It has been a long time since I did some writing, so here's a look at my spring, summer and fall so far.
Since returning from my beautiful trip to Alberta, I'm saddened to announce that my mother has passed away. Even in her last days, she illustrated her pride in my photography by asking for some of my work to be displayed on the living room wall where she lay. It will always mean the world to me.
While I was spending time there, I had plenty of opportunity to use my camera. A lot of those times were created by a very real need to get out of the house and simply be alone. I began a search for the best sunset I could find and my search for dragonflies and monarch butterflies continued. A need to be with nature was crucial.
Thanks to my visit to Alberta and my purchase of a Parks Canada pass, I visited Point Pelee National Park numerous times. I saw this family of swallows on several occasions during my visits here from day to day as I walked around the marsh boardwalk. Here, I was lucky enough to catch feeding time.
Walking around this marsh, there are many times where dragonflies present themselves. While I managed to capture many shots, none of them had much appeal to me. They were sharp, they were clear, but it wasn't until the day that water lilies appeared that I finally found what I was looking for. This day was rather windy so the challenge was to freeze him without a flash. Mission accomplished.
The western beach at Point Pelee is much more active than the east side. As the wind typically comes in from the west, the water is always breaking on the shore. On one visit with my sister, we went for a swim in the water. We were both amazed at the colours and patterns on the rocks in the lake. If I were so inclined, I would be very tempted to bring some home to polish. It doesn't matter whether they were small or large, they were all quite amazing. Coming in from the water was a bit of a challenge. The water goes out fairly hard and the climb from the water is a little steep. Walking on the rocks below justifies for me why life preservers are a good idea here.
There were many opportunities to spend some time outside on the back porch and on one such occasion, we were greeted by a small family of skunks. Whether it was 2 or 3 I don't remember, but they seemed quite friendly. My sister was far braver than I, and got a lot closer than I dared with her point-and-shoot.
Instead, I opted for a long lens and caught this fuzzy little guy nosing around the garden. I don't know much about skunks, but he or she had no odour at all so I'm guessing babies are fairly safe to approach.
Word on the street is that the Point Pelee National Park has a Facebook page where visitors may share their own shots from this location with the goal being to enable visitors to see changes to the area over time.
My black and white shot may not help them a lot, but I do hope someone gets some enjoyment from the effect. It was an absolutely beautiful day and the clouds above just couldn't be appreciated in anything but shades of gray.
Following my return home, I immediately sought more photo opportunities. One of my favourite places to get away to is Algonquin Park as I wrote about last year. I have been seeking bear shots in the wild along with moose and wolf. One morning, following an early alarm while it was still dark, I was lucky enough to capture this shot of a coywolf on the edge of the woods. He had been chewing something a moment ago. While he did look at me for a few long moments, he didn't show much more than curiosity before trotting back into the safety of the trees.
Did I mention monarchs? They have been extremely elusive to me for the past year. As a kid, I used to notice them fairly frequently but now that I have wanted to shoot one? Easier said than done.
On a trip out to visit family, I took the long route home and stopped in a conservation area to explore and hike the trails. I was greeted by muskrats both in and out of the water, egrets, heron and yes, monarchs.
Once again the wind was a challenge to deal with, but I had several opportunities to knock another subject off my list.
Now that I think of it, I had another goal. My parents have told me since they moved that there are bald eagles in the area. While I enjoyed kidding them that they must be ready for a "special" home, it was only logical that they may in fact be right.
It was on a visit to my mom's grave that I spotted this young eagle fly overhead and land high above on a branch, keeping careful watch. It gave an interesting feelign of closure to see finally see him. Later, I believe I saw two more far off in the distance.
This appears to be a year for achieving goals. I have made several attempts during bad weather to capture a lightning shot. By the way, one of my peeves has been presenting itself repeatedly, so I'm going to nitpick it. The word is lightning, not lightening. Lightening is a verb. 'Nuff said.
As I was saying, on the forecast of violent weather, on several occasions I gathered my gear (after pre-scouting some locations), drove several miles and waited after setting up.
For anyone who wants to capture lightning, I have this advice. Catching it is easy. Finding a location that will enable you to catch it is the difficult part. Above all, you need to be safe and dry. For me, this meant locating a gazebo. I tried several times to point at Toronto's CN tower, however it became problematic. It is a quite a run from the car with the gear.
This shot was taken in Port Credit a couple of weeks ago, and besides the young girls with their bong enjoying the light show, my only real problem was them sitting where I wanted to be. It was after I left, disappointed, that I discovered that I had managed to capture this shot, and I am quite thrilled about it.
I suppose that is all for now. I have taken several thousand shots, but my goal is to keep people interested and maybe read how these shots came about. Too much can be too much.
Until next time.