A large impressive sandcastle at Grand Beach, on Lake Winnipeg. Often regarded as one of the finest beaches in North America, the sculpture was built to promote the annual Sand Castle Building Contest. I wanted to shoot this wider but it was surrounded by a bright orange snow fence, that really would have ruined the simplicity of this image. I could remove the fencing in post, but already spend far too much time in front of the computer.
It’s been a very mild winter in Southern Manitoba, very little to complain about. So when winter arrived this week and temperatures dropped I started getting a bit of spring fever, for days like the one pictured above. This was an image from a few years back of a Lake Winnipeg sunset from Hecla Island Provincial Park. This also happens to be a dog friendly beach, so we usually go a couple times a year, and will look forward to bringing Angus and Fergus for a swim this summer.
Living on the Canadian Prairies, at times can seem like a disadvantage for the travel or landscape photographer. But it really isn’t, there is a huge diversity of things to photograph. And I’m not only referring to fields of Canola, or Wheat. Sure there aren’t majestic mountains, many waterfalls etc. But if you search for interesting subject matter, you will find it. Often in your own backyard, granted the Black-Eyed Susan shot above is from Assiniboine Park, but I consider it in my own backyard. Sometimes you need to look a bit closer, or be a little more creative but great images are everywhere.
Here are a few recent landscapes shot in my own big backyard of Southern Manitoba. Now tell me the Lake images couldn’t pass for exotic coastal location’s. Keep in mind your own neck of the woods is exotic to people from other parts of the world. I have seen evidence of this time and time again. In Banff or Assiniboine Park, I have seen Japanese tourists in awe of the common squirrel. Several years ago I was short-listed in the International Travel Photographer of the Year competition. Competing with images from around the globe including the Great Barrier Reef, Images of Africa, people riding the trains in Bangladesh etc. My images were of, you guessed it, Canola fields and Agricultural landscapes from Southern Manitoba. But to judges in Europe they were exotic enough. Although I didn’t win, it was a good lesson in appreciation for the Prairie Landscape.
A sunset shot of Lake Winnipeg, on Victoria Beach during late summer of 2010. Blue-Green Algae made an appearance in the south basin.
A previous post from this past summer showing, waves of Algae in motion on Victoria Beach.
Three different shots of Lake Winnipeg’s wave action, shot near Loni Beach and Gimli Beach. These were all done using a panning technique, although this can be somewhat replicated in photoshop, anything I can do in camera and not behind the computer is always preferable. I spend too much time sitting at the computer as it is. Besides I think the results are better and more natural when captured on location. Numbers 1 and 3 are horizontal pans. Number 2 more of an experimental wobbling of the tripod, but the clouds and water turned out interesting.
Blue-Green Algal bloom’s have appeared on Victoria Beach and many of Lake Winnipeg’s eastern beaches in the more populous south basin. The result of elevated levels of phosphorous and nitrogen in the lake. As levels rise and with the reduced natural filtering effects of marshlands, the problem will only worsen. I’ve shot here several times without the algae present and came away with some wonderful lake images, but the past weekend really reminds us all of the concerted effort required to keep this very important water body healthy. Lake Winnipeg has an immense watershed stretching from the Rocky Mountains to within mere miles of Lake Superior, and includes four US states. The Red River brings the majority of nutrients into the lake, so it is an issue requiring inter-provincial and international cooperation. Not an easy task, but local Manitoban’s can avail themselves of some useful information, from sites dedicated to Lake Winnipeg, such as The Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium or the blog H2O: Ideas & Action for Canada’s Water
Sunset over Lake Winnipeg, Victoria Beach
Summer weekends at Manitoba’s well known beaches can get very busy, and if you have Labrador Retrievers who love getting wet you’re out of luck, with the restrictions at most public beaches. However on Hecla Island’s northwest shoreline is Sunset Beach which is secluded and dog friendly and therefore a favorite of Wallace and Angus.
Wallace at almost 12 years and he still has it. A little stiff after wards, but fine the next day.
Angus, crashing through the Lake Winnipeg waves.
After the dogs had there fun, I managed a few test shots with canon’s new 100L IS macro, and will say it is a terrific lens, extremely sharp and virtually no fringing or CA and the image stabilization is very effective. I’ve owned the Sigma 150 macro in the past, which was a stellar lens, but the Canon is superior in many respects. In real world sharpness it is likely very close, but in all other respects I believe the Canon to be superior. Many may prefer the Sigma’s focal length, and included tripod collar. But I prefer the 100mm length myself on FF. I rarely shoot skittish creatures, anyway. Sigma’s inclusion of the tripod collar and reasonable price make for a terrific value in quality glass.
Leaf on Sunset Beach
Peeling paint on an old wooden boat
Rusted old boiler, which powered a sawmill in Hecla Village, from a time long past.
Hecla Village Church, thanks to my wife’s nephew for inspiring this image. He was along for the day trip and was documenting his journey with his own point and shoot camera.
If interested in seeing more of Hecla Island, visit my earlier post at Hecla Island