Rock Island / Michipicoten Bay

Rock island came into existence about 2600 million years ago when the Precambrian Shield was forming. Also known as the Canadian shield, it is considered some of the oldest rock in the world. During this time, Numerous large volcanoes erupted on Lake Superior causing islands to form, similar to what happened in the Pacific Ocean that gave rise to the  Hawaiian Islands.

About 1500 million years ago, cracks appeared on the rock surface allowing lava to flow creating grained black rock, known as Diabase Dikes. These geological features are still evident in and around Rock Island.

Over time, Lake Superior’s endless waves and through the effects of erosion, sand was brought to the rocks. These sandy beaches, provide a soft contrast to the rugged structures in this area.

The Michipicoten River, located in the Algoma District of northern Ontario, empties into Michipicoten Bay on Lake Superior. It’s name is thought to derive from an Ojibwa word describing the steep cliffs located near the mouth of the river.

The tranquillity of Michipicoten Bay is now under threat by a proposed traprock quarry at the west end of the Bay.

The genesis of this folio started in the fall of 2008, after working through a long summer and needing a holiday, I discovered a photographic workshop in Northern Ontario that sparked my interest.  Unable to attend the workshop due conflicts with my schedule, I was determined to take a much needed break and I decided to embark on a solo trip to this area. During this trip, I became enamoured with the rugged beauty of the land and returned in the fall of 2009 to participate in the workshop.

The Gales of November workshop name is inspired by Gordon Lightfoot’s song “the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” about one of worst storms on Lake Superior. On November 10, 1975 a storm on Lake Superior claimed the lives of 29 crew aboard the freighter named in the song.

Capturing the turbulent seas and violent weather of Lake Superior was the focus of this workshop albeit from the safety of shore.

During the workshop, our instructor encouraged us to explore and experiment and to look beyond the rough waters of Lake Superior. This approach forced me to explore the land close to our lodge, while I was more comfortable with nomadic photography. I decided to heed to this advice; I slowed my pace and turned my lens towards the unmoving structures formed millions years ago and the less turbulent waters of the Michipicoten Bay.

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