Wallpaper December 2011

Wallpaper December 2011

Last month’s image shared an unusual weather moment, and asked you to share weather-related stories about the river. 

Wallpaper November 2011

Winky McGowan shared this one:

One of my (non-photo) memorable images was close to sunset one very windy day. I went out on the lea side of our narrow island (Little Sagastaweka) in the kayak and as I returned the red sun was reflected off the very rough water on the windy side of the island onto the rapidly waving, shiny, oak leaves making it look like a tree full of tiny, colored, twinkling lights. The sun was also visible through openings in the clouds. Never seen anything similar since then, but I keep trying!

Many thanks Winky. The prints are on their way.

For this month, I’ll share with you an image that has been my desktop picture ever since I took it in September. You may have seen a smaller version as a TI Life header, but it’s unusual enough that I thought you’d enjoy a higher resolution version.

It was made possible thanks to Singer Castle’s Tom Weldon, who kindly invited me to Dark Island during top secret preparations for a new reality TV show, The Great Escape, being filmed there by The Amazing Race’s Bertram Van Munster with Ron Howard. You can read Kim Lunman’s story about it in TI Life here

Even with Tom’s invitation, this shot very nearly didn’t happen. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity with the castle lit like this, with so many floodlights that they required a dedicated generator truck brought in by barge, for power. I had just finished shooting the other side of the castle, then set up for this shot. The exposure took 35 seconds. No sooner had it finished when the lights went out, and weren't coming back. The generator had failed and wouldn’t be operational again until the following night when the show would be filmed with no chance of me being in the middle of it.

As explained last month, I think it's time to start sharing well-known sights on the river in these wallpapers rather than the former obscure “identify the location” ones. So rather than identifying the location, I’m hoping you’ll share interesting stories or knowledge you may have about these places so we can all learn more about them. I suspect some of you have some great Singer Castle stories. The best will receive a set of 6 - 8 x10 prints.

This comes to you with very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and very happy holiday season.

Ian Coristine

P.S. Over the years I've had many requests for copies of Volume I, the original burgundy book, from people wishing to complete their collection, but was unable to help. I recently came across a small quantity of new copies of the third printing. I've decided to offer them for sale at $200 per signed copy, which while by no means inexpensive, is perhaps not out of line considering used copies have sold on the internet for as much as $400.  

Should books (Volume IV is sold out) or large format giclée prints be among the items on your Christmas shopping list, please order them soon as cross border mail at Christmas can be terribly slow. 


Wallpaper December 2011

Download wide-angle version


How incredibly beautiful scenes along THE River are! Thank you for making it so easy to relish them even during the winter months!

Deacon John Tomandl posted on: Thursday, December 01, 2011

Beautiful! Thank you! I like your suggestion to post identified images of the river. Easier for us to relate to, I think!

Diana Davis Duerkop posted on: Thursday, December 01, 2011

This is absolutely the most beautiful picture of Singer Castle. The lighting is PERFECT. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent with us!!

Olivia Westcott Lancaster posted on: Thursday, December 01, 2011

Thank you for this wonderful picture, Ian. You seem to create your own 'LUCK'.

Sheila Striemer posted on: Thursday, December 01, 2011

Hi Ian, Really a great picture added to ur previous great pictures, hope u can take similar one for the Carleton Villa one day.

Khaled Yehia Naguib, Cairo, Egypt posted on: Friday, December 02, 2011

Wow, what a great shot of Singer Castle, I can remember when I was a youngster in the 80's making the boat trip every Sunday morning. My familiy camped at Wellesley Island State Park. At that time Dark Island was owned by a Christian organization and held a non denominational church service every Sunday morning in the castle upstairs in a large ballroom area. I can remember being in the large hall with windows on both the north and south side of the room. I thought it was really neat to look right and see Canada and to the left was the US. After the church service they left you to explore the castle and the island as long as you wished. Boy talk about a kid not minding getting up Sunday morning to go to church when when it started and ended with a boat ride and the middle was filled with a mysterious island to explore. Does anybody know are there still any boat only accessable church services on the river in the summer months? I would love to share a similar experience with my own kids. Thanks Ian for the great shot down memory lane.

