Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tales from Gales

Again, the last blog was some time ago. Life has a way of getting in the way sometimes! As a retired old guy, I can't claim I've been too busy, but as age slows you down, somehow you achieve less and less every day! So what's new and exciting?

As I said last time, Subaru is being really accommodating! My new engine is going in in a few weeks, the appointment is scheduled for the first week of December. When that's done, I think I'm going to find someone to do a detail job on the interior of the car... it's showing its 200K km age and I haven't been one to get it cleaned regularly. Almost like getting a new car!

My D800 is back in the shop. Something is wrong with how it recognizes the connection with a "D" lens (you're supposed to set it to minimum aperture when mounting. It's giving me an error and won't let me shoot with it).  Sun Camera, again: they're very good and very accommodating. I should get it back next week when I come in for Ron Goodlin's Antarctica presentation in Thornhill. If you're in the area, you should come!

Boat's safely tucked away in the garage, ATV is prepped for winter (except I haven't mounted the plow yet), sump pump line is freshly repaired, firewood is stacked and ready... bring it on. For those of you hating me right now, hey! We live in Canada. If we didn't love winter we wouldn't live here. Right? Right?

You'd think this was a picture from last year... but you'd be wrong! Keep reading. 

I have a list of subscribers to this blog. Whenever I put up a new post, I send them a heads-up email via MailChimp. In that email I always include a photo that I have not posted anywhere before. So they get to see stuff nobody else sees.
You can get on this list by clicking the "Newsletter" button over on the top right of the blog. No spam, and you can unsubscribe with one click at any time.
 Here's the picture I sent them last week:

I was sitting at the computer composing the MailChimp email on October 19 when I looked up and saw this AMAZING sunset. I grabbed the only camera within reach (my iPhone) and ran out to the dock. It took me about 3 minutes to get there and the sunset had DEGRADED to this. I shot a pano, uploaded it to LR and then opened it in Topaz Studio. I applied the "van Gogh" preset in Impression, dialed back the effect a little and this was the result.

People ask me why I live up here...

The big thing is the successful conclusion of the Gales of November 2017 workshop up in Wawa. With travel and some other appointments along the way, it was a bit more than a week's trip for me. I came back with a head cold which slowed me down a bit last week, but I'm back in the swing.

I promised the group, "there will be weather". There was. Not what we expected, mind you. No wind, no waves, but we got SNOW! Interestingly, it's as if someone drew a line about halfway between the Soo and Wawa: snow to the north, none to the south. The photo above was taken on the way home on Sunday.

I can't say enough about David and the staff at Rock Island Lodge. They made it comfortable and friendly for everyone. And Judy shared her recipe for her homemade granola which I made a few days ago with some success!

Smallish batch in a big mixing bowl. I have some idea now about how to make it, so I'll play more with the next batch. More dried fruit and seeds for one thing! Someone called me "Mr. Suzy Homemaker", but hey, I like to eat!

Since we had more people than the lodge could accommodate, many of us stayed at High Falls Cabins which was a great place to stay as well. Anna and Zen really know the area too!

What I didn't talk about yet is Ben Eby. He came up and joined me as co-instructor. As ever I'm impressed by his talents and knowledge. He brought with him a set of complementary teaching skills: while I claim to be "right-brained" I realize that I'm really not, but he is! I know he spent a lot of time biting his tongue listening to me go on and on, and then he turned it around to easy learning sessions for people. And he has the energy of a younger man...

So we agreed that next year, Gales is going the be the "Ben" show, not the "Glenn" show. Hopefully health and other things will let me come up and be his assistant in 2018.  Bookmark for a heads-up on next year's encore!

I didn't shoot a lot of pictures, my role was to facilitate the workshop not take pictures for myself. Here are a few... admittedly there are more I haven't gone through yet, watch for them here or on my Facebook page (you're my friend, right? is where you'll find me. Oh, and a special offer for those interested in Gales if you're a subscriber to this blog.

Without further ado, some pictures, but these are just the ones before the weekend workshop! We traveled up a day early to do some scouting and for a chance to enjoy the splendour of Lake Superior's North Shore.

Ben and Dave and Amin and I were convoying up on Wednesday and we all had to stop for this shot. Do you wonder why I like to spend the better part of a day getting from the Soo to Wawa? 

another stop at a little beach just North of Agawa. I like to add a sketch texture to these rock pictures but this is really how they looked to my mental eye. 

Pretty well the only waves we saw the whole weekend. Also at that little rocky beach

Same spot. Ben, Amin and Dave, from near to far. 

If you stop at Katherine Cove and take the little trail through the woods to the next cove south, you might see this...

We stopped at a few other places, like the Sand River and Chippewa Falls, but I don't want to take the fun out of finding these views yourself and discouraging people from coming up to the Algoma District.

During the weekend itself we modified the schedule to try to take advantage of the weather and lighting conditions. For instance, we headed over to the badlands a day early because of the heavy snowfall, figuring it would lead to some interesting textures and landscapes.

A winter wonderland? I think if I posted this a few weeks from now (or you're reading it and it's getting closer to Christmas), this picture wouldn't have the appeal it does now. Later, I expect people to think, "I hate winter"! But since this was the first snowfall of the year... this was taken on the way out of the Badlands.

Pretty well everyone took pictures of these snow-covered berries. The only spot of colour anywhere

Faced with a monochromatic landscape, what do you shoot? Karen Young contemplating that very question!

Here's what I shot. Not distant mountains, snow-covered piles of rock with trees in the background, not sky. I liked it enough to use it as the header on this blog. 

The next day we headed out to High Falls. They had turned off the water (closed the dam) but there were still some spectacular cascades down the rock face.

Later in the day we found a bald eagle but he was quite distant (I saw eagles three times during this trip. I got pictures but nothing worth sharing). Later, we went up to White Sand beach on the First Nations Reserve. 

I did a high resolution pano of this island then decided to paint it with an impressionist vision. 

The sun peeked out at sunset but I used Topaz to enhance the colours and add the star effect on the light. (PS: I had to include this photo of "The most photographed Michipicoten River Light in the world"!)

In the evening, we shot burning steel wool. This image by Amin Shivji was so different from the usual 'ring of fire' shot that I asked his permission to reproduce it here.  

Unexpectedly, the stars came out for a short visit later. I did a short seminar on how to shoot it, then a number of us went outside to try our luck. Ben Eby was particularly good at coaching people and from what I saw on the backs of cameras and on our dedicated Facebook page, many had considerable success. 

Here's my view of the lodge from the beach down below. At least two other people had similar shots (Dave and Ben) because we were all standing in the same spot! 

On the way home I stopped in the Agawa Bay area and found this image of leaves frozen in a puddle skimmed with ice. 

Gales this year was challenging. We were hoping for wind and waves and got none of that, but each and every one of our participants told us that they succeeded in finding ways to express their creativity and find quality images. A dozen people in a sharing and learning and catered environment. That's what it was all about. For some, it was their first exposure to Lake Superior's North Shore and several echoed the same sentiment: "we'll be back"!

As I said above, if you're interested in perhaps joining us, bookmark the web page or email me or Ben and we'll give you more information when the dates are firmed up for 2018.

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