The Gut Conservation Area
Over the summer months I have been treated to images from one of my photographer friends, Russ Higgins. His captures of the Kawartha region are always inspiring. One area in particular is a conservation area known as The Gut, named after a 230-metre long, 30-metre deep gorge on the Crowe River. It's about an hour from the cottage to the turn off that leads to the Gut, which is somewhat near Apsley, Ontario.

From the turn off to the Gut parking lot, it's at least a 15-minute white-knuckle, 8kmh drive over a road that has not seen maintenance in at least a few years. Mother Nature has not been kind to this road; it's full of deep potholes and jagged washouts and would be unforgiving to any vehicle with low ground clearance. I would have taken photos, but the road is too narrow, and - with the exception of a few wider turn-outs - if you stop, everyone else stops, too.

From the parking lot, it's a fairly short but deep descent down to the Crowe River. On a dry day (as it was for our excursion), it's not a bad walk, albeit a bit steep in places (rough stairs have been built into the steepest parts). On a wet day, you would want to be cautious in your footing.

There were a fair number of people already at the gorge (It was a holiday weekend) but I was able to find angles that kept the tourists of of the frame in most cases. This first image below, was my first view of the cascade.
There was a mix of sun and shade at The Gut, and I knew I wanted that silky look to the water only possible with very slow shutter speeds. I quickly attached my ND 256 filter to my lens and it stayed on for the duration of my shoot, giving me exposure lengths from 3 - 10 seconds. This shot was a 3-second exposure at f/8, ISO 200, using my Olympus EM5 Mark III and the 12-50mm M-Zuicko lens.
The scene below was first captured using the long exposure mode of my Lightroom Mobile camera on my iPhone 11 Pro. I braced the camera using my Platypod camera base and set the exposure to 5 seconds.
Shot using the Long Exposure Mode of the Lightroom Mobile camera. This final image is a a blend of 150 separate images, automatically processed through Lightroom Mobile.
The long exposure mode in the Lightroom Camera is not a true long exposure. When triggered, the camera captures 30 frames per second (up to a 5 second maximum), and then blends them together to create what looks like a traditional long exposure image of moving elements. This is an amazing example of computational photography. 

Note: Long Exposure Mode is not enabled by default; you must activate it from the Technology Previews section of the Settings menu. The last time I checked, it was only available for later model iPhones (7 and up).
I could get up to10-second exposures when the sun went behind a cloud and I stopped down to f/11. The mobile app for my Olympus is great, acting as my cable release for long exposure shots.
The Gut really leant itself to black and white shots. Even my wife, who is not fond of black and white images at all, was impressed.
The drive to and from The Gut also had some gems that were worth pulling over for. Images that in some cases just symbolize the Kawarthas with its mixture of lakes, wetlands, farmland and cottage escapes.
Visiting the Gut was a worthwhile endeavour, and I will definitely be going back. Thank you, Russ, for introducing me to this beautiful location.

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