Tag Archives: nature photography

The McLaughlin Wildlife Reserve Bay: before the rainstorm.

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One cold Sunday afternoon in early October, instead of settling cozy at home, I was driving to the audition held in Oshawa. Smooth 40 minutes, as Google maps and my boyfriend promised, turned into the nerve-wracking long tiresome ride while I cursed myself for going all this way for bloody Charles Dickens.. And the play was cancelled just few days later, being replaced by another one where I did not fit in any way.

 

Yet no way I regret going there, as I discovered magical spot and I want to share its beauty with you. It was my first time in Oshawa region, and true to my traditional preferences, I decided to uncover its nature first for myself, and then the urbanite life (which I even did not get chance to admire). So then it was McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve, filled with peaceful surroundings, marshes, few hundreds of trees’ & plants’ varieties, unusual sounds, dozen trails and freshness.

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Judge for yourself. I arrived to the park closer to 6pm, not knowing that the rainstorm was on its way, however the whole park had that special light about it when the part of sky is blue but you sense tension in the air. I’m happy I found myself there exactly at that time, alone (I met only two people who were just leaving the park) and anxious, although I would not recommend
anybody going there solo as I did so late and just before the storm.

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Anyway, as soon as you step onto the long path that is losing itself in some tall grass and bushes, the quite falls on you. Like a shadow. You might see only a strip of water (part bay, part lake), but then you begin to hear the wind which progresses in its noise level as you approach bayshore.

I was lucky to catch the last fall paints over the park.

 

 

 

 

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The sky’s clouded with stormy features within few  minutes..

Nice hidden spot for picnic time…

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The area is a gem for birdwatchers, although I believe most of birds were on their way to a bit cozier and warmer places.

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A tiny pine island which I labeled “one morose hedgehog on the water”.

 

 

 

And the best final surprise is revealing itself in the most unsuspected way.

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The Bay in all its glory..

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The enormous waves were crashing onto the beach with loud drumming noise– and the strong wind just contributed extra touch to the whole atmosphere of chaos and cacophony.

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As I always like to experiment with black and white photography, here is my recent attempt at the bay — almost achieved the effect of silver grass:)

 

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Together with pathlets,
Together with trees,
The soul is aspired, exulting, into the distances…
And waves of mountains, and a mirror of a bay,
And the quiet of the sky in the silent earth.

– Maximilian Voloshin ( he is one of my favourite Russian poets, philosopher and painter)

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One Secret Beach

I have a secret beach that is not known to everybody. Well, to put it clearly, people pass by it but a seldom passerby will actually sneak into the beach itself and walk it through.

This secret beach exists only during winter season — as soon as May, no, even April, hits, this beach disappears. All its calamity, its boldness and whiteness is gone. Its silence is swept away along with its unwelcoming winds. Another beach, sunny and noisy, takes its place filling up the whole air with laughter, cries, running-jumping-bathing children and rows of lazily spread naked bodies.

I don’t really know why, but I prefer the first beach. Even though it is unwelcoming, especially in the freezing evenings, it holds some mystery and calming solitude. And even though I do prefer sun and sunshines gently stroke my face, I feel more welcomed and in a way comfortable on my secret beach…

Just another evening I glanced in the window of my apartment and, after seeing a beautiful clear crispy sky and realizing soon-would-be-moment of the beautiful sunset, rushed over to the Woodbine beach. Would make way even further to Scarborough Bluffs, but time was clicking.

So, 10 minutes before the official sunset, I parked the car, grabbed the camera and made my way into the blueish snowy beach..

The cracked path between parking was lit by setting golden sun. Incredible views, especially with reflections in water and snow.

