Nopiming Provincial Park | The View Finder |
This was my first trip in an appreciable amount of time outside of Winnipeg. Nopiming Provincial Park is about 2.5 hours north-east of Manitoba and spans 1400 square kilometers. 1400 square kilometers of protected land, clean air and clear reflective waters. Wildlife abundant and abound, their sounds only a faint echo to the roaring rapids that is contained within this provincial park. Tulabi Falls is perhaps a slight misnomer, to me it seemed more like a rapid but hey, I didn’t name it, this is the main event of Nopiming; Nopiming meaning “Entrance to the Wilderness” in the Anishinabi language.
A little backstory of my mindset before heading to Nopiming; I was worried that I wouldn’t have a camera to use. For about 6 months I have been planning on buying a new (used) camera because my old camera made me feel unprepared for most situations. I was using a Canon T2i, which is a great starter camera, but I only had a 50mm prime lens (again, great lens) but this combination really doesn’t work well for landscape photography. The limitations tested me, and whenever I captured a decent composition, I felt a great sense of accomplishment, but because I couldn’t always get the shots I wanted, my passion for photography went into a nose dive. Before my Canon T2i, I was using my LG G5 and an old Olympus E-400 (released in 2006!!), so when I first got my Canon it was a huge upgrade, but because I only had that prime lens, I found no flexibility in my shots. I tried to find the silver lining in this by focusing on the testing aspects of it, I only had my body to move to find the shot. If I couldn’t find that shot I wanted in the frame, well I had to pack up and move, any miscalculation could spell ruin. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my Canon T2i was a crop sensor, so my 50mm lens worked more like a telephoto 75mm lens (knowing this before would have been a major help but hindsight is always 20/20).
Fast-foward and I found the perfect deal on a Wednesday the week before my trip, a Nikon D5300 with a 18-55mm AND 55-300mm telephoto for $450.00. A BARGAIN and I even negotiated the price down to $425. The only problem was I didn’t have $425.00 at the time, what I did have was an Ipad (brand new still in factory packaging, a gift from RBC for opening up a bank account with them) and $100.00. I inquired hoping he would want to trade but there was no response, and I knew this was a good deal and I did not want to have to pass up on it. I posted the Ipad online and played the waiting game, and as fate would have it, someone messaged me wanting the Ipad for the full price I paid, no haggling and that they would be here to pick it up on Saturday. I was naturally skeptical but never-the-less I was hopeful that this person would pull through. The deal was a success and I messaged the guy saying I had the cash, he told me that someone else was offering $425 but was picking it up on Monday, but if I could come down by Sunday I could have it. How could I say no, even if I had plans that day I would have destroyed them so I could get this camera, and that kids is how I met my Nikon D5300. I must also say I am thankful of my girlfriend because of all the support she gave me throughout this ordeal, putting up with me for 6 months desperately wanting a camera, she reassured me that the long-con would work out, she was right.
Back to Nopiming and armed with my new Nikon D5300, I knew I wanted to try my hand at long exposures. It just so happened that on the Sunday, I was also able to sell my old Canon T2i in the evening. This allowed me to get some accessories for my Nikon, which consisted of a new camera backpack so I could keep everything secure and protected, and a GOBE variable neutral density filter. Which isn’t anything professional or high quality which is fine by me since I am using it as a learning tool rather. My backpack wasn’t delivered in time (amazon problems) but I did have my camera, those 2 lenses and my filter, and let me tell you, I haven’t felt this type of excitement regarding photography in a very long time.
I did a load of research on two things; 1. How to take long exposures, and 2. the history of the park; which can be found in the ‘Histogram’ page. In my research of long exposures, the main message in all of the YouTube videos I watched was “Long exposures make movement look silky” and they are right, but my understanding was that there really isn’t too much depth on “how to take a long exposure” per se, but more-so on “how to compose a long exposure shot”. It was in learning about compositions (thank you Art Wolfe) that I came to understand that most of my photography prior to that moment of learning, were trash or luck.
Let me elaborate, when I say trash, I don’t mean it as self-deprecating as it sounds, more so, if I were to time-travel back to that point, I would have composed things much differently (basically the story of life). It was in this thought process where I understood that I became complacent in photography at a very early stage, unwilling to be humbled. Any good shots I took, wasn’t because I was a good photographer, but because I was lucky, I just happened upon that picture. I vowed to change, Nopiming was an experience that changed me. The planning out methodical waiting to buy my new-used camera, made it so when I actually held the Nikon in my hands, was a moment of elation and fulfillment. Coming to terms with my ego and deflating it, essentially saying to myself, “yeah, maybe you have a photographers eye, but you do not have the photographers skill and talent, at least not yet.” was humbling, and as my eyes gazed upon the beautiful splendor of a mostly untainted expanse of forest, clean rivers, lakes and land. I realized that photography’s most important contribution, is the story your photographs tell.