Fragrant Water Lily’s on McCarthy Creek

I’m finally getting around to posting a few more images from my trip to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario in June… We camped at Booth Lake for two nights and on the day in between we paddled into McCarthy Creek. It’s really more of a long and winding marsh than a creek as there really is no current to speak of. And other than a narrow channel of open water in the middle, the entire creek is covered with tall grasses and marshy weeds as far as the eye can see. And there are millions of Water Lily’s.

I really mean it when I say millions of Water Lily’s. They are everywhere! Their delicate white flowers gradually open in the light of the day and then close down again in the late afternoon. This is nice on a canoe trip because you can sleep in, have a leisurely camp style breakfast, and still be on the water with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery!

Having said that, the Lily’s are only open during the middle of the day, and they grow in wide open areas, brightly lit areas. This can make them extremely hard to photograph. The petals of the flowers are brilliantly white and any direct sunlight makes it very difficult to keep any detail in a photo. In the final image they appear as white blobs with no form or contrast. One way to combat that is to shoot them on cloudy days. Clouds make the light much softer with less contrast and allows the camera to capture the extensive detail in the bright white flowers. So the clouds and the rain that we paddled through wasn’t all bad; it helped a lot by giving me a real chance to make some nice images!

Bull Moose in Velvet in Algonquin Park

Moose in Velvet

It’s been awhile since my last post, but I have an excellent excuse! My family and I were on vacation in Ontario. The main purpose of the trip was to visit family at a cottage near Eganville, which is west of Ottawa. While we were there my wife and I took advantage of the opportunity to leave the kids with their grandparents and took off for a 3 day, 2 night canoe camping trip into Algonquin Provincial Park. It was our first trek into the interior of the park in several years, so it was very exciting!

Our paddling route took us from the Shall Lake access point (North of Madawaska) through Farm Lake and Kitty Lake into Booth Lake. It was a reasonably short and easy trip with only two portages (90 meters and 550 meters). Of course we had way too much gear (including my tripod and a Pelican case with my camera and other photography equipment) so we had to hike each of the portages twice… We camped for two nights on an island at the south end of Booth, and then took the reverse route back to the access point on the third day. Although the weather was not great (rain and cloud mixed with occasional periods of sun), the park is always beautiful and we really enjoyed the trip.

On the second day we paddled from the south end of Booth Lake down into McCarthy creek. To call it a creek is a bit of a stretch. It’s more of a marshy lake than a creek, but there is a winding channel that goes from one end to the other. The channel is not particularly deep and there were some sections where we were pushing hard through the marsh grasses in the water and our progress was very slow. The scenery was incredible and there were literally millions of Water Lily’s and Lily Pads as far as the eye can see!

We found this young Moose on the marshy shore of the creek. His antlers are just starting to come in for the season and at this point he has only two relatively small nubs covered in velvet. He watched us for several minutes after we found him, before casually wandering back into the woods. He stopped several times along the way to have another snack. It’s always amazing to be so close to such a magnificent animal!

Moose in Velvet

Moose in Velvet

Sean and Louise at McCarthy Creek in Algonquin