The calm after the storm
The rain had just stopped when Corinna Lindsay decided to set up her tripod and capture the sunset breaking through the clouds over a glassy Lake Ontario, near Kingston. “I adjusted the colour balance to get that cool blue,” she says. She spent more than half an hour waiting for the perfect shot.
Absolutely the best photo in the contest. That colour! We love all the rich tones of blue with just a touch of pink defining the clouds. Also, the lines make this shot really captivating— the horizon, the boat masts, the diagonals of the clouds rolling away in the distance—they keep your eye moving. Yet despite all this movement, Corinna’s photo makes us feel quiet and still. That’s what makes it worthy of the top prize this year.
Action! 1st Place
The gang’s all here
Mike Irvine was delighted to see his favourite old diving rock in Georgian Bay taken over by a new generation of “harbour kids.” He has cottaged on nearby Whale Rock his whole life and says that this spot means a lot to him. “I had to perch on my knees on the side of the cliff to take that picture,” he recalls. “It was definitely a balancing act.”
Mike’s sacrifice was worth it—the angle is just right. It looks like one of those photo sequences where every stage of the jump is captured. We chose this shot because it’s a unique take on something we’ve seen before. Plus, it documents one of those happy summer moments. This is a place we’d like to be: at the cottage, with our friends, having a great time.
Action! 2nd Place
A one-ring circus
“I’ve always been the photographer at the lake,” says Alexandra Pawson, a lawyer who says photography is her creative outlet. She snapped this shot of her friend Devon competing in the tube relay at the annual Boshkung Lake, Ont., regatta—with her hand in a cast. “Devon doesn’t let anything stop her.”
We love how Devon is completely unaware of the camera. There’s a photojournalistic quality to this shot, and the regatta crowd makes a great backdrop for a cottage photo. It feels authentic. Plus, Alexandra canted the camera and the severe angle really adds to the frenzied energy. A great shot.
Action! 3rd Place
Leeorah Pearce was glad she brought her camera along on her son Coby’s first tube ride at a friend’s cottage on Calabogie Lake, Ont. Her advice for a good action shot? “Never look at the photos you’re taking. It puts you in the editor mode. Just take as many photos as possible and let yourself get creative.”
We see a lot of tubing photos and they’re a bit of a cliché, but this is the cliché done well. It’s a great action shot: The shutter speed is high, so the subject is in sharp focus. The kids’ faces are spectacular, not to mention their body positions. We wish we had taken this!
Kids 1st Place
At 14, Adelaide Baker has already learned that great nature photography takes patience. “We were around them for a while, so they were used to us,” she says of the ducklings she photographed with her underwater camera on Wollaston Lake, Ont. After some time spent winning their trust, she was able to swim right up to the flock and snap a shot without zooming in.
We chose this photo because it was something we’ve never seen. It looks as though Adelaide has caught a secret conversation between the ducks. And we like that the shot is grainy! It adds an element of mystery. She used a wide-angle lens and got up close to the subjects, making us feel as though we’re part of the action. Good work!
Kids 2nd Place
Fifteen-year-old Nicolas d’Entremont got his first camera when he was seven, and he has been shooting at his family’s Christian Island, Ont., cottage ever since. He captured his cousin Scott’s “epic” tube ride last summer with his SLR. “I loved the colour of the water that day,” he says. “And my cousin’s face is priceless.”
We really like the kinetic energy here: the tilted horizon, the spray of water, and the shadow of the tube as it flies in the air. By the way Scott’s white-knuckling those handles, you can tell it’s an intense moment. The boat in the foreground and the trees in the background give us a nice sense of context too.
Kids 3rd Place
Love is in the air
Taryn Conrad, a seven-year-old Kawartha, Ont., cottager, spotted this heart-shaped cloud and asked her mom to lay down on the dock with her to see it. She used Mom’s iPhone to take the picture. “I thought it would be cool if I put my feet up so they could be a picture frame.”
