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Welcome to The Algonquin Park
Trail Mix & Mingle!

Come explore the trails of Algonquin Park with fellow photography nuts and like-minded nature lovers! We'll take time to stop and smell the pine sap, while engaging in good conversation as we hike along the beaten path of Ontario’s oldest & largest provincial park. 

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Have you ever...
If so, youve found your pack!

These hikes are best-suited to those who are as interested in exploring all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer, as they are hiking. No power walkers here! Maybe your goal is to hike more, explore more, get out and active, make new friends, use your camera, take more pictures, spend more time in nature, check all the trails off your list, or even “train” for an upcoming photography tour. Our primary goal is to simply offer the opportunity!

When will the hikes take place?

We aim to hike monthly, with dates being determined by our schedule. We anticipate a mix of weekend and weekday meet-ups that start in the morning.

What can I expect?

We will meet at a designated time at the trailhead parking lot. After a brief introduction, we’ll head out on the trail. We expect the group will spread out — different paces, interests, and fitness levels usually determine who ends up where, and we find people naturally pair or gravitate to each other as we set out. You’re encouraged to switch it up along the trail. After we finish, you are welcome to head on your way, or join us for a refuelling at our favourite local establishment — The Mad Musher in Whitney. Our friends at “The Musher” are offering us a lunch special that includes a sandwich, wrap, or panini paired with a regular side and non-alcoholic drink for only $19+hst.

How do I join?

  1. Sign the waiver found at the bottom of this page
    — you only need to do this before your first hike

  2. Join our Facebook group
    www.facebook.com/groups/algonquintrailmixandmingle

  3. Navigate to the “Events” tab at the top of the group page

  4. Select the hike you wish to participate in and mark yourself as going

  5. 5 days (or fewer) in advance of the hike, purchase a Daily Vehicle Permit (DVP) for "Algonquin - Hwy 60 Corridor" and/or register your seasonal permit: https://reservations.ontarioparks.ca/ 
    Please note: You will need the license plate of the vehicle you’ll be driving.

  6. Show up at the designated trailhead and be ready to hike at the designated time

Who are we & why are we doing this?

Hi! My name is Helen & I’m a professional photographer who lives in Muskoka.

Algonquin Park is both my office and my playground. I love to introduce my guests to the beauty of this region, help them develop their photography skills, and guide them to some hidden gems and fan favourites that will keep them coming back season after season.

I also love to explore! While I’ve spent a lot of time exploring “The Park”, I often choose the path less travelled (side note: it has made all the difference!). But in 2024, my personal goal is to hike each of Algonquin Park’s trails — and I’d love for you to join me!

