Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It was late and the bugs were bad, but I'm glad I stopped...

Well after sunset on Fish Creek and Lake Superior.

I've been trying to figure out how best to photograph a certain area of Lake Superior for a few days now. With mixed results.

Tonight's plan was to wear my swim trunks, take my camera and tripod and stay in the lake.

After just a few minutes I found this painted turtle. I tried to get some photos, but it was tough going. There was no dry land or shoreline to speak of. There was no good place to put the turtle down and get to work.


It took some effort, but eventually I found a log out in the water and made a few images.

Things didn't start out smoothly. Or end smoothly, for that matter. I was kneeling in water about 2 feet deep and working with my camera on a tripod just above the water.

I used to be a lot more cautious with my cameras and water. At some point I realized that the cameras were only tools and of little value if I couldn't take them where the best photos were possible. 

So I'd set the turtle on the log, capture a couple of images and it would slide off and swim away. I'd catch the turtle and do it again. After only a couple of times I realized it wasn't the answer, but as I stood up to catch the turtle the sand under the tripod shifted and the camera was heading towards the drink. I grabbed it quickly.

The lens and body were a little wet, but I caught it before the entire thing was submerged. I used my cotton t shirt to dry it and blew the water off of and out of any places I could. After the camera was about as dry as I could get it I took a photo to see if it was still working. Jackpot! It seemed no worse for wear.

So I set the turtle free and made a few images of it in the shallow water as it left.


The timing was pretty good and when I looked up I saw this cloud to the east. 


To the west the sun was almost at the horizon.


I kept scanning the sky for good looking clouds, color, and compositions as the light quickly changed.


These clouds presented a more subtle view to the east.


And red, blue, and black to the west.


When I got done I was standing knee deep in the lake a couple of hundred yards from the nearest land. It was well after dark when I carefully put my camera into its mostly dry case and picked up my tripod to walk back to the car. I had at least a half a mile to walk through the lake and I couldn't see the bottom now that the sun was gone. I was leaving a different way than I had come in and didn't know how deep it was. The water was warm and it had been a hot day, so it was still a pretty good place to be.

I walked through the water back to the nearest shoreline. There were reeds and plants all the way into the water, no beaches to walk on. So I walked next to the land in the lake until I got to a point where the bottom dropped out. It went from knee deep to waist deep in one step and it was only getting deeper. So I chose to backtrack.

Plan B was to cut across a fairly wide river channel at its mouth where it met the lake. If I got across I could walk along that shore up to a road that would take me back to the car. I didn't know how deep it would be and any concern I had was for my camera. So I held the camera bag on my shoulder with my left hand and put the tripod over my right shoulder. If it got too deep I'd drop the tripod and do whatever it took to keep the camera dry.

With that I headed across. It never got deeper than my chest and I made it to the other side with my camera and tripod still dry. As I walked in the water along that shore I noticed the sky to the west and stopped to get the camera out again.
It was late and the bugs were bad, but I'm glad I stopped.

This is what I saw. 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great story and beautiful photographs. I'm glad you saved the camera and made it out. Regards.

Snowcoast Boards said...

Good read. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. Looks like you enjoyed your stay jerry. Looking forward to more. Paddleboards in Alberta