Lagoon Report XX

Northern pike, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Pike Poise

The rule of beginner’s luck seems to be a photographic constant:  deploy new gear to the field, and invariably something interesting will happen.  At least the first time, after that you might get nothing for weeks. This marks the first deployment of the FishEYE II, a.k.a. ‘Mr. Floaty’, an update to the original FishEYE I […]

Garter snake, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

The Lidless Eye II

One of the more difficult angles to work with when photographing snakes, this is a modern update to the original 2008 classic. The 2008 image was photographed with a 4-megapixel Nikon point-and-shoot camera, this updated image was taken with a 21-megapixel Canon SLR, worlds apart in terms of image quality. Still, the original has more […]

Garter snake eye, Ward's Island, Toronto islands

Eye of the Beholder

A ridiculous array of Kenko extension tubes — 68mm worth — opens up a garter snake’s eye to fill almost the entire frame.

Garter snakes, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

The Reptile Twins

A pair of garter snakes stare intently before leaving the safety of their hibernaculum in search of an early Spring meal.

Northern Pike, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Between the Darkness and the Light

A beautiful northern pike undulates towards the camera, sandwiched between the dark lagoon floor and bright overhead sky. Unfortunately, after heavy rains and high wind, the water is also full of flotsam and jetsam:  bits of plastic, rubber, and aluminum punctuating an otherwise beautiful natural image. This image was photographed with the FishEYE I underwater […]

Early red-eared slider turtle, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Splash of Colour

One of the first turtles to emerge from hibernation, a red-eared slider lends a much-needed splash of colour to the lagoon, still brown and desolate from the long winter.

Mink portrait, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands

Ready for the Closeup

A mink peers from a hollow log, trying to see if the coast is clear for its next dash to a safe stopping point.

Mute swan portrait, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Mute Portrait

Dramatic lighting falls upon a mute swan as it swims through the intermittent shadows of late March twilight.

Mute swan outstretched wings, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Show of Force

A male mute swan spreads his wings outside the camera frame after successfully chasing off another pair of swans from his chosen nesting territory in the lagoon. In contrast, this adolescent’s wings are still only partially developed.

Bufflehead duck underwater, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Underwater Buffleheads

A bufflehead duck, white feathers glowing in the gloomy lagoon light, dives in search of food beneath the surface. They’re extremely shy birds, so they’re difficult to photograph normally without extremely long focal length lenses.  Underwater remote cameras come into their element in a situation like this, as they unobtrusively monitor the daily life under […]

Toronto skyline airplane trails, Ward's Island, Toronto Islands


A two-hour stacked exposure turns the late-March Toronto skyline into a fine web of aircraft trails.  The Island airport can be seen at the left of the image, glowing with its myriad of takeoffs and landings. Porter Airlines can be seen following their usual east-wind takeoff pattern, from the airport directly to the top-right side […]

Foraging mute swan, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Business End

A mute swan, seen from an unusual angle,  forages on the bottom of the still-desolate lagoon near the edge of what remains of the late spring icepack.  Warmer temperatures should complete iceout over the next few days.

Tundra swan, Algonquin Island, Toronto Islands

Tundra Stopover

A lone tundra swan, easily identifiable by the yellow spot in front of its eyes, stands on thinning ice near Algonquin Island.  Rare to see hereabouts, it could have been seperated from this group that flew overhead previously. (Click image to view larger.)

Northern Pike, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Northern Beauty

During the winter months, the lagoons become almost sterile as all the larger fish head to deeper waters.  Crayfish, mink, beavers, and a few smaller fish can occasionally be seen going about their business under the ice, but nothing else. As the ice finally begins to clear out, the larger fish return and get ready […]