Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Unfortunately Memorable Daytrip to Bon Echo

Our next daytrip was to Bon Echo Provincial Park near Kaladar. It was on my list anyway, but when they had a free entrance day to all provincial parks in Ontario, we made haste.

It was a more developed park than I had been expecting with loads of visitors and campsites. Arriving in the early afternoon, we found a spot on Main Beach for yet another picnic lunch.

We were cheek by jowl with other visitors with the same intention, but that didn't bother Sue, who actually likes people — which I find very strange. You can see the empty chair on her right where I sat as far away from the crowd as I could. Which side would you prefer?

Back in my chair, I studied the map trying to figure out in what direction we were looking. It seemed to be west if I had the map oriented correctly, which is a very iffy proposition.

The beach is on Mazinaw Lake, which seemed pretty scenic, except it was an overcast day. Once again, this would probably be a good spot to return to at better time of day in autumn.

This photo was taken from our picnic spot. It is a compilation of 5 handheld, vertical shots, which shows what a nice setting it is if not exactly bathed in nice light at that moment.

Then, we made a big mistake when we decided to walk to the Visitors Centre, which was, supposedly, only a 10 minute stroll. Well perhaps that was all that it was, but, with a dearth of signage, it turned out to be quite a bit more for us, and as it eventuated we never got there.

This was a photo of another portion of the lake taken on this miserable march. Do you notice that it was sunny? Yes, as soon as we started our walk in the coolish, cloudy day, the sun came out, and we began to sweat miserably.

After several wrong turns with me getting hotter and wearier by the millisecond, the Visitors Centre was finally in sight. But we never quite got there because there was yet another weather change and the threat of rain began to loom large.

And so, we began to hurry back toward the car, but with a bad foot, I can't hurry. There was a time in my life when I might have made it back in time and avoided a near drowning, but this is not that time of my life.

It soon began to pour (I am not exaggerating) and even cast some hail (I am not exaggerating). Eventually, we found a wee bit of shelter but it was a wee bit (I am not exaggerating) and a little too late (I am not exaggerating).

We took a few photos when the downpour began to let up a little. In the first, you can see the modest roof that we were under, which actually looks larger in the photo that it seemed to be at the time. Sadly, our car was in a parking lot beyond this one.

When the rain had mostly let up, I went for the car and come back to pick up Sue. We were soaked, and I was not happy. At all.

And then there was the joy of 1.5 hour drive back home. I don't mind driving really, but when one is wet and tired ...

What with the overcast skies (at first), the crowdedness, followed by the heat and lostness, followed by the storm and wetness along with my general weariness (for whatever reason) that day, it was not the best of daytrips. However, Bon Echo is a place that I would return to at the right time now that I have an idea of what it's like in terms of crowd and layout.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ottawa River Sunset

Eleven years here, and we hadn't yet really been to Arnprior. In a sense, I still haven't really been to Arnprior, but I have now visited the town's Robert Simpson Park on the Ottawa River. I could seen the park on Google Maps and speculated that it might have a good sunset view. As it turns out, it was okay but not the best.

We arrived well before sunset, but I could see that the angle wasn't the best as the sun was going to pretty much set behind the trees to the left in the photo below.

While we were up there, however, the universe beamed down on Sue.

But you can also see a little spit protruding into the river way down there (in the first photo that I showed), so that's where we eventually headed.

But the spit wasn't very big, and the sightlines weren't great. What I mean by that is that it was difficult to find decent foreground elements. Although there were some boulders, they were low, and there wasn't much of an angle once I got the camera down there although I tried (below).

I ended up taking most of my shots from a small beach area adjacent to the spit. It wasn't perfect, but it gave me a little more to work with. ↓

Well, after all of that preamble, let's look at some pics.

This ↓ was an early one, taken at 8:11. I like the contrast between the blue and yellow/orange. However, on this occasion, I wanted to try long exposures to smooth out the water.

So, I put on my neutral density filter and went to long exposures. The next one below was taken 11 minutes later. The light was already very different; the blue is gone although that may also be due partly to the filter and the processing as well as the time. It was taken at 5 seconds.

But at 5 seconds, there are still ripples in the water that I wanted to smooth out, so I dialled in for a 10 second exposure, and the water went smooth. This ↓ was shot at 8:45, 23 minutes after the previous photo and 34 minutes after the first.

I like something about each photo: the blue in the first (I don't mind the ripples); the slight ripples of the second; and, the glassiness of the third, which I also think has the best composition. However, I don't think any of them truly nailed it from that position.

Here are a few more before I go. They are more zoomed it and ignoring the effort for close foreground elements.

Arnprior is only a half hour from us, so I think it was worth making the effort although I don't think it was good enough for a return trip — not for that specific reason anyway.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Westport and Narrows Lock

Seeing the kids less this summer, we are more able to take a few daytrips, some of which we haven't get around to in 11 years in this place.

