March is a changeable month. We could have tonnes of snow, or rain, or sun. Mud, slush, or nothing at all. This makes it particularly difficult to do photography. So, maybe I will take a break this month, or maybe I’ll get lucky. I may even make a return to Point Pelee, where the weather should be more stable, though from the last time I was there there wasn’t much interest to photograph outside the flora and fauna. I do want to take a panorama of the tip, minus all the usual tourists. Only time will tell.
I pay for this site, so I should probably use it! For the last two weekends I was hitting up Lake Huron braving the bitter cold, wind, and a genuine real Canadian winter like I remember from my youth. If you’re younger, you may not know, but temperatures and conditions like this are pretty much normal. Don’t let the media sensationalize it. When I was a kid, the snowbanks were rarely shorter than me, unlike the winters we have had recently. That aside, I plan to update this site more, go further, and possibly longer. It is quite a shame that the places I want to go tend to be seasonal. The hotels and motels are rarely open which Is why I’m looking into short term solutions. The trailer is one, but unless I can get it stored in the city on the cheap, it isn’t good. The truck idea would be great, but I’d need to also keep it somewhere safe when not in use.. and on the side of the road isn’t what i’d consider. So monthly parking in a lot where it would fit would be ideal. For now, Sleeping in the back of the XV is probably the best idea, but that has problems of its own. Condensation, keeping it warm, having a place for my gear and my roadside breakdown tools as well. There’s room in there for a double sized mattress, but obviously that requires literally all the room. So something more twin sized, roll-able, and thick enough to keep me off the floor. My sleeping bag is good for -40c so that should do for the warmth department, but an additional heater that doesn’t drain my battery and also doesn’t kill me in my sleep due to fumes would be ideal. I have a lot to think about. Living in an apartment has its benefits, and its downfalls, just like anything in life, there’s no perfect solution.
I have reorganized the gallery, removing some old stuff, and adding a lot of new stuff. Feel free to browse through and enjoy, or not!
I will also be updating the store over the next few days, adding new products. That is especially important, since, as of august 31’st I am no longer employed. I have been tirelessly searching for new employment, but with a recession looming, it may not be the best time to find a job. I’ll not be dissuaded, however, I do have until January to find something before I have to give up and leave Toronto. I won’t be able to afford to live here without a reasonable income. I will be heading to Point Pelee this coming weekend to see what I can see, there may be a video.. but if there’s a lot of people there may not be. I hope there are some good photos though! I’m aiming to arrive early, maybe even for sunrise.. but we’ll see if I can haul my body out of bed in time to get there. it is roughly two hours away from here.
I have some news. I can't talk about it now, however, I wanted to do a quick update in non-related regards.
I have been working on a construction project, for the last year. This was initially intended to get me into a position where I had a place to sleep and park once I found a good spot for landscape photography. It is nearly complete, and unfortunately I'll have to pause that for now due to financial issues.
I'll be frank, I have not properly promoted this 'side venture' and therefore it hasn't brought me a single penny, in fact, it has costed me around $4000 at this point in time. I may need to shut it down while I go through some life stuff, and re-evaluate what I'm doing. or I may decide to go all-in and risk it all. As I mentioned before, I have not put enough work into it. I don't really have an outline of what I want to do with it, what services I want to do, I had the Naive thought that my photos would stand on their own, but the fact is, nothing does. You need to elbow grease the heck out of it, print them out, show them at markets, get social media acceptance and range. As a person who does not like lots of attention, this is an extra hurdle. I expect you'll be hearing more from me in the next few days.
I did, manage to get back up again, though. This little video was a bit of a dissapointment, I shot a lot of footage and managed to piece together 'something' but I went in without a plan, and as a result came out without much of a story. Lessons learned, hopefully the next one will be better.
This is mostly it. I skipped most of the operating system install, because quite frankly it was pretty anti-climactic. It 'just works' with a few small caveats, but not enough to really build a whole video on. This one is the 12v power supply install and test. I have to say, I edited the video off of the NAS on 12v this time around, and it seems.. stable, up to a point. I have a feeling the '160W' power supply isn't actually up to the task, I think it is quite closer to 90W instead but I don't really have a way of testing that at the moment. I am not able to use the 'wireless solution' I describe in the video, since it seems to pull just a little too much power, so I'll need to figgure out further energy saving measures. Since the fuses in my extension cable are only 5A and don't blow, it must be a limitation of that 160w Power supply.
I will be heading north again, so I probably won't be posting much more than a blog update next weekend.
As promised, video #3. I'm still recovering from whatever it is I picked up at Nottawasaga Bluffs, though, doing better today. I don't think I have enough remaining footage from this project for #4 so that might have to wait until I receive the power supply. It supposedly should arrive between February 4th and February 18th, so hopefully it does. I do have plans for the long weekend so I probably won't be posting a full video update on that weekend.
