Wallpaper May 2011

Wallpaper May 2011

One of the reasons the Thousand Islands so completely fascinates me is because there are so many exceptional “neighborhoods” to explore and enjoy and each is so dramatically different. The Lake Fleet Group, so named because many of the islands were named after British warships operational on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812, is a place all its own. Wild and beautiful, perhaps because the islands are off the beaten path, they are nestled in along Grindstone’s northern shore well away from the Canadian mainland.

Wallpaper March 2011

From the comments received I’d like to share this one from Kathy Kempson which beautifully puts into words the deep attachment so many of us have with the River:

Those endless summer days of childhood are things that are easier to dream of than to recapture, though the want to do just that lingers so close to the surface it is hard to ignore. This month’s wall paper brings it closer to the surface than it was yesterday. The river was at prime temperature for swimming, the sun set late and rose early. There was not a care in the world. It was summer in the thousand islands and for my self and my family it meant summer on an island. Life consisted of being barefoot and most the day spent in a bathing suit, on or in the water or enjoying the undisturbed natural habitat of the island. We stayed in a cabin on the western point of Sugar Island which is known to other Sugar Islanders as Hurricane Point. So named because it catches the predominate SW wind that builds over the 2-3 mile fetch from Leek Island. The cabin is small, there is no electricity or running water, the evening light comes from a propane powered chandelier, our food is cooled in a small fridge by a propane fire, and the bathroom is outside. Head down the trail, take the first right and don’t wander off the trail or the raspberry brambles will get you. Mixing up these ingredients creates a perfect base for summer family life. Inside the cabin, when you look North, East or West and you see water and islands. Look south and you see a wall of books. Stand still and you hear the bird songs, the water greeting the shoreline and perhaps a snake making its way under the bushes, a fish landing after a jump, or a mink rustling in the undergrowth or the shrilling cicadas of summer.There are more than enough memories about summer living on Sugar Island, it is difficult to pick just one to share. I could share the details of the conversations with Grandpa while fishing from the dock, or the memories of circumnavigation Sugar Island in a half sunken (intentionally) 6 foot long sail boat or the volleyball and campfires shared with other islanders at the main camp each August, or the experience of floating on a swim raft far from the shoreline in the pitch black of night under a star filled sky, or the endless hours of canasta played on the table which abutted the single pane picture window during a rain soaked day. Over a half a century under my belt in the islands I find it most interesting to note the differences in the changing environment in the islands. My non scientific observations as a part time visitor to the islands include the appearance and disappearance of a selected of flora and fauna in a few locations. I vividly recall a large wild juniper bush growing in a location that is now barren rock. In a location only a few feet away there is now a 20 foot tall cedar tree where there used to be a small grassy field. A small choke cherries grove has come and gone. One spring I find an oak tree to be heavily covered in catkins, and the next the catkin cover is thin and light. Some years the wild blueberries yield bumper crops and others you are lucky if you find enough for one small pancake. In the river, the smooth “green hair” seaweed which grows on the rocks just at the water level grew with vigor years ago compared to the growth in recent years. Some summers would bring frogs aplenty, and others they would be hard to find. Long before the zebra mussels arrived I recall a summer where a small snail totally covered the rocky river bottom. The previous and following summer those snails lived in light numbers. All this thinking and rambling does in fact make me long for days of splashing and running and romping about in the islands! Thanks for posting the photo of this area Ian

Kathy Kempson, Sugar Island

Wonderful Kathy! You've beautifully captured the essence of summers in one of nature's truly exceptional places. A set of 6 - 8x10 prints is on its way with my thanks.

A huge challenge when creating any book of photography is selecting what pictures will make the cut. My last book was intended to celebrate the very best from over a decade’s effort. With over 30,000 images to choose from, it was a daunting challenge. Inevitably there are many pictures I would have loved to include but chose not to for various reasons.

For this final wallpaper image of the season, I’d like to share with you one such image. For some reason the subtlety of this scene resonates with me, but I wasn’t sure it would with others so left it out. I’d like to share it with you now as well as leave you with a summer challenge - trying to identify where it is.

You have all summer to find it. I’m hoping this will serve as an encouragement to get you out to explore some of the River's neighborhoods you may not be familiar with. I’ll share the best story this image prompts next fall, whether or not it correctly identifies the scene. If that story also correctly identifies this scene, you’ll be receiving a full dozen prints.

