…during a recent three-day “short break” holiday up to Grey County. Actually, the same trip spawned a second website: OntariosBest.ca. But more on that later. GeoPhotographica.com really began as a germ of an idea a few years ago when I was teaching Nature Photography at Mohawk College (BTW – Mohawk is an ideal place to learn photography and earn a certificate). We talked about “how to find places to go to photograph”. I had tossed out the idea of a website and one student in particular, Bryan H., suggested I pursue it. So the idea has been sitting in a back crevice waiting for the right conditions to germinate.
Our goal over the few days was to visit the Feversham Gorge, Hogg’s Falls, Bognar Marsh and the Bayview Escarpment property along the Bruce Trail to do some photography, birding and just to “check out” these places we had heard of but not yet visited. Information on Feversham Gorge was scant, other than a JPEG trail map online. There was more information about Hogg’s Falls, being on the Bruce Trail, but what was a wonderful discovery was the beauty of the Boyne River above the falls. It had what I can best describe as a “Merced River, Yosemite” quality to it. I’ve never been to Yosemite, but have always enjoyed the gentle quietness of photographs of the Merced River by Ansel Adams, John Sexton and the like.
Immediately, I started a new database on iPad, using TapForms, to keep track of these places. I added records for each of the places we visited on that trip – those listed above, plus the Bighead River, Crevice Springs Side Trail and the Lloyd Laycock Side Trail. But leaving this data on iPad for our use only seemed a waste of good info, so I started putting together the website that had been laying dormant since my Mohawk days. “Downtime” at the cottage allowed me to continue this, work out some of the kinks and assemble a (hopefully) useful set of pages for nature and landscape photographers and anyone else who enjoys spending time in natural places. BTW – both TapForms and the web authoring app I use, EverWeb, deserve mentions as they are not only easy to use, inexpensive alternatives to industry-standard behemoths, but have great customer support and, as a bonus, are both Canadian companies.
Having done a significant amount of travel over the decades, living and working on three continents, I had often thought about doing something similar to this, based on our travels. While I know some of those places very well, they aren’t the “back yard” I know intimately. Extolling the virtues of photographing what one knows best – your own back yard – has always been a significant part of my artistic vision. Also, being the perfectionist I am, I knew the project could never be complete. Limiting my work to Ontario may just allow me to reach some plateau of completeness, especially if others can help by contributing their favourite places. More importantly, though, the website and this blog will give the user a sense of how truly interesting Ontario is. It might not have the dramatic mountains of the west or the seascapes of the Maritimes, but Ontario is a pretty amazing place despite its slightly more subtle landscapes.
By this point in the year, we had hiked, birded and photographed in a few places including the Hendrie Valley of the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve, so they were added as well, plus places like Spencer Gorge and other favourites along the Niagara Escarpment.. Gradually, as time permits, I will add more.
So, take a few minutes to peruse GeoPhotographica.com and send in your own contributions to make this a truly collaborative effort.