Wildwood 2001.03.20

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So for my birthday this past March I finally got a real camera, so I could stop chucking out money for el crappo disposables for these pictures. Not that the camera is exactly that full-featured; it lacks user-controllable zoom and focus, which I complain about to no end in the descriptions of the pictures, but hey, the picture quality itself is much better. So I can’t complain too much, especially since I didn’t lay out cent one of my own money for the camera.

The film, though, is another matter entirely. And complicating matters was the fact that I went to the store and bought film, drove over to Wildwood, then had to go all the way back to the store when I realized that I’d bought Advantix film and not regular film, and the Advantix wouldn’t even load in my camera. Adding to that was the fact that I had other places I needed to go in a short amount of time, so this ended up being a short trip. But I really just wanted to try the camera out, so that didn’t bother me too much.

What I ended up doing was parking in the closest lot from the drive into the park, which doesn’t actually go to the trailhead but a good distance from it. But from where I was I had easy access to a couple of trails, so I got a nice, quick trip in, shot a whole roll of film and got the rest of my trip done in time. And they all lived happily ever after.

Shots 1-18 are from the Floodplain (Blue) trail. Shots 19-26 are from the Manor House.

It was a twenty-four shot roll of film, but somehow I got 26 shots back. Don’t ask me, I’m just figuring this stuff out as I go. I kept looking at the counter on top of the camera, and I really don’t know what it’s counting, but I just kept taking shots until finally I took the last shot and the film stopped advancing.

For those photography buffs who care about such matters, the camera is an Olympus Trip AF 30, and the film is Kodak Gold 200. I don’t know what that 200 means, but it’s what my father told me to get, and he’d know. Although he says I should probably go with 400 in Wildwood from now on.

Click on images for larger view.

01. Gift Shop
Taking a non-standard way into the park for this trip, I passed by the gift shop here and thought it would make a good picture. In addition to the gift shop, there’s also a nice room with tables perfect for small-size gatherings, and an attended soda and snack station. Haven’t bought anything here in awhile, but I should. (It was closed at this point.)

02. Scarcity
There’s a short section of trail where the Floodplain Trail and Meadow (Yellow) trails run together, and I actually ventured off onto the Meadow Trail for a couple of pictures here. There was something about the thicket in the centre of this picture that just captivated me, and so I wanted to take a picture of it. Unfortunately, I’m still stuck with an auto-zoom camera.

03. Closer
So when I want to take a picture of something up-close, I actually have to walk up to it. Even at that, I still think I need a camera with manual zoom and focus controls, because as you’ll see later in this roll there are just some things you need those controls to get, and those things hold a great deal of interest to me.

04. Onto the Floodplain
After really gunking up my sneakers on a section of the trail that was just a total morass of mud, it was nice to get to the heart of the Floodplain Trail. It’s still winter so things are kind of threadbare, but it’s warm enough that you know there’ll be some growth before too long. And I’ll be photographing that growth process this year, so watch out for those photos.

05. Olive Ottawa
Here’s a much better shot of the Ottawa River than you got in that last picture. Not that I’d consider wading in it at these temperatures, but I did wade in it once of twice when I was a kid. Then they found out exactly what’s in the river, and wading became off-limits. Oh, for the simplicity of childhood. At least when it’s warmer outside.

06. More of the Ottawa River
The last shot of the Ottawa River had an olivy tone to it; in this picture the blue hues come out more. And although you can’t see it too well, there is actually a duck wading around in the river, just to the left of the big tree in the foreground. This is what I mean when I say I need a camera I can zoom and focus myself, because I missed it.

07. Missed it Again
If you actually found the duck in the last print, you can find it closer to the tree at this point. But I can barely make it out in the source print, so I don’t expect you’ll be able to find it like I can in the graphic. Personally the ducks don’t interest me so much, but as a photographic subject I thought they’d be ideal. Hopefully they’ll come back when I get a better camera.

08. Contractually Obligated Sun Shot
Of course, nothing fascinates me more as a photography subject than the sun, in part because I’m trying to learn the finer points of photography on my own. The sun didn’t want to play with me on this afternoon, but I tried to get the best shot of it I could anyway. And be warned: my next set on the site will be almost entirely sun shots.

09. River and Snow
Further down the Ottawa River now, and you can see the remainder of snow from the March Show pictures I posted most recently. You can also see the boardwalk itself in the upper-left hand corner; that lowered deck has a couple of nice benches on it and makes a good observation point. Not to mention a great place to take more river pictures.

10. Lengthwise
Had to do a portrait picture of the same part of the river; the deck is the closest thing to you at this point. I’m glad the river was the focal point in the picture and not the tree in the foreground, but I’d still feel a lot better if I had focus control. Yes, I’m obsessing over this new camera thing; deal with it.

