Last month’s wallpaper is the most important picture (to me) I've ever taken, because I never thought it could happen. I have it proudly displayed as a five-foot canvas print over my fireplace that I sit for hours in front of, exploring the intricate and unlikely scene of Fair Jeanne entering the Lost Channel in full sail. It actually did happen exactly this way 250 years ago when HMS Onondaga pursued French attackers into the labyrinth in the incident that gave this spot its name. Thanks to Simon Fuller who steered her in (very carefully) late last fall, history repeated itself.
There was an overwhelming winner amongst the responses, Paul Reilly, who captained the old Snider 1000 Islands tour boats from 1978 - '80 before purchasing Miss Brockville IV which he skippered under the name Island Heritage for almost twenty years. As Paul has an extensive tale to tell along with several pictures, I figured the best place to share it was in Susie Smith's outstanding Thousand Islands Life magazine, so you can read this month’s winning “caption” there.
This frees up some real estate to allow me to provide some background on my fifth and last book of photography of the 1000 Islands which will be released on June 5th, so I hope you won’t mind me indulging in a little shameless promotion. I feel little guilt however, because this book represents the very best tribute to the region I can put together from a decade of pretty focused effort.
You haven’t realized it until now, but all winter you’ve been seeing a preview with every image this season from the book. If you liked them, I’m pretty sure you’ll like the rest. In the few years since the last book, I’ve managed to capture many new images which earned their way in on merit. Roughly half the book is unpublished content, while the other half is “cherry picked” from a library which now exceeds 30,000 images. There's no question this is the very best overview of this magnificent place I can produce.
If the content was my best, I wanted the physical quality of the book to be the very best too. I briefly considered a new cover format because you're now used to padded covers from the earlier volumes. But they convey a sense of quality this place deserves and unlike dust jackets, will grow old with dignity. I've always hoped that some of these books might survive in bookshelves a hundred years on and I want them to look as good as new.
So my focus turned to the pages. The thought occurred to me that if extreme high gloss brings a book's cover alive, why not use it inside? If this is the last book, I wanted to go all the way. My printer began a search for a partner to do this last July.
By Christmas, time was running out and all that could be found were processes like aqueous coating and varnish which don't provide the same result as high gloss lamination or UV. It seems nobody had ever produced a book this way. I spent the holidays scouring the Internet and finally found a print broker in Seattle whose expertise is steering specialized jobs to specialty printers. He eventually found a single printer who could do it. Hallelujah!
As far as we know, this is the first time high gloss cover lamination has been used for all the pages of a book. When I explained this to my friend Mike Joyce, he shot back: “The world’s first book of covers.” It has a nice ring to it and may well be true, so I’m going with it.
My graphics design guru, Dave O’Malley, designed the cover and interior theme and I tweaked endlessly as is my way. I can say with certainty that the title is absolutely accurate. This is the very best I can produce. I hope you’ll approve.
So for the final wallpaper of the season, I thought it appropriate that I share the cover with you to go with the images you've been seeing all winter. You can get a further preview of the book here.
Enjoy your summer on the River. We'll begin the wallpapers again next fall.
P. S. The book’s launch party will be at the Brockville Arts Centre at 7:00 PM on Friday, June 4th where Great Lake Swimmers will perform songs from their acclaimed album Lost Channels, live. This, hot on the heels of their Juno nomination and performance, a pair of performances at the Olympics and many other important laurels earned by the album inspired by our islands.
We’ll also screen a collaborative work, a TI musical composition Tony Dekker wrote and recorded specifically to go with the book’s images. He very generously responded to my fondest wish, incorporating the actual sounds/music of the River into this ballad, recorded by Justin Nace, their talented and tenacious sound engineer. Like pictures, we learned that sounds don't come any more readily.
If you'd like to join us, please email the evening’s host, Tall Ships Landing (TallShips@Fuller.ca) with the names of attendees and you'll be sent complimentary tickets. The only request is that if anyone is unable to attend, that you notify Tall Ships ASAP so the tickets can be reassigned. As of this moment 75% of the available tickets have been spoken for, so don't wait if you'd like to be there.
The books will be available in shops within the region beginning June 5th. If you are unable to get to the River but would like to order a signed copy that will be shipped in early June, please click here.
