20151028 Killarney Storm — 5 years later

On October 27, 2010 a photographer friend, Ray Thoms and I met at Killarney to take some photos of a storm buffeting the Killarney East Lighthouse at Red Rock.  Here is his great shot.

I had just purchased a little Lumix GF1 Micro Four Thirds Camera — my first digital interchangeable lens camera — with a nice zoom lens (28 mm-280 mm EFL) and was quite excited to try it out.  Here is a shot that I got with it.  A. Yee convinced me to submit it.  NASA sent me a coffee mug as a prize!

Five years and one day later Ray and I again visited the lighthouse, this time to see the effects of the remnants of Hurricane Patricia.  Here are some of the photos I took on the way there, at the lighthouse and on the way back.

Highway 637 looking towards Killarney Prov Park

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The Tamaracks were aflame, even in the rain …

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This is peek into the little forest on the rough road into the lighhouse from the airport road.  The big red pine appears to have suffered from a lightning hit.

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The last of the blueberry leaves had a light blue cast from the light reflected from the blue truck:

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Here is the  Killarney East ON Lighthouse, as seen from the shore near the gate:  ( Some interesting insights at that link!)

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(Edit:  I just noticed the similarity between the above and Thom’s image!!  Must be a good place to stand there.  Probably the above is immortalized in thousands of photographs!)

Some photos taken in between (and during) rain squalls:

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The effects of these scenes can be felt more acutely if you click on them to see them full screen.  Use your browser’s return button to get back to the blog.

Here are some photos taken on the return trip … all looking to the north side of the Highway.

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Chikanishing Creek:

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Tyson Lake crossing:

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I should add that the new Herbert Fish Restaurant served a good lunch.  They will stay open “for a little while” in November.

I should also add that I rarely use my Micro Four Third Interchangeable lens cameras any more.   Instead I use the amazing Lumix FZ-1000.  (That photo of the red pine trunk was shot at a base ISO of 125, at f/5 (Equivalent f/ of f/14 for DoF) hand held at 1/50th second.  Not many cameras can do that.)  All shot hand held, in Raw, converted and (lightly) processed in Lightroom 5.6.

If you are interested in Sudbury, you might like  Thom’s new photo souvenir book, Greater Sudbury.

20151023-25 Some close-ups

We had some nice fall weather which enticed us to get out to see our surroundings.

The wintergreen leaves were turning.  Here we have only one berry remaining.

Common names for G. procumbens include American mountain tea, boxberry, Canada tea, canterberry, checkerberry, chickenberry, chinks, creeping wintergreen, deerberry, drunkards, gingerberry, ground berry, ground tea, grouseberry, hillberry, mountain tea, one-berry, partridge berry, procalm, red pollom, spice berry, squaw vine, star berry, spiceberry, spicy wintergreen, spring wintergreen, teaberry, wax cluster, and youngsters.



A huge (size of a volley ball) paper wasp’s nest tucked into a white pine.  No evidence of wasps.



Yes, ubiquitous milkweed again …






Some sort of web caterpillar made this.   I don’t know what kind or what happens to it over the winter. Metamorphosis?



This big bird lifted off when the blue truck approached on faraway road.


For a while I didn’t know whether this was a juvenile Sandhill Crane or a juvenile Great Blue Heron.


The yellow bill and speckled breast gave it away:   Juvenile Great Blue Heron.   Quite late in the year (October 23).

No berries on these this year.


The Larix laricina are changing now.


Characteristic bud on the end of a Northern Wild Raisin branch — with a nice leaf!


Yes, there was lots to see.

20151019-21 The last of this year’s colours

Stiff winds and sharp frost removed most of the leaves in our neighbourhood over the last few days.  However we managed to get a few nice photos in this season ‘tween leaves and snow:

Red Maple at ET’s dock:


Magnetawan River Tributary near Dunchurch:


Snowcloud over Twin River:


Fishing in snow showers:


Woolly aphids in their woolens:


Spiral left after the fluffy seeds have left the Fireweed flower.


This  reminds me of one of Andrew Wyeth’s barns or maybe a young Ivan Wheale’s realist paintings on Manitoulin Island.


This fellow got all excited when he saw me on Dry Rapids Road, north of Alban.


Some Red Oak leaves are turning red instead of brown…. nice!