Yesterday I picked up a new camera, pretty much blew my camera budget for the year but this will allow me to do much better video going forward, as well as giving me more options for when I'm scouting new places that require longer treks into the back woods. Look forward to the next NAS update too.
Trying to switch up the format a little bit. And yes, I was down right lost. I spent probably thirty minutes walking in circles between those rock walls wondering how I even got down there let alone how to get out. In the winter, the geometric shapes of the rock and the snow works as quite effective natural camouflage. move your head to one side or the other and pathways appear and disappear. I was finally able to get out by checking my compass bearing (because my GPS wasn't able to get a reliable signal) and then follow the wall closest to where I had parked the car, eventually I found a small cave with a trail marker indicating.. well, I guess you'll have the watch the video!
Unfortunately for me, I woke up this morning with no voice and my throat feeling like it was made out of rusty razor blades. I guzzled some vitamins, took some Neocitran and passed out half the day (after reporting a sick day at work - of course). I feel a bit better now, drinking lots of fluids and hopefully will be back down town in the dark, gray, boring city once again. Assuming I'm able to walk upright again by the weekend I expect to be on the road again, if I don't go back to the bluffs again, I expect to visit some of the areas around there. The photos I took there are unfortunately soft or blurred, because I miscalculated my focal length and didn't have my shutter speed quite fast enough. I was just so enthralled by the formations in the rocks and the ice that I lost all of my concentration and was just shooting like a madman. Part of the reason I scout these areas is, to find great places, and second of all, so I can go there with familiarity and purpose next time I go!
The second installment, I unbox nearly everything needed for my NAS build. Hopefully the editing is a bit better this time. I have more footage for this little project so keep your eyes peeled next weekend. I'm trying to draw it out a little bit, since I'm still waiting on the final parts!
Today, I went to Nottawasaga Bluffs conservation area, and recorded a lot. I had wanted to go to Niagara falls, but I'm glad I decided against it. It was warm today, six degrees at the peak, and I got a good workout with my cleats on, which kept me 'mostly' upright and not sliding down a crevasse. yes, there's a crevasse - one I had all to myself! I guess no one else brought proper footwear, or maybe just because I arrived by 6:30 am.
Over the holidays I got out and about but didn't actually get much that I can piece together into a video. Not feeling as motivated for the last few months, either which didn't help. When I got home I found that one of my NAS storage devices had both drives fail, leaving me with a bit of data loss. With that in mind, I decided to build my own solution. The weather has been flipping back and fourth so I'm hoping to get some more outdoors time soon. I possibly intend to head around Niagara next weekend, depending on how the weather goes.
Well, I suppose, more like Monday. Back at the old cabin for three and a half days. I finally, Finally got the window of opportunity to take star shots, and of course I didn't record it. I had dew issues, and it came down to wiping the lens off with my shirt, but I got some spectacular shots on one or two minute exposures with my Sigma 17mm. I also went of a bit of a solo adventure to the far side of a local lake in hopes of catching a sun rise, but the weather did not cooperate. It was a good scouting mission however, and the following day my parents and I explored some back woods trails and discovered an oasis of stunning hidden cliffs and a massive two tier beaver pond. I most likely won't be up in this area again until December, but I'd like to revisit some of these locations with snowshoes, I expect the hard work will be well rewarded.
Another video. I did end up recording a lot more, however I also managed to screw up quite a bit as well, so this is the result! There's a certain level of embarrassment involved in talking to a video camera in the middle of nowhere, especially when people show up. Even if they know whats up I may never get over that. But practice makes perfect I suppose. I tried to get more star shots, but I just wasn't there at the optimal time.. The shots I did get were relitively crisp, or at least not streaky as they should have been from a two minute exposure. I don't think you need to get the polar scope exactly aligned in order for it to help with your photos. Now I just need the stars to align so I can get to my parents on a new moon that isn't going to be full of condensation.
I have one week off now. Fall has definitely started, as I took this picture at Furnace Falls on my way north the time was around 7:00 AM and the temperature was only 4C. This time of year, trees start to change, yet there's just a little bit of summer left, minus all or most of the biting insects so it is perfect for exploring uninhibited. Labor Day weekend is not the best of time to do photography anywhere popular so I will be working on small projects to do with my trailer and going to some obscure places I've been meaning to check out. Unfortunately work on the actual full build of the trailer will need to wait as adding up the cost of materials has put me over the $800 mark, which is just too much for me to throw down right now, after getting two root canals last month. I will hopefully have enough material for another video, so watch this space if you're interested.
So, we're here again. after being moved, thoroughly rained on, licensed, and wired - this is where the base stands. This weekend is a long weekend for me, and I took an additional day off as well. Unfortunately, I'm on call, so the work I had intended to do on this trailer which was insulating the bottom and putting undercoating on that insulation to protect it from water and road intrusion is most likely not going to happen. A side project, may happen, which is building a portable stand for my solar panels and testing my electrical system 'dry'. it should be sunny up north this weekend so I'm hoping to at least get that done.
