Adventures on The Bruce Peninsula, Georgian Bay Ontario

A triptych of essays set in — or on the road to — Ontario’s “sweetwater sea”

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Part One: Day-Tripping Flowerpot Island, the Bruce Trail, The Grotto, and Overhanging Point on southern Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula

The Bruce Peninsula in southern Ontario separates the cooler waters of Georgian Bay from the rest of Lake Huron’s “sweetwater sea,” and makes of the Bay an unofficial, sixth Great Lake. It’s the kind of iconic Canadian landscape that drove artists such as Arthur Lismer and the other Group of Seven painters wild.

The rugged, 100-kilometre finger of pine-studded shale and limestone, set amidst the granite and precambrian rock of Shield country, points northward from the rolling hills of southwest Ontario’s farm country, all head-high corn and sulphur-bright canola, through Boreal Shield country and towns with names like Kapuskaping. North north north, to Moosonee and the wetland plains of Hudson Bay and, somewhere way up there, the beluga-backed Arctic Ocean…

Continue reading Adventures on The Bruce Peninsula, Georgian Bay Ontario

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Toronto Kills Me: Summer 2017

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Candid travel photographs in the cold and the rain from my – ongoing – summer trip to Toronto, Ontario, a.k.a. (among others) CondoToronto – and rightfully so! Toronto often gets knocked for being an ersatz city, lacking any real sense of place. That “There is no there there,” as Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland. In this photo essay I go looking for T.O.’s genius loci – and find it there, among the historic brick buildings and glass-and-steel skyscrapers. https://medium.com/@aaronpaulson/toronto-kills-me-a8e9b799da5

Portugal ’05

Lisbon – Obidos – Coimbra

"Azulejo"  blue ceramic tile
“Azulejo” blue ceramic tile, Lisbon

Lisbon is nothing never ever. Lisbon is for crying, pure destiny and weeping, fado and light of tears. But at the same time is a radical immersion in joy. “I see you once again, / city of my dreadfully lost childhood / Sad and happy city where I dream again”. It is not the white city that a mistaken Swiss thought he saw, but a blue city of cheerful invented nostalgia. – Enrique Vila-Matas, Montano’s Malady

Swiss Alps Photo Galleries: Lauterbrunnen

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Lauterbrunnen, Bernese Oberland Switzerland

Recently I’ve been posting images from a trip I made in 2010 to the Swiss (and French) Alps. Temperamental weather (snow! in July!) in Murren, a village at 1,650 meters (5,413 feet) elevation on the green flank of the Schilthorn,   brought on a bad case of hotel-room fever. When I couldn’t take being cooped up inside any more, I would ride the cable car down to Lauterbrunnen, a village on the valley floor. As you can see, the houses and valley walls were just as photogenic as Murren itself…

I’d love to go back, and take R. with me. Between the recent yen devaluation, however, and the spike in the value of the Swiss franc, the chances of a return trip are looking less and less likely…

Continue reading “Swiss Alps Photo Galleries: Lauterbrunnen”

Swiss Alps Photo Galleries: Murren and Gimmelwald (Fourth and Final Gallery)

The Trail to Rotstockhutte

Murren and Gimmelwald from the trail to Rotstockhutte, Switzerland

(Part of an ongoing series of galleries created from photos taken in and around Murren and Gimmelwald in the Lauterbrunnen Velley of the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. Follow these links to visit Gallery OneGallery Two, and Gallery Three).

As I’ve written previously, in the summer of 2010 I returned to the most memorable spot from my first trip to Europe more than twenty years earlier: the villages of Murren and Gimmelwald above Lauterbrunnen Valley. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it very well with the weather: it rained most of the week I was there, and one morning I walked to the post office through falling  snow. This was early August. On the plus side, a young alpaca watched me pass, eyeing my Gore-Tex longingly. Or hungrily…

On fair weather days I did manage to get out for a few hikes in and around town, including the trail (most of the way) to Rotstockhuette. This gallery, Gallery Four, is mostly pictures from that day trip. I made it most of the way to Rotstockhutte, through alpine meadows and a small herd of cows, but a late afternoon thunderstorm was rolling up the valley from the direction of the hut, and I decided to turn back rather than risk a lightening storm on an exposed mountainside.

I carried two cameras on this trip: The Canon G9 and the original Olympus E-P1. The first PEN model was slow to clear the buffer, had no optional viewfinder and dim LCD, and the settings were easily changed with a bump of the various rear controls. As a consequence, I lost a lot of good pictures. Here are the survivors. For lenses I carried the Lumix 20mm 1.7, and the coveted Lumix 7-14 4.0 wide-angle zoom. Note that the images in this gallery have been processed in DxO Pro X using the HDR Realistic setting and a touch of ClearView to remove haze. The effects look stunning – especially on the screen of my new iMac Retina! Just saying…

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Swiss Alps Photo Galleries: Murren and Gimmelwald (Gallery Three)

Gimmelwald, Swiss Alps

Murren and Gimmelwald, Switzerland

(Part of an ongoing series of galleries created from photos taken in and around Murren and Gimmelwald in the Lauterbrunnen Velley of the Bernese Oberland, Swistzerland. Follow these links to visit Gallery One and Gallery Two).

In the summer of 2010 I returned to the most memorable spot from my first trip to Europe more than twenty years earlier: the villages of Murren and Gimmelwald above Lauterbrunnen Valley. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it very well with the weather: it rained most of the week I was there, and one morning I walked to the post office through falling  snow. This was early August. On the plus side, a young alpaca watched me pass, eyeing my Gore-Tex longingly. Or hungrily…

On fair weather days I did manage to get out for a few hikes in and around town, including the trail (most of the way) to Rotstockhuette.

I carried two cameras on this trip: The Canon G9 and the original Olympus E-P1. The first PEN model was slow to clear the buffer, had no optional viewfinder and dim LCD, and the settings were easily changed with a bump of the various rear controls. As a consequence, I lost a lot of good pictures. Here are the survivors. For lenses I carried the Lumix 20mm 1.7, and the coveted Lumix 7-14 4.0 wide-angle zoom.

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