Ontario offers many stunning vistas for those willing to explore, and Northeastern Ontario has some of the most scenic destinations within the province ranging from the easily accessible to the downright remote. Hitting the road to explore some of these locations in the fall season will reward travellers with the peace and solitude that these destinations can provide.
Let’s begin our road trip through the Region in Killarney. To reach the Killarney area we will drive north on Highway 400 to Highway 69, past Parry Sound to Highway 637. This area is home to the crown jewel of the provincial park system, Killarney Provincial Park, and the quaint town of Killarney. Killarney is noted for its white quartzite rock faces known as the La Cloche mountain range. An early morning stroll down to the beach at the George Lake campground provided me with this beautiful, view of this stunning feature as it towered high above George Lake.
To view the pink granite ridges along the Georgian Bay side of the park, just go for a hike along the 3-km Chikanishing Trail. As you approach the water’s edge you will see an iconic-looking Georgian Bay island just offshore. Using a wide-angle lens I was able to create a scene that complemented the island and also revealed the pink granite on the mainland.
In the town of Killarney, Red Rock Point at the East Lighthouse offers beautiful views of Georgian Bay with more pink granite outcrops along the shoreline. These are perfect for creating abstract yet intimate scenes of the Georgian Bay shoreline.
Now that we have seen the beauty of Killarney, let’s head back southbound on Highway 69, until we reach the information centre for French River Provincial Park located just south of the French River. There is a short trail here that follows the river downstream to Recollet Falls.
During my hike to this small but pretty cascade on the river I could see dark storm clouds in the distance – however, I wouldn’t let them deter me from my quest. Often it is best to photograph waterfalls in overcast light so that the scene is bathed in even lighting. After creating a few compositions I packed my gear so that it would be safe and dry for the hike out. Sure enough the sky opened up and I was thoroughly soaked from head to toe by the time I arrived back at my car, but it was more than worth it for the results.
Travelling farther north along Highway 69 towards Sudbury we will take the Highway 17 West exit towards Sault Ste. Marie. Stay on Highway 17 until we get to the Highway 144 exit, where we will head north towards the city of Timmins. A worthwhile side trip continuing down Highway 17 to the town of Massey rewards us with beautiful views of the Aux Sables River in Chutes Provincial Park.
The Twin Bridges Trail offers an easy walk upstream to view additional sets of rapids and smaller cascades, especially as you get closer to the two bridges over the river. Accessing the river bank here is relatively easy, but you should still take precautions when doing so. By photographing from a low perspective I was able to create this scene that puts the viewer “in” the river to feel the rush of the raging waters.
After the Chutes Provincial Park side trip it is time to retrace our drive easterly along Highway 17 to Highway 144 and head north. On the way we stop at the scenic Onaping Falls. The spectacular view here was particularly interesting to Group of Seven painter A.Y. Jackson. A short walk on the trail system towards the river reveals the falls in greater detail. Sadly, the rocks around the waterfall have been scarred by graffiti, which I removed in Photoshop.
After our short stop at Onaping Falls we continue our journey north and stop to spend the night at Halfway Lake Provincial Park, located on Highway 144. Early risers on Halfway Lake Provincial Park’s Antrim Lake are rewarded by a dazzling sunrise. Often, when photographing sunrise images such as these, I need to use a graduated neutral density filter to better control the dynamic range within the scene. A selection of these filters should be in every landscape photographer’s gear bag.