Places

Photos: The stunning biodiversity of Algonquin Provincial Park

Photographer Megan Lorenz shares her experience shooting in Canada's oldest provincial park
  • Jan 27, 2017
  • 994 words
  • 4 minutes
Expand Image
Advertisement

At 7,630 km², Algonquin Provincial Park is one of the largest provincial parks in the country – it’s even bigger than Prince Edward Island. All that space makes the park a sanctuary for diverse wildlife and the people who love to watch them. Of the animals that call the park home, there are 40 different mammals, over 30 kinds of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 130 breeding birds, many of which are easily viewed from the Highway 60 Corridor.

In the autumn of 2016, Canadian Geographic sent photographer (and Can Geo Photo Club member) Megan Lorenz into the park to capture a bit of what makes Algonquin Provincial Park so special. Her photos appear in the January/February 2017 issue of Canadian Geographic alongside an essay by Roy MacGregor.

Here, Lorenz talks about what it was like to go on assignment for the magazine and shares advice for novice photographers.

On what it was like to go on assignment in the park

We picked a bad time to go. There was a hurricane warning. I had a tree come down on my tent in the middle of night. I was inside the tent and I heard the crack and automatically went to protect myself and it came right down on me. It’s always a good idea to be prepared; luckily I had duct tape, which fixes everything.

As far as the assignment, it was a really good thing for me. I tend to get stuck into one particular style and I tend to go for the same subjects that I’m passionate about. So this gave me an opportunity to go and explore different things I hadn’t done before. Different trails, different animals. It was nice to focus and think about the landscapes more.

On photographic challenges

It’s always a little bit difficult in Algonquin because it is so large. Going on a single trail can take up a good chunk of the day. For the landscapes you don’t even have to be on the trail; a bunch of mine were taken right on Highway 60. Some were off on the trails, but the shorter trails. It’s about knowing where to be, and pure luck. 

Sometimes it’s difficult. I was out shooting recently when it was -25. Those days are really tough. I just have to keep the final goal in mind: getting a photo I haven’t been able to capture before. There’s some photos I’ve been chasing for four or five years. But other than the rain and tornado it wasn’t too bad when I was in Algonquin.

On her favourite photo from the assignment

Funnily enough it would be the Muskoka chair. That was just a really nice peaceful moment. After taking the photo I was able to just relax and take in the view. Sometimes when you’re on assignment you don’t always get a chance to do that.

Expand Image
Lorenz’s favourite photo from her assignment to Algonquin park. (Photo: Megan Lorenz/Canadian Geographic)

On her passion for conservation photography

With photography, if you’re able to get it out to a large audience and share that with other people, that’s good. People will only protect things that they’re passionate about and the things they know personally. The more you can get people out, the better. I’m also involved with some conservation groups through donations of my photography. Canadian Wildlife Federation is a big one.

On the future

I’d like to be able to make a bigger difference to some of the things that really matter to me. One of the things is the black bear hunt in the spring. That’s just been brought back in the past few years. That’s one of those things that I passionately feel shouldn’t be happening.

Expand Image
A curious fox kit taking a break from his energetic siblings. (Photo: Megan Lorenz/Canadian Geographic)

On advice for novice photographers

Getting into professional photography is very challenging. There’s a lot of competition, and not just among professionals but also even among amateurs with good equipment. So I’d say that initially it’s important to just enjoy what you do. Go out and enjoy being out, for the love of photography and for the love of wildlife. You’re going to miss all the shots you’re not there to take.  

See more of Lorenz’s photos from Algonquin below.

Expand Image
A black bear cub. Bears are a common sight in Algonquin making it very important to keep a clean campsite and following the rules which are there to keep you – and the bears – safe. (Photo: Megan Lorenz/Canadian Geographic)
Expand Image
Canoeists on Lake Opeongo. (Photo: Megan Lorenz/Canadian Geographic)
Expand Image
Is there any species more Canadian than the Gray Jay? On your visit to Algonquin you are sure to come across a curious Gray Jay who are happy to land on your hand for a close up look.  The Gray Jay Research in the park is one of the longest-running studies of a marked population of vertebrates anywhere in the world! (Photo: Megan Lorenz/Canadian Geographic)
 
Expand Image
The best time to see Gray Jays is in the fall or winter because that is the time when they are most active in storing food and most likely to seek out people. (Photo: Megan Lorenz/Canadian Geographic)
 
Expand Image
(Photo: Megan Lorenz/Canadian Geographic)
 
Expand Image
Kayak at the Two Rivers Beach.  Waiting for another day of exploration and adventure in the park. (Photo: Megan Lorenz/Canadian Geographic)
Expand Image
Pine Marten (American Marten) in Algonquin Provincial Park.  Pine Martens are in the park all year but are much easier to find in the winter.  Under normal conditions neither sex will allow another marten of the same sex in their home territory, although males will tolerate the presence of multiple females. An average male defends a territory of approximately 1-3 square miles. In the winter this may change due to available food sources. (Photo: Megan Lorenz/Canadian Geographic)
Advertisement

Related Content

Andy McKinnon

Places

Canada’s first national urban park

It’s an ambitious plan: take the traditional Parks Canada wilderness concept and plunk it in the country’s largest city. But can Toronto’s Rouge National Urban Park help balance city life with wildlife?

  • 3601 words
  • 15 minutes
A crowd of tourist swarm on a lakeside beach in Banff National Park

Places

Smother Nature: The struggle to protect Banff National Park

In Banff National Park, Alberta, as in protected areas across the country, managers find it difficult to balance the desire of people to experience wilderness with an imperative to conserve it

  • 3507 words
  • 15 minutes

Environment

Green spaces crucial, but a challenge says 2020 Parks Report

The 2020 Canadian City Parks Report looks at challenges and opportunties for Canada's parks under a COVID-19 lens

  • 1415 words
  • 6 minutes

Wildlife

Environmental commissioner decries logging in Algonquin

  • 643 words
  • 3 minutes