the clouds.

Red Canoe at Sunset

Red Canoe at Sunset

There were some other canoes left on the beach which also became my props for the photo below.

Canoes bathe in the last of the suns rays

Canoes bathe in the last of the suns rays

I decided to try using my ND filter (see more on ND filters here) to make a long exposure as the light began to fade into the blue hour. It smoothed out the surface of the lake and streaked the clouds in the sky for a painterly effect to the photo.

Last light of day

Last light of day

It was worth sneaking away to get these shots. I may have to print a couple out and see how they look on my walls.

Cameron Ranch on the Carden Alvar

My friend Galina suggested a trip to the Carden Alvar located in the Kawartha Lakes region. It was a great opportunity to photograph one of Ontario’s newest provincial parks. So with my friend Nigel joining us, we all headed up to the Alvar for a day of shooting.

Hoverfly on Chicory Bloom

Hoverfly on Chicory Bloom

Since this new park is quite large we had to choose a specific area to explore so we started our day at Cameron Ranch. With an overcast sky above us to somewhat mute the harsh sunlight we set out on a hike in this beautiful park.

Bee with Crown Vetch flowers

Bee with Crown Vetch flowers

There was so much to see. The Alvar is full of all sorts of wildlife and flowers. I couldn’t get over how much was flourishing here. This bee was busy working away getting the pollen for his hive from some crown vetch.

Old Man's Whiskers

Prairie Smoke Flower

The most interesting flowers that I came across here was the Prairie Smoke flower aka Old Man’s Whiskers. What fun names for such an interesting looking flower. I have never seen anything like it. It was also on of the hardest flowers to photograph because of its wispiness.

Tawny Crescent

Tawny Crescent

Hiking further down the trail I came across this Tawny Crescent butterfly sunbathing on some flowers. I’m surprised I didn’t startle it into flying away but it was nice enough to stay around while I shot some photos.

After spending most of the day at Cameron Ranch we decided to get in one more hike before heading home. Out next stop was place called Prairie Smoke. As we started heading over the clouds broke open and the rain came down. By the time we got over to Prairie Smoke the rain had petered off and we were able to get in our short hike without getting wet. 

Yellow Goatsbeard

Yellow Goatsbeard

It was a quick hike here but I came away with some great photos. My favourite was of the raindrops that had accumulated on this Yellow Goatsbeard. It was a great day here at the Carden Alvar and I look forward to more trips here in the future.

You can find out more about the Carden Alvar here and here.

Creatures of Claireville

Today on my walk at Claireville Conservation Area I noticed a lot of little critters were out and about in the park. Usually I hear the birds but they are not always that keen to show themselves around us humans. Today for some reason they were more than happy to give me a brief view.

Grey Catbird

In one of the ravines I was able to capture this shot of a Catbird before it flew away. Birds are particularly difficult to capture because they rarely sit still unless they are eating at a feeder and even then you have to be quick and anticipate their movements. If you want to practice photographing birds I found it helpful to plant myself near a feeder with the camera on a tripod. Make sure to have a very high shutter speed to capture them as they move about the feeder. 1/500 of a second or faster will usually do the trick.

Chipmunk with leaves

The animals are just as quick as the birds when you want to take their photo but I do find a lot of them will freeze before they run off while others are a little more on the friendlier side. This chipmunk appeared to be gathering some leaves, possibly for its nest. I was lucky that she decided to pose for me a few times before finally running off.

Osprey with Carp

On my walk back to the car I was trying to photograph some Blue Jays high up in a tree when I noticed this osprey with something in his talons. After reviewing the photos I quickly snapped as he flew by, I realized it was a fish! Talk about lucky capture!