Beausoleil Island Artist in the Park – First Thoughts

Beausoleil Island Map

Beausoleil Island Map

{map courtesy of Parks Canada}

If you’ve been staying up-to-date with us on Facebook and Twitter you’ll already know I am thrilled and honoured to be invited to be an Artist in the Park on Beausoleil Island in Georgian Bay National Park this summer. I am hugely thankful to be given an opportunity to spend a week on the island to make art in one of the most beautiful locations in Ontario.

As soon as I received my invitation a few months ago my head started swimming with all the things that I’ll need to get in order:

  • little to no electricity
    • how will I charge the camera batteries?
    • or the laptop? – how will I download memory cards?
  • what camera filters will I need?
  • put together and prioritize my shot list
  • meet and greet
    • what will I plan?
    • which photographs should I bring?
    • in which format?
  • no fridge or stove, will have access to a barbecue and and ice
    • cooler
    • what will we eat for the week?
  • how will we pack and store my equipment?
  • pack list
  • are we better to rent bicycles when we get there or should we try to bring our own?
  • there are bears
  • and rattlesnakes too

I feel like I’m a digital photographer entering into an analog world for a week. It’s going to take a huge amount of planning to get the most out of this trip and I’d like to take you with me through the journey of pre-production to final images.

Have you ever spent a week without electricity or a fridge? What did you eat? Are you a photographer that’s had to download and back-up memory cards without reliable access to power? How did you handle?

7 thoughts on “Beausoleil Island Artist in the Park – First Thoughts

  1. ehpem says:

    Congratulations Jennifer on being honoured this way. What a fantastic thing!

    I have just returned from volunteering for a couple of weeks on a project in Gwaii Haanas National Park on the west coast, with one of my roles to take photographs.
    That project was based in a parks cabin with solar power, so recharging batteries and backing up were not such a concern as it sounds for you.

    Even so, I bought another 16gig card for the trip (I took 2) and another battery for the camera. I chose to shoot jpegs since I did not have enough cash for lots of cards to shoot RAW. I also took along several USB memory sticks, but not a computer as I knew there would be one there I could back up onto, and use to transfer to the flash drives. Since it is a very wet environment (including salt water) I also stocked up on a couple of packages of rain sleeves. I bought a more or less waterproof back pack camera case as I did not want to be lugging a pelican case through the woods.

    In the past I have used a small portable solar recharging kit. We made it up from a small panel and an inverter, battery and other bits and pieces in a suitcase. It worked really well and in those days (20 years ago) it cost about $300 – we used it for radios, camera, light and other batteries, and laptops too.

    I only own one digital camera (Canon 5Dii), and most of my lenses are repurposed older ones from film cameras. I took along a Nikon 24mm f2.8, Takumar 35mm f3.5, Canon 50mm f1.4, Takumar 100mm f4 macro and Takumar 200mm f4. For my task I only used the 200mm three times (once for a falcon shot, the others to pull a landscape closer). I did not use the 35mm at all, but the 24mm was a staple as was the 50mm. I used the 100mm macro frequently, for portraits of people working and for close ups of finds and other uses too.

    For filters I had a neutral density fader filter (ranges from about 1 to 7 or 8 f-stops) and polarizing filters as well as the usual UVs for lens protection. Lens hoods were important to help mitigate rain on the lens more than anything else. I included a cleaning kit for the sensor (blower and a brush to gentle wipe it if nothing else works, not really recommended, but I have done it before), just in case, and also useful for the lenses.

    I took along my heavy tripod, but because it was heavy only used it in combination with the neutral density filter for some long exposures of water. I forgot to bring along a small tripod substitute thingy that straps with velcro to trees, rails and so on, but wish I had remembered as it could have been useful and is highly portable.

    Hope this helps. I am just starting to post my pictures from the project, I came back with nearly 2,000 shots (many of them for technical documentation and of little other interest) so it is taking a lot of time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Good luck with your project. I wish I had been able to only take pictures – I missed a lot of good opportunities because I was busy with other duties, had totally dirty hands or felt guilty taking photos when heavy labour was in progress that I could help with.

    • Jennifer says:

      Sounds like quite an adventure! A small solar recharging kit is definitely something to think about, I’m adding it to my list of things to research.

      Gear-wise I basically know what I’m bringing, I started my pack list from day one. It’s just the little bits like filters that I’m not sure about. I typically don’t use them but I think for this location they may be advantageous so I’m looking into it.

      Thanks for sharing such in-depth gear details of your trip! I really appreciate it!

  2. Caitlin says:

    This sounds like a fun experience! Good luck with it 🙂

    Would you mind if I shared this link on the FPOE blog- we do a regular Travel feature now. Thanks!

    Caitlin

  3. ally says:

    ooooohhh this planning sounds like so much fun!! (i’m a great list maker, so this would be perfect.)
    and also congrats! the week itself sounds even more fun than the planning!

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