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PostPosted: June 9th, 2016, 11:04 am 
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The Golden Hour Photo Shoot June 4th, 2016

Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Prov. Park.

June 1st. to 5th, 2016

Warning ! this is long winded and pic heavy! :roll: :thumbup:
So you may want to put your kids to bed and get your favourite beverage and enjoy the read!


We will start this off with a little background information first, several months ago I heard of an event promoted by Poster Jack called “Canada’s Golden Hour Photo Project” in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy of Canada.

First you as a photographer you had to apply and submit photographs taken during the “Golden hour” of photography, one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset. I used some of my photos from from QEWLII and Northern Ontario for this purpose and I found out I was selected after we got back from our spring trip to QEII.

One of the things you look for when you see these sort of events that is you get to keep the rights to your photograph. As a photographer for this you had to understand you would not get paid but PosterJack would print a copy of the photo for an online auction for the benefit of The Nature Conservancy of Canada. PosterJack would receive or charge no fees for this event so I can easily live with that, and I have given my photos to other worthy groups to raise funds for so it was all good.

So the rules were pretty easy, you were allowed only one (1) submission, either from the one hour after sunrise or one hour before sunset and you had to go be the times for the particular area you where shooting in. That in itself is pretty simple, especially for me because I have been doing that for quite a few years and even with moon times.

Another rule was you MUST shoot on June 4th, no matter what the weather, which could make things really challenging especially if you spent a lot of effort to go to some favourite spot.

Next was location, which can make or break your photo, especially if the conditions turned out flat. In my application I said I would probably shoot in QEII and the only trouble with that is you are at the height of bugginess.
The initial plan was a 3 day dine and dash….the bugs would dine, I would dash, but since I am retired now I can be much more flexible with my schedule.
I ended up arranging a meeting with Park staff so we could input some of the hiking and paddle routes on their maps that I have taken in the area, which is 50 years this year. (Next year is 50 years paddling! )
So dine and dash became 5 days, maybe 6 depending on weather and bugs.
We got done and I was able to get on the water just after 1pm which was much earlier than I thought I would.
Good news was that there where tons of Dragon Flies now out hunting for prey,
Black flies were nearly non-existent,
Bad news was the deer flies were out in full force, it sounded like a NASCAR race around your head and the mosquitos were as fierce as I ever saw them.
And it was hot and humid out! so wearing the bug shirt was essential on the portages but not fun, on the water I had my head screen just covering my ears and the back of my head, and you had to have long sleeves and pants. :(
Using the double blade in my solo canoe helped keep the deer flies at bay a little bit.
With the initial plan being a late start and camp on Fishog (Starting from Head Lake) I decided to go all the way to Crooked Lake and maybe beyond depending how I felt. It took me just over 4 hours to get to the campsites at the bottom of the lake and that was with a couple of small side hikes and pic taking along the way, with lots of stops for drinking water on the open water.
By the time I got there I was baked! and the wind was blowing through the camp site just perfect to help keep the bugs down, so that is were I stayed.
The first thing I did was set up my tarp (for shade) and improvised bug shelter underneath so I would have a place to escape the bugs and sun.

Home!

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Hobo gloves to keep bugs off wrists and top of hands on Portages.

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It was a nice night and I was really happy with the bug house, I had just a tiny cosmetic fire just for effect. I was almost disappointed as there was now sounds of Whippoorwills, but then about 30 min. after sundown they started to sing. I flew past and landed about 30m away and started to sing.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZzKsVw ... e=youtu.be


It was a great night with very nice temperatures, quite the contrast to only 30 days ago…. I feel asleep in my chair and woke up around 11:30 p.m. and went to bed with the Whippoorwills still singing. and they sang all night and where very close. Around 5:30 a.m. they got really loud and then I fell back asleep.
Then at 6 am I woke up from a dream that I had left my PFD at the last portage….which after getting up and checking it was gone! Doh!
I had planned to move into the pond chain before it got hot again but now I had to go back for my PFD, it’s not far but I did not want to put myself into a place where I thought I needed to go fast and get to the next site, so right there I decided to stay another night, and sat back had a coffee, sat back some more and had a second cup (I make drip coffee) and enjoyed the morning.

I decided to go for a slow paddle back to the portage camera gear in hand and decided to scout some picture sites and go up and hike the ridge line just to the west above the river. There were some floating logs stuck blocking the channel so after picking up my PFD I played tug boat and moved the logs out of the way.

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On the way back I stopped along at the cliff face hoping to get a good angle with the rock and river no real good spots to pull out as it is very steep.

Ridge line up

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Looking back down.

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As it turned out, it will be a perfect fall shot spot. Still a great view now, but picturing the colours should be great!