If you'll forgive me for mentioning a commercial matter, I think I should explain that in order to produce my last book with the level of quality I thought the Thousand Islands deserved (ie: gloss laminated pages plus the regular embellishments like the padded cover with gloss and foil, etc.), I had to commit to an enormous print run for a tiny region - 15,000 copies. Ten months since it launched, just 6,000 remain. The reality is that with the declining U.S. dollar and inflation looming, it is very unlikely that I'll be able to do another print run. It would have to be a much more expensive book or an even bigger print run to contain the price and I doubt that will make sense. So if you would like copies of it, please don't leave it too long. They may last the season, but they may not. This, just a "heads up."

Now it’s time to get back to the River to enjoy its beauty first hand.


Ian Coristine

Wallpaper May 2011

Download wide-angle version


Thanks again. My summer mission will be to find this spot. Starting point? Murray Isle. Should I be so lucky to happen upon it in the magical morning mist you have so beautifully captured in this photo, I am sure it would be unmistakable. Subtle? I think not. The dream-like quality of this one is likely to resonate with all those whose memories of the river bring just this dream-state to mind. Looking forward to getting my very own copy of what I hope will NOT be your last book.

Laura Terry Tenebruso posted on: Sunday, May 01, 2011

Thank you Laura for your kind words. Volume V (released last summer) IS my last book of photography, but it is not my last book. For five years I have been working on a written book, very similar in theme to "A Year in Provence," "Under the Tuscan Sun" or "The Olive Farm." All these books relate wonderful tales about how their authors unexpectedly stumbled across a piece of paradise that comprehensively changed the course of their lives in fascinating ways. I just happen to know someone else this has happened to and the place discovered is arguably an even more unique jewel, while the dominoes it set in motion were far less predictable. A year ago, I was pleased to be able to help Donna Walsh Inglehart with an image for the cover of her outstanding historical novel "Grindstone." When I told Donna how amazed I was with the quality of her writing skills, she quietly mentioned that she believed her greatest gift was editing. Not spelling and grammar, but real editing. Mapping out the plot, balancing it into something stronger than just relating a story. We have forged a partnership and this book, "One in a Thousand" will be a joint effort. Donna already has a year into it and one of her years is like five of mine. We're almost there. Our hope is that it will be ready for next summer (2012) and that it will have been well worth the wait. And by the way, while it is not a book of photography, unlike those other tales, I just happen to have all the images to illustrate the story, so there will definitely be pictures all the way through.

Ian Coristine, Raleigh Island, ON posted on: Sunday, May 01, 2011

I am wondering which island this is. It looks very much like Pitch Pine which is across from my island La Vignette.It is a great shot.

Catharine Van Sickle posted on: Sunday, May 01, 2011

Love the foggy shot. I'm probably wrong, but it looks like one of the little islands along the TI Parkway as you're coming out of Rockport, heading toward Brockville.

Janet Sullins posted on: Sunday, May 01, 2011

The name "Lake Fleet" and the names of the islands in that group refer to a fleet of British gunboats that were in fact built at Isle aux Noix on Lake Champlain during the War of 1812 and deployed on that lake. It's a small point and doesn't diminish your fine images of our islands.Mark EllisDumfounder Island

Mark Ellis posted on: Sunday, May 15, 2011

It’s another “Ian Coristine Photo” out there. The sun is setting and a light fog is hugging the shoreline. Beautiful cottony clouds are reflected in the serenely placid river. There are no boats to intrude on the scene. Your May 2011 wallpaper reminds me of the many times we have been suspended on our island in such a cloud. That is one of the reasons we love to be here in late April and early October. I can remember one October week that socked us in every day until at least 11:00 in the morning. It is a very ethereal experience. In the few minutes it has taken me to write the above paragraphs the scene has changed to a flat gray cloud shrouding the entire river from my window to the Canadian shoreline so that all that is exposed is the outline of the treetops on the horizon with a muted sunset against colorful clouds and a paling blue sky. This has been our heaven on earth for over thirty years. It’s ever changing beauty is unlimited. Thank you for capturing these breathtaking scenes in you wonderful pictures.

Helen Edelman posted on: Thursday, May 19, 2011

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.