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Winter 2017-2018

Hard to believe we're already planning our 6th winter series of outings in Prince Edward County and the Belleville/Quinte Region. The summer of Canada's 150th anniversary is just a blur in memory as our photographers put on a 7-week framed-prints and multimedia exhibition. The theme was documentary 'storytelling" and included 4 Saturday evening shows with projected photography and live music, poetry readings, dancing and, of course, FOOD from all regions of the country. See for more about that phenomenal event.

We kicked off that special year in February and March with an exhibition entitled "Photography Adventures" at the Parrott Art Gallery in Belleville. Watch for an online feature about the 30 photographers who made the Canada 150th celebration possible. In the meantime keep an eye on County Photographer on Instagram.

Instead of the subscription formula that we used in 2017, we will take sign-ups on a trip-to-trip basis. Follow us on Facebook / County Outings. Local outings last 2 to 4 hours and cost $15 plus a contribution for gas. To receive the weekly e-newsletter send your email address to

Over the past 2 years our small group adventures have included Newfoundland, Arizona, Saskatchewan, the Rockies and the Yukon, Saguenay/Quebec City and weekend trips around Ontario. Click to see the Photography Adventures page.

Gift idea

Personal tutoring sessions can be booked for one or 2 people @ $55/hour. An initial 2-hour session provides a comprehensive overview of camera and computer workflow, basic technical information specific to your camera equipment, computer and software. Gift certificates for tutoring and outings are available for stocking stuffers!


For a current list of upcoming 2017 outings please click HERE.


swans in flight Ontario winter

Past outings and workshops

Spring-Summer 2017

April is the month of Easter and Earth Day signifying that life has returned. Our tours teach respect for the Earth, the water, the flora and fauna, and the sustainable treatment of the land and the atmosphere. Our pictures convey the beauty and fragility of nature to others.

May birding and nature photography outings will guide us into varied wildlife habitats of Prince Edward County, forests, marshlands, and Great Lake shorelines. We truly live in a unique and wonderfully-endowed natural region. During the Birding Festival we meet others like us out on the trail.

Some of the other outings to expect include a peek at the local winery and craft brewery scene, growing hops, alpaca farm, some geocaching, the grand opening of the Contact Photography Festival at Ryerson, waterfalls, boardwalks, old barns and barn quilts, and carnivorous plants. Trillium blanketing forest floor with hepatica and spring beauties, dutchmen’s breeches and bloodroot ephemerals.

Saturday, January 28-- Our snowy owl searching tour to Amherst Island. It includes a potluck lunch at the farmhouse (chili provided) and a special invitation to the sheep farm where they will spread the grain when we arrive. See photos from this trip.

Wednesday, January 25 -- There's always something to shoot along the Belleville waterfront. Meet at 9:30 a.m. around Meyer's Pier. It will be an easy walk, perhaps windy along the Bay of Quinte and out to the harbour light. Could be mild like today or stormy; we'll take what we get, then warm up at Cafe E beside the Empire Theatre on Front Street. Then walk over to the Parrott Art Gallery to see a very FUN makes-you-laugh-out-loud photo exhibit.

Saturday, January 21 -- The County goes to The City. Kingston from above and below. Sunset is at 5:00. Walk around the fort then park downtown to explore the historic, back alleyways. Supper at the Kingston Brewing Company then a bit of street shooting after dark with either high ISO or tripods. See photos from this trip.

Wednesday, January 18 -- Get outside then get inside from the harbour light and Wellington shores on Lake Ontario to the Karlo Estates Winery for a tasting with food pairings and a walk to see their unique arched stone bridge built without mortar. Leave Picton at noon, or meet in Wellington at 12:20. Additional cost is $2 for a wine tasting, waived if you purchase 2 bottles. $5 for 3 wine tastings with food pairings (chips, nuts, cheeses). $10 for 7 wine tastings and pairings. See photos from this trip.

Saturday, January 14 -- Due to popular demand...we are headed back to the old mill with the dark sky...taking the long route along the Moira River, north from Belleville. There will be a hike in the woods or on a marsh boardwalk depending on the weather conditions. We will warm up with a coffee shop stop too. Leaving Picton around 9:00 a.m. and meeting others in Belleville at 9:30. Afterward, optional, warm up back in Belleville at a famous Irish pub with live music till 4:00. See photos on the Facebook page.

Saturday, January 7 -- We kick off the Winter 2017 season with a morning trek northward to 2 waterfalls and rushing cascades with ice formations on the Salmon and Napanee Rivers. Easy walking. Carpool from Picton at 9 am or meet us in Napanee at 9:30. See photos from this trip on the Facebook page.

Basic Photography Course

While personal one-on-one tutoring is still available for $35/hour (or 2 people for $55/hour) a basic camera and computer instruction class is being offered. St. Andrew's Picton's sanctuary is reserved for 3 Wednesday evenings in January from 6:00 to 8:00. The cost is $75 tax included. Three sessions with lessons on general exposure theory, how-to camera instruction, review of equipment and software, basic workflow from camera to computer, all about memory cards, lens cleaning reminders, image editing, and daily critiques of students' images on the screen. You will have some assignments to help you with concepts like depth of field, composition, and lighting. If you would like more information please contact The church is located at 31 King Street at Bowery Street and has wifi, hot drinks, bathroom, projector and screen.

A good way to pass the cold winter evenings together. Basic doesn't mean boring. Bring your best and worst photos for critique and learn some computer techniques to turn crappy photos into gold! Watch for an upcoming advanced class after the "Basic" students graduate : )

train at night winter in Kingston, Ontario

Going out with the group often gives you special permission and access to places and events where no other photographers normally go. For instance, we get press passes and front row seats at music and theatre performances, and tours of private collectionsd of antiques and old machines, and visits into sheep barns at lambing time, and hot chocolate, treats and meals inside our hosts' homes.

maple sugaring tapping for sap in Ontario

Visiting Prince Edward County, Belleville and the Quinte Region? Click here for custom half-day and full-day tours for your group or family vacation.

Local photographers, artists and nature-lovers are invited to join County Photographer Phil Norton for regular walks with cameras. Get outside for exercise and learn how to capture the season's beauty. Led by the passion to take great pictures, you will reconnect with nature and discover the rich heritage of Prince Edward County and surrounding regions. or (613) 827-3214.

The Wednesday and Saturday walks are 2 hours to a half-day. The cost is $20 per outing. The format is informal and interactive. Longer day-trip, weekend retreats and week-long trips are also offered.

You can view the participants' photos by clicking here.

heron moon
"Heron Moon" was taken on an outing along the Trent River.


Springtime outings and retreats 2015

Bird sparrow on grave tomb stone cemetery wildlife

Birding Festival weekends (click to see the photos)

Friday, May 15 (6:00 till about 9:30) and Saturday (8:00 to 11:00 a.m.) -- Looking for birds in all their varied habitats from lakeshore and wetland, to field and forest, plus the unique mating flight of the woodcock at dusk. A mix of driving and walking, and stopping....we brake for turkeys! $30 for the two back-to-back outings or $20 for regular participants. Welcome back the 4 folks who came to The County last year and toured with us for the 2 days. Instead of the birding station this year we will visit some other lakeshore points and remote beaches including Sandbanks Provincial Park so bring your park pass or ride with a car that has woodlands for orioles and tanagers and indigo buntings, wetlands, and the shore birds. Meet at 51 Bowery Street in Picton, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. RSVP

Please click to donate to our County Outings team page to raise money for the bird observatory in Prince Edward County

Saturday May 16 -- Nature Photography Workshop slide show at the lovely Jackson Falls Inn; please register at starts at 2 p.m. Nature Photography (including birds) with Phil Norton. $25 per person. Thanks to Cheryl Anderson for inviting me. Hoping to lead the group down to the falls! Bird Photography Contest -- To benefit the bird banding station at Prince Edward Point....see the rules below.

Saturday, May 2 -- Mini horntrip mystery tour and meet the locals....that would be us! This outing is being designed especially for a group of 6 folks from outside the area to experience the real and unknown parts of Prince Edward County. No one's in a hurry since the bugs won't be biting yet (fingers crossed). It will be a leisurely pace, driving the back roads, some stops for easy nature walking and probably the old car junk yard in Milford, with an ice cream stop and/or cheese tasting. $15 for everyone plus sharing gas with your driver. Meet at the lakeshore park beside the church across from Side Street Gallery downtown Wellington at 9:30 a.m. or carpool from Picton at 9:00. RSVP

Sunday, May 3 -- For those who have gone on our photography weekend retreats to the Sumac Centre you know owner Rev. Paul Scott. Well, the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a church minister is being celebrated with a music-filled worship service followed by a free luncheon for all at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Picton at 10:30 a.m. All of you are welcome. Paul will be in town to lead the scotch tasting event at the church on May 1.

EARTH DAY Wednesday, April 22 - A special adventure to a huge wild space close to home. The Murray Marsh spans approximately 80 square kilometres just west of the Trent River near Frankford. We are fortunate to have Glen Bryant, born and bred in that Stockdale area as our volunteer guide. We have scheduled the walk later in the day to facilitate our weekday working members to join us. Meet in Picton to share rides at 4:00 and Belleville at 4:30 or at the parking lot in Frankford by the post office at 5:00. Sunset is at 8:00 on that date. Please let me know if you are coming along

sap buckets on sugar maple trees

Click here to view some photos of Sumac during the upcoming in-between season.

Wednesday, March 25 -- A long-time maple sugaring family in Prince Edward County, Kyle Baldwin has invited us to visit his maple operation at Waupoos Estate Winery. The farm's silo was transformed into the sugarhouse for boiling the sap which is collected in silver buckets by the road and a pipeline 1 mile back in the bush. We can walk the plowed road through the apple orchard, raspberry bushes, and vineyard. He has syrup for sale too. Meet in Picton at 3:30 or at Waupoos Estate Winery at 4:00. Last year we visited the Koopmans' sugarhouse in Waupoos and their syrup won the 2014 Royal Winter Fair championship: click to see photos.

Click here to check out the upcoming trips to Newfoundland in June (sold out), Point Pelee National Park and western Canada to come. Guaranteed to add great images to your portfolio and a great photographic learning experience.

Winter 2015

wine glasses

Saturday, March 7 -- Preparing for maple syrup time and continuing our tour of County wineries all in one stop. Sugarbush Vineyards in Hillier has opened up their maple woodland trail for snowshoers along with wine tastings. We will have some extra pairs of snowshoes if you do not have your own, or you can rent them on-site for $10. It's a 2.5 km trail. Sally Peck says her husband Robert will tow his maple buckets and taps on a toboggan for us to demonstrate tapping the maples. Tastings are $1 or no charge if you purchase wine. They have various red wines and roses but no whites for tasting, only in bottles for sale. See the photo gallery from this trip.

Monday, February 23 -- A late afternoon photo walk then a show in Belleville. Meet at the Yardmen Arena at 4:00 on Route 37 to stroll the west bank of the Moira River to the Quinte Conservation's Green Energy Project mini-hydro-electric dam. Then grab a bite of Thai food and a warm drink before the presentation: 7 Natural Wonders of the Trent River Valley with Ewa Bednarczuk, Ecology and Stewardship Specialist about areas off the beaten path including an aboriginal marker tree, an enormous wetland, a tiny old-growth forest and a virgin prairie. Refreshments. Cost of this outing is $10 for regular members plus a donation at the show.