And Blackberries are turning purple:

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A very rare exhibition of a Red Oak leaf showing its veins in red and orange.


Click on the images to see the detail …. especially the one above.  See the visitor now?

Still lots to see out there!

20151019 Confirmation of Clearwing Moth

I am following NATURALLY CURIOUS WITH MARY HOLLAND.  (By “follow” I get an email every time that Mary uploads a new post).  This morning she posted ” Snowberry Clearwing Larvae Pupating“.

That is the first time that I have seen a pic of the Snowberry Clearwing and decided to follow up the ID of various clearwings at:


which showed definitive images of the various species of Clearwings.

My July 7th post of Milkweed Restaurant shows several clearwing moths.

Those are clearly Hemaris thysbe.

However since the Slender Clearwing Moth and the Snowberry Clearwing Moth are also common around the Great Lakes I will have to try to capture the wings more carefully to be sure of what I am photographing.

A few years ago I was blind to Clearwings.  Now they have become a Genus of great interest and delight.

Always something new out there!

Here is a pic taken Saturday morning in front of John and Ann’s house:


20151014 Snapping Turtles emerging from nest

Yesterday a friend told me that snapping turtles were emerging from a nest in Bill  and Laurie’s Rose Garden.  When I arrived the first thing to catch my eye was the penultimate rose of the year …. if the rosebud blooms:


This was one of many little fellas emerging from the nest in the mulch of the garden.


About 20 seconds later….


On a patch of thyme on their way to the water about 30 m away, via a lawn and some rock steps.


Guy picked some up by their carapace, put them on a snow shovel and delivered them to the beach….


… where they clambered into the water ….


and swam away ….


…. sharing their new space with this fellow who ambled by in about 15cm of water:


This part of Lake Huron seems to be home for at leas 5 species of Crayfish.   See this .pdf file for images and illustrations and ranges:


That document seems to indicate that the above is an O. propinquus, Northern Clearwater Crayfish.

Wikipedia’s entry on Crayfish indicates that there are hundreds of species of crayfish in the S.E. USA.

Snapping Turtles are much easier to identify!  That link indicates that the incubation period is very temperature dependent and varies from 9 to 18 weeks!  I saw most of the females depositing eggs in early July — 14 weeks ago.  Local experts, C.T. and J.P. have indicated  that it is not abnormal to see little snappers emerging this late in the year.  Guy saw 26 in the nest before he stopped counting.  More info.

Nature continues to amaze us, eh?

20151013, 14, 15 Some more local colour including a visit along Hwy 522

It was difficult  NOT to take photos of the very vibrant colours we enjoyed the last few days.  Although a lot of the leaves were blown or rained off, there were still many scenes left to delight us.  Some examples:

Hwy 522:


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A barn near Arnstein:

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A day later:


Minimalist Inukshut on Hwy 522::


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Ess Narrows, Hwy 522:


E.T.’s Red (Soft) Maple and Staghorn Sumac at the Acid Dock:

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Morning clouds over Byng Inlet:


Lots to see!

20151011-12 Local colours

We went down to the Hwy 69 Bridge over Harris Creek again to see the changes in colours.   Here are three results:

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Have you figured out where the sun is in the uppermost photo?   Interesting challenge for the photographer!  I was intrigued by the reflection on the underside of the bridge, the lighting through the “tunnel” and the backlit leaves.  A good exercise in composition and exposure…….. and in post processing!

Here are some pics taken in Britt:

House at the end of the road:


The “OPEN” sign has been unlit for a while now.


Foraging at the end of the season, filling the combs for the winter.


Not  many modern cars would fit into Mrs D’s garage:


Mary Holland has an interesting post regarding “green stain” in wood here:


Lots of magick out in them thar woods, eh?

20151010 Fall Colours Drive South … to Ahmic Harbour

On Saturday afternoon we made “The Loop”:  Parry Sound, Orange Valley Road, Old Nippissing Road, South of Ahmic Lake, home via Hwy 124 and Hwy 529.

McDougall Rd, North end of Haines Lake:


McDougall Rd over one of the feeders to the Seguin River.


Broadbent/Orange Valley Rd:

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Orange Valley Rd …

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Old Nippissing Rd:

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Ahmic Lake Rd … short cut from Old Nippissing to Hwy 124.   I broke all of the rules with this one: A serious backlighting attempt.  One huge lens flare which I tried to minimize in Lightroom 5.6.


