Friday, July 29, 2011

July at the Lodge

We're privileged to be able to go, often a few times a year, up north to the Bancroft area where my in-laws have  a rustic lodge on some acres of land with two connected, smaller, but quiet lakes.  The last ten years of going there have been filled with lots of fun work projects to improve the place, many hours of swimming, canoeing, and competitive championships such as bocci or horse shoes.  There is ample opportunity for quiet times of solitude to read, snooze, or chat.  And all the while, the place is shared almost every year by one addition (or more) to the quivers of each of the families, making Opa and Oma happy to have purchased the place.

This year, as happens roughly semi-annually, my family was able to use the lodge for a week.  It's great to spend time with family for an extended period of time in a great setting.  My brother and sister-in-law from out west couldn't come, nor could my sister and her husband, and though it would have been better with them there, we had a great time.

I did steal some moments for some pictures... :)

I call it "glory hour".... it's the time when a number of great things often happen all at around the same time!
- deer flies have almost completely ceased to circle your head.
- the wind calms to just a breeze, or often nothing leaving the water as a mirror.
- birds are still singing here and there as they start finding their place for the night.
- the kids are in bed! (for a couple more years at least)
- it's one hour till the mosquitoes descend with a vengeance.
- the fish are really starting to bite
- the temperature reaches perfection.
- the sun is finishing its daily trace of the sky, ready to paint the clouds.

Often, I have to admit, we guys grabbed our rods and fished till the moment passes  (and it is that!) and one of the mosquitoes somewhere gives the signal, "Bite!" as it officially turns to dusk.  However, one night was thankfully taken to pad a canoe so my dear wife with a painful back could recline and share the glory hour with me and watch the sunset on the further of the two lakes.

To Lilly Lake to watch the sunset.

Kids in bed, a canoe for two... peace, quiet, stillness, and beauty.

Sunset over Lilly Lake.

A number of nights, some of us waited for the lights in the lodge to be turned out (who turned that light on again!!!) and let our amazingly designed eyes get accustomed to the darkness to see our small corner of the universe, and see a small number of the billion billion (billion?) stars which humble us before the One who knows each one by name.  Away from the lights of Southwestern Ontario, the night sky becomes inspiring.

Southern night sky over the lake.
This is the first time I've really used one of the features on our camera - it has a multi-frame noise reduction mode.  It takes six frames, then with some software wizardry, aligns and subtracts noise, as best it can.  The alignment of the images is obvious.  For these pictures, each of the six shots is a 30 second exposure, and the night sky is moving enough that over 3 minutes, the stars in the image are definitely not in the same place from beginning to end.

The second shot below is at a higher ISO (3200 compared to 1600 for the first), showing the more distant,  cloudy areas of the sky which are the Milky Way, just slightly visible in the image above.  Noise definitely does more than creep into the bottom third of the picture.  We weren't sure what the orange hue above the horizon was (more pronounced in the shot above).  It was mid-night, and Bancroft is almost due north, while this picture is pretty much the south sky.  Is it possible that that's the "halo" of the Toronto (GTA)?     (Click on the pictures to view larger.)

Night sky showing portions of the Milky Way more pronounced.

The Big Dipper was just setting behind the trees behind the lodge.

The Big Dipper in the northern sky.

When I consider Your heavens,
the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which You have set in place,
what is mankind that You are mindful of them,
human beings that You care for them?
Psalm 8:3,4

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Psalm 147:4

I was able to get some wildlife photos during the week as well... I'll post some of them soon.

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