TRILLIUMS AND MEMORIES

As the Trillium grandiflora fade in Muskoka, once again I think of Joan Brown.  Joan was an avid naturalist who, as she had to sell her beloved home on Lake Roseau, gave me and others some of her truly grandiflora, grandiflora.  This year I have nine blooms.

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I have shared images of these spectacular trilliums before and every year I think of Joan and her love for all wildflowers and all things wild.

I have only one other Trillium grandiflora blooming on my property that I know of and it is the regular ones.   With mostly oaks and pines my soil is too acidic for most woodland flowers.  Bunchberry and Trailing Arbutus are the exceptions and not to be downplayed.

Thanks, Joan!

“MARCH OF THE SALAMANDERS”

Last Saturday, May 2, 2015, Friends of Algonquin Park put on a workshop titled “March of the Salamanders”.  The timing was perfect and the salamanders did march.  Kevin Clute, David Legros and Damian led us on the perfect evening –  not too warm, not too cool, dry, moonlit, no bugs and lots of salamanders.  There were 12 participants.

The workshop began with a very informative presentation in the theatre at the Visitor Centre.  We learned lots of amazing things about Spotted (the yellow spotted ones) and the Blue Spotted Salamanders.  For instance they have been known to live up to 35 years!

Research began in 2008 at Bat Lake which has some interesting characteristics.  The water in Bat Lake is more acidic than it was previously thought that salamanders could breed.  Breed they do and around 4000 are caught and recorded every spring.  Their egg masses, clear in other breeding pools, are completely cloudy white in Bat Lake.  The small vernal pool on my property hosts approximately 35 to 45 salamanders.

Our outing included a visit to a vernal pool where about 18 wood frog egg masses were found.  We saw and heard wood frogs and spring peepers singing and saw the predated bodies of a Blue Spotted Salamander and a couple of wood frogs.  Another creature seen was the predaceous diving beetle.  These large insects are known to give a person quite a bite.

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About 9 pm we began our trek to Bat Lake and found numerous salamanders headed there too.  My goal was to photograph the Blue Spotted Salamanders.

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The path into the lake still had areas of packed snow and I hoped to find a salamander crossing that area but discovered that the salamanders were being picked up and were getting a lift to the lake.

 

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About half an hour after we arrived at Bat Lake we discovered a mating frenzy of Spotted Salamanders right at the shoreline.  It seemed like there were between 18 to 24 individuals involved.  That was the icing on the cake!  We had seen the salamanders march and then we saw them dance.  Couldn’t have been better!

 

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Unfortunately I took many pictures of the frenzy but my flash wasn’t working so they are all very noisy.  At any rate the workshop was a very satisfying  experience that I would like to repeat.

The Bat Lake Trail publication and the Amphibians and Reptiles of Algonquin Park are two resources available for information.

 

Please note that all images in this and every one of my blogs are the sole property and copyrighted by the photographer, Eleanor Kee Wellman, and may not be used for any purpose without written permission.

TIME TO SHARE LOONS OF SUMMER 2014

I had to be far enough away from this experience to share my loon photographs from last summer’s adventure. and that is why there has been a delay in sharing these images and this experience.

After a cold and windy spring I discovered that the loons on my lake had produced two chicks.  I had been unable to go out daily to check on them because of the weather and by the time I saw the chicks they were two weeks old.

My usual routine would have been to go out in my open-topped kayak every morning from about 7 -9 am.  It was, however, too cold and windy to be safe out there until almost the middle of July.

By that time the adults were still content to be close to my boat but the chicks were not.  After a week or so the chicks were familiar with me and my kayak and came much closer.  One of the chicks was obviously dominant by that time and in a couple of days the submissive one had disappeared.  I have seen this happen several times on this lake, Lake Joseph and been involved with chick reintroductions with A Wing and a Prayer wild bird rehab centre.

This is a very small lake with not enough fish to sustain two chicks.  Some people have suggested stocking the lake but that would bring in species not native to the lake and that could cause many problems for the native fish.

After awhile the loons came closer and closer and I decided to buy a GoPro camera and attempt to photograph them underwater.  I got lots of underwater video and then took screen grabs from that video for large prints.  Most of the video is just water with only a few parts with loons and most is not useable for anything.

As with most projects there was fun and lots of frustration.

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This one is of the four-week-old chick with adult.  All of these have been printed on Epson Ultra Premium Presentation paper at 30″ x 16″.

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The next one, titled “Loon Feet” should probably be titled Loon Legs, is currently hanging in a show at the Summit Centre in Huntsville, Ontario, until mid-May.

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I have been making my prints on canvas for the last few years but these images needed a different treatment.  Because they are soft to begin with I felt that the texture of the canvas would blur them too much.   The prints are applied to art boards which are then attached to  cradles or stretcher bar frames.  The prints are coated for UV and wear protection and fixed into black floating frames without glass.

I like the soft and mysterious, yet intimate, feeling of these images.

All images and video in these posts are the copyrighted property of Eleanor Kee Wellman and may not be used for any purpose without the written permission of the photographer.

