Butterflies – Black Swallowtail – Papilio polyxenes

Butterflies – Eastern Black Swallowtail – Papilio polyxenes

The above photograph of a Black Swallowtail butterfly was taken near Massena, NY on our way back from spending a few days in Lake Placid, New York, climbing Cascade Mountain and driving up to the peak of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. Continue reading

Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings

Starting up a website. www.megapixeltravel.com, with my son, Graeme, was one of the major milestones for the year. Graeme had been prodding me to think about a blog format for my photo postings for quite some time so this was the year that it happened. I like to add text to the photos that I post. Although that works fine on Flickr for single photos, a blog format provides me with a better sense of continuity of thought and sequence of events when uploading a series of photos. In 2011, I intend to continue uploading to Flickr but will likely leave the story-telling here with my blog uploads.

Boxing Day 2010 has arrived with sunny skies and -10C temperatures a far different situation than Boxing Day 2009. Icicles on the Thule.

Rather than seeking out one “best” photos, here are some of the highlights of my year and some of the memories that keep me attached to my camera. Clicking on the thumbnail images in this annual review will take you to a larger version on my Flickr photostream or to the specific blog entry associated with that photo.

New Year's Eve Fireworks - Mont Tremblant, Quebec Photographing fireworks on the ski slopes of Mt. Tremblant in Quebec to end the old year (2009) and start the new year (2010).

With hands out they waited Kanata Badminton Club meeting on Jack Pine Trail Flickr Wakefield outing - March 16, 2010 - Unabridged Yup! Definitely tastes like Introducing complete strangers to the enjoyment of feeding the Chickadees or meeting friends out on Ottawa’s Greenbelt trails and enjoying the company of like-minded souls on outings with Ottawa’s Flickr groups

The creation of a masterpiece - Winterlude ice sculptures - Feb 2010 Crocuses in shock! +27C/81F today! Where there are dreams there is hope. Watching artists at work carving large blocks of ice into masterpieces at Ottawa’s Winterlude and then seeing another Spring arrive and being able to use my camera to help out in a small way at the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans.

A project of Mairin Peck in Oregon Stonehaven Drive Fire - Kanata, Ontario Helping students achieve their goals and being glad that not all fires take lives.

Last campground site - Obatanga Provincial Park -  Breeding Bird Survey Road to Dubreuilville, Ontario 5AM Awaking many, many mornings at 4:30AM to conduct Breeding Bird Surveys for Environment Canada.

Full Moon - VMC 50th - Vincent Massey Collegiate, Winnipeg (Fort Garry), Manitoba Participating in some of the craziness of my school’s 50th anniversary reunion under the watchful eye of a full moon.

 The group The hosts of the show - Jennifer Podemski and Don Kelly - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! 2010 - Ottawa, Ontario Kinnie Starr - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! - Ottawa, Ontario Inez - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! Grandfather William Commanda, Algonquin Elder, Keeper of the Sacred Wampum Belts readies for greetings and opening ceremonies - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! - Ottawa, Ontario David Usher - Canada Day 2010 - Kanata, Ontario Photographing local events and concerts. I don’t normally take photos of people, so this was a new challenge for me. “Sloan” and “Monkey Junk” at Ottawa’s Westfest; “The Initial Reaction” and “Insensitivity Training” and “The Duck Wife” at Ottawa’s Fringe Festival; “Jennifer Podemski”, “Don Kelly”, “Kinnie Starr”, “Inez”, “Lucie Idlout”, “Digging Roots” and Algonquin elder, Grandfather William Commanda, at the APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network) broadcast; “David Usher” and “Elliot Brood” on Canada Day: and “Blue Rodeo” later in the year.

Grand Hall - Museum of Civilization Finally taking my camera to the Museum of Civilization, a much overdue totem pole experience.

Osgoode Medieval Festival 2010 -  Am I missing something?   :-) Taking Aim - Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Fort de la Presentation - Ogdensburg, NY Land Battle  - Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Fort de la Presentation - Ogdensburg, NY From the staircase - Boldt Castle, Heart Island, NY Pump House - Boldt Castle, Heart Island, NY Taking a step back in time at medieval festivals and re-enactments and restored “castles”.

Black and Yellow Argiope Spider Christina and the butterflies Cascade Mountain in the Adirondacks Running out of light! Experiencing the excitement of finding a bug, flower, bird or animal that I haven’t seen or photographed before or successfully testing my recuperated Achilles with a nice mountain climb with my wife, or just enjoying the thrill of another beautiful sunset.

Lion cub out for a morning stroll - Serengeti, Tanzania Lion in the Serengeti Lilac-breasted Roller Licking the lips. Mmm. Good. Of course, spending two weeks in Africa looking at lions, elephants, giraffes and exotic birds with Graeme does have its benefits and plenty of high points.