Great instincts, Taryn! This shot is simple and graphic and we love it. You’ve captured the strong, beautiful light of the summer sun and a really nice, fleeting moment. Only a kid would think to take such a playful photo from such a creative perspective.
Landscapes 1st Place
Up close and personal
Ian Carter was out for a walk, near his grandparents’ cabin on Lake of the Woods, when he spotted this snapping turtle with a shell the size of a garbage can lid. “I got down on my knees and right up to his face to get the shot,” says Ian. “He was surprisingly calm.”
The power of this photo is that it’s centred, even though the rule of thirds suggests that you frame your subjects off to the side. (Sometimes you have to break the rules.) The depth of field is spot on: The turtle is in sharp detail from claw to shell, while everything else is out of focus. Most importantly, instead of taking the shot from above, Ian took it at eye level, a great way to get strong photos of animals.
Landscapes 2nd Place
Big game hunter
“Moose are so majestic,” says Gordon Bulger, who wakes up at 5:30 a.m. almost every day at his Bear Lake, Ont., cottage to go looking for them. “And they appear in the strangest places.” He had driven by this picturesque marsh between Parry Sound and Huntsville hundreds of times, thinking it would be a perfect place to spot a moose. “And then I spotted two!” (Can you see the baby?)
We saw a lot of photos of mist in this category, but this was the best one. It’s contained. It’s painterly. It’s the type of photo where you’ll find more things to appreciate the longer you stare at it. Gordon has caught a truly magical moment, the kind we all want to witness when we’re out there in nature. Nicely done.
Landscapes 3rd Place
Yvon Desjardins didn’t have to go far to take this shot of a raspberry hanging just outside his log cottage on Lac Gagnon, Que. “There’s enough beauty in your garden or a small patch of forest to take photos for hours,” he says. He attaches an extension ring to his ordinary lens as an affordable way to take great macro shots. “Better than blowing $500 on fancy equipment.”
Yvon’s got a great eye to notice the image of the cottage in that raindrop. Good photography is all about seeing the beauty in those small details. That dark, out-of-focus backdrop gives the photo necessary drama. We’re drawn to the bold and simple colours, and that the berry appears to be framed by light. He’s taken a fantastic photo.
Life at the Cottage 1st Place
Catch of the day
“Miles is a trooper. He was out ice fishing with me all day,” says Ronnie Lebow, who shot his nine-year-old nephew returning home with a lake trout that he caught on Lake Joseph, Ont. Although he’s often out with his SLR camera, Ronnie took this winning photo with his little point-and-shoot, proving that, sometimes, the best camera is simply the one you have in your hands.
It’s nice to see a silhouette shot set in winter. The long shadow, and the way the light dances off the snow, is lovely. This photo really draws you into the scene, and you can very easily imagine yourself there. We can almost feel the cold air and hear the crunch of the snow beneath his boots.
Life at the Cottage 2nd Place
Bliss on the bow
They were all out on her uncle’s boat on Six Mile Lake, Ont., when Amanda Matessich snapped her daughters Alice and Ada enjoying their first cruise of the summer. “They had a glow about them that was so joyful and true,” she recalls. Her tip for capturing the moment: “Watch where the light falls, especially when it comes to faces.”
The depth of field is so well done, especially for a bright shot. The girls are in focus and nicely lit, so nothing distracts us from their features. The crinkle in that nose is such an honest expression of happiness! With the bright colours and the sunlight in their hair, you can’t help but smile with them.
Life at the Cottage 3rd Place
Gently down the stream
“It was a classic cottage scene,” says David McDougall, who took this photo on Harp Lake, Ont. “But you don’t see rowboats that nice every day.” He happened to have his camera handy while enjoying a barbecue on his friend’s deck. “You never know when a great shot will float right by.”
You can tell this photo isn’t contrived. These two are completely engaged with one another, sharing an intimate moment that we’ve been allowed to witness. It was shot from a higher angle, which enables you to see the details inside the boat and the ripples on the water. There’s a story here, and David tells it beautifully.