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More Important Details
(please read these!)
  • Can I hire you?
    Yes! For photography services, such as real estate, portraits, pets, special events etc. - please see details and rates here: Photography Services For photography workshops, private lessons, & photography adventures, please see details and rates here: Photography Workshops & Adventures
  • Can I / how do I purchase a photo?
    Yes, most of my images are available for purchase. I sell prints, wall art, stationary and license digital images for specific uses. I offer prints and wall art in a variety of sizes (from 5x7 to 24x36+) and mediums (photographic prints, gallery-wrap canvasses, aluminum, acrylic). Please send me an email with the details of the image you'd like, the size and the medium, as well as your shipping address (if applicable). I will reply with a detailed quote or request further details, if required. COMING SOON: you will be able to purchase prints and wall art directly through my website by visiting the s h o p A R T page. Stay tuned! COMING SOON: you will be able to purchase prints, wall art, blank greeting cards, holiday cards, and calendars at my gallery located just outside of Bracebridge in Muskoka. Sign up for my newsletter to be notified of the gallery opening! You may, in some instances, purchase a license (personal, promotional, editorial & commercial) to use an image digitally. Please send me an email with complete project details; including: intended use, image(s) requested, and print run (if applicable). I will likely need to obtain further details based on the information you submit prior to providing you with a quote. _________________________ IMPORTANT: Unless you are a registered charity, please do not ask if you may use my image(s) for free. There are plenty of photographers who offer work with a Creative Commons license, but I am not one of them. Here's a great write-up that helps explain why professional photographers cannot work for free.
  • Do you ship to the US & internationally?
    Yes! At the moment, my website provider prevents listing shipping prices by item. Since there's a significant difference in shipping costs for cards, calendars, and wall art, I'm currently unable to take US or International web orders. I would be more than happy to send you a shipping quote. Please send me the item, size, and quantity (as applicable), and your shipping address using the contact tab in the menu at the top of the page. If you are interested in purchasing my calendar, please visit the calendar page in the shopART tab in the menu at the top of the page to find a link for online orders worldwide. The calendar is printed on demand at the facility closest to you, which may help you save on shipping and duty costs.
  • Where can I see your work in person?
    Yes!! My gallery is open year-round and located at 1736 Falkenburg Road, Muskoka Lakes. For more details, please visit: www.helengrose.ca/gallery
  • Do you offer wholesale prices for businesses interested in carrying your work?
    Yes! Please send me an email, including information about your business and clientele and the types of pieces and quantity you're interested in carrying. Popular items include: blank greeting cards, photo magnets, matted prints, framed prints, and gallery wrapped canvasses.
  • May I use your image for my ___________? (e.g. project, poster, brochure, cover photo, computer desktop, background image, as a reference for a painting...)"
    Almost all of my image are available for purchase. I offer prints and wall art in a number of sizes and styles, and, in some instances, offer licenses to use low and high resolution digital image files. To purchase a license (personal, promotional, editorial & commercial) to use my images digitally, please send me an email with complete project details; including: intended use, image(s) requested, and print run (if applicable). I will likely need to obtain further details based on the information you submit prior to providing you with a quote. Unauthorized use of my images (even where it includes my logo and/or watermark and/or cites full credit) is a copyright infringement, which I take very seriously. The images I create are automatically my property the moment I make them with my camera. Printing and licensing my images for use is how I make my livelihood. Using, copying, distributing and manipulating my images without my authorization is essentially theft and has a great impact on my livelihood. Unless you are a registered charity, please do not ask if you may use my image(s) for free. There are plenty of photographers who offer work with a Creative Commons license, but I am not one of them. Here's a great write-up that helps explain why professional photographers cannot work for free.
  • What does copyright mean?
    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines copyright as "the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)." Copyright is automatic upon the creation of an image, so even if it is not stated, it is protected, meaning the artist is the only one legally able to distribute, reproduce, or sell the image. Any unauthorized use - even if accompanied by a credit to the artist or displaying the artist's watermark - is a copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is the specific term used to state that it is illegal. The appearance or posting of an image on the Internet does not mean it is fair game or free to use. Those seeking images to use for free, must look for artists who have granted a Creative Commons license to use the image as they wish (often still with terms attached) and ensure the artist has specifically stated a given image carries such a license. It is extremely important to secure licensing prior to using images to avoid legal ramifications. Even when an artist has granted a license to use an image - for broad or specific purposes - the artist maintains ownership of the image and copyright unless it is clearly stated in the terms of agreement that those are sold to the purchaser. It is also important to note that an image may not be manipulated