It’s been almost a century since a troupe of artists from southern Ontario and Quebec captured the landscapes of Algoma, north of Superior, Killarney and Algonquin in a manner that cut against the resource-based norm of Canada’s early industrial age. Developers were eying Northern Ontario for mineral, timber and hydroelectricity values, but the Group of Seven painters recognized the beauty and significance of the North as a pristine wilderness. In the Wawa district in particular, famous paintings like A.Y. Jackson’s First Snow, Algoma and J.E.H. Macdonald’s The Solemn Land presented Canada’s frontier in a different light. Similarly, Lawren Harris’ moody renderings of Pic Island depicted Lake Superior’s latent power.
Thanks to the pioneering work of the Group of Seven, Northern Ontario has become known as an Eden for artists and photographers. Each fall, Naturally Superior Adventures builds on this tradition with the Gales of November Photography Workshop. Under the watchful tutelage of professional photographer Rob Stimpson, participants use Rock Island Lodge as a base camp and learn the elements of landscape photography through in-class sessions and field trips.
Of course, the often-bucolic scenes of the classic Group of Seven canvases isn’t the prime objective of Gales of November photographers. We anticipate wind, surf and powerful skies of late fall—the stuff storm-chasing photographers dream of. The Michipicoten River tosses up immense breakers where its current intersects with incoming swells; Driftwood Beach’s sensuous curves come alive in sunset light; and the multi-coloured pebbles of Government Dock Beach are buttressed by stalwart greenstone headlands—all these possibilities are located within easy walking distance from Rock Island Lodge.
There’s a reason the Gales of November workshop has enjoyed sellout success for over a decade: Comfortable accommodations, tasty homecooked meals and professional instruction along with a diverse natural environment that’s simply world-class.