Tuesday, June 21, 2011

With Due Respect to Group of Seven

Many photographers will suggest the adventure behind the shot is the ... well, the adventure and the final image is the prize.

Nothing could be closer to the truth than a recent excursion with my friend and fellow photographer Ethan Meleg experienced when we embarked on a cruise to the thousands of islands that dot the eastern shoreline of Georgian Bay on Ontario's Lake Huron.

Ethan has a boat, I spent a good part of my life in the Navy, so we seemed a natural crew to complement the good ship Viewfinder. It would seem, however, that 15 years of cruising salt water from below the equator to north of the arctic circle on a 365-foot ship with seasoned crew of 250 professional sailors is a different matter than steaming freshwater inlets with a skipper who has difficulty knowing that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west!

The first indication of the adventures this trip would bring was the fact that we were steaming into the sun at four o'clock in the PM, yet the compass was showing East! Ye gaddes, what is this about? Mmm, well, Ethan took my advice and loosened two bolts that was holding the compass in place, re-configured the placement of the compass by rotating it 180 degrees and alas... we were on the right course!

To watch Ethan navigate with a marine chart is akin to watching Gumby and Pokey go to a Saturday night dance with bellies full of gin and 60's rock and roll as the tunes. He gives a whole new definition to “Ships Centre” and north being the top of the chart only applies when...well, you are steering north.

I won't even mention the fact that the plug came out and we were taking on water faster than a leaky basket or the fact that a brand new electronic plotter couldn't be employed because the charts weren't loaded. Or....

The fact of the matter is Ethan's recounting of events will probably be much different than mine. I highly suspect, given Ethan's prowess (or lack thereof) of navigation skills, his recollection will probably be 180 degrees opposite to mine.

The one topic we will surely agree upon is the prize: In this case a fabulous fun filled three days of incredible photo opportunities exploring the eastern Georgian Bay that was made even better by sharing laughs and libation around a campfire on the inspirational home of the Group of Seven.

Thanks, Ethan, for introducing me to this incredible sampling of iconic Canadian Shield. Several additions to my “Sticks and Stones” portfolio are indeed the prize; the adventure -that will surely be embellished over time- will be the memory.