I don’t make it up to Algonquin Park nearly as much as I would like considering it’s only about an hours drive from my home here in Gravenhurst. I’m fortunate that even in this area I’m surrounded by lakes, forests, waterfalls, trails…. basically a never ending supply of photographic opportunities.
That being said there’s something special about Algonquin. Every time I go up there I’m immediately taken by it’s beauty. That along with the plethora of canoe routes, hiking trails and the regions interesting history makes for a place that I could spend months photographing. Yesterday I decided to wake up in the wee hours of the morning with my photography and hiking gear and head up to Algonquin for a day of shooting, hiking and exploring.
A Rough Ride – Algonquin Park, Ontario
I left Gravenhurst around 4:30 a.m and made it to the park just as the sun was beginning to rise revealing one of the most beautiful sunrises I have witnessed in a long time. Unfortunately I was just getting into the park and didn’t have a location in mind to shoot yet, so instead of trying to force myself to scramble and find a suitable image I pulled over beside one of the lakes and just took it all in. I have found over the years it’s easy to get caught up in the moment trying to force yourself to produce an image to the point where you aren’t even enjoying what’s unfolding in front of your eyes. I sat by the shore as the early morning light turned from a deep vibrant red into a golden yellow, rising over the horizon painting the distant hills. The cool overnight temperatures combined with the warm morning light blanketed the lake in a thick sheet of mist…. perfect conditions for a stunning image, but this time I was perfectly content with just enjoying the moment and taking the time to reflect.
Forest Floor – Algonquin Park, Ontario
After the sunrise some clouds rolled in and the rest of the morning was a mix of sun and clouds. I scouted out a few hikes, planning to do some shooting in the open shade focused on the vast amount of detail that Algonquin holds. For the above image I spent about an hour at a small bog composing several frames of the lush ferns growing in the area. The sunlight filtering through the forest left the area painted in a subtle warmth. I composed the above image using the thin stalks of the fern branches arranged running at contrasting angles. I really liked the way that it carried my eyes through the frame and felt that it really gave the image some depth. These plants are found all throughout the area but the ones located in this bog seemed to be a lot fuller and more vibrant than the others.
Northern Layers – Algonquin Park, Ontario
I spent the last couple hours of my day photographing the wide array of tree species found throughout the park. When I think of Algonquin I think of classic images of tamarack, spruce and pine trees standing tall, lining the shores of the park’s many lakes. Once again because of the early afternoon light I decided to use a longer lens and stuck to the open shade. The above image in my mind is very simple yet at the same time holds a lot of detail to explore. The mixed species of trees and their subtle colour differences gave the image just the perfect amount of visual interest. Not long after, I packed up my gear and hit the road back home. This short yet very fulfilling visit reminded me not only about how much I enjoy the park, but also about the importance of enjoying the land first and photographing it second. It’s those times where we get so caught up with catching the dramatic sunrise colors that we end up creating rushed images that might be eye catching at first, but really don’t hold much value past that. Taking the time to explore and study your subject will only allow your passion to shine through that much brighter in the images that you create.
I'm a Canadian landscape photographer and workshop leader based out of Muskoka, Ontario who has a passion for all things outdoors. My blog is intended as a way to share images and stories from my travels as well as provide instructional articles, tips, tricks and reviews in hopes that it will help you further your craft. Landscape photography is a journey filled with excitement, passion, adventure and sometimes disappointment. I hope to help you steer clear of that last one the best I can!
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