My first recent time photographing things at the Meaford Harbour was nearly two weeks ago now, and it was in the middle of our mild spell. Temperatures had risen above freezing, and we'd had rain (Yuck!), so there was little snow left, and even the ice along the shoreline had mostly melted.
I started at the little park west of the harbour, where I've sometimes climbed over a 6 foot snowbank, and waded through 18" of snow to get winter pictures. Today - no snow at all, and just a little ice on the outer boulders.
It was a sunny day, and a bit of a northeast wind, so the waves were rolling in. You could easily see how the ice builds on these boulders when temperatures are below freezing.
And I was completely astonished to see a ship out in the bay - in early February!! This would simply never happen in a normal year; last year it was solid ice for 2 or 3 months!
It was so easy walking with no snow that I went over to the main harbour and headed out to the breakwalls. This view is the opening of the river mouth, the same view as the last view of this that I finished with yesterday - completely choked with ice floes, after the temperature had dropped later that week.
I walked to the west light first, just a small warning light for entering the harbour. You would never walk here in a normal winter, because these rocks would be covered in treacherous ice, and it's about 20 feet down to the water.
By this time the ship out there had come in closer, and I could see it was a fishing tug, taking a chance with the weather on a good day I guess.
Then I turned back and headed out the east breakwall, to the taller small lighthouse. You can see that the ice is completely melted away at water level.
Somehow I managed to get a picture when the flashing red light of the small lighthouse was actually on. It's amazing how hard it is to catch it in a photograph.
Walking out there I had seen someone just standing on the rocks, but as I got closer I could see he was flying a drone, a small quadcopter.
I went to join him and got several pictures. I've looked at drones for some fun photography, but hesitated because of the noise they make, and the price. But I was quite impressed with this one, and had a good long chat with him about it. He was still learning how to fly it, and out here away from people was a safe place to practice. You can guess what I'm thinking! ...... That might be fun!
The drone is entirely controlled with a unit like this, both for the flying and the photography. It has a built in gps system that will always bring it back to the point where it started, at least if you set it up correctly. The Canadian government announced new regulations for drones just this December, and they're pretty stringent. If used for work or research, you need a license; if just for fun you still cannot fly them closer than 150 yards from people, vehicles, buildings, or built up areas. That's a fair distance, and as long as people follow the rules it would get rid of the annoying use of drones at touristy locations where other people are there. They'd still be useful for air photos out in rural areas - like wetlands that you can't walk through. In any case, I was impressed.
I stopped by to say hello to the retired Westport CCGS ship permanently on display here.
And found two more Coast Guard ships out of the water for the winter, at the small Coast Guard base. The Cape Commodore and the Cape Rescue are both used on Georgian Bay as search and rescue ships, but I've never seen them here before. Turned out to be a nice walk for a winter day after a mild spell when I couldn't go skiing!