Flowers, Frogs, and More

For many years we’ve been taking our summer vacation at my wife’s family cottage west of Ottawa. It’s one of those places that is absolutely magical for me and I feel completely at home there. The cottage is situated alongside a shallow river and the area is home to a massive variety of birds, animals, and insects, and the gardens at the cottage are full of beautiful flowers. It’s a little bit of paradise and I’ve created some of my favorite images while there over the years.

This year was another very productive trip for me. The weather seemed to work out perfectly and I had a great collection of subjects to work with. Here is a gallery of some of my current favorites.

I've created many images of these falls over the years. I just can't keep away and I get the urge to go back there every time we go to the cottage. There are so many different ways to make images at the falls that I really don't even have two similar images. I reall love the soft light that wraps around the area at sunset and this is one of my favorite places to photograph...©2010, Sean Phillips.http://www.RiverwoodPhotography.com (Sean Phillips)

I don't know much about spiders other than to know that this one is a little different. It creates micro webs in the leaves of plants and does a great job of catching flies and bugs in those webs...©2010, Sean Phillips.http://www.RiverwoodPhotography.com (Sean Phillips)

Cottage Vacation 2010..©2010, Sean Phillips.http://www.RiverwoodPhotography.com (Sean Phillips)

There are always tree frogs to be found near the cottage. This one normally lives in the umbrella on the deck...©2010, Sean Phillips.http://www.RiverwoodPhotography.com (Sean Phillips)

Cottage Vacation 2010..©2010, Sean Phillips.http://www.RiverwoodPhotography.com (Sean Phillips)

Cottage Vacation 2010..©2010, Sean Phillips.http://www.RiverwoodPhotography.com (Sean Phillips)

Cottage Vacation 2010..©2010, Sean Phillips.http://www.RiverwoodPhotography.com (Sean Phillips)

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!

The Biggest Frog in the World!

The Biggest Frog in the World

Of course this is not actually the biggest frog in the world, not even close really, but it really was big!

I was out for a paddle around the pools in the Bonnechere River below my Wife’s family cottage last summer when I came across this huge frog. This incredible creature just sat there while the canoe slid closer and closer. I almost sideswiped it before I was able to gently backpaddle away, and he never moved at all. I was even able to paddle all the way back to the cottage to get my wife and daughter to take them out for a look. He stayed right there the whole time, and only jumped away after we backed away from him on the second visit…

Interestingly, I posted this image on Flickr last summer (with the same caption) and it has long since become my most popular image there. Until recently I had thought that it was just a really nice picture. However, after reviewing some of the stats that Flickr makes available for images posted to the site, I now realize that it gets hits from search engines all over the world from people who are honestly searching for (shockingly) pictures of the largest species of frog in the world.

I did a quick Google search myself to and quickly found out that the real answer is the Goliath Frog. I don’t have any pictures of Goliaths, but I do have several other nice images of reptiles, including Green Frogs and Tree Frogs that I’ve made near the cottage over the last couple of summers.

The cottage is on the Bonnechere River in Ontario and is one of my favorite places to relax, wander, and make images. I’ve been lucky enough to make some of my best and most popular images while there. Enjoy!


“Reptiles” – Images are available for purchase at Photoshelter