I’m off to Colonel Sam Smith Park with my friend Nigel. It’s the middle of January and we are hoping to find something to photograph. We’re anticipating seeing some ducks and lo and behold we find – ducks.
Gadwall Playing in the Waves
This Gadwall duck is playing in the waves at the shoreline before swimming as far from us as possible. I guess our long lenses are intimidating. Interesting fact about the Gadwall is that they often snatch food from diving ducks as they surface. They’re the pirates of the lake.
I notice that the ducks seem to congregate along the shoreline. I guess the shallows are warmer. Do ducks even feel the cold? I wonder sometimes as I’ve seen them stand on ice for long periods and they seem to enjoy just barely unfrozen water all winter. How? And can you give that superpower to me?
Male Long Tail Duck
This long-tailed duck is one of many enjoying a paddle around the shoreline. He has an impressive tail which I assume is for mating purposes but what’s interesting to note is his plumage during winter The males have two mirror-image plumages: in summer mostly black with a white face patch; in winter mostly white with rich brown, black, and gray on the face. I’ve only ever seen the winter plumage as they are from the high arctic and they are there for the summer and my travels don’t take me that far.
After our fill of the ducks we head home to warm up and plan our next outing.
I’m back in Tobermory for my annual fall solo trip. I’m here a little later than usual (Because of my trip to Lisbon) and it looks to be a really nice weekend for some hikes along the Bruce. I’m only here for two nights so I’m limited to only one major hike and that’s today. So off I go to cover a little bit more ground on the Bruce Trail.
Leaves and Trees
Hiking out to the Bruce Trail from the campsite I had a choice to make. Right or Left? I’ve hiked the trail to the left so I today I’m heading to the right to head south toward Stormhaven. Such an ominous name for a backcountry camping area. At least that’s all I think it is. 😉
The plan was to hike past Stormhaven and take a break at Halfway Dump Side trail before heading back to the campsite. That would put my hike at just over 11km.
View From the Bruce Trail Cliffs
The Bruce Peninsula always has epic views that go on for miles and this section has so many opportunities to appreciate those views, over and over again. Of course we can’t forget the little things that reside here in the forest – the mighty mushroom! 😀
After my hike and filled up on a hearty dinner I started thinking that I needed to get some night shots before I left for the weekend. With my campsite so close to the lake I got my photo gear together and hiked out to a spot that gave me the best view of the Milky Way.
Reflections of the Night Sky
It was a beautiful clear night and the Milky Way shone with all her glory. It’s so crazy that we have such amazing views from the earth out into the Universe and so many people don’t get a chance to experience it because they live in a light polluting city. I could stay here forever just looking up into the night sky.
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!)
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.
It’s an unforgettable experience to be out in the water and up close and personal with Mazinaw.
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.
There were some other canoes left on the beach which also became my props for the photo below.
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.
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.