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Since I was up on the ridge I decided to see if I could find any wildlife in any of the ponds up there. Much of the ridge line up there is the snowmobile trail that goes from Crooked Lake to Head Lake and the only wildlife I found was more hordes of deer flies and it was very hot! Just a heads up that it gets very hot on these ridges and this is not taken into account in the local weather forecasts.

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What I did come across was a very neat geological feature that dates back to the bounce back effect after the land rebounded after the ice age. The cracks and crevices are very pronounced compared to the rest of the rock in the area.

Cracks in the rock.

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I then went back to camp for some lunch and to get out of the sun and take off the bug shirt. It was then I decided to go check out the next pond level and portage by the camp site and when I got into the bush….. Holy mosquito armada Batman….the pond was actually a little higher than a spring trip so that was good news.
Sitting in my bug shelter shirt and shoes off enjoying some water and snacks, I said to myself out loud …. I would be foolish to give up this relatively bug free, all set up site. So at that moment I decided I would stay put and do my shooting around there and would do a day loop trip to explore some more areas through the pond chain.

After lunch I paddled into the main body of Crooked lake to check out some of the cliffs and ridges on the north shore .
They are big enough and pretty enough but the morning and evening sun would be at the wrong angle too the sun for this time of year.

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Looking south from the cliffs.

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After that I headed down to were the snowmobile trail comes down to Crooked lake from the ridges, it is right across from the camp sites, I have hiked here before so I knew what was there, now just to compare sunrise angles. Regardless of taking pictures this is just an incredible hike.

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After being happy with the sun angles I paddled back over to my camp and had a nice afternoon swim to cool off.
Sitting in the bug shelter after drying off I noticed a Finch hanging around my quick dry towel out on the line. It seems the deer flies were drawn to it’s blue colour and the bird was having a great feast. It would wait for a good number of deer flies to land on it, and then fly over and pick them off, What a bonus!

Another warm night brought the Whippoorwills even closer than the night before. In the dusk I could see that they could hover like a hummingbird but still fly through the darkened forest with ease, and that was really, really cool! I have to think that my screened in shelter acted like a blind and gave me a great opportunity to watch such an elusive bird.

Next morning I was up early (before 5) and stayed up to watch the and confirm the sun angles, which is really too bad because it was a cool morning and the fog would have made for great images, but I was at camp preparing for a pond hopping day trip and I wanted to beat the heat and maybe catch some wildlife.
I carried the boat through and then realized I had forgotten my sun glasses back at camp, not far but just a minor Doh moment. First when planning this days trip I thought just minimum camera gear water pump and snack so I could easily single carry,,,, but then I thought of Murphy’s law… and took my full 60L barrel of camera gear, just in case.

I was going to follow the route we took to Jordon lake with some side trips to see what is around and to check out the one possible portage route along a snowmobile trail that would eliminate the “down & up” route we took to get into Jordon.
It was nice that the first pond out of Crooked was a little deeper as it made landing at the next portage a little easier. Since this route is not well known or travelled I was surprised how the growth was shorter on the paths we took. Not a lot was happening wildlife wise but the mist rising from the ponds made for a nice atmosphere… but you needed the bug jacket for the mosquitos.

Pond view.

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As pretty as were we camped last trip is, it would not have been fun at all with the bugs and having the ability to swim in Crooked lake to cool off.

Camp site @ the ponds.

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As nice as it not to have snow this time, the leave and vegetation growth took away a lot of the depth of the topography that you can see here in the shoulder seasons. So it was a good choice to be base camped on Crooked for the Golden Hour shoot.

This time on the carry over from pond 4 to 5 I was going to do the two short carries with a small pond in the middle, and I must say next time through with full gear this is the way I would come.

Looking towards pond # 4 from Portage to Pond #5

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This pond chain also empties into Crooked lake but just to the east of the lodge. I hiked along the cliffs at the exit the day before and there is really no way you would want to talk the alders and brush at the bottom of the canyon by Crooked lake, I didn’t even have any packs and to say it was dense is an understatement.

I was going to hike the chain but a Whippoorwill flew out of the area about 25m in front of me and landed in a tree about the same distance away. I suspected a nest so I backed away and made a mental note to do it at another time of the year.

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


Last edited by jedi jeffi on June 9th, 2016, 6:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: June 9th, 2016, 11:05 am 
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Part II

I moved into the next pond and got my sat images out so I could located the snowmobile trial. The exit back towards pond 5 I saw in the spring so that was easy.

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I then paddled into the first arm on the north east side and that was easy to spot too as there was very little pond growth along the edge and it was very easy to get out. The trail was easy to find and it would take little work to clear it out an easy path. At was at this point I had another Doh moment when I realized I left the trail tape back at camp, but I did have one long piece that I used to mark the entrance to the ridge line that took you straight to the next pond. The ridge line here is more like a path than a ridge, very easy to follow with no real up or down.

