Some photos from recent hikes in the Eastern Ontario area …
Mud Lake is one of the most ecologically important natural habitats in the urban part of Canada’s Capital Region. It is identified as a Provincially Significant Wetland and an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest by the government of Ontario and is classified a Protected Area management Category IV (habitat and species management area).
This 60-hectare natural environment is a complex of wetlands along the Ottawa River, the majority of which is made up of deciduous swamp forest. The driest part, to the west, contains a mature forest stand which is made up predominantly of white, red and burr oak, as well as white pine.
Mud Lake is a habitat for a wide diversity of animal species. Located within the Lac Deschênes area and in a major migratory corridor, it specifically serves as an important environment for bird conservation and is recognized as one of the most popular urban sites for birdwatching in Canada. 269 species of birds have been recorded, as well as numerous species of amphibians, reptiles and fish that are not commonly found either regionally or nationally. It also hosts diverse plant life, with 44 rare and 15 uncommon plant species as well as several fauna species-at-risk.
Several species of invasive non-native plants threaten the biodiversity of the Mud Lake habitat. Eleven of these species have been recorded, covering about 29 percent of the total area of this natural habitat.
I have been quite enamoured by the documentary “Finding Vivian Maier” and although I doubt that my photography will ever be close to equalling her photo-eye, the documentary made me think that perhaps I should dust off my Dad’s Rolleiflex 120 camera and see what I can do with it. My first challenge was finding 120 black & white film. The first two stores I tried in Ottawa did not carry this film, and I took the only six rolls of the third store I visited.
Note to self: Locate a reliable source for 120 black & white 100 ASA film!
Next step was to learn how to use the camera. The camera has sat on the top shelf of a cupboard since my Dad passed away in the year 2000, the same year I sold all my film technology and switched to digital. I managed to find a very old manual on the web, loaded the film and then headed outdoors on a beautiful sunny day to see what I could do. I decided on just one roll as a test, and out of the 12 shots, there were three that I felt were good enough to inspire me to do more.
I was able to find a lab to develop the film and then create high-resolution images of the three that I liked. WOW! Compared to digital, this could get costly! However, it is for a good cause, namely satisfy my curiosity, keep me out of trouble and teach me something new and different.
I believe “après-ski” implies sitting by the fire and drinking wine with friends after your day of skiing. Well I did a morning of spring skiing yesterday at Calabogie peaks, and as usual I had my camera with me. So instead of guzzling wine in a bar after my ski session, I hopped in the car with my camera and drove around the back roads between Calabogie, Burnstown and Pakenham. (And I even managed to get lost a few times – no GPS signal where I was and it was more fun to get lost than to stop and check the map!)
The clouds were awesome and the air was so clean and the sky so blue. I couldn’t help thinking that it will not be long before the skis go away for the season, and the motorbike comes out of hibernation.