About the Lagoon Report

What are these Lagoon Reports?

For years kayak-based photographer Sean Tamblyn has been prowling the lagoons of the Toronto Islands, getting to know and understand the rhythms of seasonal bird migrations, ice flows, sky patterns, and occasional out-of-town visitors.  Red foxes magically appear, peacocks live wild, and mink run amok.  After accumulating several seasons worth of photographs, he decided to start sharing them with the Island community at large.  Originally posted as links to the MyNeighbours newsgroup, the body of work became too large and demanded its own site.

Nowadays a Lagoon Report is a semi-occasional collection of photographs, detailing the wildlife, landscapes, art, and peoples of the Toronto Islands.

Kayaking during ice-out, Toronto Inner Harbour, Toronto Islands

Above:  panoramic winter photographic kayak training (say that ten times fast) in Toronto’s inner harbour.

Is this a professional portfolio?

No.  Many of the photographs are certainly portfolio-grade, but a lot of them are simply posted for interest’s sake. Some are even considered “B-roll” shots, photographs that would normally never see the light of day due to framing, focus, or exposure issues.  But, like Bigfoot, even a B-roll shot can be of interest to some, so they get posted along with portfolio-grade material.  B-roll shots are identified as such, tagged underneath the photograph along with the equipment used.  This underwater image of a mink under the ice is a classic B-roll example, a terrible photograph by any technical standards but interesting nonetheless.

Juvenile night heron, Algonquin Island, Toronto IslandsBeaver, South Island, Toronto IslandsPainted turtle, Trout Pond, Toronto IslandsSnug Harbour in infrared, Snug Harbour, Toronto Islands

Above:  portfolio-grade photographs from the Toronto Islands.  From left to right:  a juvenile black-crowned night heron, a beaver reaching for distant branches, a red-eared slider turtle caught in August evening light, and Snug Harbour reflecting perfectly in the infrared wavelength.

What sort of gear is used?

Sean is gear-agnostic.  Although he has a current investment and tendency towards Canon DSLR gear, he also uses Nikon equipment, 4×5 film cameras, whatever gets the job done.  Although he occasionally rents and plays with the Great Whites like Canon’s 800mm f/5.6 L, he prefers smaller image-stabilized f/4 telephotos for use in the kayak.  Canon’s 300mm f/2.8 L is about the largest lens properly deployable from the cramped confines of a kayak, the 400mm f/2.8L and longer are strictly land-based.

All Lagoon Report photographs are tagged with the camera and lens used, and any other auxiliary equipment like intervalometers, audio triggers, and underwater housings.

Why do I see space shuttles in the Lagoon Report?

The Toronto Islands are not only Sean’s home, but they’re also his training and technological proving grounds.  He’s often outside, year-round, testing environmental timelapse enclosures, underwater housings, and cold effects on battery life.  Some of the experiments get spun into off-Island projects that are either deemed to be related to life on the Island, or of interest to some because of the nature of the project.  Off-Island photographs are tagged as related underneath the image.

Project: Space Shuttle was born from testing environmental enclosures in harsh Island environments.  The remote cameras deployed around launch pad 39A for the final shuttle launches had their genesis here, surviving winter storms and spring deluges. Cameras set up at the Kennedy Space Centre might have to sit out in the Florida environment for up to a week if there are launch delays, so it’s necessary to protect them from sun, sand, rain, hail, wind, dew, alligators, solid rocket booster exhaust, you name it.

There are also a lot of kids (both young and old) on the Island, and Sean wants to share his space shuttle experiences to help inspire and motivate the next generation of scientists, astronauts, and policy makers.

Launch of STS-133, LC-39A, Kennedy Space Centre

ISS and Discovery Over Toronto, Centre Island, Toronto Islands

STS-135 Atlantis rollover and astronauts, Kennedy Space Centre, Florida

Space shuttle Endeavour under xenon lights, Kennedy Space Centre, Florida

Above, from left to right:  space shuttle Discovery’s final launch, photographed from an Island-tested remote camera enclosure.  A week later, Discovery soars in orbit over Toronto, docked to the International Space Station.  The final four astronauts of the space shuttle program walk with Atlantis during rollover, and Endeavour sits on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre bathed in xenon lights on the eve of her final launch.

When is the next Lagoon Report coming out?

RSN (Real Soon Now).  There is no schedule, Lagoon Reports happen when they happen.

Do you do other types of photography?

Absolutely.  While specializing in panoramic and kayak-based wildlife photography, Sean also does event, adventure, timelapse, and technical photography.  He’s currently building and testing long-duration active-infrared wildlife monitoring systems, sometimes called camera traps, to photograph wildlife in its natural environment without the disturbance of having the photographer around.  He’s also working on a long-term multimedia project showcasing the Island’s changing seasons called Island Time.

Other samples of Sean’s work can be found on the Lagoon Report’s sister sites:

Heart of Stone showcasing the landscapes and wildlife of Georgian Bay
Skylines of Toronto geared towards graphic designers and layout artists, featuring high-resolution imagery of Toronto’s skyline
Sean Tamblyn.com Sean’s primary site with articles, techniques, photography, and visual application development.

Twilight over the lighthouse and twin ranges, Bustard Rocks, Georgian Bay
Above: twilight settles over the lighthouse and unique twin ranges of the Bustard Rocks, in Georgian Bay.