Dogsled musher husky dogs

Saturday, January 31 -- Heading to small-town Ontario….Marmora along the Trans-Canada Highway…."north of 7" where dogsled races and and the annual SnoFest will provide lots of excitement. If you have never witnessed the start of a dogsled race it is something every Canadian should behold. It is a noisy event as the dogs are so anxious to start running. See photos from this trip. There will also be a baseball game in the snow, etc. Lunch break, either ham and scalloped potato dinner at St. Andrew's United Church (serving till 1:00) or local food vendors at the Community Centre. Then escape civilization and drive to the conservation area to walk along the rushing river at Callaghan's Rapids. Roll out of bed and depart Picton at 7:30 a.m., or Belleville Zwick's dog park at 8:00, or meet us in Marmora at the Fairgrounds for the 9 a.m. start of the 10-mile race. There will be other race starts at 11:00 and noon. The cost is $15 for regular members, plus gas sharing, plus entry to the SnoFest (your donation) and lunch. Here is a link to photos from our trip last year to the Marmoraton Mine and Callaghan's Rapids.

Massassauga Point Conservation Area on the Bay of Quinte across from Belleville, Ontario, Canada.

Wednesday, January 21 -- Across the Bay of Quinte from Belleville at the Massassauga Point Conservation Area for some great outdoor exercise and some great photographs too. This park is a mix of woodland and shoreline and as the sun sets you can see the lights of the city skyline. Also ice fishermen are out on the bay, some drive their vehicles on the ice. Meet at the Conservation Area parking lot at 3:00 or share rides from Picton at 2:30. There will be a café warm-up socializing time afterwards!


Autumn outings 2014

It is the end of another season and no more photography outings until the New Year. BUT we do have our Christmas-Holiday potluck and slide show to look forward to on Wednesday, December 17. It promises to be a fun socializing time like last year as well as a celebration of our second year of twice-a-week adventures and weekend retreats.

Bring along your personal choice of photos to share and something to add to the feast. We sure have enough wine to bring after our series of winery tours over the past couple of weeks. Please let me know, if you haven't already, if you are coming to Janice's place in Glenora at 5:30.

Watch for updates about our 2015 schedule of activities including a winter weekend retreat to Quebec and an end-of-March maple sugaring and spring melt trip to the Sumac Centre wilderness lodge.

Photography & Fitness & Food

golden waterfalls in winter Ontario

Click to hear a radio interview about County Outings

audio recording Phil Norton with Quinte Conservation Envirochat

Fine Art Photography instruction

For those looking to hone your inner artist's eye, contact Phil Norton for upcoming Contemplative Photography workshops and courses. See samples of artsy creative work that is possible wherever you roam. Click here to view the gallery of abstract artistic photos.



The Photography and Fitness series is guaranteed to increase your fitness level while adding amazing images to your County portfolio.

None of the walks are extremely difficult. The pace will not be fast and certain steep side trails are optional at Little Bluff and Macaulay. Unless it is a heavy downpour of rain, the outing will go on as planned.

Don't forget:

Inclement weather often provides the best images!


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Phil Norton photo

Past outings and workshops

Here's how to sign up Winter 2016

Our "Photography & Fitness" formula has twice-a-week destinations, forcing members to get out there in all weather, to get great pictures, or at least guaranteed to get the exercise! The 2-hour to half-day outings (including occasional coffee shop stops) are $20 each, tax included, or under $8 each when you sign up for 15 winter outings, a total of $113, tax included, valid April through August. $84.75 for any 6 outings during that season. Join us by making payment to via Interac online banking. Some trips require Ontario Parks passes for each vehicle.

The small group trips have turned out to be more than learning techniques and getting good shots. It's about pushing yourself out there, seeing our world, meeting everyday people (and some unusual characters), and belonging to a community of friends who appreciate photography and speak the lingo. Outings are mostly on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Daytime workers and people who live outside the Quinte Region who cannot make every trip, can contact me for special arrangements.

Please see the photos on our Facebook page for an idea of our spring and summer destinations.

Participants in our outings program are eligible to exhibit prints and digital photos at our ongoing shows during #Canada150.

Winter 2016-2017

The launch of a new photographic season in our 5th year. Thanks to our longtime participants who have been asking, "Are there any trips planned?" and "I miss the gang". Many of you have been a part of this group since the first Photography & Fitness outings in 2012. Our circle has since expanded beyond Prince Edward County and the Quinte Region, even beyond Ontario and Canada. Together we have explored widely. Hundreds of local trips in all seasons, dozens of weekend and 4-day retreats in Ontario and Quebec, and our epic 2-week journeys to Newfoundland twice, the Appalachians to Texas, Arizona to California, and the Canadian Prairies. We will get to the Yukon and Alaska this year. Click to see the Photography Adventures page.

women with cameras winter Ontario

Our hardy photographers have many stories to tell. Quinte Conservation's Envirochat podcast will feature us later in January. Newspapers and broadcast media have covered us several times and we have supplied the local media with our images to support community events run by volunteers like the Glenwood Cemetery and County agricultural fairs. Together we held 3 annual photo print exhibits at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church along with our quarterly potluck social events with slide shows by participants. We donated to environmental groups like Quinte Conservation, were a founding sponsor of 99.3 County FM that has have been interviewed on-air many times. We give back to the Reaching For Rainbows girls after-school program in gratitude for the use of the church.

sled dogs in winter in Ontario

snowy owl in flight Ontario

Saturday, March 25 -- Candlelight concert at the Old Church Theatre near Trenton. Our photographers have permission to shoot the performance celebrating Earth Hour. In addition to the photography tour fee $20 or membership, a donation is suggested $10 - 20 to support this independent cultural centre.

Saturday, February 25 -- Official launch of our group show in Belleville, 2:00 - 4:00. Belleville Public Library's John M. Parrott Art Gallery. Everyone welcome. Refreshments. Show opens Thursday, February 16 and runs through March 29.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, February 17-19 -- Winter Weekend Workshop at the Sumac Centre wilderness lodge. See details on .

Wednesday, February 8 -- A return to Amherst Island in search of snowy owls and a visit to Topsy Farms sheep farm. Season pass holders must pay an additional $5 because this is like 2 tours in one. The cost for others is $25 for the all-day tour (plus a share of gas and ferry fee). We are taking the 9:30 ferry from the mainland and returning on the 4:00 ferry from the island. Bring a cooler and buy lamb meat or their handmade woolen goods. Leaving Picton at 8:10 to catch the Glenora Ferry at 8:30. RSVP to

Wednesday, February 1 -- An oft-forgotten gem of a natural area, Macaulay Mountain in Picton has a wealth of scenery and trails ideal for our first Photography & Fitness outing in February. Depending on the depth of the snow, the hike will take at least an hour with a steep ascent to the ridge-top. After that, an easy stroll back down through the forest. Deep in the park, you will forget you are near a town. Stream ice and outdoors people to meet. Begin at the parking lot beside the Macaulay House, 35 Church Street at 9:30 a.m. Optional coffee shop afterward on Main Street. $20, or membership. RSVP to

During the past 5 years many friendships have been made within our ranks (even romances!) and we have added amazing imagery to our portfolios, each in our own style. Our shooters have consistently won awards and honourable mentions at the prestigious Eastern Ontario "CLIC" Photo Show. With your continued involvement we can make much more happen together.

One of the objectives for the coming year is to get your best work seen and sold in galleries, public slide shows and online, even in print. To get things started several public slide presentations are scheduled in Picton and in Belleville. We have contracted with the Parrott Art Gallery during the Belleville Downtown DocFest and a multimedia exhition will feature our collective works from February 16 - March 29, 2017. Full details on how to participate on

Over the past couple of years we have enjoyed exchanges and a sharing of knowledge with camera clubs from Newmarket and Coburg to Kingston and Brockville and all points in between. A presentation has been given to the clubs at awards banquets and regular meetings as well as a custom group outings and workshops. We have had people come to PEC from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal just to join the group for a day and for 2-day events like birding in May. Personal tutoring and custom group tours have also drawn photographers to Picton from the nation's capital.

Sunrise photographer water Photo by Phil Norton

Photography outings & workshops

Phil Norton has been seeing life through a lens for over 40 years and working professionally as a writer and photojournalist. He freelanced for Harrowsmith and Canadian Geographic Magazines on environmental and outdoor adventure topics, and served as the editor of a bilingual weekly newspaper, The Huntingdon Gleaner in Quebec, and ran the stock photo department for The Montreal Gazette. Later, in Quebec, he shared his experience in high schools leading students on community photo shoots for publication.

Since moving to Prince Edward County, Ontario in 2007, he has explored the Quinte Region by bicycle, kayak and on foot and has captured its many moods in photos which appear in local publications, websites and on his postcards. "Photography & Fitness" outings began in 2012.

Terms of photo use

Thank you to our many generous hosts who have invited our group into your homes and businesses, farms and performances. We post our photos online and publicize your events free of charge. You may place a link to our web galleries on your website or social media but please do not copy or save the photos directly to your computer or upload them to social media.

The images are copyrighted and we charge use fees for publication, in print and on the internet.
Photographers spend a lot of money purchasing and repairing cameras, lenses, computers and software as well as travel expenses, insurance and learning their craft, not to mention the hours, days and years learning, shooting, editing and archiving images.

We appreciate your support and fair use of our work so that we can offer this service in partnership with our community.


Wednesday, May 27 -- If you have not seen Belleville's new rainbow bridge lit up this is your chance to stroll the riverside path by night in the security of a group. This amazing addition to revitalized Downtown Bellevegas has not been publicized and few photos can be found online. It gradually changes colours as you watch. At 7:30 p.m. meet at the gazebo beside the pedestrian bridge just north of the Bridge Street "rainbow" bridge. Enter the parking lot from Bridge Street on the east side of the bridge (TD Bank) or from Front Street southbound which is temporarily one way just north of Victoria Street due to construction. This will be a long and interesting walk with tripods along the downtown shores of the Moira as sunset turns to dusk, then finish up with night shots of the bridge around 9:30. We will go places after dark that you would never go alone! RSVP for more details and to arrange rides. There are a resident a green heron and a blue heron fishing beneath the dam and duck mother and babies silhouetted against the city lights. We will also take iPhone snapshots like this one with and without Auto HDR.

Rainbow bridge Belleville Ontario night photography workshop

Saturday, May 23 -- Meet in Picton at 9 a.m. or at the bird banding station at Prince Edward Point at 10 a.m. We will explore the cliffs area, see the banding nets and bags of birds, and walk out to the lighthouse if time allows (optional). Then drive to the Milford Market for lunch around noon. Reigning champion of the CLIC Photo Show, our Daphne Creasy, will be exhibiting her photography there from 9 to 2:00. Many other interesting booths of farmers and artisans. There is also an osprey nest on the property. The outing cost is $10 as usual plus a couple bucks gas-sharing. RSVP Click for photos taken last year at the birding station.

Saturday, May 30 -- A group of "top digital influencers from Ottawa" hosting a blogging retreat here in PEC. We will show them what "County" means to us! From 8:00 to 10 a.m. we will include some of our best shorelines, historical sites, overlooks, trails and rural scenery with basic photography instruction with digital media in mind. Meet at 51 Bowery Street beside St. Andrew's church in Picton. RSVP to Everyone $10 members rate.