Download wide-angle version
This one is another stunning and beautiful picture of the Lost Channel. I believe the ship in the picture might be the Fair Jeanne. It looks like it is the same ship used in the Palmistry video that was done by the Great Lake Swimmers. It brings to mind, to me the very first time I saw the islands. I was crossing the US/Canada border, and though I had done that in the past, it was never at the Hill Island crossing. It literally took my breath away. I thought it was the most gorgeous place on earth I had ever laid eyes on, and I knew then that I would be back to explore the area. I did return several times that year. To camp at nearby campsites; to walk the trails overlooking the river and take in the view. It is the one place I feel somehow at total peace with life and the world. I can not explain in words exactly what happens when I am there, but it is total happiness. I have spent hours at Thousand Island Park, just sitting on a rock gazing out at the river. When that video came out, I not only loved the music, as I have their previous cds, but I LOVED that video, and I bought it as soon as I could so I could watch it often. It is truly perfect music to enjoy while also enjoying the gift that nature has provided us in the islands and the river. Thank you for the picture; as always, it is lovely and on my desktop as wallpaper. I look forward to your upcoming book and the concerts, also.
Colleen Garland posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
This is the ship the "Mist of Avalon" coming east from Ivy Lea towards the north side of Georgina Island, I think. The picture was probably taken from the Thousand Island Bridge. Since our current summer home is on Hill Island, we have the pleasure of seeing this ship coming and going often enroute to Halifax. Many years ago, we had the opportunity of seeing the ship as it was being refurbished and watching the progress towards what it is today. I think this same picture has been a Wallpaper before but taken in the winter. We enjoy all the pictures no matter how many times they may be repeated and will miss the air shots when you, Ian, no long have your plane. Thank you for every one of your pictures.
Nora Jean McAdie posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I have enjoyed viewing Ian's photos for quite some time, but have always remained a spectator. That is, until April's photo was posted. This sure looks like our family's Summer backyard.
The ship may well be that of the British warship just prior to lowering a boat and crew with orders to warn others of French and Indian attackers. The mysterious lost boat of The Lost Channel. Perhaps it is one of those ghostly effects that only Ian's camera lens can see, but is invisible to a mere mortal's eye.
The island in the background to the south (left) is Needle Island, one of two islands where we summer. The other island, Palm Island, is just west and behind Needle Island. The narrow opening between Needle Island and Hill Island is the Needle's Eye.
This is one of my favorite veiws of The Islands, and one that I recall during our family's first visit to the area. This beauty of the River & Islands brought about a love affair at first sight. Several years ago (probably many years ago), New York State ran a tourist promotion advertising supplement in the New York Times. On the front cover was a full page, full color view of the Islands taken from approximately the same position as this month's wallpaper, but with a wide angle lens. The heading on the cover stated (What else?), "I Love New York". Even with the wide angle lens , you could see nothing but Canadian Islands.
Thanks for this and all your wonderful photos that warm the heart during the winter. We will return very soon to enjoy The River again first hand!!
PS - My wife says I'm wrong! She can't see the house of seven gables!!
Bill Kaufmann posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The subject of this great photo is the tall ship the Faire Jeanne navigating the waters slightly west of the Lost Channel. The smallest island in the Thousand Islands, Tom Thumb, is just about off the starboard bow of the ship. Immediately up the river from the photographer to the North is the area
called the whirlpool channel and it is home to some of the swiftest water on the river.
From what I have read by Kim Lunman I would gather that this tall ship might have a crew of Great Lake Swimmers aboard! Maybe even they are even playing the tune "Lost Channels"?
I can’t wait to see more photos and hear the music live this summer at:
- an evening with Great Lake Swimmers and Ian Coristine,
Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm.
Thanks again Ian for the great river images and getting this great group to the river.
I know it's called the Lost Channel but we are all not lost.