GIFs – THE FUN AND FRUSTRATION

After several weeks of playing with the making of animated GIFs and/or Cinemagraphs I have little to show for my time.  There is a super program for MACs but having a PC left me to use Photoshop CC and Cliplets.

My first subject, this Barred Owl, spent some of five days near my bird feeders and I took lots of video with my 7D II and my old 100-400 IS with converters through one of my windows.

You may think that the owl is sitting still and not moving its head but watching the videos shows much more movement than can be stopped without jumpy starts and finishes.  Some very weird and quirky things can happen.  The big advantage to being able to use Photoshop CC is that almost all adjustments are possible that can be done with still photographs.

My first attempts at uploading the finished GIFs didn’t work and I have no idea why.  I tried posting one to Facebook earlier and it doesn’t play.  No idea why!  The one attached to this post looks like it is working.  Please let me know if it doesn’t work for you!

Thanks for looking!

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All photographs and videos in these posts are the copyrighted property of Eleanor Kee Wellman and may not be used for any purpose without my written permission.

CHAPEL GALLERY SHOW OPENING

Muskoka Arts and Crafts Member’s Show, “Betwixt and Between”, opens Saturday, February 14, 2015, at the Chapel Gallery, Bracebridge, ON.  The reception is from 1 to 4 pm.

I have only one piece in this show as I’m trying a new, for me, process that has taken me weeks to accomplish.  Many attempts were unsuccessful and time ran out for a second entry.  Rather than printing on canvas, which I have been doing for about five years, this work is printed on fine art paper, dry mounted to artist board, finished with a protective UV coating and mounted in a glassless floating frame.

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“Barrenlands Sunset” is the first of a series of landscapes made on my September trip to the Barrenlands of Northern Quebec last September.  Inspired by the watercolour landscapes of Tony Onley I worked toward that feeling.   While this is more an abstract of colour it falls into the Betwixt and Between theme as it not a traditonal landscape and a feeling between a painting and a photograph.

Living in a land of rock and trees with branches within a few feet of my windows I don’t often see the wide open spaces that I enjoyed in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec.  From our Inuit hunting camp South West of Kuujjuaq there was a 360 degree view of the land.

Join us for the reception or stop by the Chapel Gallery in the next three weeks to view the work of all the artists participating in this show to view their versions of the theme.

All photographs in my posts are the property of Eleanor Kee Wellman, are copyrighted and not to be used for any purpose without the written permission of the photographer.

ALGONQUIN PARK MOOSE – JUNE, 2014

In June of 2013 three friends joined me on a photography tour with Michael Bertelsen for spring moose in Algonquin Park.  We saw and photographed lots of moose.  We were surrounded by the most mosquitos and black flies I have ever seen in my life and did get to see and photograph a pair of Black-backed Woodpeckers at their nest.

 

This year was an all-women trip and I was thrilled that Su Ross Redmond was able to go as well.  We had perfect weather.  Not sure but maybe the mosquitos and blackflies were even worse this year.  Su had never experienced blackflies before and they were not kind to her.  Moose we saw in quantity and quality.

 

Our first sighting began with this moosescape in early morning light.

 

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There were a couple of others in view at the same time.

 

We found a cow with calf and managed to refind them several times over the two days we were out.  The calf was quite skittish at first and led the cow back into the bush.  They would reappear on the other side of the island and we ended up with lots of opportunities  together and separately.  Michael told us that the calves begin eating grass after about a week and this one was eating grass, leaves and waterlilies.

 

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We found several bulls and a couple of cows feeding on waterlilies and had lots of time to photograph them.

 

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We saw one of the bulls we photographed last year.  It was identified by its ear tag and a hole in its left ear where a button tag had come out.  The ear flopped a bit therefore it was named  Yoda.

 

A cow we saw with a calf last year, identified by a piece out of her ear, was without a calf this year but in the same section of marsh where we saw her in 2013.  She kept looking into the bush but no calf appeared while we were there.

 

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A cow and calf swam from an island to the mainland and we were right in the perfect spot once again.

 

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After this cow and calf fed in a wide open area they moved and we thought they might be going to swim on to another island.  As we watched and photographed a black bear came out of the bush beyond a small point and it looked like he too, wanted to swim to the island.  He ran into an unexpected dead head, swatted at the offender and climbed back on shore heading in the direction of the moose with calf.  Su and I were very worried about the calf while Michael was concerned that the bear might head our way.

 

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He moved around the the point, saw the moose and calf and raced after them.  The two moose charged off into the bush with the bear in pursuit.  Fortunately for us the bear did not decide we looked like easy prey and we did see the two moose later and were happy that the calf had escaped.  At that time of the year many moose calves become a bear’s dinner.

 

This bear was in beautiful condition and so close that I had to merge two photographs of him to have any  grass below his paws!  This is full frame with an addition!

 

Not all trips are as successful as this one and we had seven moose our first day including a cow with calf and eleven the second day with two cows with one calf each.  The only thing we didn’t have was morning fog.

 

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Now I would like a cow with two calves, please! 

 

We have plans for another women’s trip in 2015 although I am sure we won’t be able to top this one!

 

All images in this post are the property of the photographer, Eleanor Kee Wellman, and may not be used for any purpose with out my written permission.