11. Manor Up Above
That’s the Manor House, the actual building that housed the Stranahan family so long ago. The perspective here isn’t as good as I’d like it, but needless to say for a two-story house it’s pretty darn imposing. Not as imposing as that hill, though; I can only imagine what it must have been like trying to climb down to the river before the boardwalk was built.

12. Babbling Sean
And back to the Ottawa River again. Here I’m on that deck I was talking about earlier; I really didn’t want it in the shot, but that was the only way I could frame the picture I wanted to take. Being so close to the river at this point you can really take in the wonderful sounds it makes, especially at a point like this where it runs kind of low and goes over so many rocks.

13. Other Side
This is looking back down the river from whence we came. Again you can see the subtle colour variations in the river from this picture to the next; these variations are in the source prints as well, so I wonder if it’s a lighting thing or what have you. I really should take lessons soon, but I guess for now I just want to experiment and have fun.

14. Framing Trees
Same place, but I wanted a portrait shot of it to capture a couple of trees here. I like the curves in that tree on the left and how its shadow fades into the babbling part of the river, while that stump on the right is just funny-looking. It looks like someone tied a knot in the middle of a damp washcloth or something. You get the funniest-looking trees in Wildwood sometimes.

15. Little Red Building
You can barely make the building out in the thumbnail, but you should be able to see it smack dab in the middle of the larger picture. Oh, for the power of zoom. I have no idea what that building is for, and I can’t find a way to get to it by foot. I really like its colours, though; it reminds me of the watercolours my father used to paint in his spare time before he started his business.

16. Ah Yes, the Manor House
It was getting kind of late and I had to go to some other places before sundown, so at this point I decided to skip the rest of the Floodplain Trail and go back to shoot the Manor House instead. Saved me some time, and this was really only a trip to experiment with the camera, and I could do that just as easily up there.

17. The Long Trip
This is only a few steps up the stairway that goes from the Floodplain Trail to the back of the Manor House. It’s about 40-50 steps all the way to the top, and I remember it really used to wind me, especially if I’d already been walking for awhile. Now it barely affects me at all. Amazing what losing over a hundred pounds can do to you.

18. Near the Top
Only a few more steps to the top at this point, but I wanted to give you an idea of what it was like up there, looking down at the trail. Unfortunately, some trees prevented me from taking a shot of the big deck, but this should give you an idea what it’s like all the way up near the Manor House. Note not all the snow has melted away quite yet.

19. Snowman!
This is the back of the Manor House you’ve seen already, just shot up top and from a sharp angle. The courtyard’s not too shabby here, but it gets much better when you go around to the side. And that big white lump near the corner of the fence is the remnants of a snowman. Ah, the joys of a March Snow.

20. And Now the Front
Why am I reminded of the Spanish Inquisition episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus at this point? Anyway, here’s the front of the Manor House, in all its 19th century glory. My father would know all about the architectural details of the house, but those kinds of things don’t interest me. I don’t care what it is; I just like looking at it.

21. Head-On
That last shot was at an angle, and I decided I really wanted a straight-on shot. I thought portrait orientation might be the way to go here because of that huge tree out front, but looking at it now I don’t think it worked out so well. Hey, I’m still learning this stuff, cut me some slack. And how could I make this shot look like it was taken so low to the ground when I’m six feet tall? Sheesh.

22. Head-On, Redux
I should have taken a landscape picture, but I guess I wasn’t thinking too much about it at this point. I wanted to get closer detail of the front of the house without getting too close to it (it was closed to tours at this point in the day and I don’t think they let cameras inside anyway), but again, no zoom.

23. Time for Blurriness
Sorry this one turned out so blurry. This sundial (which couldn’t tell the time because the sun was hidden begind clouds at this point) was a challenge for me, trying to get the right angle to present it in an artistic light. I don’t think I got it quite right here, but I like challenges like these. I may go back this summer and shoot just a roll of sundial pics experimenting with angles.

24. Ribbit
We are, in case you couldn’t tell, in the courtyard now, and I really should have taken a close-up pic of this pond and its little frog statues now that I think about it. But the inside of the pond was kind of covered with twigs and leaves and other muck, so maybe I can wait and take that shot later on this spring. Portrait was definitely the way to go here; I like how I got that big tree in the background.

25. Portrait …
This area is the most imposing of the courtyard, so I wanted to close with a couple of pictures of it. I don’t know what the statue in the middle is of; it probably has some religious significance, and to be honest I don’t know that much about the Christian religions to be able to identify the statue. But this looks like a nice place to sip some afternoon tea with a friend.

26 … or Landscape?
Of course, the real challenge was figuring out which orientation better suited this courtyard. I think I favour the landscape shot, but honestly I think both pictures have their merits. Again, though, you see subtle differences in colour between the two pictures that I think I need to study a bit more. But it’s not like I don’t intend on coming back here a lot these next few months.

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