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A Frozen Photo Adventure

It was an extremely cold weekend in January and I decided it was a good idea to go out and shoot photos! What was I thinking?

By the time I had shot my first photo of the Toronto Skyline at sunrise from Polson Pier I realized I hadn't dressed warm enough. My fingers were freezing, I could barely feel my face, but seeing Lake Ontario frozen solid like that was totally worth it!

 ©Dave Watkins 2018

©Dave Watkins 2018

After getting warmed up in my car and setting up my GPS, it was off to Hamilton to get some shots of Tiffany Falls. I had been there earlier in the year when the water was flowing. This was my chance to see it frozen solid. When I arrived I was not disappointed. There was not a single drop of water to be seen anywhere. The entire waterfall was as still as the air and I got to enjoy the site in almost total privacy. A few other people braved the cold but would only spend a minute or two at the falls before rushing back to their cars.

 ©Dave Watkins 2018

©Dave Watkins 2018

Foolishly I had only brought my wide angle lens with me to the viewing platform. I was dying to get a closer shot of the ice so I decided to make the short walk back to my car. On the way another couple stopped me to ask if my camera was frozen. I smiled and said "surprisingly it isn't... but my fingers are". The man smiled back and said "here take these" and handed over a pair of hand warmers to put inside my gloves. I said, "oh no I couldn't what about your hands?" To which he replied "Oh I'm from Sudbury so I'm prepared for this cold, I have a pair in my pockets, a pair in my boots, and a bunch more in my car". Thanks to this random act of kindness I was able to continue shooting for the rest of the day far more comfortably than I had in the morning.

 ©Dave Watkins 2018

©Dave Watkins 2018

After retrieving my 70-200 I was able to capture some stunning detail shots of the frozen waterfall. I also got a second chance to thank the man from Sudbury for the hand warmers that were keeping my fingers so toasty warm. Once I was done shooting the close ups I realized that my beard was frozen solid from all of the moisture in my breath. This was the perfect time for a selfie to post on Instagram... unfortunately as soon as I pulled the phone out of my pocket and opened the camera app, the battery which had read 82% flipped to 1% and the phone shut off because of the cold.  Surprisingly my Canon 5D MKIV was still on it's first battery with no signs of slowing down. Back with my MKII I used to have all kinds of problems with batteries freezing in cold weather. Now back in my car I was able to warm up my phone enough so that I could set my GPS for my next stop... NIAGARA FALLS!

 ©Dave Watkins 2018

©Dave Watkins 2018

After following the massive cloud of mist to the Falls I found that all the lots close by were $20 to park for the day. I decided that driving back up Clifton Hill and finding a $5 lot was a much better idea. I totally couldn't have made that work without the hand warmers that were still going strong! Once I walked back to the Falls with my camera and tripod I was blown away at the beauty of the frozen landscape. The American side of the falls looked almost completely frozen over. There were only a couple sections where you could still see water moving. This scene needed to be included in the next season of Game of Thrones some how. 

 ©Dave Watkins 2018

©Dave Watkins 2018

The Canadian Side of the Falls was still moving despite the extreme cold. Everything around the falls however was frozen solid. Even though the temperature was so low there were a surprising number of people out and about. I guess all of the news coverage about the frozen falls made everyone curious. I was definitely one of the curious ones. I managed to grab all sorts of shots of the falls and some 4K video clips too that I will be posting to Shutterstock. All while only using one battery. I guess Canon must have improved the weather sealing on the MKIV because I had two other people tell me their cameras had frozen and my iPhone had frozen as well.

 ©Dave Watkins 2018

©Dave Watkins 2018

Not bad for a single day right? I got to shoot photos and video in Toronto, Hamilton, and Niagara Falls and still managed to get home by 3:30 in the afternoon. My only regret was when I saw all the Instagram shots pop up from sunset at Polson Pier. Next time I'll make it a round trip where I capture sunrise and sunset on the same day. 

Oh and one more thank you for the man from Sudbury who saved my fingers an awful lot of discomfort! 

Cheers,

Dave