Well, didn’t think I would last long in such freezing cold that eats you inside out. But somehow, more out of amazement before the nature tricks, I made it:)

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As soon as you step on the crispy snow, the whole city moves away from your sight and — as if from your mind. It’s like pulling a blanket over the head, same perceptions. I hear nothing – except of furious waves and hight pitch of the tiny helicopter model making round after round in the air. Those two who had the remote control, were quite persistent in making it go round after round after round above their heads. And this persistent prrr-prrr-prrr.. This just added surreal touch to the otherwise empty beach.

Empty. I made my way all the way to the beach edge, to the splashing waves which, despite their heavy sound, did not appear accordingly large or in any way profound. The lake is coloured in this dark green cover, bringing vague nostalgia of the ocean.

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The striking contrast of the colours and the whole state of nature — just minutes earlier the sky was still bright and played with gentle light pink feathers…

I am sure you have your own secret beach. Secret park. Or small trail. When you pass it by next time, take a time and sneak in. Nature is beautiful no matter season, no matter winds and urban presence nearby. I recently stumbled upon narrow trail literally within a city, going for 5 km. In the beginning it did not seem at all pleasant or interesting — however, it brought me unforgettable moments and discoveries. So take a time and step inside — you never know what mysteries this place will hold up that particular moment.

Singapore Tales II: Macaques

IMG_3101-86This post will be devoted to the Monkey world that I fully discovered in wild, while conquering Singapore. The commonly encountered type there is Long-Tailed Macaques. Well, I certify, tails are astonishingly long and strong. Oh, wait, that is the case with all monkeys. Turned out, their original habitat was in mangroves and sometimes they are still called Crab-eating Macaques (!). Would love to learn from them, so far all my attempts to eat crabs failed quite pathetically.

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They are cute when they do their favorite activity, grooming; they are very cute when they are doing their second favorite activity, eating. They are cute and make you a bit worried when they try to unzip (and actually succeed in this!) your camera bag, attempting to steal your sweater. IMG_3110-8223They stop to appear cute and start to be really scary when they snarl at you and show a row of myriad perfect tiny sharp teeth. I guess stumbling on hikers is not one of their favorite activities. Well, as the signs point everywhere, You do not touch them, They do not touch you. However, it is not a “scary walk-through” in some Adventure Park. Sometimes there are misunderstandings and there are occasional attacks of macaques on the passers by. The animals, too, can have anger management issues.

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Mostly macaques just sit and groom each other, which helps them to develop social and networking skills. Sometimes they do it in a completely inappropriate spot (that is for us, humans: for them the whole area is appropriate, of course). While walking through Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, I stumbled on the following romantic picture.

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Besides favorite grooming, they are, of course, occupied with searching for food and/or consuming it. It is amazing how logical is their behaviour: choosing the right shape of stone to crack the nut; dusting off nut/fruit before eating and rubbing it between palms like we do. He is doing it almost automatically like we do, not looking directly at action but rather observing environment around him.

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Hikers carry sometimes lots of food with them. Sometimes it is yummy junk food. And the macaques know that very well. So the whole row of macaques wait for you patiently in the parking lot, strategically choosing spots nearby cars. That’s when this monkey actually managed to unzip my camera bag while I was taking pictures. Why he needed my sweater, I’m not sure. Maybe it is his favourite style and colour, dunno. Or was it customs check for border crossing?

M'am, anything illegal transferring through border...?

The parking lot is located at the bottom of Nature Reserve (I think, the following is from Sungei Buloh, but not 100% sure).

In front of the parking lot there are few family houses located on each side of narrow pavement road. During half an hour we spent there, we saw only one person, woman hanging clothing to dry, and dozens of macaques wandering on the roofs, playing and quarreling with each other, falling onto the cars, grabbing-dropping-chasing food. Gush, that much noise and activity I haven’t experienced since the last time at bazaar markets in Moscow..

Getting ready for jump!

Family

That one was strange to observe: macaques found the Halloween skeleton (yes, Singapore was full of Halloween preparation!) and apparently considered it as unusual food supply. Another funny moment occurred with poor dogs teased by monkeys on the fence.