Portage out of pond going to Jordon lake.

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Looking across the pond at the exit to the Jordon Lake Pond chain.

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Pic of trail in bush.

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I was just enjoying the float into the next arms of this pond when I saw the moose. Luckily it was not facing me so I slowly backed out of sight so I could get my big lens on my Camera, I slowly floated back out and started shooting when I realized that my card was full (yeah another Doh moment, too excited to look when I was putting my lens on) I again moved slowly back out of sight and then came back out when I notice the calves.
Which is oh so cool that I was able to capture the moment.
And all the more satisfying was since this was the 4th trip in this spring I was actually able to use the gear I was carrying!!!!!!

Moose pics galore!

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I had wanted to hike the ridge line here going south because that connect back to the pond chain at the bottom of pond 5 but I did not want to chase them.
It is very quick and easy to get down to the pond chain and creek that flows from Jordon to Crooked, except on this trip the beavers have stopped near all flow, which was not a problem to you get to the pond/bog just before Crooked. It was high enough to float the creek the way we did and not dry enough to walk the bog. So I had a bit of a muddy slog to get where I had enough water to float the boat.

It was great to get back to Crooked lake were the wind was blowing hard enough to keep the deer flies at bay and it was nice just to float with the wind and explore the shore line from the canoe.
It was a great day trip with all the little things I did along the way it took me just under 5 hours to do the loop.

Back at camp I cleaned the mud out of my hiking boots and had a rest out of the sun and bugs.
Late in the afternoon I went and did a time trial on where I was going to shoot and how long it would take me to go from place to place. At the beaver pond on top of the ridge I figured I would need at least 30 min waiting for the light, and then I would need the time to get back to the canoe and get to the island above the rock face.
So 10 min. from camp to beaver ponds.
30 min. at the ponds. The sun light would be hitting here first.
10 to 15 min to get to the island.
Leaving 20 minutes to shoot there where the sun should be lighting up the rock face. (There is a gap in the ridge lines along the east side of the river so the sun light would be there.)
I have always used sun and moon times and used a compass to figure out these locations, but usually I just go sit and see what happens, but you can usually depend on another day.
This was a pretty small window of opportunity so I figured a little more planning was needed.

So another night of listening to the Whippoorwills…
But in bed early just after 10 because morning was going to come quickly.
Sunrise for this area was 5:30 and incase your wondering the time when you shoot is recorded in the background info along with a bunch of other stuff so they know when you shoot.

I had my camera and a cross shoulder back with camera gear in a dry bag ready to go with batteries, extra cards and 2 different lenses, plus a note pad so I could mark down what lenses I used.
Up and dressed by 5:05 and on the water just before 5:15 and at the beaver dam and tripod set up by 5:25 and of course the bug jacket.
There was only a little fog today, which at times made the images look blurry.


I just started to shoot when the wolves started yapping and howling at bit a couple of 100m’s down the ridge. I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly quiet coming in but there was 2 beavers at the dam when I got there.
I took a few shots then started to wait for the sun to hit the ridge.

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Sun coming through the forest

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At 6:01 I am back down at the lake and of course the sun has not made it there yet.

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I was at the island and set up just after 6:10 and on the island I had 3 views I would shoot, the cliff face, Crooked lake to the north through the narrows and the bottom part of the ridge line and river looking south.
I didn’t really like any of the narrows shots, but I am sure at other times of the year it would be a good place.

And yes the bugs were here.

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Now just waiting the last few minutes for better light on the rocks.

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And the last shot in the time frame I actually like, it just caught my eye

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So back to camp for breakfast and a leisurely 2 cups of coffee, it was during the second cup and listening to the forecast that I would break camp and head down to Fishog Lake for the sunset. No big ridges but I know you can get great sunsets there. This would be the first time since I started going up that I actually camped on Fishog.

I was all packed up and on the water just after 10 and was heading down at a leisurely pace. I had lots of time so I floated along the rock faces watching the fish and seeing if there was anything of interest amongst the rocks.
Just past the cliffs where I shot in the morning there is a narrows I was watching the bottom when a un-natural object and shape caught my eye.
It looked like a rock crib but actually is a submerged old dam from when they tried to log the area. Sure enough I climbed the ridge on river left (east side) right above it and you could see the whole structure including the sluice gate in the middle.

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The east side rock face also showed signs of blasting to make fill for the dam! What a very cool find… and after how many years of paddling over top…. :)

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Of course the bugs where ever present deer flies on the water, mosquitos on the portages out of the wind. What I found really interesting and I noticed this the first day going in, whenever you paddled into a large group of Dragon flies the deer flies would disappear, quickly, so they know when they are being hunted.