Large farms and beautiful sugar maple forests south of Ahmic Lake.


This is worth clicking on to enlarge.  A little bay off of Ahmic Lake, just south of Ahmic Harbour.


Yet another version of Twin Rivers, this time 4 minutes after sunset:


The winds are up to 20 km/h so I think the peak is passing now.

20151010 Fall Colours Saturday Morning drive north.

Just after daybreak we drove north and tread carefully on frost grass to get some nice shots …

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Both of the above are at Straight Lake between Still River and Key River.

The next two were taken at Clear Lake, the part of Grundy Lake visible from Hwy 69:

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Looking south from the Hwy 607 bridge abutment over the Murdock River:


Meshaw Falls of the French River.


Looking south from the entrance to the Pickerel River Reserve.


I then discharged some pleasant social obligations and went out later in the afternoon… this time to drive in a southerly direction.

Folks have been asking me about equipment and technique .   I will write something about that later.  Two thoughts seem valid (to me at least):

Equipment is dependent on user needs and capabilities.  I have seen photos from Point and Shoot cameras and camera phones that are far more interesting than photos from fancy Canikon DSLRs.  But I have also seen some photographs from DSLRs that could never be made with a simpler camera.  Best thing is to use whatever you have to its limits.

Technique:  There are quite a few technical things to keep in mind when shooting “at the edge”… like the first two above.  But even in those two, ENGAGEMENT is key.  In other words MY best stuff happens when I am totally engaged with what I see, what I feel and what I want to communicate.  I look into the scene instead of looking at the scene.  I try to “grok” it, as Michael Valentine Smith would say. 

I don’t use the word “compose” the way photography texts do, (with all of those “rules”!).   Rather I tend to build the picture.  I usually find lots of mini-images in a scene that I want to somehow put together.  (The result of a diagnosed “over complex mind”?)  In the top image I stopped to ask myself what were the excitements in the scene.  The first thing was the  pink mist curving down to that far point where the skyline dips down to almost kiss the reflection of the sky.  Then as the sun rose, the dramatic colouration of the left horizon began to become dominant.  So I moved around a bit so that I could “compose” the image with at least those two elements.  Expert commercial photographers would probably have posted the image that I took about 3 minutes before this one.   But I prefer the above ;… maybe because I enjoy the dynamic of moving my eyes from the left horizon to the osculation of horizon line and sky reflection.  The three spruce trees are a bonus!  Especially when I pull back a bit.


20151001-07 Late start to fall colours

Fall colours are about a week later than normal this year.  Perhaps the drought that we are experiencing is the reason.  Here are a few pix taken over the last week:

Here is an early red maple taken on the Forest Access Rd on October 4th, a drab day:


We did get a day of rain so I caught some drops on a tamarack, whose needle tips show stress….

(this one is worth clicking on to see the drops more clearly.)


Work has started on the CNR railway relocation for the Hwy 400 ramps at the Hwy 400 /Hwy 522 interchange.  This is looking north up the hill between Key River and Hwy 522.  The CNR will eventually  come in from the left (where you see the rock truck), go under the “Old Hwy 69”, and rejoin the tracks on the southern side of Portage Lake.  The Highway will be moved to the West a bit to allow for the rebuilding job.


More red maples seen from Hwy 69 near the Magnetawan Reserve.


The last of the Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris) in the deep shade.


The reason that I was in the “deep shade”…..  looking up at the bridge over the non-flowing Harris Creek under Hwy 69.


Some sugar maples on the Centre Rd from McKellar towards Hurdville:


Off of Blackwater Road:


Oft photographed barn just west of the town of Rosseau:


Hwy 141 near Rosseau.


On the way back, yet another photo of the “Twin Rivers” from Hwy 529.


Early morning (7:42)  light at Straight Lake, between Bekanon and Key River:


Ten minutes later at Clear Lake, Grundy Lake Prov Park:


After a day of rain forecast for today, Friday, the Thanksgiving Weekend has a forecast for clear weather.  The colours will probably peak then.   Hopefully the winds will be calm.

KB sent me this link, which is of interest to Monarch Butterfly watchers:


I have been following Mary Holland’s Naturally Curious Blog…. a very nice journal of “natural philosophy”.


Happy Thanksgiving!   We have a lot to be thankful for.