Rod posted on: Saturday, December 03, 2011

I am writing to ask for info about getting a picture of the castle for my dad.  His name is Harold Comstock Jr.  He and his father, Harold Comstock Sr., were caretakers of the castle on Dark Island for many years.  They worked for E.J. Noble and Mrs. Thayer.  I've heard many stories about the place, but moved to California before it was open to the public.  Maybe I'll return home to the river some day to see the renewed version.  I only remember seeing it from the river as we passed by in our boat, which was built in the servant quarters.  The boat was passed down to me from Dad when he could no longer stay in his home,  so I still feel a connection to Dark Island through the TNT.  Dad remembers driving Mr. Noble's boats, the day the prop fell off, an earthquake on the island, and driving his own ice boat from the island to the Bay.  It would be great if I could buy a copy of the photo for him. Keep up the good work!  You have no idea what it means to all the St. Lawrence River Rats who are displaced from our beloved water way.  The storm on the river is my new screen saver.  So glad to have found your site. Homesick in CA.

Tracy Guglielmo , CA posted on: Saturday, December 03, 2011

As co-author of both of the Singer Castle books, I'd be remiss to not contribute something to this wonderful discussion on our favorite castle. Back about 25 years ago before I got married, the singles group from my church went and spent several "work" weekends at what was then Jorstadt Castle owned by Dr. Harold Martin and his wife Eloise. They were getting older (as was the castle) and appreciated some young hands to come and help out now and then. When 10 of us showed up one weekend, we were well aware that it would be a lot of mouths to feed (especially after a couple of days of hard work) so we decided to plan all of our meals and bring enough food to feed ourselves and the Martins. I assigned a different food to each of the members of the team. For the evening meal I assigned a single male engineer (who I figured made the most money of all of us) the job of the main course (as in, meat). Being an engineer, he took his calculations very seriously wanting to be sure there was enough for everyone. He calculated that about a quarter pound per person should be more than enough (even throwing in an extra pound or two for good measure). The only problem with that, was that he didn't take into consideration that when you buy a chicken, much of the weight includes the bones, gizzards, etc. So the five pound chicken ...well... shall I say...didn't quite meet the demands. But since it was all we had, we figured we would throw it in a pot and cook it, and hope for one of those biblical "loaves and fishes" experiences when we went to divide it up. As it was cooking, Dr. Martin wandered into the kitchen to get a sneak peek at what we were preparing for dinner. He lifted the lid off of the pot and to his great dismay (and perhaps just a little bit of humor) called to his wife, "Eloise, they're cooking us a pigeon". I remember eating a lot of dessert that night.

posted on: Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Sunday afternoon church services are still held in Half Moon Bay on Bostwick Island (aka York Island in the Admiralty Group) in the summer. People come by boat and most stay in boats - a few people climb up into the potholes overlooking the bay for the services. Hymn books are passed out by people in a canoe. Anyway, there is a crescent moon sign near the mouth of the bay that shows boats where to come. When we were kids most people came in canoes, rowboats, or small motor boats and we marveled at how skilled the book hander-outers were at threading the canoe among the boats. My grandmother used to sit in the stern of the rowboat and steer by pulling the rope attached to the rudder while 2 rowers with spoon oars did the rowing.

Winky McGowan posted on: Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hi Tracy, I read your response to Ian's Singer Castle picture and I'd love to contact you directly if possible. If you happen to see this, could you email me at mondorep@upstate.edu? Thanks! Patty

Patty Mondore posted on: Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Ian our hearts just jumped when we saw the wonderful pics of the castle. I was the pastor there from the mid 80's until it was sold in 2003. We got to enjoy the most beautiful place in the world. We stiil are able to be tour guides in the summer. You really are the only one who really captures the beauty of the castle. Of course we have to thank Dr. and Mrs. Martin for opening the place every Sunday for services. It was a great time and we got to spend it with two beautiful people, Bob and Patty Mondore.

Rev. Harvey and Flo Jones, Lake Placid, FL posted on: Friday, April 13, 2012

The Notification List

One afternoon at a book signing, a lady shared with me a profound statement. "The River chooses some". Those of us who were chosen, spend winters longing to get back. To help my winter longings and yours too, each winter month I enjoy sharing a computer screensaver image to help infuse a little summer warmth into your day. I also outline the latest additions to ThousandIslandsLife.com online magazine. If you would like to receive these images and updates, please add your email address to the notification list using the form below. It will not be shared elsewhere.