The sun was intense and it was very hot when I got to the campsite on the north west side of the big island in Fishog lake, very nice spot except for how people have treated the area with various and over full thunder boxes. :(

I was prepared to stay a couple more days, but that would depend on the weather so I did not but up my bug house because the wind crossing the point was keeping the deer flies at bay.
After setting up camp I paddled around the island and to scout for other potential sunset spots.
There was one other group with two tents on the far side of the island but they did not seem to be at home when I paddled by.
There seemed to be a few bass still spawning, but the Pan (Sun fish, Blue gill) were at full spawn.
Back at camp I went for another swim and to await sunset. Even though the Deer flies were nuts, the Dragon flies were equal to the task of keeping them at bay. I even had dragon flies take one right off my head and shoulders, Very cool

Dragon flies on Patrol.

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Sunset set was looking very promising and with a bunch of locations I could get to quickly and easily I just had to wait for the clock to begin.
Even once the hour began the sun light was still intense and sharp.

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So I waited a little bit and started to play with the timer and I got my model to get on the job. To get the pic of me portaging, I placed the camera on the tripod in the shadow of one of the trees and shot at an angle to the sun.
A couple of different lenses and settings and I was very happy with what I saw on the view screen.
This shot would be the eventual winner of a Facebook online vote and the one sent in for the Golden Hour event.


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Cloud cover was moving in from the west, but the skies still held promise, especially with sun halo showing in the sky.

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Then the sunset went flat real quick!

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I started a small cosmetic fire to enjoy the night, sitting on log. I called my wife to let her know that I might stay an extra day and with the quiet of the night I heard it, and if you are camping it is not a sound you really want to hear. It was a loud and I looked up and what should have been the grey of dusk was the brown of mosquitos. Not at ground level but I was not going to stick around and wait. I immediately doused the fire and retreated to the tent and listened to the weather forecast on my weather radio.
Not to bad, some, possible heavy rain before sunrise then chance of showers…
I woke up to heavy rain and turned on the radio for the forecast.
Fairly calm with chance of showers and thunderstorms but the winds becoming strong 45kph out of the SW and would be even stronger the next day.

When crossing Head Lake coming out of the Head river that is not the wind you want to face.
So I was packed and gone in 30 minutes, just before the portage into Head lake I put on the bug jacket because I knew who was waiting for me in the woods!
I was just past the islands to the south of the river mouth when the winds started to pick up, had white caps half way across and was on the west shore when the strong winds hit.

All in all it was a good trip, and very enjoyable because of the bug jackets and house, and I was still pretty luck with the photo conditions and wild life!
Now to see what happens with the photo.

Jeff

Link to album
https://picasaweb.google.com/1142241160 ... directlink

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: June 9th, 2016, 6:14 pm 
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Great write up and awesome photos Jeff thanks for posting. I arrived here on this thread via your post on the Facebook page for Kayak & Canoe Canada.

Cheers.. Joe O'

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PostPosted: June 10th, 2016, 7:28 am 
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Nice!


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PostPosted: June 10th, 2016, 8:37 am 
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Maybe I missed it....but is there any chance you could post a map of your route?

Dave

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PostPosted: June 10th, 2016, 12:15 pm 
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The pond I hiked to is right across from the lower Campsite on Crooked Lake
I was standing where the "g" is

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If you go to the album link you can zoom in, this was from the 2013 trip I took with Ray.
Maps are there for the Crooked to Smudge route.
If you go to the album you can see it full page.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1142241160 ... directlink
For the route to get there Head Lake - Fishog lake - Round Lake - Long Lake - Crooked Lake

Jeff
For the Pond hopping route you can see the maps from my other spring trip.
Again it is better if you go to the album and see them full screen
https://picasaweb.google.com/1142241160 ... directlink

For more detailed info email me.

Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: June 12th, 2016, 8:53 pm 
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Great report and pix, Jeff.

That's an area I'd really like to go to. A group of 4 of us had planned to go last Sep but 'stuff'' happened. I am hoping to go this year but now my participation is looking doubtful, at least for the time the guys have planned. Maybe I can get to go another time this year.

I had trouble reading the Google sat pix. Attached link shows a route from Crooked to Smudge that looks doable from the on-line sat pix. Is that the route you took?

http://caltopo.com/m/C9KJ

thx

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PostPosted: June 12th, 2016, 9:49 pm 
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That's the route I last did in 2013 with Ray.
If you plan to try it, I can give you detailed info.

It should be a route that can be done easily in summer. (or fall)
This spring we did Crooked to Jordan's and back to Crooked
Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: July 3rd, 2016, 10:15 am 
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:thumbup: Looks like you had great time...


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