beyond recognition as a way to get around image licensing. In order for the image - or even the likeness of the image, such as an artist's rendering - to be used, permission must be granted by the copyright owner first. I have seen a lot of excuses over the years and there are a great deal of people who do not understand copyright and make assumptions based on speculation or myth. Simply put, if you did not create the image, you do not own the image, and you cannot use it without permission. I like to put it this way: you see a car that you do not own. It's in plain sight for anyone walking or driving by to see. Regardless of whether the car is locked or unlocked, and regardless of where it's parked - on a public street, in a private driveway etc. - if you do not own it, you cannot legally use it without the permission of the owner. Substitute the car for any piece of property. Images - film negatives, digital files, prints... - are all property. Yes, theft happens. Whether the property is large or small in size, of high or low value, taking someone's property without permission is theft and against the law.
  • What mediums do you offer for wall art?
    I offer photographic prints on luster paper and gallery wrap canvas through the website, but also offer metallic photographic prints, metal (printed on metal as opposed to metallic photo paper), and acrylic by custom order. Please contact me for a customized quote. ​ To read more about the wall art choices available, please visit: https://www.helengrose.ca/choices
  • Do you offer framing?
    Yes! Through the website, you have a choice of black, espresso or white framing for both photographic prints and gallery wrap canvasses. For more information about the frames available, please visit: https://www.helengrose.ca/choices For additional colours, or barnboard frames for both prints and canvasses, please contact me for a custom quote.
  • What's the difference in sizes offered?
    When size is simply listed as a number, it can be difficult to imagine on a wall in your home. I have included some samples to help you see what the different sizes I offer will look like. If you'd like me to create an image for you that will show you the image of your choice, please contact me and I'd be happy to assist!
  • What's the difference between canvas and prints?
    For details, including illustrative photos, please visit: www.helengrose.ca/choices Essentially, canvas prints are my images printed on canvas. The canvas is wrapped around a wooden frame, but only the canvas is visible - the wood is behind it. Canvas prints are ready to hang, though you can add a float frame around them if you wish. Prints are my images printed on photo paper - the traditional medium for photographs. I choose luster paper to show the richness of the image's tones in a more matte finish that doesn't show fingerprints etc. Prints are not ready to hang. Prints must be framed before they can be displayed.
  • When can I expect my order?
    Prints & Wall Art all wall art (photographic prints and canvasses) are produced at professional labs in Ontario, Canada. The average turn-around time is 5-7 business days after the order is received, but may be longer around popular gift-giving holidays. All wall art is then shipped directly from the lab, as soon as it is ready. Delivery is typically 2-5 business days after the order leaves the lab. Cards & Calendars all in-stock cards and calendars are ready to ship. Please keep in mind that our location is 30 minutes (one-way) to the closest post office, so shipping may not happen the same day. Shipping time depends on the quantity and location, but delivery is typically 2-7 business days after it is shipped. Gift Certificates we will work to customize and email you the personalized gift certificate as soon as possible. Generally this can be done in one business day, but may take longer. If you require your gift certificate within a certain time-frame, please email us to confirm we can meet your deadline. Please note our products cannot be shipped to P.O. boxes - please ensure you provide an actual street address for the delivery. We regret that we cannot be responsible for shipping information that has been entered incorrectly by the customer during the ordering process.
  • Where do you ship?
    We ship worldwide. However, purchases made through our website can only be shipped to the Canadian provinces and continental US. If you would like your order shipped elsewhere (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Alaska, Hawaii, and international destinations), please send us an email for a shipping quote. Be sure to include the details of the items you would like to order (medium, size and quantity e.g. 5 cards, 24x36 canvas, 8x12 photo print) and your full mailing address. Please note that we cannot ship to P.O. boxes.
  • Do you accept returns?
    No. All items are printed to order and, therefore, all sales are final. If, however, you are unhappy with the quality of the product you purchased, we will work with you and the lab that printed your order to repair or replace it. Please note that the colour and density of the artwork you receive may not exactly match what you see on screen. This is because of the large variety of monitors used to view images. Therefore, no colour guarantees are made.
  • May I use your image for my ___________? (e.g. project, poster, brochure, cover photo, computer desktop, background image...)"
    Almost all of my image are available for purchase. I offer prints and wall art in a number of sizes and styles, and, in some instances, offer licenses to use low and high resolution digital image files. To purchase a license (personal, promotional, editorial & commercial) to use my images digitally, please send me an email with complete project details; including: intended use, image(s) requested, and print run (if applicable). I will likely need to obtain further details based on the information you submit prior to providing you with a quote. Unauthorized use of my images (even where it includes my logo and/or watermark and/or cites full credit) is a copyright infringement, which I take very seriously. The images I create are automatically my property the moment I make them with my camera. Printing and licensing my images for use is how I make my livelihood. Using, copying, distributing and manipulating my images without my authorization is essentially theft and has a great impact on my livelihood. Unless you are a registered charity, please do not ask if you may use my image(s) for free. There are plenty of photographers who offer work with a Creative Commons license, but I am not one of them. Here's a great write-up that helps explain why professional photographers cannot work for free.
