Georgian Bay

Located in Ontario, Canada, Georgian Bay is a large bay of Lake Huron. It’s often referred to as the sixth great lake due to it’s large size. Georgian bay features more than 30 000 islands, home of windswept pines, jagged, towering cliffs, sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters.

Nestled on an isolated point near the town of Parry Sound, Killbear Provincial Park has long been a favourite campground destination for families and nature enthusiasts. I’ve been going to Killbear for as long as I can remember. Every year I go, I look forward to relaxing on the beach, throwing the ball endlessly for my dog, and, hopefully, getting some beautiful pictures. Year after year, I have been fortunate enough to get perfect weather while I was there.

This past year, however, i was not so lucky. For the most part, it was cloudy and overcast, rainy and cool, less than favourable conditions for any vacation let alone one of a photographic nature. Though it was still relaxing, it’s just not quite as enjoyable when I am unable to get some pictures of the beautiful scenery.

Even the poor weather forecast wasn’t enough to prevent me from waking up early day after day, carting all my photography gear to a predetermined spot in the hopes of seeing a spectacular sunrise and then repeating the process in the evening for the sunset.

One day of mostly rain, I noticed that just before the sun was “scheduled” to set, the sun actually, mercifully appeared through the clouds. I rushed from my campsite to a good vantage point about 20 minutes away. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, the sun was once again hidden behind clouds and replaced by a fine mist. Still, not wanting to have my effort be all for naught, I decided to shoot a couple of pictures where I was anyway. In retrospect, I probably should have used a polarizer to remove some of the glare and reflection from the rock, but at the same time, the wet look does represent the mood and the feel at the time the picture was taken.

Wet Water World

Wet Water World
Nikon D800 w/ 16-35 f/4 @ 16mm, ISO 400, 90 sec at f/16

Another morning showed promise. Not a cloud in the sky to start the day. I ventured over to the furthest end of Killbear, near Lighthouse Point trying to find some interesting rock formation. I really couldn’t find anything suitable. Instead I found a single, isolated rock that I used as the focal point and framed the image to highlight the isolation. It was a three minute exposure which gives the water that milky, creamy feel.

Isolated and Alone

Isolated and Alone
Nikon D800 w/ 16-35 f/4 @ 22mm, ISO 100, 3 min at f/8

Another evening with nothing spectacular to see, I ventured to a natural rock point which I have photographed before. Well after sunset there is less light coming from the spot on the horizon where the sun has set and the light is more evenly distributed; so one is free to compose the picture without limitations. Here I framed the rock so it would be pointing to the middle of the frame, with the bottom portions of the rock stretching out to the bottom corners of the frame.

The Point Is...

The Point Is…
>Nikon D800 w/ 16-35 f/4 @ 16mm, ISO 100, 8 min at f/16

As it turned out, the first night of the trip was really the best for pictures. There was no wind at ground level and the clouds had a windswept appearance that mirrored the rippled sand in the water below. Harold Point in Killbear is a special spot for everyone. From thrill seekers jumping off the rocks at different heights into the water to those who are on the opposite end of the spectrum, choosing instead to find a comfortable spot to sit and soak up the last rays of sun before it dips behind the horizon and to revel in the beauty of the moment.

One spot I often check out first, is at the furthest edge of the point, there is a low rock depression when filled with water, as it quite often is, serves as a spectacular reflecting pool. On this day, despite the calmness of the waters, the rain from the previous day had deposited enough water to do just that.

On this evening, there were lots of people around. I never feel good about asking people to relocate (despite them offering to do so) because they should be able to enjoy their time wherever and however they please. So rather than fighting it, I decided to incorporate the people into the picture and let them be part of the feel of the photo. There was an extended family fishing and frolicking on the rocks. This was the resulting picture.

The Perfect End

The Perfect End
Nikon D800 w/ 16-35 f/4 @ 16mm, ISO 100, 1/8 sec at f/16

Soon after the sun had begun to set. I recomposed to portrait orientation so i would lose some of the people but kept the young women seated at the edge of the frame. Two canoes also entered the frame, adding to the moment. This was, in my opinion, my best shot.

(Sittin' On) The Rock of the Bay

(Sittin’ On) The Rock of the Bay
Nikon D800 w/ 16-35 f/4 @ 16mm, ISO 100, 5 shot HDR (0.25-1.6 sec) at f/16

Another shot at the same place, with a little less action on the rock and water.

Rock in Georgian Bay

Rock in Georgian Bay
Nikon D800 w/ 16-35 f/4 @ 16mm, ISO 100, 5 shot HDR (0.8-2.0 sec) at f/18

As it was getting later, and darker, and most people had retreated back to their campsite for a fire and perhaps some marshmallow roasting, finally I was left alone with nothing in front of me other than the water and the last glimmers of the setting sun lighting up the clouds above. I decided to use my Lee Filters Big Stopper to create a long exposure. Having no wind meant that the grass in the foreground would not be blurred despite the extreme shutter speed of eight minutes and the clouds in the sky would turn into streaky lines, giving a sense of movement.

Time for Reflection

Time for Reflection
Nikon D800 w/ 16-35 f/4 @ 16mm, ISO 100, 8 min at f/16

So my trip to Georgian Bay and Killbear Provincial Park wasn’t exactly the best ever and though I didn’t get as many beautiful pictures as I had hoped, at least I got a couple.

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Comments 2

  1. Thanks Peter. It is an awesome area. The challenge is finding new things to shoot after you’ve gone there so many times.

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