Cressy Lakeside ice in Lake Ontario

Saturday, February 7 -- Photography & Fitness group outing to shoot a truly Canadian scene right here in Prince Edward County...topless (male) ice fishermen in the annual Shirt Off / Fish On event. Share rides from Bowery Street in Picton at 11:45 to the harbour and then a mini horntrip to Glenora, Lake On The Mountain and beyond looking for bald eagles and snowy owls. If we have enough sign-ups and time permitting we can walk along the shore at Cressy Lakeside Road. Let me know if you are going. $15 or $10 for regular members.

iphoneography phone photography lessons

One-on-one tutoring available, indoors and outdoors with camera, computer and digital workflow ($25/hr. plus tax). Who wants to learn iPhonography and iPadography? Shooting pictures with phones and tablets is gaining popularity among the pros too. I took these students out on the Lake Ontario shore at Wellington Beach, Prince Edward County.

Amherst Island snowy owl photographers bird watching in winter

Monday, January 26 -- Our big adventure, an all-day 2-ferries journey to snowy owl and bald eagle country, Amherst Island. Birdwatching broadcaster Janet Scott has generously invited us to her farmhouse on the island for lunch. Please bring along something to share around the table. We will do some owl shooting (cameras of course) when we arrive on the island then a break with Janet then a walk to Owl Woods on the other end of the island. Bring seeds to feed the chickadees in your hands. See photos from our previous trip. See photos from this trip and a snowy owl in flight. Meet in Picton for an early start at 8:00 and at Glenora for the 8:30 ferry crossing (on the hour and the half hour). Catch the Amherst Island ferry at 9:30 and meet on the island in Stella at 10:00. Return on the 4:00 ferry. There is a $9.00 per vehicle charge and please share gas costs with your driver. Plus a $20 fee for the photo outing. Married couple $30. Bring your son or daughter half-price. Please let me know as soon as possible if you can make it.

Upper Canada Village photographers

Immediately after the holidays, the Photography & Fitness group is striking out to eastern Ontario for an all-day trip. Here is a link to the sights we will see and you can check out the Upper Canada Village website for details about pricing and purchasing tickets in advance. See details at right...

Friday, January 2 -- An all-day journey to Upper Canada Village for the final weekend of night light decorations. Share rides and leave Picton at 11:30 a.m. or meet at the Highway 49 Marysville exit Park & Ride on the 401 at 11:50. Then visit Gordon Beck's gallery and go for lunch at a classy Brockville pub, with picture-taking stops along the Thousand Islands Parkway and the scenic drive along old Highway 2. Cost per person $20 plus entry to the park $13, sharing gas, meals, parking, etc. The night shooting begins at 5:00 and will be a challenge with guaranteed awe-inspiring results.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Friday, January 9 -- An afternoon drive to the Fort Henry lookout over the city and the lake, then a downtown walk to the ferry dock where the birds hang out…not promising a snowy owl or a fox, but we have seen them there before….and a walk over to The Kingston Brewing Company pub for dinner. Optional evening activity is night-time street photography or attend the Grand Theatre featuring the former Premier of Ontario Bob Rae and celebrity TVO broadcaster Steve Paikin. The topic is John A. Macdonald on this anniversary year of Canada's first Prime Minister. This activity is independent of the photo outing so if you want to book tickets click here.

wine cellar barrels and camera

Wednesday, December 10 -- Winemaker Caroline Granger says our group can have a behind the scenes tour to see the barrel cellar. Plus tasting at The Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards and Estate Winery at 2:00. Starting this fall and winter, our goal is to create a photo archive of all of the Prince Edward County wineries and post the photos on our own web portal to be created at: .

Panorama photograph of Port Hope, Ontario main street

Saturday, December 6 -- Port Hope, Loyalist town and bustling main street with Christmas shops, coffee shops and waterfront on Lake Ontario. An hour and a half drive from Picton, meet there at 10 a.m. Same fee as usual $15 or $10 for regular participants plus gas expenses and parking. RSVP if you are coming along.

Wednesday, December 3 -- Winery tour in Prince Edward County during the Wassail celebration season. Wine tasting. More details to follow. See photos from our trip to Karlo Estates.

Lynde Creek

Saturday, November 22 -- The many faces of Whitby, Ontario….at least as many as we can pack into our whirlwind tour. A variety of shores and bluffs, woodlands and streams, and suburban sprawl including the Go Train and the current construction zone of the 407 toll highway. Our friend Cheryl from Oshawa says she can almost guarantee that we can photograph wild turkeys at the Lynde Shores Conservation Area. Prepare to pitch in a few $ for gas and share parking costs. Meet in Picton at 9 a.m. or at the Abilities Centre in Whitby at 11:00 a.m. RSVP for more details.

Wednesday, November 19 -- A race to shoot the sunset at 4:40 then dusk at two different locations. First, we will meet at the Tim Horton's in Trenton at 3:45. Then up to the lookout tower at Sager Conservation Area overlooking farmland, a good hike up the hill and returning via a piney woods. Drive back down to the river valley….if there is ample light, to the old swing bridge and dam….and finally to photograph the lights of Frankford from across the water and downtown. Chinese buffet in Frankford.

Volkswagen beetle

Wednesday, October 29 -- Bloomfield and Maw's Orchard. Meet in the parking area beside County Magazine and the quilt sculpture for a walk through Bloomfield at 3:00. After strolling the main street and down to the Mill Pond park, we will go to Maw's Apple Orchard. Anyone who has participated in one of our Bloomfield outings over the past 2 years is eligible to submit photos to be published on a postcard series. Our photography and outings group is providing the images and, as a collective, we will share in the revenue generated from sales. Even if your image is not chosen your participation qualifies you to receive a portion of the profits. RSVP.

Sunday, October 19 -- Concert with photo slide show backgrounds. We have been invited to extend the date of our Photography Etc. Photo Show at St. Andrew's Church in Picton to still be on the walls for their Canadian Song Celebration concert.

Lakeshore Lodge at Sandbanks Provincial Park sky

Saturday, October 18 -- I am leading an afternoon hike for the "Circle of Friends" of Ontario Parks….like the Friends of Sandbanks….who are hosting the annual provincial conference at Isaiah Tubbs Conference Centre. For the usual fee, our group is welcome to join in on the afternoon guided hike and ribbon-cutting of a new trail near Lakeshore Lodge. The rain date is Sunday, October 19. Please RSVP if you are interested in more details. It starts around 1:00.

Wednesday, October 15 -- Downtown Kingston, waterfront walk at sunset, night streets, dinner. Leave Picton at 4:00. Meet in Kingston around 5:00. Shoot the old storefronts on Princess, stop in at Camera Kingston and stroll around the historic City Hall and waterfront. If it's clear, we'll venture out on the marina breakwater rocks. If it's raining we'll head for a restaurant or a pub, before taking our tripods to the streets. RSVP if you can make it.

Potluck dinner photography group

Monday, October 13 -- Walk off that Thanksgiving turkey along the stream and to the ridgetop lookout at the Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area. Our group will meet in the lower parking lot at the Macaulay House Museum on Church Street in Picton at 3:30. The seasonal potluck for Photography & Fitness follows at 5:30. The usual fee for the outing but no charge for the potluck and slide show. RSVP for both events:

Macaulay Mountain barn in autumn, Prince Edward County, Ontario

Monday, October 13 -- Celebrate Thanksgiving at the quarterly potluck dinner and slide show of your photos from 5:30 to 10:00. Snap the whip and sit down to edit the images from our summer outings and others that you took on your own....approximately 20 to 30 each. As usual, bring along a bottle of wine, a salad, a dessert or hot dish.

Beaver Meadow Conservation Area Phil Norton photo

Firelight Lantern Festival in Picton

Saturday, November 15 -- The Firelight Lantern Festival was a fun challenge for our photographers and we came up with some spectacular colourful results, which got us invited back by Small Pond Arts to shoot the event again this year. See photos from last year. Park at the Crystal Palace (Picton Fairgrounds east of downtown) at 6:00 p.m. and walk toward the start of the parade (7:00) along Main Street. We will follow the lanterns back to Crystal Palace for music and snacks and shadow puppets $5 entry fee....guaranteed a lot of fun. Dress warmly and set your ISO to 2000! See photos from this year.

Deseronto antique store piano

Wednesday, November 12 -- Antique stores and downtown street shooting in Deseronto along the shore of the Bay of Quinte....then fine dining in the elegant and affordable tea room....the O'Connor House with adjacent antique shop. This is a surprisingly picturesque town with interesting architecture and authentic village characters. Click here to see the photos from our visit in March. Leaving Picton at 10:30 a.m. or meet at the bayside park on the west side of town at 11:00....gas up with cheap gas in Tyendinaga!

Saturday, November 8 -- Sandbanks Provincial Park, Dunes Beach at sunset....then supper at The Acoustic Grill pub in Picton with live music at 7:00.

swans in Consecon

Wednesday, November 5 -- We will examine the Scoharie Road corridor, The County's rural "fly-over" landscape along County Road 1. We have a special invitation to visit Black Park Shires draft horse farm. Look for the new solar panel barn being built in the pasture, on the north side of the highway. Then we will continue to the Millennium Trail where we can walk across Lake Consecon in the marsh. RSVP for details . Photos below of some draft horses in The County and other scenes of the season near Consecon. RSVP.

Weekend retreat to the North Country

A relaxing weekend at the Sumac Centre near Mountain Grove and Sharbot Lake for a late autumn retreat before the snow flies, Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. It's only an hour and a half drive from Picton and it is at the end of a long dirt road, dark sky area overlooking Little Beaver Lake surrounded by hundreds of acres of bear country, marshes and rocky streams. The Land O' Lakes - Frontenac Arch region, within an hour's drive of Bon Echo Provincial Park. It is a spacious conference centre, a mix of rustic and modern and owner Paul Scott is a fun host. Approximately $250 per person depending on single or double occupancy plus bring-your-own food. This will be a workshop retreat with a difference. No intense travel schedule to shooting destinations, although you are free to take a drive on your own. So we will stay on-site and explore the local area at your leisure with camera shooting instruction ongoing and one-on-one computer sessions for portfolio reviews and how-to post-processing….also group sessions to look at each other's photos and slide shows on Paul's new big screen TV. To keep expenses to a minimum, bring your own food to prepare in the huge kitchen. Priority will be given to double occupancy reservations and regular participants of our County Outings program. There are 8 rooms for guests. RSVP now.

Glenora Ferry at Lake On The Mountain Provinicial Park

Photography Etc. exhibit

"Photography Etc. is our show, featuring the work of the County Outings & Workshops group, running from September 14 - October 19 at St. Andrew's church in Picton, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 to 2:00, Sundays 12:30 after church till 2:30. We had an official launch during church service Sept. 14 at 10:30 and a wine & cheese reception that evening. See the concert notice "October 19th" listing.

Saturday, October 4 -- The Photography & Fitness group will meet at the historic Belleville Farmers Market behind the old city hall at 9:30 a.m. to shoot pictures and shop for a while. So even if it's chilly and rainy we will be under shelter there. Then we will take a driving tour northeast to see the waterfalls with the old stone mill and to this one where we can stand over the falls on a bridge. Great shots in any weather guaranteed.

Wednesday, October 1 -- An afternoon drive north to Madoc in search of early autumn colours at the O'Hara Mill and Homestead Conservation Area. Our group has only visited this fascinating historic site once and that was in mid-winter…the old mill, covered bridge, and woodland trails with a rocky stream. Last time we paid to have them open the log cabin and start a fire but there is no charge for roaming the grounds. Donations appreciated.

