Island Lake offers a handful of trails for various levels and activities and provides nature lovers with nice hiking trails and numerous photo opps if you are so inclined such as yours truly. As mentioned in a previous post, 2020 has been a very interesting year, challenging in ways and adventurous and discovering in others.
Living in proximity of a conservation area also part of the CVC has a tendency to cause tunnel vision and we quickly forget about other conservation areas. Enters our goal for the summer of 2020: visit all the conservation areas that are within a couple of hours driving distance and discover our “larger neighbourhood”.
This is the first of many posts on our visited conservation areas and the views expressed here are none other than our own based on our individual experiences.
Early on a bright and hot Saturday morning, armed with mayhem and chaos, a lunch, sun screen and bug spray, we navigate northbound to Island Lake. Keyword here is “early” for a reason, due to Covid, access to the park is limited and we were advised that this particular conservation area gets really busy, specially later in the morning and early afternoon. Once you visit the park you understand why. With all the various services and activities available, and with the current restrictions and limitations it is great to see people enjoying the outdoors. Case in point, during our hike, we circled back passed the entrance gate and there was a major line to access the park. Furthermore, as we left the park later on, the line was even longer. So if you plan on visiting Island Lake, arrive early.
For this visit we chose the Vicki Barron Lakeside Trail, an 8km loop around Island Lake including gravel paths and boardwalks through a marsh area. A word of caution on those trails, they are shared by all; hikers, joggers and also cyclists so you need to watch for each other to avoid unfortunate accidents. That being said, people were vary respectful during our visit and cyclists always yielded to foot traffic and dismounted while crossing the bridges.
On a day when the light is just right, you could go shutter crazy with scenic landscape photos all around Island Lake. This particular photo was taken shortly before we reached the north dam. Further in the trail as we crossed the north dam, a flock of Canada geese took flight as a canoe was getting a little too close for their comfort. This was a nice sight as well.
Towards the north eastern part of the trail we went through a field area that again lent itself to some nice landscape and creative photography opportunities. I like the shallow depth of field in this shot with the low perspective.
The last half of the Vicki Barron Lakeside Trail is where we encountered most of the wildlife during our hike. Starting with this great blue heron looking for a lunch. As he was walking around and we stopped to observe we also noticed many turtles sunning themselves on nearby logs. I particularly like this photo with the reflection of the heron in the marsh. It also eventually found a lunch.
As we carried on our hike, we arrived to another marsh area where great blue heron was standing. Shortly after we stopped, the heron took flight and I just had a few seconds to grab this photo before it flew behind tall grass and essentially out of sight and camera shot.
I selected two photos as spirited creativity contribution for this post.
The first is a photo of a spider web in a tree and the way the light was shining through the forested area and on the web lent itself to a beautiful black an white photo. I converted the photo to black and white during post processing and slightly increased the contrast.
The second photo is something I do almost every time I take out my camera and that is a sunflare. Early on in my photography adventure I learned and experimented on this concept and have since been perfecting it and getting different results. As we started our hike at Island Lake, we passed by the entrance to their sugar bush area and the way the sun was coming through the trees over the sign made it a perfect opportunity for a sunflare.
Island Lake Gallery
As I mentioned earlier, Island Lake offers amazing opportunities for photographers and although I’ve only included a small selection in this post, you can view a broader selection of photos from our hike in the following gallery.
About the Author
Learn more about Mario Drolet and his photography.