Manitoulin Island In Spring

Burnett’s Sideroad near Sheguiandah

The “Island” is one of my favourite places for day trips and overnight photo trips. Situated in Georgian Bay Manitoulin is Canada’s largest freshwater island. The topography is largely rural and agricultural with many lakes, pastures small towns and woodlands. The Island is an extension of the Niagara Escarpment and Bruce Peninsula, its geologic base being largely limestone. Even though it is barely 100 km from where I live in the Canadian Shield, Manitoulin’s ecology is very much different from that of Northern Ontario’s ‘spruce/moose biome’.

A spring pasture with cattle near Green Bay

Spring is a favourite photographic season for me no matter where I am. Manitoulin offers possibilities to photograph rural landscapes, hardwood forests with flowers on the forest floor, waterfalls and the Georgian Bay shorelines, with their alvar ecosystems. The rare lakeside daisy blooms in these alvars in late May. In early May however I expected to see marsh marigolds and the blush of fresh spring colour in the aspens and perhaps the hardwoods.

As we so often seem to remark these days, Spring was early this year. Even so, I was very surprised to see trilliums in full bloom in early May. This is something I would expect to see much later in May. It was a bonus, albeit slightly disquieting.

High Falls near Manitowaning

Maple woodland with trilliums near Kagawong

Canada plum flowers along a rural road

Bridal Veil Falls near Kagawong

Fall Colour Report, Northern Ontario

Autumn is a frantic time for outdoor photographers. So little time, so much colour. We hope for an alignment of the colour planets- favourable weather and excellent displays of pigments in the foliage of the hardwoods, among other things. This year I was moping a bit, disappointed in the progress of autumn. The birches just weren’t doing anything and it seemed as if the maples were peaking too early. Add in several days of bald blue skies, which are OK to a point, and I was largely sitting on the sidelines. I have to be careful that this type of ‘seen it better before’ mindset does not influence me to miss otherwise good opportunities- one of the themes in my Close to Home Book.

In the meantime I got a blog post from Adventure Photography in Colorado. Cathy and Gordon will be leading a group to New Mexico (Bosque del Apache for birds) in December. Brenda and I signed on for that tour. Their blog post was packed with great pictures of Colorado Fall colour. That helped to nudge me to get off my eastern butt and get out there to see what I could find. Fortunately the weather was calm, making for great reflections around here, since we have so many lakes. Close to Home are Simon Lake and McCharles Lake/Vermilion River. The colour planets had indeed aligned and luck was with me as the maples had not yet passed their prime.

Reflections in Simon Lake

These two locations are minutes apart, by car.

Reflections in the Vermilion River