  • What does copyright mean?
    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines copyright as "the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)." Copyright is automatic upon the creation of an image, so even if it is not stated, it is protected, meaning the artist is the only one legally able to distribute, reproduce, or sell the image. Any unauthorized use - even if accompanied by a credit to the artist or displaying the artist's watermark - is a copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is the specific term used to state that it is illegal. The appearance or posting of an image on the Internet does not mean it is fair game or free to use. Those seeking images to use for free, must look for artists who have granted a Creative Commons license to use the image as they wish (often still with terms attached) and ensure the artist has specifically stated a given image carries such a license. It is extremely important to secure licensing prior to using images to avoid legal ramifications. Even when an artist has granted a license to use an image - for broad or specific purposes - the artist maintains ownership of the image and copyright unless it is clearly stated in the terms of agreement that those are sold to the purchaser. It is also important to note that an image may not be manipulated beyond recognition as a way to get around image licensing. In order for the image - or even the likeness of the image, such as an artist's rendering - to be used, permission must be granted by the copyright owner first. I have seen a lot of excuses over the years and there are a great deal of people who do not understand copyright and make assumptions based on speculation or myth. Simply put, if you did not create the image, you do not own the image, and you cannot use it without permission. I like to put it this way: you see a car that you do not own. It's in plain sight for anyone walking or driving by to see. Regardless of whether the car is locked or unlocked, and regardless of where it's parked - on a public street, in a private driveway etc. - if you do not own it, you cannot legally use it without the permission of the owner. Substitute the car for any piece of property. Images - film negatives, digital files, prints... - are all property. Yes, theft happens. Whether the property is large or small in size, of high or low value, taking someone's property without permission is theft and against the law.
  • What photography gear do you use?
    This depends on what I'm photographing, where I'm shooting and what the conditions are like. Here's a general guide: For sports, I use a Canon 1DX or Canon R3 camera with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. For wildlife, I use a Canon R3 camera with a Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens (+ ef-rf adapter). For landscapes and waterfalls, I use the Canon R3 or 5DMKIV cameras with the Canon 17-40mm f/4L, 24-70 f/2.8L IS, the 24-105mm f/4L IS II or the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS II lenses, plus various neutral density and polarizing filters. For real estate, I use a Canon 5DMKIV with the Canon 17-40mm f/4L lens. For macro, I use the Canon 5DMKIV with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 lens.
  • How do you protect your camera from the elements?
    I am lucky to use the Canon 1DX and Canon L series lenses, which offer superior protection against the elements. When out in terrible elements, I use Aquatech sport shields and love them. When photographing sports, specifically paintball, I protect my lens with high-density clear filters - to protect from oils and scratches due to contact cleaning of my lens. I've seen people use all kinds of things to protect their gear (from boxes to plastic bags), but what it comes down to is you use what works for you and gives you the flexibiliy you require to shoot the way you're most comfortable.
  • I'm just getting into photography. What camera do you recommend?
    I don't. Gear is constantly changing. Some photographers are very interested in the "tech" side of the profession, but I am not. My time spent on research pertains to the gear I'm interested in purchasing, which falls at the pro end of the line or specialty items. Having said that, I can absolutely offer generic advice that may help you in your search. 1. Most cameras are created equal - in terms of being able to take decent images. I use Canon, but I do not subscribe to the Canon v. Nikon v. Sony debates. Nor do I discount the other options on the market. Buying photography equipment is like buying a car... so many brands, they'll all get you from A to Z, but what is right for you depends on the specific uses, your budget, and your preference for look and feel, as well as how the gear functions. 2. Get a camera that feels comfortable and makes sense to you. We are all different. Most cameras offer the same or similar features, but they all have different ways of getting there - dials, menus, buttons. So, if the way one brand sets up those things up makes sense to you, and another does not, you have your answer. Cameras do also feel different in your hands. I'd highly recommend a trip to your local camera store where you can hold the options you're considering and see which feels best. It will also give you a chance to press buttons, turn switches and dials, and see which is most comfortable. 