Saturday, September 27 -- We never get tired of Land's End in Prince Edward County. And fall colours are beginning to show. Meet in Picton at 9 a.m. and drive up to the legendary Lake On the Mountain and the Glenora Ferry overlook, then through the tunnel of trees to Black River and on out to the edge of land and rocky shore at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (aka Long Point) to see migrating birds, cliffs and the lighthouse. View photos of Long Point. Please RSVP to

Wednesday, September 24 -- Our County Outings Photography & Fitness group has been invited to submit photos of Bloomfield, ON for a postcard project. Nothing has been firmed up yet with the printer but let's get at it and shoot up the town while it still looks like summer. Meet in Picton at 3:00 or at the public parking area in Bloomfield beside County Magazine where you see the quilt sculpture at 3:15. We will stroll the streets and down to the Mill Pond Conservation Area, then drive some back roads to Beaver Meadow Conservation Area. Not sure what hunting season dates are but bring along bright orange or yellow jackets. Let me know if you're coming.

On the weekend of Sept. 19 - 21, the group is up north in the Gatineau Valley and National Capital Region for a weekend retreat.

Old East Hill mansions in Belleville, Ontario

Wednesday, October 8 -- Discover the elegance of the Old East Hill neighborhood of Belleville, Ontario. Bring your point-and-shoot or big guns! Dogs invited too. Starting at Corby Park at 4:00. It is a colorful season with fall leaves and roses remain in bloom until the killing frost. Time permitting we will drive down to the Bay of Quinte and walk along the waterfront trail. Please RSVP to

Summertime outings 2014

Sunset over Lake Ontario at Point Petre

This trip was postponed to Wednesday, September 17 -- Saturday, September 13 -- It's Milford Fair Day and I will be judging the photography contest in the morning. You might want to show up early and shoot the parade and musical acts as well as the interesting folks in attendance. Opens at 10 a.m. Grab a bite to eat then we will strike out at 1:00 to Point Petre and walk the rocky shores along Soup Harbour and the Provincial Wildlife Area. Then to South Bay to shoot the lighthouse at Mariners' Park, a museum of the municipality of PEC. Click here to view some shots from last year's fair.

Wednesday, September 10 -- Hope to see busy beavers and lazy turtles along the marsh boardwalk at the Frink Centre. We will leave Picton at 3:00 and meet at the FC at 4:00. Then drive to see the scuttlehole cave and stream then back to the boardwalk for a better evening light. County Outings is a supporter of Quinte Conservation's Adopt-An-Acre and we have donated to the Friends of the Frink in the past. You are encouraged to support these local conservation and education institutions on your own as well. Please RSVP if you can join us.

Nighthawk at Sheffield Conservation Area, Ontario

Saturday, August 30 -- Heading up north to the Land O' Lakes and Sheffield Conservation Area....a wilderness trail over the Canadian Shield rocks (around the Frontenac Arch geological region). This is also the designated "Dark Sky Area" because it's so far from civilization. This photo shows a nesting night hawk. 8:15 a.m. departure from Picton to be at the C.A. by 9:30.

Wed. August 27 -- If you missed the bird, wildflower and insects outing to Napanee last year, we are repeating it during the season when the cardinal flower is in bloom. Last year we had to wade across a shallow pool to shoot it. We also found a cooperative blue heron fishing in the waterfalls who, for that matter, might still be standing in the same place! The trail is hard to find so meet at the falls beneath the train trestle in Napanee then we will drive to the North Fredericksburg Conservation Area, an unusual flat rock area, forest and stream. Bring boots or roll up your pant legs for wading through marshy ground and water depending on the recent rainfall. Let me know if you will meet us in Picton 3:45 or at the Napanee falls park at 4:30.

Napanee, Ontario

Sat. August 23 -- Photography & Fitness hasn't been to Sandbanks Provincial Park yet this summer so let's escape the crowds of tourists along the quiet Cedar Sands Trail. See some photos from our autumn 2012 outing: We will also venture across the dunes to the open Lake Ontario at Outlet Beach to see the waves, gulls and tourists. Prepare to walk! Requires a park pass for each carload. Contact me for directions or to carpool and share a pass. Leaving from Picton at 9:30 a.m. meeting at the park gates parking area at 10 a.m.

Saturday, August 16 -- In search of wildlife at Ferris Provincial Park in Campbellford. No guarantees but there is a wonderful wildflower field that should be buzzing with damsels and dragons….damselflies and dragonflies, that is….and butterflies and bees. The other attraction is the rushing Trent River, with water snakes and frogs, and the thrilling see-through footbridge that spans the gorge. If you have a park pass please bring it to save parking fees. Gas costs will be shared as usual. Leaving Picton at 8:30 a.m. to arrive at the park entrance, east side of the river, at 9:30.

Saturday, July 26 -- Farmtown Park in Stirling, rain or shine this will be a fun afternoon with some new photo ops. The park offers our group a small discount $7 entry fee each and the permission to take photos for our web galleries. You can see some of their agricultural collections and displays on their website. Leaving Picton 11 a.m. or in Stirling at noon. It closes at 2:30.

Wednesday, July 23 -- A twilight photographic tour of downtown Belleville and reflections in the Moira River. Capture the ongoing beautification of the downtown core which has become a municipal election issue to bring La Belle Ville back to glory. Also the group will explore some of the dingy alleys and seedy sections that you wouldn't want to do alone at night! Leave Picton at 7:00 p.m. and park along the river at the Bridge Street "lower bridge" (under construction) at 7:30 p.m.


Friday, July 18 -- Big day out in Picton for Photography & Fitness....a walk down Main Street to Mark's Barber Shop across....shooting photos of the musicians at the Jam Inn. Meet at St. Andrew's Church at 2:00, music goes till 5:00....then our potluck dinner and slide shows of your images from 6:00 till late. $10 for regular participants. Let me know if you will attend both events and what you can bring to the party We also met Dexter "Killer" the bulldog and Bonkers.... View the photos.

Tweed bridge flowers


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County Magazine Phil Norton photography outings and workshops Prince Edward County Ontario

Prince Edward Point lighthouse on Lake Ontario

Wed. September 3 -- To Long Point….for our first September outing….it's warbler week at the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO) and a bird bander reports all varieties of migrating birds were seen over the Labour Day weekend. Also giant swallowtail butterflies and the large larval worm of sphinx moth. Also something else very special…. ...I am 80 percent certain we will have access INSIDE the Prince Edward Point lighthouse! This is an opportunity not to be missed. My bird banding friend says we can climb the stairs inside and stand at the top looking out over the bay….but shhhhhhh, it's a secret….and we will not know if it's 100 percent sure until we actually get there. It's a long walk out to the point past the old fishing village, but always worth it whether we can get inside or not. Our County Outings group is a supporter of PEPtBO and I will be paying our membership this week….so if you come along, please consider donating to their ecologically important work as an individual as well. This will be the first of 2 treks out to this unique point of the County….to "Land's End"….the next one will be on Milford Fair Day in 2 weeks. Leaving Picton at 4:00. Arriving at Long Point at 4:44 p.m.

The Big Apple and rainbow

Wednesday, August 13 -- Leaving Picton at noon and meeting others at THE BIG APPLE along Highway 401 in Colborne, ready to greet apple season a month early! It offers a number of picture taking opportunities including the pie-making observed through windows to the large kitchen bakery and up the spiral staircase to the lookout tower which is the big apple….a large variety of animals too. Stroll the grounds, grab a snack inside then we will drive to the Colborne town square and take a walk along Main Street in this quaint little town and a turtle pond in Salem.

Saturday, August 2 -- A triple whammy outing. For starters, the Carriage House Cooperage (barrel-makers) and the Gilead 66 Distillery. Marla and Pete Bradford tell me, "We will be in the barrel cellar of vinegars doing tastings this weekend on Saturday at our site on the 66 Gilead Distillery property. The cellar is a must see." For directions see the distillery website. Afterward we will join the masses for the August long weekend celebration on the streets of Bloomfield for a walk-about, shoot-up-the-town and live music, food vendors and arts and crafts displays at Tammy Love's "Hand Works" shop. Please let me know if you will meet us at noon at 66 Gilead or ride-share from Picton at 11:30.

Wednesday, July 30 -- While you are in Picton to see the CLIC Eastern Ontario Photo Show….join the Photography & Fitness outing group down a dead end road just outside of town to the Red Barns artisans colony where we are invited to see a blacksmith in action as well as glass blowing. Roam the grounds and along the untraveled road to see many odd and eclectic wood sculptures and "eye candy" for photographers. It truly is an artist's playground. Meet at the Red Barns at 1:00. View the photos from this outing.


Wednesday, June 18 -- A full day of travel photography. Leaving Picton 8:30 a.m... to Heather's farm in Spencerville around 11:00 for shooting and lunching. Bring something to share at the potluck meal. Returning to Picton after supper-time. From Quebec, take the 401 then north to Spencerville.....directions to the farm will be sent out to confirmed participants. You may wish to follow Route 2 heading east toward home passing Upper Canada Village and public historic sites of the War of 1812.

Click to view a gallery of photos from this trek.

Heather's farm has a variety of critters, including newly-hatched turkeys. We will stop at the From Here To Infinity photo / art gallery and antique bookshop in Brockville. Owner Gordon Beck is a former lifelong photographer at The Gazette newspaper in Montreal and his wife Ewa owned and ran Stash's Restaurant in the heart of Old Montreal. Let me know where you will meet

Maitland tower

Wednesday, June 25 -- A back roads exploratory trip into the marshlands of The County, on a summer evening. Meet at 6:00 p.m. along Route 62 at the Sawguin Creek bridge, south of the bay bridge at Belleville/Rossmore. A driving tour with frequent stops to walk about and shoot….possible subjects include birds, butterflies and dragonflies as well as interesting old architecture and rural shoreline scenery. Click to view a gallery of photos from this trek.

Wednesday, July 2 -- An evening trek north to the lovely town of Tweed….home of the Tweed Twangers, the smallest jailhouse in Canada, a giant chicken, the Trans-Canada Highway and town characters typical of the Route 7 North Country. Leave Picton 4:30 and Belleville at "rush hour" along Route 37 (Black Diamond Road) at 5:15, arriving at the community park on Stoco Lake around 5:45 p.m. Please email me if you can make it….$10 for regular participants….plus share gas costs for 2 hours' driving from Picton and return.

County Magazine Phil Norton photography outings and workshops Prince Edward County Ontario

County Magazine Phil Norton photography outings and workshops Prince Edward County Ontario

Saturday, April 5 - A special "Photography & Fitness" outing .... heavy on the fitness part more chance to shoot maple syrup-making in action....the sap is still running and steam rising in an authentic woodland sugar shanty way back off the main road, a kilometer and a half walk along Kellar's Side Road in Waupoos. If you're up for this adventure, we'll see you in Picton at 9:00 a.m. or at the corner of County Road 8 and Keller's X-Road in Waupoos (Prince Edward County) at 9:30 a.m. Wear boots that you don't mind getting muddy....and bring some $ to purchase fresh pure maple syrup from the Koopmans. The family's dairy farm next door has draft horses and a picturesque setting overlooking the bay. You never know what you'll discover walking along the untravelled side road... spawning fish at the stream crossing or a dead coyote among other lovely scenes : ) and great habitat for any early birds arriving from the south. Koopmans Maple Mountain Chris & Carrie Koopmans 2275 Cty Rd 8. Click to see photos.

maple syrup

Wed. April 9 - Witness the arrival of spring along the back roads of Tyendinaga Township. A corner of Quinte rarely's never on the way to anywhere. Park at the Recreational Park at the corner of Melrose Road and McFarlane Road and walk along the untraveled road through the forested marsh, then drive east to the "town centre" and south for a lookout over the Salmon River. Leaving Picton at 10 a.m. or meet at the Rec. Park at 10:45. Click to see photos. Finish up with homemade pies and donuts with coffee and tea at Ruby's Fish & Chips (The Coffee Shop) 656 Norway's Side Road along York Road, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

Friday, April 11 - Choose your best 25 - 30 shots of our winter excursions for the quarterly potluck get-together with food, drink and slide St. Andrew's church in Picton starting at 5:30 till late. Please let me know what you will be is permitted of course. Everyone is welcome--past participants, regular participants and future participants--bring a non-photographer friend if you want. We survived a really tough winter so let's show the beauty and the hardship we encountered all over the Quinte region as well as the weekend retreat in Quebec. After dinner we will view an amazing portfolio slide show by Liz Bourgeois of her images of a derelict motel with the soundtrack of "Psycho".