The Gregorys (Trey, Sandy and Jacque) posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Ah, The Lost Channel! For me, it is the most serene place in the world. Tucked away from the main Canadian Channel, this placid place is situated in front of Hill Island, and laps at the shores of Georgina, Constance, Trois Iles, and even the infamous Tom Thumb island. I have spent more time in this channel than any other area of the St. Lawrence River. As a child, I gravitated toward this stretch of The River because of the swirling eddies which provided an always-smooth surface for my youthful passion of waterskiing. In my teen years these same eddies provided the perfect habitat for Walleye fishing which I engaged in at night trolling. I distinctly remember upon catching these Walleye, because I was always alone, I ended up with a pole in one hand, a net in the other, and a spotlight wedged between my thighs! Georgina Island has also been a part of my life, as I have picnicked there and even jumped from the granite walls that line the Canadian Park Island. These days, I slowly meander through the calm Lost Channel waters on my PWC and feel any stress that I have leave my body, as I reflect on my past years spent there as well as simply take in the beauty that still exists and digest what it means to me today. The very rare pitch pine tree also resides on Georgina Island, and just last year a controlled burn was conducted on the island in order to regenerate the forest community that has dwindled due to human fire suppression. The Lost Channel is also home to a Naval boat carrying 14 men that vanished near Georgina Island in 1760. Fast forward to 2009 and you will find a beautiful music video on YouTube featuring the Toronto based folk band The Great Lakes Swimmers entitled "Palmistry," filmed aboard the tall ship Fair Jeane. The sight for the video was suggested by our very own Ian Coristine who contacted the band feeling that it would be a wonderful fit for their music. Tony Dekker, the lead singer of The Great Lakes Swimmers was so taken by the beauty of the area, he chose to name their album "Lost Channels."
Dean Evans posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Ahhh, You just have to know that as we sit here in Lake Placid FL, we dream of the river and all the years at Jorstadt Castle, you being a big part of that. Your pictures always bring a great deal of peace to us.
Harvey & Flo Jones, Lake Placid, FL posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010
My favorite part of the River to putz around in, going no wake through the little islands and inches of water in between with the water swirling all around..I love it..cant wait to get up there !:) Looking very forward to getting my hands on one of your gorgeous new books Ian ! Yeah !
Lori Moose posted on: Saturday, May 01, 2010
Ian - I have not ever seen one of your photos that was not wonderful.
Warren A. Wilbur III posted on: Saturday, May 01, 2010
My first trip through the Thousand Islands was when I was a Porter (student) on the S.S. Coalfax based in Brockville. I lived in Como Quebec. You know where that is. I returned to the Islands many times racing in sailboats against Brockville sailors. In 1951 we moved here, bought a boat and moved right in. We are now in our 80s , retired, and living at Hillcrest with one of the finest views down the Brockville Narrows through to the Prescott bridge. My wife and I feel blessed to have spent so many years living in this part of the world. Your beautiful pictures of places we have been to many times, just reenforced our decision to make this place home.
David Muir posted on: Saturday, May 01, 2010
Ian, Your pictures fill me with such a longing for the river. I grew up in Clayton and return every summer. Can't wait to purchase your new book. I have all the others.Ann Nardi Bennett
grammie9 posted on: Saturday, May 01, 2010
Thanks, Ian, for helping to get us through another New York State winter (no small feat). I can't wait to see your new book. You have never failed to awe us with every one of your pictures and publications!
posted on: Saturday, May 01, 2010
This picture is absolutely amazing!....... makes me just get lost in it......... wow! Love it and ty so much for sharing it with all of us who love that area so very much!
Julee posted on: Monday, May 03, 2010
I have paddled my kayak silently through the moving canvas captured in Ian's photograph and have become one with the river. Through the pictured center passage onto the right and Whirlpool Channel as it's so appropriately named. Other mornings to the left and on to Benson's rift catching the current down river and home and as the deer and beavers glimpse approvingly my boat and I not a threat. The Native Indians also called this area "The Garden of the Spirits," not so much like a Steven Spielberg movie but from respect of the abundant wildlife fish and forest. As a place their ancestors would return or translated to our language to "Heaven on Earth." Whether it's called the Lost Channel or Garden of the Spirits it's obvious from the response above and sure to continue as home to many of us that have been captured by its beauty and the serenity it bestows upon us and draws us home. Thank you for capturing the photo and bringing us home.
Bill Beaulieu posted on: Monday, May 03, 2010