Bay of Quinte Tourism

Bending Light with Rob Howsam

I’VE LIVED IN THE Bay of Quinte area for the last four or five years. In that time I’ve graduated from the Television and New Media Production program at Loyalist College and have been working at Vantage Point Media House in Belleville. I’ve always been interested in the art of photography and filmmaking and have a passion for the outdoors. Living in the Bay of Quinte area has allowed me to constantly get out and explore some pretty incredible sceneries. When I’m not chasing fish or other wildlife with my camera at work with Vantage Point, I can be found chasing interesting storm shots or doing night photography around the BoQ.

Typically when I go out, I’m looking for an environment that’s reacting to light in a unique way, like with shadows from a full moon or reflections on still water. With long exposure photography, I can bring these elements to life in a way you couldn’t see with the regular human eye. I also enjoy using time-lapse photography to reveal direction and speed—like stars in the sky or cars on the highway. I’ll use an intervalometer that shoots at a 25- to 30-second exposure and leave the camera set up for three to four hours to capture enough photos to playback as video and watch how the world moves. Before heading out, I search various light pollution maps online and reference them with local conservation areas to see where I’m going to get my best shot, then jump in my car. Here are some of the places to go.

Quinte and Trent Conservation Areas

Timelapse of the night sky over the Bay.

Quinte and Trent Conservation Areas have thirty-three properties they manage. Conservation areas are an excellent place to shoot the stars because they’re typically out of town, so there is less light. Plus, there’s normally plenty of room for everyone to have their own private spot so you aren’t shooting shoulder to shoulder. Conservations areas are also a perfect spot for taking the dog out (be safe and check for ticks afterward).

Sager Conservation Area

Bending light up Sager Conservation stairway.

Sagers is a great local spot I’ve been to multiple times that has an amazing view across the rolling hills of Quinte West. In the summertime, it’s an awesome spot to take a lawn chair to and sit at the top of the tower to watch a sunset because of the westerly view. Plus, then you can stick around and shoot the stars. Sagers is also a great spot in the winter when the stars are at their best in the clear night sky, because its easily accessible with just a two-minute hike to the tower.

Meyers Pier

Playing with light at Meyers Pier holiday display.

I love shooting at Meyers Pier in the summer. If the County is getting lake-effect weather, the Pier is a great spot to set up and catch the stormy action without getting wet. There’s a nice little open-air bar and restaurant out on the Pier that’s hopping throughout the summer, with live music and some of the best tacos I’ve had in a long time but this is a winter shot when the festive lights make for some interesting shots.


Highway 401 from a bridge vantage point.

Bridges are another way to get creative and get a different perspective. Because this region is close to Highway 401 and to water, we have lots of bridges to take advantage of. When I’m shooting long-exposure at night, I’m always looking for different ways to create something using the light in the scene. So, on a bridge going over a highway, I enjoy trying to get light streaks, almost creating the effect of a ghost highway where you see just the lights without the actual vehicles. Similarly, I like using the overpowering light from the moon to create a near daytime effect, where you turn night into day. It reveals the night life in a way you could otherwise never see.

Stay tuned for my next post where I capture light from some of the Bay of Quinte’s fishing hot spots.


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