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Prince Edward County

Ontario, Canada

Sandbanks

In Southeastern Ontario, about 2 hours from Toronto, and just across Lake Ontario from upstate New York, lies Prince Edward County. This peninsula is mostly farming country but is also home to Sandbanks Provincial Park, the largest freshwater sand dune system in the world. The dunes in this park are a highly unusual geological feature for this part of the world. 

I visited Sandbanks for the first time in the winter of 2000 and promised myself that I would return. In October of 2001 I returned with Chris Sanderson, the director of the Video Journal, along with photographer John Brownlow. We spent two days exploring the area and doing photography. 

Dune Trees — October, 2001

Photographed with a Hasselblad ArcBody and 35mm Rodenstock lens on Provia 100F.

Though we hiked the dunes for several hours we found photography there to be difficult. Because there are trees throughout the dunes, both live ones and stumps, I found the scene to be inherently messy and thus difficult to photograph — completely different than the pristine dunes in Death Valley. This was my most successful photograph of the day, and I'm very pleased with it.

Working The Dunes

Shooting in the Dunes — October, 2001

Shooting in these dunes presents all of the same problems that doing photography in sand always presents. Any wind at all will blow sand into places that you didn't know you had places — especially camera bodies. This means constant diligence and lots of cleaning at the end of the day.

Working in sand is also physically tiring. Climbing sand dunes with a 30lb camera pack and tripod is hard work. Though we were there in October, unusually warm weather made our roughly 2 miles of up-and-down hiking a real workout.

The Marsh Lands

Marsh Sunrise — October, 2001

Photographed with the Hasselblad XPan and 45mm f/4 lens on Provia 100F
(The horizon
is level. The orientation of the advancing shoreline makes it appear tilted).

Following an afternoon shooting at Sandbanks we sat over dinner pondering where we would shoot sunrise the next morning. A large scale map of the area showed a region of wetlands and mashes near the Bay of Quinte. We identified a spot that consisted of a causeway across an open marsh and the next morning headed there before sunrise.

Double Sunrise — October, 2001

Photographed with the Hasselblad XPan and 45mm f/4 lens on Provia 100F

It turned out to be an unusually mild morning for October and consequently there was a lot of ground mist and fog. The photographs above were the most interesting from a group of exposures taken that dawn. Not great, but they captures something of the feel of the marshes.

To view photographs taken on this same trip by John Brownlow, click here.

This subject is featured in Issue #3 of  The Luminous Landscape Video Journal


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Concepts: Dune, Singing sand, Beach, Aeolian processes, Photography, Sand

Entities: Sandbanks, Sunrise, Toronto, New York, Death Valley, Michael Reichmann, John Brownlow, Chris Sanderson, Ontario, Edward County

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