3. Brand Considerations. Point 2 notwithstanding, when choosing a brand, here are a few things to consider: a) Do they make a range of products that you'll be able to grow into? Look at the lens options in particular. b) Are you comfortable with the price point levels offered? c) Is the company progressing with the times? 4. I highly recommend you invest in a good lens or lenses. Consider what you want to shoot. First, look at the focal range that will work for you (e.g. wide angle for landscape, telephoto for sports, super telephoto for wildlife), and buy the very best lens possible. I typically recommend zoom lenses as a good place to start, as it allows more creative options, but fixed focal length lenses have amazing reputations and are highly coveted. Again, what will work best for you? Think size - will you be comfortable carrying it? Think weight - will you be able to hand-hold, or will you need to use a tripod? Think price - does it fit in your budget and will you make good use of it? Consider the conditions you'll most likely be shooting in - do you only go out when the light is good or might you be shooting in poor lighting conditions, as this will have an impact on the aperture range you'll want (e.g larger apertures - f/2.8 - for low light, as well as that "thin focus slice"). Consider the shutter speeds you'll need to use - are you shooting sports or action? Again, the aperture range will have an impact - you'll want a "faster" lens, which again, falls at the f/2.8 end. If you choose wisely, that lens will last and be a great investment. Lenses typically don't lose their value over time the way camera bodies do and updates by companies are not as frequent. And, in my opinion, lenses are a far more important factor in image clarity, colour, and sharpness than the camera. 5. Choose a camera body that does what you need right now. New camera bodies are introduced every year... and you will want to upgrade. All cameras these days - including phones in cameras - are capable of producing beautiful prints. Instead of going all out on an expensive body, find one that will allow you to invest in a good lens, a spare battery, a comfortable strap, and a bag that suits your lifestyle best. 6. Don't buy the cheapest - ever! This is particularly true for lenses and tripods. Accessories are things people waste the most money on. This is partly because you're not really sure how you're going to use them, but also because many figure a tripod, for example, is just something to secure your camera, so they should all work, right? Wrong! Tripods are the #1 thing I see clients waste money on. You need good, sturdy legs for your equipment and they need to be easy to use. A good tripod is typically purchased in two pieces - head and legs. I use and recommend the Canadian brand FLM. They are well constructed, and offer a better price point than their US counterparts. How you carry your camera is also important. I use and recommend a Cotton Carrier, which allows you to hike hands-free, while reducing the pull on your neck and shoulders that happens with other straps.
  • Where do you buy your equipment?
    I have purchased my gear from many different places. I was a very loyal customer of one specific store, but "my guy" retired and I've since been disappointed every time I've tried to deal with anyone else there. I always recommend starting your homework online. I've been into specialty camera stores and been given wrong advice. So knowing what you need and want and the options available before you go in can help ensure a successful purchase. You can also window-shop prices through various retailers without ever leaving home. One site I highly recommend is photoprice.ca, which will help you compare prices across the country and even internationally. I never recommend purchasing photography gear at big box retailers, as their knowledge and selection are generally limited, although I have heard of some finding great deals on consumer / entry-level gear. I recommend you build a relationship with someone in your local camera store and don't be afraid to ask for a price match. If you live in the US, I highly recommend B&H - shop online and have it delivered to your door. Their service is fast and great - even across the border.
  • How do you protect yourself from the elements?
    GREAT question! Over the years, I've tried many things to help protect me... and I'm constantly testing new gear. Since this is a popular question, I'm going to start adding gear reviews to my monthly newsletters. One thing people don't often think of is what they smell like when they head outside to photograph wildlife. Animals have notoriously keen senses of smell, so whatever you're putting down, they're picking up! So I use unscented deodorant. I'm also health-conscious and do care if companies test on animals, so I found a brand that both works and meets my ethical standards. The brand I use is Native. If you're interested in giving them a try, click on their name and enter the code HEALTH10 to get a 10% discount. Bug protection: this one is huge. Just last year, someone shared their secret recipe with me. It's a blend of carrier oils and essential oils that works quite well. I also make sure I'm covered from head to toe in dull, muted colours whenever possible! I will also do the chemical route in extreme situations and for that I use ThermaCell, which you can find at places like Walmart and Canadian Tire.
  • Don't see an answer to your question?
    I'd be happy to answer your question as best I can, so please get in touch!
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Download our suggested packing list here!
ActivityWaiver
Liability Waiver & Release

Hello! We know you’re an adult who understands you are responsible for yourself and your own actions, but let’s cross the Ts and dot the Is to make it official.

 

Please complete this waiver prior to joining us for your first hike. Once it’s done, you’re set to go!

Thank you for taking the time to sign the activity waiver.

Remember to register for each hike under the Events page in our Facebook group:

www.facebook.com/groups/algonquintrailmixandmingle

 

We look forward to seeing you on the trails!

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