The first one was to Foley Mountain near Westport, Actually, I didn't even know of this place until a Flickr friend posted of it a year or two ago. The highlight seems to be the outlook from Spirit Rock. The view is pretty good, and I think it would be good to return here in autumn.

That's the western endge of Upper Rideau Lake on the left and the Westport Sand Pond on the right. Of course, the town is Westport.

We didn't stay too long as the bugs were a little overpowering, and once we had seen the view ... well, we had seen the view.

From there we headed to the Narrows Lock at the eastern edge of Upper Rideau Lake, where we had a picnic supper and took a few pictures. We picnicked facing Upper Rideau with Big Rideau to our backs and the lock to the right. The second photo shows a boat docked at the lock for the night with Big Rideau in the background.

I did take a few photos looking toward Upper Rideau Lake. I got a few decent sunset photos here once before but with few clouds in the sky we didn't wait for sunset this time.

I was going to scrunch another daytrip into this blog, but it's long enough, so stay tuned this this station for breaking developments.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Joy and Unjoy of Early Risings

One of the unjoys of my older life is my proclivity to awaken early. Twice in the past week, I have awaken ~4ish, and after hoping against hope to fall back asleep, I gave up the battle in both instances.

The good part of that is that it is before sunrise, and if I get my mojo going, I can get out for a few photos. These were taken on a trail just around a few corners from our place. Ideally, you want to be out before the sun comes up or just as it's coming up because the light soon turns for the worst after sunrise.

The first three photos were from my first early morning, and the last two from the second morning. I like the first, third and final photos best although the first, especially, loses something in the transfer from the computer to Blogger. Well, I suppose they all do, but the first  seems to suffer most from the transition.

So yeah, some nights I don't get much more than 4 hours sleep; this is despite taking a mild sleeping pill. I sometimes leave the pill container out on the counter for a second pill in the middle of the night if I think that it's warranted. In that case, I may get 6-7 hours. The need for a second pill is fairly recent; until the last few months, a single pill usually resulted in 6 hours, give or take.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

An Unscheduled Visit

We had an odd but satisfactory morning last week when we had the kids unexpectedly. At first, Dad brought them to our place thinking that it was our week to babysit. It wasn't, so I shooed him across the street.

They were soon all back because the paid babysitter wasn't home. It turned out that she had the wrong week too. Although she soon returned, we enjoyed the kids for the morning.

For some reason, Danica was looking up something on our county roadmap, and she chose to do so in the back of our car. She kind of likes to look at maps; her geography teacher grandfather approves.

Meanwhile, JJ decided that we should play hide & seek. I am okay with this as long as he does all of the hiding. He is pretty inventive and can squish himself into some small spaces.

But then grandma colluded with him to make it tougher on old grandpa.

Yes, she helped into the wheelbarrow and covered him up.

Then, they really teamed up to bamboozle me. She got out the ladder to help him into the rafters in the garage and then took the ladder away. Sneaky says I.

So of course, Danica had to climb to the rafters as well.

Grandma had her help to arrange a few things while she was up there.

We are not seeing them as much as we have in some other summers. This is both good and bad, but it was really good to spend time with them on that morning.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Photo Shoot from Lake Park Road

Good sunset views are tough to find around here. The roads point the wrong way or trees or hills obscure the view. However, we did find a spot on Mississippi Lake from Lake Park Road or actually from Birch Avenue after you turn off Lake Park and a few other roads. I'm not sure that most of these shots were taken on public land, but no one challenged us.

The first two photos are near the public dock.

Now for some more direct shots of the sunset across the lake. I don't suppose any other explanation is required.

My only slight regret is not doing any longer exposures just to smooth out the choppy water a little, but I am pretty pleased overall.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Le Vent du Nord at Celtfest

The weekend brought about the 20th annual Celtfest in Almonte and our 11th. We stumbled onto this festival in our first summer here and make it a point to return every summer. We are usually there for the whole weekend come rain or shine, and we had our share of rain this time.

However, that was on Saturday, and the Friday evening weather was fine. I like the challenge of shooting at night when the stage lights are on. It makes it interesting.

The headliners that night were a French Canadian band called Le Vent du Nord, which would be Northwind in our tongue. All four of these fellows are fine musicians and good vocalists as well, so they put on an excellent show with all of their enthusiasm. It doesn't seem to matter that they sing en fran├žais for the language of music translates itself.

I took a ton of photos; here is a smattering. I may post more later.

↑ The whole stage
↓ A little closer

↑ Closer Still ↓

↑ Love the smoke
↓ Low key

↑ The fiddler was excellent
↓ And he sang well too

 ↓ He also favoured the photgrapher with a smile, which is very good of him ↓

I think we'll leave it there for today, except for this YouTube clip.