Well, not quite monthly, but it is what it is. From here on out I think I will be dropping the 'monthly' tag and trying to put together smaller episodes that are a little more coherent. I expect the next one may concentrate on my trailer building efforts.
I've been on hiatus for a while. Adjusting to my new existence. I've finally gotten Episode 2 done, and I really think I need to work on re-evaluating the format. Episode 2 is 45 minutes long (ish) which is I think far too long, and not too interesting. I'm still going to publish it once I get back to Toronto, but, I think smaller installments might be best. This time around I've basically lumped in two months worth of activities. I don't really plan out each episode either, I just record what I can and try to smash it together afterwards. I need to come up with a format that is comfortable, easy to do, and quick to finish so you might see me waffling around with various bits before I finally settle, all part of the learning process I guess. This is Canada Day long weekend, and I've been exploring around my parent's new place. There's plenty of interesting places to explore, but getting to know these places from a photographic perspective will need to happen before I can feel comfortable doing any sort of video past what I've already done. I also need to explore a bit closer to home, since the 3-4 hour drive both ways isn't something I can undertake as lightly as the 1-1.5 hour drive to my previous 'base-camp' in Lindsay. I have several side projects ongoing right now as well, such as getting my quad-copter working again, and finishing the trailer. These things keep my mind focused away from the site, and video production. I also have to get some fairly expensive dental work done which is going to limit my funds a bit for the time being. All in all, I think this is still an ongoing project and will be refined, as previously stated on a grand scale. I learn best by 'doing' but tend to think things through quite a bit before acting as well, and these two methods don't usually sit well with each other, balance will be acheived eventually, either by perserverance or direct force.
This weekend, I'm sure many a Canadian Photographer is out there taking amazing images, but I'm assisting my parents moving their life up north. It is a beautiful place they are moving to, and it will serve me well also as a base camp on weekends that I can use to range around Algonquin park and other nearby areas. The ruggedness of the Canadian shield is very present and will provide me many opportunities. Alas, it is black fly season as you can see we've collected a few at this roadside stop where we paused to check our load and have a quick lunch.
Once the move is complete, the first full week of June I will be spending some time there, assisting with the remainder of the move. I will very much be getting Monthly episode 2 filmed there. The Bonnechere caves are a possible destination, or perhaps I will find some waterfall or stream that strikes my fancy if it is too busy there.
This Month, and most of last month has been a disappointment. At my main job, I've had my responsibilities slowly taken away one by one over the last year. That came to a head, and each day I sit at my desk having my creativity sucked out of me looking for just one thing to do. I went to my manager, and I went to HR last week and I asked if I could be laid off. They have no intention of doing that, so I'm being paid my full wage to sit there and essentially do nothing. One might think that is the greatest thing in the world, but, we all have finite amounts of time on this grand blue sphere and not using that time is incredibly draining to me. I'd much rather be out exploring Ontario, or even Canada. So, I will soon have to make a difficult decision, to quit or to continue to 'work' hoping they hand me some new responsibilities soon. To cap things off, the last few weeks of the month have been dreary, rainy, and in many northern communities floody. The picture above was taken at the Minden wild water preserve. During the summer, you can walk out on those rocks which are now quite underwater. Minden itself, as I drove around, is quite under water, as is Kinmount. The rain has settled for now, but as of today, it is snowing. I've been collecting little bits of footage here and there, but I'm afraid there's not going to be a monthly shoot. June, I have the first week off to help my parents move, but hopefully I'll have some real time to put together another video.
My parents are soon moving out of their home in the City of the Kawartha Lakes. This means that my 'base camp' for adventuring in that area is going away. I had bought an old pop-up camper trailer frame last year which I spent many hours removing rust, and unneeded or broken parts from. I redid the bearings, replaced one of the tires and got it generally up to par with something that is usable. I was planning to make this into a mini camper that I could tow whenever I went out for a long expedition, somewhere I could have shelter and limited power to allow me to edit and backup my photos. I was storing this at my parent's house, since I live in an apartment and that wouldn't work out very well in Toronto besides. Now that they are moving, I had to push plans forward. Over the Easter weekend, I bought the basic materials to get the floor on and get it legal for the road. This coming weekend I need to test the lights and then see about getting it to a staging point while their house sells. It will eventually be moved to their new place, over four hours north of Toronto. It has been a major learning experience, but I am fairly happy with the results considering it was built without a plan and nothing more than a basic image in my head. Figuring everything out happened on the fly, which is a skill I seem to have come by naturally. This weekend coming up, I have to work on Sunday morning but hopefully I'll be able to get something for North Evergreen Monthly and compile that before May 1st.