Bob Comeau woodcarver

Saturday, April 12 - A very special invitation by our friend Natalie to take pictures of her father at work....Bob Comeau of Montreal is a renowned wood carver of wild birds. Click to see photos. First we will take a quick walk along the thawing Great Lake shores at Point Petre then back to Milford where she says, "Please let people know that we’ll have coffee/tea at my place. They can photograph the dogs and chickens while they’re here if they like! No need to bring anything – I’ll put a little snack together." They offer guest lodging here too, a special place to visit. Leave Picton 11:30 or meet at the lighthouse at Point Petre at noon.

Wednesday, April 16 - See a meteorite crater in our own backyard....2 and a half kilometers across! A long trip to Yarker to see the rushing Napanee River waterfalls in town and stroll the Cataraqui Trail. Then north to the crater. Click to see photos.

MARSH Creek is flowing full this spring through Delhi Park, fed by the pure tributary from Macaulay Mountain. We will follow its course past the manmade marsh that serves as a settling basin for street runoff, then across a levee and a footbridge along a little-known path that leads to the harbour. Birdsong and buds and aquatic critters. Learn about the watershed that leads to the town's intake pipe.The MARINA and boardwalk provide interesting views on the back side of town, waterfowl and watercraft, and the high-tech PEC Innovation Centre, then up to downtown, or is it uptown....where hopefully the morning sun will be lighting up the historic storefronts. In case of rain we can duck into the unique gangways and brick alleys along MAIN Street or under the Regent Theatre marquee; of course there's always something to shoot and people to meet. At 10:00 we are expected at the fair trade store, Ten Thousand Villages, where free samples of Peruvian Dark Roast will be awaiting us, or you can donate a dollar for a full cuppa. Also support the artisans and growers of developing countries by purchasing chocolate of all varieties or bags of sweet dried fruit. This will be a dog-friendly walk as well as smart phone and point-and-shoot camera-friendly too. Please let me know if you are coming. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Mary Street public parking lot overlooking the valley and hill, just down the street from the big stone United Church (across from Tim Horton's).

pump out marina sign

A double-header photography day, see the second outing planned for April 23, below.

Wednesday, April 23 -- This is the second outing for this day, please see above for the morning trek. In the afternoon, a unique opportunity to see County Outfitters on a marsh and shore property near Wellington where I will be taking pictures "on assignment" of hunters and hopefully wildlife. County Magazine published my photos in the Spring issue showing Kyle and Kathleen Mayne and their home-grown duck and turkey calls business. We will pose duck hunting scenes in the marsh and video tape the calls being used. The expert callers are Frank and Tanya Dunlop, hunters and local guides;Tanya is also an avid wildlife photographer. If you follow her on Facebook you saw her incredible close-up otter pictures taken before the snow melt on West Lake. Meet in Picton at 3:00 or at County Outfitters at 3:30. See photos from this outing.

Click here for upcoming weekend workshops such as the waterfalls retreat on the Niagara Escarpment, May 2 - 4, 2014.

Wednesday, May 14 -- Across the Glenora Ferry to Adolphustown, historic pioneer Loyalist country. Angela has set up a visit to her daughter's horse farm where the Ontario provincial flower, trillium, blooms in the forest. She lives next to a pioneer cemetery and near the old Hay Bay church and osprey nest stands along the back roads. Leave Picton at 8:30 a.m. timed with the ferry crossing at 9:00. Return on the 12:45 ferry. More info to those who register:

Spring 2014 outings


Looking ahead to mid-May there will be a series of outings for Prince Edward County's annual bird migration festival. A group of 6 birders and photographers from the GTA is joining us for a Thursday evening 5 to 9:00 - Friday morning 8 to noon expedition and it is open to 6 more participants. The cost is $30 for the 2 days. Click here to view some photos from our birding and photography tour last spring. Click here for the 2012 pics.

twin lens reflex camera

We are also organizing a special day-long journey in June (tentatively on the first day of summer 21st) to our friend Heather's place (of twin lens reflex film camera fame!) in Spencerville (half way to Montreal) where her family farm will be clucking and gobbling with newly-born and/or hatched livestock as well as a photogenic local grist mill and some pull-offs along the way such as on the Thousand Islands Parkway and sunset over the St. Lawrence coming home. She offers us soup and sandwiches. Please RSVP if this interests you. $10 each plus share gas costs.

At the start of our Spring season there are Snowy owls still in the area so if you missed seeing one this winter, get out in April for a possible sighting. This one sighted along Highway 62 in Prince Edward County.

snowy owl

Wednesday, April 23 -- Two outings today, see more below. Marsh-Marina-Main will be our morning walking and shooting destinations....a good walk ending with coffee and chocolate treats at Ten Thousand Villages. For those who live in Picton or shop here daily, we take for granted how charming it is. On weekends there are crowds of tourists. This 2-hour tour will take us to places we rarely see, even in our own burgh.

Albert College

Saturday, April 26 at 10:00 a.m - Here's a unique invitation to photograph inside Albert College with Head of School Keith Stansfield as our guide....the remarkable stained glass and architecture....then serving us a free brunch in the cafeteria along with the resident students from all over the world. Afterward, we will stroll the Bay of Quinte shoreline at Zwick's Park (to work off the eggs and bacon) and spot some migrating waterfowl or even an early-bird dragon boat team. The cost is $20, half of which will be donated to our local nature conservation organizations. See photos of the school and osprey nest.

County Magazine


Anyone interested in a July weekend in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York? Let me know and we'll work out the details. Must have a fitness ability for walking for an hour to a mountain summit...but no ropes or danger involved.

Click here to get on the twice-a-week email list to receive updates.

Spring migration birding festival

May 15 - 16 -- The first of two back-to-back two-day birding outings...say that 3 times fast....a tour of Prince Edward County bird watching hot spots, including Long Point aka Prince Edward Point bird observatory and banding station at the peak of spring warbler migration. Leaving Picton Thursday evening at 5 p.m. returning after we spot woodcocks performing their mating flight. Then, departing Picton again on Friday at 8 a.m. till noon. For those riding along with another driver, please share gas expenses, a few dollars. Cost is $30 per participant for the two days. A group of 6 birders and photographers from the GTA is joining us. View photos (see the listing below).

Click here to see photos of the 4 birdathon outings for 2014...including 7 fox kits along the road to Long Point.

May 16 - 17 -- The second of two bird photography outings during the annual bird migration festival in Prince Edward County. A repeat of the tour listed above with a later start and earlier finish. Friday evening 6 to 9:00 - Saturday morning 8 to 11:00. The cost is $30 for the 2 days ($20 for regular participants) plus gas expense sharing Here are some photos from our birding and photography tour last spring. And pics from the 2012 birdathon.

Click here to support bird conservation in Ontario
and join our official birdwatching team for the Baillie Birdathon.

Wednesday, May 21 -- Mud Lake and carnivorous plants....pitcher plants at Menzel Nature Reserve. We visited them last year in April and will check on the status of their growth at this later date in the spring. A boardwalk through the marsh provides a unique look at rich flora and surely migrating warblers and nesting birds. We have been bug-free on outings so far this cool spring but no guarantees so come prepared. Leaving Picton 4:30 p.m. or call if you want to meet us at the trailhead around 5:15.

apple blossoms

On Wednesday, May 28 our trek will take us to the County frontier, to the wild west, on the border of Quinte West along the oldest road in Ontario, the Kente Portage aka Old Portage Road. Meet in Picton at 10:00 or at George's Fish & Chips restaurant at the corner of Highway 33 and County Road 64 (the turn-off to Brighton) at 10:45. We will spend an hour before lunch exploring the Bay of Quinte marshes where a pair of Canada geese have goslings, swans, herons, kingfishers commonly seen....then a short drive to the long cement fishing pier at the end of Twelve O'Clock point just north of the Prince Edward County line along the Murray Canal / Trent Severn Waterway.

Saturday, May 24 -- Photography & Fitness will head to Waupoos, home of the blue moose, on the shores of Smith's Bay (Lake Ontario), orchard and vineyard country, and the historic Cannery Row at the marina. Leave Picton at 2:30 or meet at County Cider at 3:00 where cider tastings are free of charge (for groups less than 10 people). The patio overlooking the church and bay is open to sip and snack after a stroll to smell the apple blossoms....with your lens, of course. Please let me know where you will meet us.

cannery row

Saturday, May 31 -- The Photography & Fitness group will encounter some interesting residents of the marsh along the boardwalk at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Last time we got close pictures of an American bittern. Exploring other parts of the park including the newly re-opened Jobe's Woods Trail that also starts out on a boardwalk. Watch for snapping turtles laying eggs at roadside and painted turtles basking on logs. Leave Picton at 3:30 or meet at the park gate at 4:30. You will need to be in a car with a provincial park pass. Let me know where you will meet us and we will work out gas and pass expense sharing.

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Winter 2014 schedule of outings

Wednesday, January 8 -- If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. If it's going to be an icy winter, let's shoot ice. Wednesday is forecast to be warmer than today (minus 9 C) but this severe cold snap should have created an interesting shoreline scene at Point Petre. Although I have not scouted out the area this winter, it is a unique rocky shore and I have heard that water spouts can form some years where the waves shoot up through funnels of ice. No guarantees...but for the intrepid among you, join us for a country drive and wintry stroll to the southernmost tip of Prince Edward County along Lake Ontario. Please let me know if you will meet us in PIcton at 1:30 or Cherry Valley at 1:45 or Point Petre at 2:00.

Sunset shore ice

Saturday, January 18 -- Town of Brighton and Presqu'ile Park. Stroll around the old train station and Memory Junction Museum. Although it is closed we have permission to drop the chain at the gate and go on in. The steam locomotive is 1906 and came from Belleville and it weighs 110 tons. The wooden Caboose is original 1929. There are two other metal cabooses, a boarding car and 2 flatbeds. Then we will need provincial park passes to drive down to Owen's Point Trail where snowy owls were recently spotted. No guarantee of course and we can drive further to the Lake Ontario shore to see the ice formations along the bluffs. The loop road to the lighthouse may be closed since the ice storm. Leaving Picton 8:30 a.m. Meet at Memory Junction at 9:30. Two great coffee / latté shops on main street for afterward. Please let me know where you will meet us. Share gas costs and park entry fee.

steam locomotive

Saturday, Feb. 1 -- Long Point aka Prince Edward Point, meet at the bird observatory and walk to the lighthouse. Cliff overlooks and hopefully old squaws aka long tail ducks visible at the edge of ice. Meet at Black River Cheese factory at 9 a.m. Please let me know if you are coming. You can view the "arctic" scenes from last year's Long Point trip by clicking here.

