Over the past few years, Prince Edward County has become a hotspot for photographers with its high caliber art competitions and galleries along with 4 active camera clubs within a 20 km radius. The interest stems from The County’s scenic natural beauty, picturesque remnants of its agricultural and maritime history, and the ongoing influx of creative people mixing with the traditional County folk.
Since 2012, our group, County Outings, has been making twice-weekly excursions along the back roads, hiking woodland and shoreline trails, visiting farms and shooting up the towns in the County and Quinte region. We call it “Photography & Fitness” and you could easily add “Food” to that moniker as we always end up at an interesting ma and pa coffee shop or one of the 50 local wineries, breweries or cider houses.
Nature appeals to every photographer’s eye and, depending on the time of year and the time of day, you can record thousands of unique images. In May, Prince Edward Point is THE place to be for migrating birds, relatively undiscovered yet unrivaled by anywhere like Point Pelee National Park. This peninsula is truly Land’s End, where the rocky shore meets the Great Lake with an ocean-like horizon of water and sky.
The bird-banding station counts warblers and songbirds that wind up in their nets after an arduous crossing of open water of Lake Ontario. The staff biologists and volunteers tag the birds, hold them briefly for us to take colourful portraits, and then release them back into the wild. If you have a couple of hours, you can walk out to the old wooden lighthouse and past some commercial fishing docks.
Each year County Outings sponsors a birdathon team to raise money in support of local natural area preservation. Since we know the secret places to go, habitats like forest, field and wetland, we count 75 species in a 24-hour period. And that’s no fish story; we have the pictures and audio recordings to prove it!
Another scenic wonder along that same road to the Point, is Little Bluff Conservation Area. If you park near the main road there is a winding trail along a ridge where you can spot a harmless ribbon snake or maybe a whitetail deer. Or you can drive right to the main parking area where a short stroll leads to a vertical drop over the bluff. Approach the edge slowly and quietly and you may be able to get a shot of a loon or a merganser running on the surface of the bay on take-off.
Prince Edward’s 3 provincial parks are also a must-see for photographers. On a clear day, Lake On The Mountain affords an endless blue water vista over the Glenora Ferry with a pristine green landscape stretching to the north. Sandbanks is the County’s raison-d’etre. Long before tourism promoters and wineries were drawing people here, the mountain-size dunes made The County famous. If you camp at the park or find lodging in West Lake, get up at dawn with your tripod and perhaps get lucky with a rising mist over the Outlet River or a setting moon in a pink sky at Lakeshore Lodge. North Beach is the lesser-known of the 3 parks. Its beach, dunes, back bay and crashing surf offer many photo ops. Don’t forget your macro lens for wandering lady bugs among seashells and feathers, dew drops and bees in blossoms. “In the microcosm I find the universe.”
A good luck wish to stage actors is “Break A Leg” and I would wish you County photographers “Break A Lens”; however I have done just that by dropping one on the rocks at Point Petre. So let’s just say, get out there and have fun!
Check Facebook.com/countyoutings for an up-to-date listing of photography activities in The County. One-on-one tutoring and customized tours for families and groups are also offered. For extensive small group trips across Canada and the USA, visit www.photographyadventures.net Any level of experience with any camera or smart phone is welcome.
© Phil Norton 2017