Story and photography by Roy Ramsay
I had the opportunity to “shadow,” for the magazine, the 2015 Giant Digital Workshop led by professional shooter Barry Wojciechowski at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, located southeast of Thunder Bay, ON, on the shores of Lake Superior. Barry is a professional photographer and teaches photography at Confederation College in Thunder Bay.
Upon entering Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, you feel like you’re stepping into another world. Nothing but forests line both sides of the road, with the occasional clearing to expose ponds and waterways that lead into the park and leave you feeling like you’ve left the hustle bustle behind. That’s exactly what we wanted because we were about to immerse ourselves into a three-day workshop photographing everything from landscapes and macros to wildlife. The accommodations in the park were exceptional. Each of us stayed in beautiful, rustic cabins that housed up to three people, each with their own bedrooms, kitchen, living room and bathroom. Every day we awoke before dawn to an exceptional breakfast of bacon and eggs, fruit and coffee, cereal, bagels and toast; everything you need to get your day started. We were on location by sunrise for our first landscape of the day. Barry wasted no time in getting the group into position to take advantage of the morning light, but as is the case much of the time in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, we were at water’s edge in a fog bank. This is where a professional photographer shines and is able to take an otherwise washed out sunrise and turn it into a learning experience. Instead of a typical sunrise, we shot moody images as the fog slowly lifted off the lake; equally as beautiful. Eventually on day three the fog lifted and clouds parted, revealing a beautiful sunrise at Marie Louise Lake. We spent the three days moving to several locations, shooting at every opportunity, in spots like Thunder Bay Lookout, Sea Lion and Silver Islet, just to name a few. Each day we returned to base camp for lunch and dinner, where we were treated to more amazing “home-cooked” meals. Barry taught not only according to his itinerary, but when a special question came up about something unscheduled, he squeezed the lesson in — another good sign of a great teacher.