Opeongo and the Two Rivers Trail

We’re on the hunt for wildlife. Each year we hope for a glance of a fox or even a moose but so far we have been unsuccessful and today proves to be no different.

Openongo

Openongo

Its chilly out and the wind by the water makes it hard to stay there long. The sun helps but only when away from the biting wind. Our walk/drive down Opeongo Road is unsuccessful so we all decide to hike the Two Rivers Trail.

Two Rivers Trail

Two Rivers Trail

This beautiful walk through the woods brings us no closer to finding any wildlife. Are the animals hiding from us? Most likely. Or we’re just hiking the wrong places.

Church Tour of Lake Simcoe

My friend Nigel had this great idea for a road trip – drive around Lake Simcoe and photograph the unqiue churches that were built there. I figured I had some time so why not. It wasn’t at all like I expected. Architecture photography is a little harder for me as I don’t always know how to treat them photographically. I do like to challenge myself to go outside my comfort zone so I went along for the ride. 

Our first stop was at one of the more unique churches on the trip – Sharon Temple. 

Sharon Temple

Sharon Temple was constructed between 1825 and 1832 by Quaker David WIlson. There are other restored buildings on the property which include David Willson’s Study, a unique little building.

As we drove along the shoreline of the lake we stopped to get some photographs of a boat house and some docks. After I few shots I decided to try some infrared photographs. Below is the infrared version.

Boat shed and docks in infrared

Continuing on we stopped at St. George’s church, it was a more traditional looking church but what really struck me here was the beautiful grounds and the view of the lake.

St. George’s Church

One of our final stops was at St. Andrews church. Its towering structure is located up a short staircase allowing it to loom over you as you pass by.

St. Andrews Church

These were just a selection of the churches we stopped to photograph. I believe the final count was six in total and it took the full day to make our way around the lake. A great road trip if you are a fan of church architecture. My only suggestion is doing this road trip in more comfortable weather as the wind off the lake is bitterly cold in winter.

Cold Day on the Trails

As some of you might know I’m not much of a winter person. If I had a working fireplace I would be in front of it with a mug of cider or hot chocolate. Just as long as I didn’t have to freeze my tootsies off. But then there is this urge to hike the trails. “What the heck was I thinking?!”, you ask. Well just look at these views…

Cuckoo Valley

Cuckoo Valley

Do you see what I mean? Fresh snow is really pretty and when waterfalls freeze it’s icing on the cake.

Frozen Falls

Frozen Falls

Okay, okay, I know, the winter is long and sometimes its so cold your car doesn’t even want start. Its tough but it really can be worth the effort to get out of that warm cozy bed, put all the layers on and get in your car and drive to your favourite spot or a new and exciting spot. So will you come out with me this winter to explore?

Fire and Ice

Today’s adventure took us to the Lake Mývatn area in northern Iceland. With Geothermal a huge power source for Icelanders it was interesting to see one of their geothermal plants as we drove up to visit the Viti Crater.  The crater used to be a volcano that blew its top. In summer there is a beautiful blue pool of water at its centre; in winter…you get snow.

Viti Crater

Viti Crater

It took 5 shots to photograph this crater – it is immense. Waking its edge makes you feel like a small ant trudging its way around an enormous landscape.

Back down the the mountain and across the ring road lies Namafjall Hverir. Here one can experience the joy of hot stinky steam vents and 80º – 100ºC sulphur pools. Yup, it’s that toasty. I felt as though I was on a different planet walking around this area.

Namafjall Hverir

Namafjall Hverir

This place was so different than anything we had seen so far. I didn’t know what to photograph first. Using my ultra wide angle I got low for this shot to really showcase the sulphur pool at my feet and still get a sense of place and the vents at the back of the scene. What an unbelievable place!

On the southern end of the lake lies a bunch of pseudo craters. These volcano-like shapes are created when hot lava crosses water causing an explosion of steam. This explosion creates the craters we see below.

Pseudo Craters

Pseudo Craters

When seen from the sky you can almost envision bursting bubbles caught at a specific moment in time. Nature is pretty amazing when she creates.

Our last stop in the Lake Mývatn area was Dimmuborgir, a lava field full of giant pillars, chimneys and tubes. Taking one of the longer hiking trails through the park we experienced these amazing lava formations up close and personal. Sometimes walking on a path and other times scrambling over the rocks themselves.

Lava Home

Lava Home

A surreal experience to end a day of weird and wondrous places.

 

From Icy Piers to Icy Waterfalls

Winter is a tough season for me. I don’t do any winter sports so I find that when the snow arrives and the cold is almost unbearable I just want to snuggle up in front of the television, ignore what’s happening outside and hope that summer arrives soon. Problem is that it can be one of the prettiest seasons to photograph. So that means I have to put on layers of clothes, get into the chilly car with all my gear, get to the place I want to photograph and trudge through some rough weather. “It must be done” I keep telling myself and in the end it was worth it.

Pier

Pier

I love photographing at the piers in Grimsby but especially so in winter. The ice that builds up creates even more texture and interest. I kept things simple by processing these photos as a monotone.

Snow Capped Piers

Snow Capped Piers

Dave Hook came out with me this morning  and we had a blast photographing at the piers. We did have one more stop in mind though – the Erb Grist Mill, located in Waterloo. This replica of the 1816 mill was built in 1998 and stands overlooking a small cascade.

MIll and Waterfall

MIll and Waterfall

One of the tough things about shooting this mill is that you are in the centre of town so you have to contend with traffic, modern buildings and overhead wires. It takes some patience and maybe a little post processing to deal with these but the effort can be worthwhile. Overall a great day shooting even with the cold weather.