Photographing lights at night is always a favourite pastime especially when winter approaches and I don’t have to stay up all night to do it!

Shades of Nudity - Sculpture Garden - City Park, New Orleans Alien Communication Device - Canada Day 2010 , Kanata, Ontario And, finally, to finish off this rather long post, there is the enjoyment that I get when wondering what people think when they search on words like “nude men” or “alien communication devices ” and arrive at my on-line offerings :-).

Fireworks - Canada Day 2010 in Kanata Not sure where I will be on New Year’s Eve but, hopefully, I will find more fireworks to photograph where ever I end up being.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Porter Mountain, High Peaks Region, Adirondacks, New York State

The easiest way to access the summit of Porter Mountain is via the Cascade Mountain Trail. Approximately .3 miles from the summit of Cascade Mountain the trail to Porter Mountain branches off to the right drops down through a col between the two mountains and then climbs up to the summit of Porter Mountain. The section of the trail through the col is definitely less traveled than the main Cascade Mountain trail, is much more densely forested, is narrower and more shaded. The evidence of the rainfall of the day before was still present and some sections of this part of the trail were quite slippery.

Part way up the Porter Mountain trail, there are good open views back toward Cascade Mountain and the open rockface route to the summit is clearly visible.

Views from the summit and along the way provide good looks at the surrounding mountains and the Keene Valley.

Of course, stopping along the way to try to photograph a butterfly is always allowed as is stopping at the summit for a good look around before heading back down.

When you’re on top of a mountain it is sometimes hard to decide to come down.

Cascade Mountain trail, Adirondacks High Peaks Region

When I’m hiking on my own and staying in a tent, breakfast can be a rather meager and stark affair, but my wife was with me this trip so, breakfast was a bit more sumptuous. Nothing against the law about eating well before climbing in the Adirondacks, I guess, so I ate well this morning :-).


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Cascade Mountain, High Peaks Region, Adirondacks

High Peaks Wilderness Area - Trail Head for Cascade Mtn and Porter Mtn

Cascade Mountain, High Peaks Region, Adirondacks

I had to be half way to Boston, MA later in the day, but when I woke up, packed my tent and apparel back into my car and looked around, I decided that it was as good a day as any to climb one of the “High Peaks”. I spoke to a group of fellows in the Adirondack LOJ campground and they recommended Cascades Mountain because of its relatively straight forward trail and the proximity of the trailhead to the highway. Right on the highway, actually.

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Mount Jo, Trail #77, High Peaks Region, Adirondack Mountains

Mount Jo, Trail #77, High Peaks Region, Adirondack Mountains

October 12, 2006 – The day before.

October 13, 2006 I was staying at the campground maintained by ADK at the base of the trail and overnight the winds howled as the storm front which ‘surprised’ Buffalo, NY with a few feet of snow and knocked out power for 250,000 people passed rapidly through the Adirondacks. After a night of howling winds I awoke early (I didn’t sleep too much that night), shook the ice off the tent and climbed to the summit again. Only a bit of freezing rain and some granular snow had fallen where I was, so the climb in daylight, although slippery, was quite pleasant. This series of photos reflects the blue sky conditions and the beautiful views from the summit of Mt. Jo. Well worth the second climb.

The overnight high winds and rain certainly cleared the trees of their autumn leaves.

A light coating of ice in a few spots required a bit of extra caution through some sections of the trail

Spruce boughs and some of the light granular snow. Pretty insignificant compared to the 2 feet of snow that the passing cold front dropped on Buffalo before reaching the Adirondacks.

A bit tricky but lots of easy handholds .

Only the last short part of the trail required any tricky manoeuvring and even that would have been simple were it not for the photo equipment that I was carrying with me.

What a difference a blue sky makes. The puddle was well frozen but the rising sun would soon change that.

With all of this climbing and worry about howling winds toppling trees onto my tent, I was now just a shadow of my former self (grin).

More Adirondack mountains beckon in the distance. Something to think about over the winter.

Heart Lake under a blue sky.

It was certainly cool at the summit and the puddles from the overnight rain were well frozen.

In the limited visibility of the rain, fog and drizzle of the night before,I had hiked past this outcropping without even realizing it was there. In the fresh morning air everything looked different so although I was hiking the same trail twice in a 12 hour period, it felt like I was hiking two completely different trails.

A granite slab along the trail.

Adirondack Loj – Located on the North Shore of Heart Lake, this lodge is owned by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). The original builder was Melvil Dewey who was a champion of ‘simplified spelling’ thus the spelling “Loj” rather than the more familiar “lodge”. (Info: ADK Adirondack LOJ at Heart Lake)

Later the same morning I climbed Cascade Mountain.