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Trumpeter Swans at Ministik Lake

A Trumpeter Swan floats with a raft of ducks on Bray at the Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary

Trum­peter Swan at Min­is­tik Lake

A pair of Trumpeter Swans float with a raft of ducks on Bray Lake at the Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary

Trum­peter Swan Pair at Min­is­tik Lake

I was walk­ing the Waska­he­gan Trail though the Min­is­tik Lake Game Bird Sanc­tu­ary a cou­ple days ago (Oct 5th, to be pre­cise), and came across this pair of swans. While it’s fair­ly com­mon to see migrat­ing Tun­dra Swans fly­ing (and honk­ing) over­head in flocks this time of year, I am pret­ty sure these are the much less com­mon Trum­peter Swan—but I would real­ly appre­ci­ate if some­one more famil­iar with Trum­peters could con­firm (or con­test) my ID. These two birds were on Bray Lake, right in the mid­dle of the sanc­tu­ary, and were there when I first passed the lake, and still there lat­er in the after­noon on my way back. This is what I love about Ministik—there’s always some­thing new to see, you just have to get out there and look for it.

Flock of waterfowl at Ministik

A flock of ducks flies up from Oliver Lake on an autumn evening at the Ministik Lake Bird Sanctuary

Water­fowl ris­ing from Min­is­tik Lake

Here’s anoth­er pho­to­graph I made last week, along Oliv­er Lake out at the Min­is­tik Lake Game­bird Sanc­tu­ary. As the sun was set­ting, hun­dreds (if not thou­sands) of ducks were set­tling on the lake, ris­ing in large flocks if unnamed pho­tog­ra­phers (or their dog) moved too quick­ly. I nor­mal­ly try hard when pro­cess­ing a pho­to­graph to make sure that there is detail in both the high­lights and shad­ow. In this case how­ev­er, I found that push­ing the bright­ness up real­ly did a bet­ter job of cap­tur­ing the mood of look­ing west across the lake into the sun, watch­ing the birds against the bril­liant, back­lit fall colours. They say the rules are there to be bro­ken, right?

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Boreal colours at their autumn finest

Aspen, birch, reeds and grasses all glow golden in evening light along the shore of Oliver Lake at the Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary

Gold­en autumn aspen shore­line

If you’re in the Edmon­ton area, and haven’t been out enjoy­ing (and pho­tograph­ing) the fall colours this week, I have one word for you—go! I’ll let this pho­to­graph speak the thou­sand words’ encour­age­ment.

I’ve been explor­ing the south-west cor­ner of Min­is­tik Lake Sanc­tu­ary, fol­low­ing game trails along the shore of Oliv­er Lake and com­ing across views like this one. This is one of my favourite autumn combinations—yellow aspen & birch, bright dried grass­es, all against a blue sky reflect­ed in a still lake, and with just a few dark spruce thrown in for accent. Gor­geous.

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Super Harvest Moon at Ministik Lake

A full moon rises in a clear sky on the night of the autumnal equinox.

Har­vest moon ris­ing behind aspen

I went out to the Min­is­tik Lake this evening with the fam­i­ly (& my cam­era, of course) to cel­e­brate the autum­nal equinox, and to wit­ness the “Super Har­vest Moon” that occurred tonight for the first time in 20 years (click here for more info on that). For those of you who missed it—(it wasn’t much dif­fer­ent than any oth­er nice full moon-rise)—I thought I’d quick post this pho­to­graph that I made of the moon tonight. It was a love­ly evening—geese & ducks whistling by over­head, a few qui­et bird­songs (White-throat­ed- & Lincoln’s Spar­rows), beavers on the lake, and coy­otes & bats as the moon came up. Wel­come autumn.

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Autumn foliage triptych

Autumn foliage triptych

Autumn foliage trip­tych

Here are three pho­tographs of autumn colour in the plants out at Min­is­tik Lake. While pro­cess­ing these images, I played around with de-sat­u­rat­ing all the colours except for those of the main sub­ject. This kind of manip­u­la­tion of the image is out­side of the reg­u­lar “dark­room-style” pro­cess­ing that I usu­al­ly restrict myself to—but in this case, I real­ly like how it looks. I also added a fair­ly heavy vignetting effect (the dark­en­ing of the cor­ners) to fur­ther accen­tu­ate the main sub­ject of each image.

With their sim­i­lar­i­ties in colour, sub­ject mat­ter, and pro­cess­ing tech­nique, I found that these three pho­tographs com­ple­ment­ed each oth­er when viewed side-by-side. I don’t know the “the­o­ry” behind why some images work togeth­er as a group, but I do know that some­times a trip­tych is def­i­nite­ly greater than the sum of its parts. (Click here to see a cou­ple more of my favourite trip­tychs). As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts—just leave a com­ment below.

Autumn foliage triptych I

Autumn foliage triptych II

Autumn foliage triptych III

Click these thumb­nails to see a larg­er vesion of each image indi­vid­u­al­ly (use your arrow keys to move between them).

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Waterfowl on a misty Minsitik lake

A pair of Canada Geese and a small flock of ducks rest on a calm lake on a foggy morning at Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary

Water­fowl on misty morn­ing lake

Here’s anoth­er pho­to­graph that I made the same morn­ing as the one in my pre­vi­ous post. Although I took it less than ten min­utes lat­er than the pre­vi­ous pho­to, from near­ly the same spot on the lake shore, and rotat­ed only about 90 degrees, this pho­to­graph has a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent feel to it—and that’s one of the things that I love most about pho­tograph­ing the land­scape.

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Early autumn sunrise at Ministik

A light fog hangs at sunrise in the yellow foliage of birch leaves just starting to turn to their fall colours

Morn­ing mist and ear­ly autumn birch

I had the plea­sure of spend­ing a morn­ing out at Min­is­tik Lake, and what a morn­ing it was. The fore­cast was for clear skies and the first good overnight frost of the year, with tem­per­a­tures down to a few degrees above freez­ing. As the sun rose, light fog rose from the lakes and hung in the still air, frost hung light­ly on the under­sto­ry leaves, and the clear autumn light shone off the first of the birch trees just begin­ning to change colour—it was exquis­ite.

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