Long Point snowshoes

Some late winter and early spring trips to look forward to:

* Driving tour to the remote shores at Prinyers Cove and Cressy Lakeside

* Waupoos wineries and Cannery Row at the marina

* Sugaring off at local maple bushes

* Walk about Cherry Valley and Dodd's Falls

* Newburgh waterfalls and old limestone houses and cafe


Cressy Lakeside Road

Wednesday, March 5 -- Deseronto walk-about town and down to the Bay of Quinte and then to the famous coffee shop. This is a surprisingly picturesque town with interesting buildings and true characters along Main Street. And fine dining in the O'Connor House with adjacent antique shop. Click here to see the photos.


Wednesday, March 12 -- A privileged invitation to see Wesley Acres Camp on the Lake Ontario shore in Bloomfield. Hopefully the weather will turn spring-like and the sugar maples will be tapped with hanging buckets. Either way, we will meet at the main office for a stroll on their beautiful grounds then stop into the village for tea. Get a lift from Picton at 1:00 or meet at the camp at 1:30. Please RSVP if you are coming.

This wraps up our winter season, a month off for Spring Break, reconvening April 9th.



Macaulay Mountain

Sunday, January 5 -- A long walk at Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area, meeting in the lower parking lot in Picton at 9 a.m. This is directly beside the Macaulay House Museum at 35 Church Street. If the snow remains, wear tall boots and prepare for a steep climb or a steep descent depending on which direction we go to the ridge-top.

Saturday, January 11 -- To keep with the icy winter theme, this Saturday's County expedition will begin at the Wellington Rotary Beach for a short stroll and shots of the harbour light. Afterward, we will drive over to North Beach Provincial Park and trudge over dunes and beach facing the open water of Lake Ontario. Weather prediction is for warming trend, hopefully not rain. However, the dramatic shots usually happen on the "dirty days". Please let me know if you will meet in Picton at 8:30 a.m. or at the Wellington Beach 9:00. Click to view photos.

Wednesday, January 15 -- We liked the coffeeshop-bookstore-clothing boutique in Stirling so much that we're heading that way again. Destinations include King's Mill and Crowe Bridge Conservation Areas where the midwinter thaw should have dams and rapids running strong. Gentle walking. Watch for owls and coyotes. Leaving Picton 1:00 and Belleville 1:30. RSVP.

January 24 - 26 -- Weekend retreat to Ile St-Bernard Island and Montreal, Quebec. See details on Photography Retreats website.

Click to view photos from the 2014 Montreal weekend retreat.

King's Mill Conservation Area


Marmoraton Mine quarry

Thursday, Feb. 6 -- An afternoon tour of the North Country, including a spectacular lookout over the Marmoraton Mine iron quarry and walk along the rushing Crowe River at Callaghan’s Rapids Conservation Area. All within a short drive from the village of Marmora on the Trans-Canada Highway, Route 7. $10 for regular participants plus gas sharing. Meet in Picton at 1:00 and Belleville at 1:30. Click to see the photos.

Saturday, Feb. 8 -- Kingston and Wolfe Island. Febfest winter carnival, ferry, snowy owls and wind turbines. 8 are signed up to take the 10:30 ferry to the island and return on the 2:30 ferry to Kingston. Back in Picton by 5:00. Click to see photos of the trip.

Wednesday, February 12 -- Ghost town and waterfalls tour. A driving excursion along the backcountry north of Napanee. Wikipedia: "Marlbank is the home of the hardest underwater cement in the world that built the Panama Canal. (ref. Tweed Historical Society). We will see the remains of the cement plant and the Marlbank Phoenix Tavern that rose from the flames twice in its more-than-a-century life. Leave Picton 12:00. Meet at Park N Ride corner of 401 and 49 at 12:30. Click to see photos from Lonsdale to Marlbank.

Wednesday, February 19 -- Tour of the Bata Shoe village by special invitation by the Batawa Development Corporation. Take photos of the Batawa Ski hill, walk the trails and dine informally at the ski lodge. Leaving Picton at 1:00. Please Email if you are interested. See the Batawa community website.

Wednesday, February 26 -- A return to the rural and wild north country in the Salmon River Valley north of Napanee. Leaving Picton at 11:00 or meet at the Devon Café at noon in Tamworth. After a spot of tea at the tea room and a visit to the ajacent gift and antiques shop, we will walk about this isolated town filled with old brick buildings and a rushing river and mill. Then we will drive further north along Highway 41 to park in the Dark Sky Area beside Sheffield Conservation Area. This is a very wild park and the walk will require snowshoes. Let me know if you need to borrow a pair. We won't be too ambitious, just trudge in far enough to an overlook across the lake and boulder country. Click to see the photo gallery from this trip.


Saturday, March 1 -- Drive out of Picton at 9 a.m. to the overlook of the Glenora Ferry at Lake On The Mountain Provincial Park then follow along Adolphus Reach to the Cressy peninsula. We will walk along the tiny Cressy Lakeside Road where there are usually interesting birds, including annual sightings of bald eagles. A wooden drive shed along that road is said to have been built by the original Loyalist settlers. Time and weather permitting we will drive out to either Prinyer's Cove or Land's End along the Cressy Bayside Road, interesting landscapes, old buildings and boats. A stop at the Waupoos Marina and Cannery Row en route back to Picton. Click to view the photos.

Cressy ice

Saturday, March 8 -- Trillium Ridge Sugarworks, Shannonville....but DO NOT use this address in your GPS to guide you there!!! Farm owner Terry Gervais says you will end up 30 kilometers north. See their website for details. Here's what they wrote to us: Most tapping is completed, about 2,200 to go as of now. Some buckets are hung. Breakfast is homemade beans, pancakes and sausages and coffee for $9.00 per person. An old log barn on the property, lots of great pictures available. We even have a resident herd of elk. Not appreciated, but hard to see. Terry and Vickie. See photos from the outing.

Wesley Acres camp

Past outings 2013

Wednesday, December 11 -- Walk on Bata Island (Frankford) and a visit to the nearby Stockdale Mill. Click here to see some photos of the mill in winter and other seasons. Peter Sutton, owner of The Old Stockdale Mill Restaurant, says they open at 5:00 and that we can show up earlier to take photos before dark. They serve hot drinks, wine and a full meal menu or just get an appetizer or a salad. Ride-share from Picton at 1:00 to arrive at Frankford by 2:15. Meet at the trailhead located 1.2 km north of Frankford on North Trent Street. The entrance to Bata Island is opposite Huffman Road. Please contact for directions and let me know if you will be needing a lift.

The city of Quinte West (Trenton) is sponsoring a photography contest you may wish to enter before the end of the year. First prize is $300, second prize $200, third prize $100 with 3 honorable mentions $50 each. You have to allow them to use your high resolution photos for promotional purposes, even if you don't win. The theme is "Natural Attraction" so our Hanna Park and Bata Island winter outings as well as our past Mount Pelion and moonrise-over-the-bay outings could provide some good entries. Click for details.

Saturday, December 14 -- To Campbellford and do the daring walk across the see-through steel suspension bridge over the rapid Trent River. This bridge can be accessed from Ferris Provincial Park but we will enter from the town on the west shore of the river. It is part of the Trans-Canada Trail and their motto is "Get Over It, Eh." With caution I believe we can get down into Ranney Gorge for some waterfall pictures but the shore is steep and rocky. Click here to see photos of the bridge....don't be frightened! We will leave Picton at 12:30 to arrive in Campbellford by 2:15. Park along Highway 30 just before the main interesection in town (Bridge Street) and meet at the Old Mill Park along the river. Sunset is around 4:30 as we approach the shortest day of the year. Please contact for directions and let me know if you will be needing a lift.

Holiday outing

Wednesday, December 18 -- For the final Photography & Fitness outing of 2013 we will meet at 11 a.m. at the corner of Lakeshore Lodge and County Road 12 to hike the provincial park road to Sandbanks Beach then along the Lake Ontario shore from dunes to the rocky cliffs the return via Lakeshore Lodge Road. A total of about 3 kms....working up an appetite for the evening feast.

Both roads are closed to traffic in the winter so we will pull the cars off at the intersection, maybe have to shovel out a spot to park. Don't block the gates. Carpool leaves Picton at 10:30 a.m. Map below. Please let me know if you are meeting in PIcton or at the park.

At 5:30 Photography & Fitness participants will reconvene at the home of Janice Ruggles-Bolton near the Glenora Ferry at 11323 Loyalist Parkway. Driving from Picton she lives 5 houses past the Lake of the Mountain turn on your right. Potluck dinner at 6:00. Bring up to 25 or 30 new photos too which we will project after supper. RSVP

No cost to attend the potluck event but please consider supporting the local nature and history organizations that preserve great photography subjects for us such as Adopt-An-Acre from Quinte Conservation, Friends of Sandbanks Provincial Park, Friends of the Frink Centre, the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory, The Prince Edward Historical Society.

Click here to see photos from our snowless outing to Lakeshore Lodge last winter.


To kick off our December schedule of outings we will have two full afternoons combining a walk in the woods with twilight shoots of holiday lights. Both days will be dog-friendly trails if your canine companion wants to come along. Be advised that we may have a brief warm-up stop at Tim Horton's prior to nightfall.

ski  Belleville train

Wednesday, December 4 -- Quinte Conservation's headquarters just west of Loyalist-Wallbridge Road in Belleville. The conservation area stretches from the Bay of Quinte shore with a pedestrian tunnel under the highway and north along Potter Creek to another tunnel under the railroad tracks. The QC office has free literature on its nature programs as well as maps for sale. Share a ride from Picton at 2:30 or meet in the parking lot by the office at 3:00. Sunset is around 4:30 p.m. Then we will drive downtown to Meyer's Pier to see the Christmas lights display.

Saturday, December 7 -- Hanna Park in Trenton (Quinte West). This trail through huge white pines and hardwood forest is generally full of dog-walkers. Carpool from Picton at 2:00 or meet at Hanna Park at 3:00. Visit the Christmas Fantasy of Lights in Fraser Park at 5:00. Contact me for directions

.Christmas lights

Wednesday, December 18 -- Our quarterly season-end potluck supper get-together at St. Andrew's Picton with slideshow of your photos....combining it with one of our regular Wednesday afternoon walks, the week before the holiday rush. No charge, donations accepted to our favourite chairities that we contributed to last year -- Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, Friends of Sandbanks, Friends of the Frink, Quinte Conservation's Adopt-An-Acre, Reaching For Rainbows, etc....the wine will be flowing and bring your best images for the slideshow of our autumn outings....or other seasons if you are just catching up on your editing! The walk will begin at 3:00 and supper at 6:00 till late. More details to follow.

Belleville lights

Group workshops and one-on-one tutoring

Several individuals have requested private lessons to fast-track their familiarity with their cameras and computer editing programs. A special rate of $25 per hour is being offered to regular Photography & Fitness participants. The regular rate is $35. Click to reserve a private tutoring session.

Instructor Phil Norton will work at your level of expertise, beginner to advanced, to learn important technical functions on cameras and computers and give you customized advice on improving your technique. A portfolio critique of your high resolution images will suggest improvements and identify your individual style of shooting. Personalized coaching for your photography whether it is a hobby, for competitions or a possible source of revenue. Guaranteed to improve your results.

Norton has had his portfolio reviewed over the years by top National Geographic editors and photographers including legendary NG Photo Editor Bob Gilka and long-time staffers Sam Abell and Dennis Dimmick. He assisted NG journalists on assignment in 1989 and 1990--Priit Vesilind, Sisse Brimberg and Doug Lee for stories on Montreal and the USA-Canada Border.

