Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A few days in Algonquin Provincial Park

I'm back from a week on the road including a few days of shooting in the Algonquin Provincial Park area. It was a productive trip with some fantastic photo opportunities! Hope these look ok, I'm processing them in a weary-eyed state.

A highlight of the trip was an unusually tame moose, which walked right up to me within a meter (I was safely tucked in behind my van). At one point, I was able to lie down on the ground to shoot low level perspectives with a group of people standing behind it. What amazed me the most, however, was how foolish some people were - walking right up to it with their point & shoot cameras. The moose wasn't acting aggressively, but passing cars could easily have spooked it causing it to plough into (through? over?) the tourists. Getting run over by a moose can't be good for you. Rest assured that I would have captured the exclusive photos of 'natural selection' in progress!

Photo 1 (above): Young moose and onlookers along Highway 60 in Algonquin Park.
EOS 1Ds mark III; EF 70-200/4 lens; handheld

Photo 2 (above): Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park
EOS 5D mark II; EF 70-200/4 lens; Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer & 2 stop hard edge ND grad

Photo 3 (above): Sunset clouds over Lake of Two Rivers with Oxeye Dasies in foreground.
EOS 5D mark II; EF 17-40mm lens; Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer & 3 stop hard edge ND grad

Photo 4 (above): Common Loon portrait (photographed from a canoe).
EOS 1Ds mark III; 500/4 IS lens & 1.4x TC; Gitzo tripod & Wimberly head sitting on canoe bottom.

For my travels in the Algonquin Park front country, I base out of the Algonquin Lakeside Inn motel just west of the park along Highway 60 at Oxtongue Lake. It's the most convenient place to stay with comfortable ammenities and great access to the park. Over the years I've gotten to know the owner Gary Schultz, who is a budding (and pretty damn good) nature photography. The Inn's property is a magnet for birds, so last fall I suggested that Gary put up a photo blind and some strategically located feeders with perches. He's done a fantastic job setting up the yard for bird photography and attracting various bird species throughout the seasons. I shot Purple Finches this week - it's the best shooting I've ever had for them... unfortunately I accidentally erased my best shots because of lack-of-sleep induced stupidity. I'll be back soon to reshoot them!

Here's the best part... stay at the Inn and you have free use of the photo blind. Gary is very obliging and you can fine-tune the perches to your needs. Don't miss out on this - it's a great bird setup with tons of activity!

Photo 5 (above): Male Purple Finch at the Algonquin Lakeside Inn feeders.
EOS 1Ds mark III; 500/4IS lens & 1.4x TC

Photo 6 (above): The blind and one of the feeder setups at the Algonquin Lakeside Inn.
Shot with a Canon G11, which I keep handy to capture the behind-the-scenes photos.


  1. Anonymous8:53 AM

    Another moose (shakes fist)! I think you should carry some Darwin Awards in your car to hand out to people like those spectators.

    I'm leaving on a week long trip Friday and hoping to see a moose this time.

  2. Anonymous9:58 AM

    What a cool perspective for the moose shot! You may scare off some future American tourists with that pic though...giant Canadian Mooses don't cha know!!!
    It looks like you had a very productive trip, the shot with the daisies in the foreground is breath-taking!

    Trina L

  3. Great to view your "on the road" shots.
    Looks like you "moose" the touring.


  4. Marc K.12:26 PM

    Ethan, I love the bird shots. Nice to see you're still getting good image quality with the 1.4x teleconverter. I like the sunset shot too. Was that HDR, or just the effect of the ND grad? Either way, great image.

  5. Thanks for the comments Amelia, Trina, Shell & Marc!

    Marc, sharp photos & high image quality are no problem with a 1.4x teleconverter matched with an L-series lens. Even with the 2x, I get pretty good results. The main issue at those extreme focal lengths is that it magnifies camera shake, so you need to have razor sharp long-lens technique.

    The sunset shot was just using a hard-edge ND grad filter to hold the sky back.

  6. Great images, i love the loon one most! This park seems like an awseome place for photography!