Picton Harbour fog

Photo editing

Friday, November 15 -- Returning due to popular demand, an evening session on Photoshop Basics...or whatever photo editing software you use. There are some free downloads online. Starts at 6:00 p.m. till late at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Picton.

Even if you heard it before, post-processing is half of making good photos so let's take your raw camera files and make them even better.....even GREAT.

This is where you can refine your exposure and composition, enhance contrast and colours, even sharpness to some extent. Lasso and lighten the shadow areas, darken your over-exposed skies. Zoom in to magnify the key subject. And learn a few of the many many tools available--crop, cloning tool, magic wand, text tool, gradient, curves and levels, etc.

We will review how to resize image files for web and email, and what resolution is needed for prints and publication. If you are new to digital photography I highly recommend signing up for this evening or a personal coaching session.

Bring along the bad pictures you want to see corrected and your specific how-to questions. Here are the questions from one participant that we can address: "...changing the backgrounds...I also always wanted to know how to make a pic into a black and white pic, but bring up one colour within the pic."

Hanna Park trail arrow

Sunday, September 15 -- Waterfalls tour just north of Highway 401. A driving tour with three main stops, including cascades on the Napanee and Salmon Rivers and villages with 19th century limestone buildings and an old mill. Leave Picton at 3:00 p.m. and return by 7:00. Or meet at the Marysville exit of 401 at 3:30. RSVP if you can make it no matter the weather. This photo of Buttermilk Falls was taken in a light rain.

Wednesday, September 18 -- Trenton Greenbelt Conservation Area. A return to this lovely riverside nature trail and canal, a good walk with an interesting mix of wildlife and historic structures to photograph. The Jack Lange Memorial Walkway runs along the west shore of the Trent River just north of downtown Trenton along Front Street. In June we were treated to an osprey just overhead being attacked by 3 small birds, a beaver swimming right under the footbridge, a woodchuck standing by its hole and frequent passing trains over the steel trestle. Meet at the Conservation Area parking lot at 5:30 or carpool from Picton leaving at 4:30 p.m. No pictures available; let's hope the instructor does not forget to bring his camera again this time!

Fall photography outings 2013

For the fall season, regular participants purchase outings at $10 each and one-time participants $15 each. Please register for each outing by email or call (613) 476-1167. For custom guided tours, group outings and private lessons, please see the Photography Outings website.

Recently I led half-day tours for the Entrepreneurs Organization and the Young Presidents Organization, both of Ottawa, as well as a French Canadian youth exchange group and a bachelorette group; also an Ontario camera club with an indoor slide review after the shooting tour.

Picton Harbour, Prince Edward County, Ontario

Wednesday, September 11 -- We are going to hoof it around Picton Harbour and discover some marvelous less-known vantage points and scenery that works in any kind of weather. Foggy morning or crescent moon at dusk. We have special permission to walk onto a property beside the Claramount Inn with a lovely view across from the yacht club. Meet at the public boat launch at 1 Head Street at 6:00 p.m. for a stroll on the boardwalk and up the shoreline hill. Then we will drive to the other end of town where we may spot a green heron and kingfisher, ducks and geese. RSVP or ask for directions.

One year anniversary September 20, 2013

Friday, September 20 evening for a free-of-charge celebration of our one-year anniversary of "Photography & Fitness" outings. Potluck dinner, bring whatever you like--drinks, dessert or a dish, and, as usual, bring some of your favourite photos from our outings (and from your personal travels this summer) on a USB thumb drive for a slideshow of our Year In Review. At St. Andrew's Church in Picton..... Early birds can show up at 5:30 and we'll plan to eat around 6:00.

Saturday, September 21 -- RAIN DELAY, change of plans....a night shoot of Picton on the wet streets...See photos.

Leaving Picton for all points coastal at 12:30 after noon. Drive time is about 1/2 hour to the trail at Little Bluff Conservation Area but we will stop en route at a pioneer cemetery with historic headstones just past the South Bay church and the lighthouse. The cliffs with a view out to the Great Lake is formidable, national park caliber. Also the stone remnants of a 19th century granary by the shore and a pebble beach that may have mini inukshuk standing. We will have 2 visiting participants from Brockville and Niagara. RSVP to carpool or get directions.

Potluck dinner


Karlo Estates winery and bicycle

Wednesday, September 25 -- Wine country with the vineyards at their peak just before harvest. Karlo Estates near Wellington has unique traditional farm structures including the stone fence by the roadside and a dry stone bridge said to be North America's largest! We will roam the property and taste their award-winning products. We will carpool (designated driver) from Picton at 3:30 to meet up at the winery from 4:00 to 6:00 (closing time). Please let me know if you will join us. In addition to the usual photo workshop fee, there is a minimum $5.00 fee for 5 tastings or buy 2 bottles and get the tasting free. Other options with food pairings. Click to view photos.

Rock Dunder lookout

Saturday, September 28 -- Rock Dunder! At last, we will explore this spectacular natural area with a grand view over the Rideau River. Last spring I attempted to reach the summit (without success due to a rainout) this will be our group ascent to the bald rocky lookout.

See photos from the trip. This is an easy trail through forest to the lake but a strenuous one after that. We will be going 6 km round-trip to the summit so if you think you are unable, you may have to wait for us back at the car or inside the half-way cabin. Time permitting we can stop at the nearby Rideau Canal historic lock and hydro electric plant. Carpool from Picton 8:00 a.m. and Napanee 8:30....or meet at the trail at 9:30 a.m.

Ameliasburgh Fair

On assignment!

Sunday, September 29 -- A special invitation to our photography group to cover the Ameliasburgh Fair for CountyLive. Participants will document the Sunday events at the fairgrounds and have our photos published in this popular online news media. There will be the usual photo workshop fee plus admission to the Fair $5.00 (for both days) which includes the visit to the Ameliasburgh historical museum and re-enactment. Click here to view our coverage of the Fair on CountyLive. Please RSVP to work out details about arrival time and how to submit images. "Come dressed in farmers attire." See more photos.

Wednesday, October 2 -- The perfect time of year to stroll the boardwalk at Presq'ile Provincial Park. Peak migration season for certain species of northern birds and of course peak autumn colours. Beat the weekend tourist and city birder crowds on this mid-week afternoon guided hike through the marsh and then along the Lake Ontario shore and out to the lighthouse point. Click to see a list of migration dates for southern Ontario. Please let me know if you will hitch a ride from Picton at 2:00 or meet at the park gate at 3:00.

Presqu'ile Park birding boardwalk

PPPBB: Presqu'ile Provincial Park Birding Boardwalk

Old miliary base barracks

Friday - Sunday, October 4 - 6 -- weekend retreat up north. See

Saturday, October 19 -- A return visit to the old military base atop Macaulay Mountain, Camp Picton with a guided tour inside the barracks and hangars. This is a unique opportunity to photograph an historic site that is only open on special occasions. A photography group from Newmarket, Ontario is joining us and will visit Sandbanks Park if time allows. Then after lunch we will gather indoors for a slide show of everyone's best photos from the day. Meet at Camp Picton at 9 a.m. and at St. Andrew's Church at 2:00. Cost of the historical tour and possibly Sandbanks is $20. Plus $20 for the indoor session. RSVP to Click to see photos from last winter.


Wednesday, October 23 -- Fall colours, trees and flowers, along the picturesque lanes at Glenwood Cemetery in Picton. Meet at the chapel parking at 2:00. Although the peak week of autumn coloured leaves has passed, late October is a colourful season as the leaves fall and carpet everything in reds and yellows and browns, hoping to spot the resident red fox and the domestic geese in the pond too. We will concentrate on refining our camera settings and some basic one-on-one assistance where needed. Please let me know if you are coming: .

Glenwood Cemetery in the fall

Saturday, October 26 -- Driving tour of the Moira River north of Belleville....with an early start in hopes of catching some sunrise-through-the-mist shots....which is always hit or miss but you have to push yourself out of bed and try! The old mill along the rapids is a sure and favourite subject in any season. Carpooling from Picton at sunrise 7:30 a.m. and from Belleville at 8:00. Meet at the mouth of the Moira. Return by noon. Please RSVP for more details.

Chisholm Mill Moira River

Sager Conservation Area lookout

Wednesday, October 30 -- Our third attempt to climb Sager Mountain on a clear day for a view from the lookout tower. So far we have been foiled, first by a giant snowstorm and then socked in by dense fog. The hill at Sager Conservation Area is a glacial drumlin and with the steel deck it is the highest point around affording a great panorama (most of the time).

We will also visit Grills Orchard, just north of Highway 401 and pick up some goodies, although apple picking season is pretty much finished. And nearby, if we're lucky, we could see draft horses at work along Wallbridge-Loyalist Road at the Merryville Farm. However, the owner tells me that is really hit or miss which day he will be ploughing. Please let me know if you are coming along, leaving Picton at 2:00 p.m.

Landon Bay Thousand Islands

Saturday, November 9 -- Day trip to the 1000 Islands....along the rocky trails just east of Gananoque with a lookout over Landon Bay. Please let me know if you will carpool from Picton, leaving 7:30 a.m. $10 plus $5 to share the gas expenses and a trail fee approx $2.

Wednesday morning, November 13 - Our focus is on the southwest corner of Prince Edward County this week. We will take over the town of Consecon and stroll to the shore of Weller's Bay. Access to the national wildlife preserve and former bombing range is prohibited so we will follow the creek that runs through town to its mouth within the Sunset Lagoon Campground (we have permission). Meet at the bridge in the village centre around 9:45 a.m. Click to view the photos.

Saturday, November 16 we will meet at the Pleasant Bay Minis farm along the Loyalist Parkway (Highway 33) just west of Hillier. The owners invite us to meet their famous miniature horses as well as a donkey. The farm overlooks Pleasant Bay. Click to see article and photos. After the farm we will explore the Bay on a trail that leads in to a wild point opposite North Beach Provincial Park. Click to view the photos.

Pleasant Bay donkey

Wednesday, November 20 -- A special invitation to photograph Mohawk culture in Tyendinaga. Curtis Maracle who is running for election in December is also a traditional moccasin maker at his home, Eagle Hill, the place where the Peacemaker was said to be born (there is also the old Air Force here too). He will introduce us to others in the community and our walk will venture along the Bay of Quinte to where the Mohawk Landing took place. We can loop around to Lil Crow Café which will open by special request if we have enough people sign up. Carpooling from Picton at 1:30 or meet at Eagle Hill at 2:00. Click to view photos.

Saturday, November 23 -- An alpaca farm near Stirling with an Amish-made barn and a woodlot with trails. Leaving Picton at 8:30 a.m. and meeting at 9:30 at the Oak Hills Alpaca Ranch, 533 Gallivan Road, Stirling, ON K0K 3E0 for your GPS. We will see how much time is left after the farm visit for a possible stop at the King's Mill Conservation Area, just north of Stirling on King's Mill Rd, 5km west of County Rd #14. Your leader has never been there so we shall prepare for the unexpected! Mike and Heather Candler are our hosts.


Tuesday, November 26 -- Phil Norton will be the guest speaker at the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists meeting, Bloomfield Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. The 40-minute program will highlight our photography group adventures over the past year as well as Phil's personal documentary work, particularly relating to nature and environmental issues here and abroad. There is no charge but donations to support the bird banding station at Long Point are appreciated as well as purchases from a mini-craft show the same evening.

Hanna Park dog trail

Consecon sign


Friday, November 15 -- Due to several requests, another Basic Photoshop Boot Camp will be held at St. Andrew's Church in Picton. Please contact instructor Phil Norton if you would be interested in attending from 6:00 till late.

Post-processing is half of making good photos so let's take your raw camera files and make them even better.....even GREAT. This is where you can refine your exposure and composition, enhance contrast and colours, even sharpness to some extent. Lasso and lighten the shadow areas, darken your over-exposed skies. Zoom in to magnify the key subject. And learn a few of the many many tools available--crop, cloning tool, magic wand, text tool, gradient, curves and levels, etc. We will also review how to resize image files for web and email, and what resolution is needed for prints and publication.

If you are new to digital photography I highly recommend signing up for this or a personal tutoring session.



Our second weekend on Ile St-Bernard Island and tour of rural and urban Quebec has drawn a lot of interest from PEC and the Chateauguay Valley. January 24 to 26. I will reserve the rooms as soon as I have 6 confirmations and send out details immediately to you about the itinerary.

A very special demonstration and presentation will take place first thing upon our arrival with Scott Linstead who will fly his drone with a video camera around the island then show us the results as well as a slideshow of his amazing wildlife photography featured in his new book.

I am working on plans for a waterfalls tour to the Hamilton region for springtime...including other spots I have scouted out, maybe also Toronto-by-night. Click here for Photography Retreats page.

Summer-time photography outings 2013

June - July - August schedule of outings. For the summer season, regular participants purchase outings at $10 each and one-time participants $15 each.

Please register for each outing by email or call (613) 476-1167.

Saturday, June 1 -- Quinte's Isle Bluegrass Festival on the beach on Salmon Point Road. Bring a lawn chair or blanket if you want to sit for a spell. Maybe swim suit? Umbrella for sun or rain. Sunscreen. Carpool from Picton at 9:00 or meet outside the gate at 9:40. Click to view photos.

Wednesday, June 5 -- "The Sandbanks Challenge". We will meet at 6:00 p.m. and walk as far as we can from the Sandbanks Park Dunes Beach to reach the spit of land where West Lake is on one side and Lake Ontario on the other. It will be a long walk, plus the optional detour of climbing any of the high sand "mountains" along the way. Hopefully see some turtles. The dunes are always great for abstract shots and the low evening sun should provide interesting shadows. Drivers will need a park pass if you park at the Dunes Beach area. Click to view photos.

Sandbanks photographers

Wednesday, June 12 -- Jack Lange Memorial Walkway along the west shore of the Trent River just north on Front Street in Trenton. We will explore the tiny Trenton Greenbelt Conservation Area with both natural and urban views along the way....perhaps a passing train over the steel trestle and a passing blue heron over the marsh. There is an interesting footbridge, several kilometers of easy trails and a view of the dam....many new scenes to shoot. Hopefully butterflies and possibly dragonflies along the water. Meet at the Conservation Area parking lot or carpool from Picton.

Wednesday, June 26 -- A return to the beautiful Glenwood Cemetery in Picton where we will stroll the hills and valleys beneath huge pines and old sugar maples. Then, by special invitation, the stone chapel will be open for us to shoot inside and outside with the stained glass windows lit as the evening grows dark. Possible red fox sightings. Fireflies may be out and you are free to try night exposures among the tombstones and monuments. Meet at 6:00 p.m. at the chapel.

Friday, June 28 -- End of the season potluck and slideshows. To celebrate our third season of "Photography & Fitness" outings. Bring a drink or a dish along with some of your best pics, either from our outings together or from your own portfolio. We will view slideshows on the big multimedia screen at St. Andrew's in Picton and, for those who bring along their laptops, I will provide one-on-one computer tutoring late into the night. Also a brief demonstration on how to edit a photo shoot....cropping, colour, brightness and contrast adjustments, and how to choose the best 20 shots from the hundreds you took! $10 as usual.

Driftwood at Sandbanks Park Lakeshore Lodge beach

Thursday, July 4 -- Since everyone is busy on July 1st, we will celebrate Canada Day on the Fourth of photograph the giant flag made out of 28,000 red and white begonias along the 401 highway in Belleville. At 6:00 p.m. our walk will begin at the parking area across the highway (37) from the Yardmen Arena, aka Cannifton Road. This is the east side of the Moira River which is scenic and we can cross to the other side along Bell Blvd. to access Riverside and Memorial Parks. Then we can park at the dog walking area at Zwick's Park and hike up the bay bridge at sunset. Click to view the photos.

Wednesday, July 10 -- "Colours of the Rainbow" photography of Prince Edward County by Phil Norton on the big screen at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Picton to the live music of Sara Barrett Harris on the grand piano. Part of the Summer at St. Andrew's cultural series 7:00 p.m. $5.00.

County Cider tasting room and vineyard and orchard in Waupoos, Ontario

Thursday, July 11 -- Destination Milford. Meet at 6 p.m. at the dam of the Milford Mill Pond Conservation Area and prepare to scramble down to a brushy creek and then climb out of the valley to see Minaker's Auto Body where old trucks and buses have sat for decades. Lots to see in the bustling hamlet -- kids jumping off the bridge, a rope swing into the pond, maybe sucker fishermen downstream. Pose beside the statue and get a pop at the country store. A side trip to Scott's Mill and the cascading waterfalls. Carpool from Picton at 5:30. Please RSVP if you can make it. We will walk around town. There's a library, a post office and a bistro!

Wednesday, July 24 -- Into the high dunes again at Sandbanks Provincial Park. A group of 8 exchange students from Quebec will join us, carpooling from Picton at 6:30. Or meet at the Dunes Beach at 7:00. Never get tired of this unique natural area that changes each season and time of day. Hoping for a dramatic sunset sky after tramping over the sand hills. Pack a flashlight for our return walk. A Sandbanks park pass will be required if you drive your own vehicle. Contact Phil Norton if you are interested, for more details. Please RSVP to

Dragonflies along the Outlet River in Sandbanks Provincial Park, Ontario

July 25 - August 10 -- the CLIC Photo Show in Picton, Ontario, 289 Main Street, 2nd Floor at Books and Co. Admission: $2, children 12 and under are free. 10 am to 6 pm everyday except closing at 5 pm on Sundays, including the holiday Monday. County Photographer Phil Norton is a Sponsor of CLIC in 2013.

mushroom in forest

Wednesday, July 31 -- Destination Odessa. A double-whammy. Two stops, starting with a brief 5:00 - 5:30 stop at Babcock Mill Park along Millhaven Creek, then a 6:00 start at the trailhead along Taylor Kidd Boulevard for Parrott's Bay Conservation Area. Hopefully the labyrinth in the forest made out of sticks will still be there. Let me know if you need a lift leaving Picton at 4:15 or directions to the 2 destinations.

Babcock Mill Park

Haliburton Santa on guitar

For the last week of the CLIC Photo Show in Picton and the tourism season in August, we hope to attract some of the photographers who are visiting Prince Edward County to tour the special places nearby.

Photographing Sandbanks Park

Wednesday, August 7 -- to kick it off.....Sandbanks of course! Meet at Lakeshore Lodge with a provincial park pass at 6 p.m. or carpool and share a park pass from Picton at 5:30. We will shoot the rocky cliffs and sand beach on Lake Ontario and venture up into the dunes for a unique vantage point around sundown. Click here to view pictures.

Picton Courthouse

Friday, August 9 -- Shoot John A. Macdonald's life in Picton and other pre-Confederation local history. A guided tour of the courthouse and the graveyard at the Macaulay museum (additional fee $10). The dimly-lit gallows with hanging rope. Please reserve immediately. With a large enough number of photographers, we get our own custom tour. Optional walk downtown to see the sculpture bust of Canada's first prime minister. Click to see photos.

Rose House Museum in Waupoos

Saturday, August 10 -- Morning excursion to a historic destination, the homestead museum east of Waupoos, Rose House. Leave Picton at 9:00 a.m. or meet there (3333 County Road 8) at 9:30 when the museum opens. Suggested donation $4.00. We will walk down Cemetery Lane to the old cemetery across the road. On the way back we can stop at County Cider for a lookout from vineyards and orchards over the Great Lake and taste test their apple products inside for free. Click to see photos.

Macaulay Mountain hemlock trail forest

Sunday, August 11 -- to the ridge-top at Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area. Sheer drop-offs and interesting flora and fauna along the trail through the rich green woodlands. And Birdhouse City too!. RSVP and meet at the lower parking lot beside the Macaulay House museum at 9:00 a.m.

dark sky area

Monday, August 12 -- the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower up to 60 shooting stars per hour. If there is ample interest we will venture out to Sheffield Conservation Area for an evening walk then set up tripods at the Dark Sky Area park north of Napanee. Please let me know if you are interested.

Fredericksburg Conservation Area

Wednesday, August 14 -- North Fredericksburg Conservation Area, an unusual flat rock area, forest and stream. Bring boots or roll up your pant legs for wading through marshy ground and water depending on the recent rainfall. First we will visit the falls beneath the train bridge in Napanee. RSVP for carpooling from Picton at 5:30 p.m. or meeting at the falls at 6:00.

Cedar Sands hiking trail at Sandbanks Provincial Park

Wednesday, August 21 -- Mid-week morning escape the crowds of tourists on the quiet Cedar Sands Trail at Sandbanks Park. Click to view photos from last fall's outing. Requires a park pass. RSVP contact me for directions or to carpool and share a pass. Leaving from Picton at 9 a.m.

Algonquin Park in August anyone?


Wild iris

birches in Algonquin Park

August 24-25, 2013 -- An up-and-back trip to the wild and relatively unknown northeastern sector of Algonquin Provincial Park, leaving from Picton-Belleville around 4:30 - 5:00 p.m. and returning next day before 11:00 p.m., an excursion for photographers and naturalists. See photos from our group outing, click here.

Cost: $49 plus tax per person plus gas, accommodations ($30), park admission and meals.

I explored this area recently, mostly on foot and then some kayaking, but all of the points of interest are accessible on foot, such as the rocky point where Tom Thomson of the Group of Seven painted "The Jack Pine", and the canyon overlook.

The drive is 3 hours+ via Route 41 north of Napanee. We can share rides or meet up there if you want to spend another day on your own or pick you up en route at Bon Echo Park.

For accommodations, we have booked a rustic lodge or Pembroke is nearby on the Ottawa River. We will meet at 7:30 a.m. and enter the park by 8 a.m.

An Ontario Parks pass is valid if you have one for Sandbanks / Presqu'ile Parks. You can view some photos from last spring, click here.

canyon in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

Featured in the local media:

* CountyLive
* The Trentonian newspaper
* County Weekly News
* Loyalist College video
* Quinte Arts Council Umbrella Magazine

* EMC newspaper
* The Community Press
* County Magazine (see below)
* 99.3 County FM Radio

Photographer in autumn Photo by Phil Norton
For a gift idea, consider offering your favourite "Kid Kodak" a gift certificate for one-on-one photography tutoring. Adults and youth are welcome. Pricing comparable to taking music lessons. Special rates for couples, family or office staff. Contact Phil Norton.

2012-2013 business association memberships

chamber of commerce NPPA taste the county
picton BIA NPPA CP
Photos in Prince Edward County publications
County Magazine Picton BIA guide
County & Quinte Living Magazine Taste the County guide



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Olympic Torch Relay in Picton, Ontario poster for sale.

To commemorate the historic Olympic Torch event in Picton, this colour glossy poster is available in 11"x17" and 16"x24" for $13 and $32. View slideshows and photo galleries and order reprints from the event at:

Olympic Torch Canada

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* County photo blog

* Purchase photo greeting cards

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All photographs on this page © Copyright by Phil Norton