Tag Archives: fall

“Crimson Bramble Leaves”

“Crimson Bramble Leaves”

Every now and then, a splash of colour catches you, unexpectedly. That was the case a few days back when I was hiking the Seaton Trail, near Whitevale.

Let’s keep in mind that was the first week of December. Last year we had already experienced a few substantial snowfalls and cold temperatures, well below freezing. This year, we are still well above freezing but everything has had a good frosting. So, with the exception of evergreens and  a few frost resistant shrubs and grasses, almost everything had turned a mottled tone of late-fall brown-gray. The sun was shining this day, but the forest and fields were generally quite muted. Across a rise, I spotted this patch of intense red and had no idea what plant could still be in fall colours. As I drew nearer, I found it was a small patch of brambles, or blackberry bushes (bramble is a general term for the blackberry family of thorny fruit-bearing shrubs).

Not only were the leaves still colourful, if you look carefully, you will see they have started to bud into leaf again. A strange year indeed. I imagine this will be the last we see of bright reds for some time, with the exception of some winter-hearty berries that the birds don’t like. The forecast is for cooler temperatures for next week, but still not typical for December. Part of me likes it, but another part wants some snow, simply for a change from brown and to brighten the days that start off dark and turn dark far too soon.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/40 sec, @ f/3.2 -0.33, ISO 250

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“Grazing – Reprise”

“Grazing - Reprise” - Fort Stewart, Ontario

It’s a very rare occasion where you can return to the location where you made a good photo and try to make it better, especially a landscape photo.

A few years ago I made a photo of a horse grazing in this same spot. That photo has been very popular and was featured in the North Hastings “Destinations” guide. A local tourist publication. I even sold a few larger prints of it.

During a recent trip back to the Bancroft/Fort Stewart area, I drove past the same field and the horses were back out grazing. What was different, this time, was the wonderful fall colours in the valley behind them. The previous photo featured muted tones and layers of dark green and gray, whereas this scene shows the green-yellow colours of early fall transition. What I call a ‘fruit salad’ forest. The light this day was glorious and warm and nicely shows off all the layers and structures behind the horse as well as the tree and rock pile at the centre of the composition. It is also a calming scene. The horse is in no hurry, is very relaxed, not even paying attention to me making the photo, and the sky is a soft blue.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 80mm
1/125 sec @ f/5.6 +1.33, ISO 250

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“Trailside Carnival”

“Trailside Carnival”Generally, titles for my photos come fairly easily. Not so in this case. I looked at the photo over and over and nothing seemed appropriate. It’s also a fairly tall composition, which I have stayed away from, unless absolutely necessary. After a while of looking at the elements, I thought, “This looks like a carnival, with all the bright colours mixing together.”

This is a hillside along one of the Secord Conservation Area trails. There are a lot of tall maples, beeches, and oaks in the foreground and some younger beeches (orange leaves) in the background mixed with a few maples which, for some reason, had not changed to their fall colours yet. The way the oranges and greens mixed together was interesting to me, and thus, the photo above was made.

It was also one of those days of soft, warm light that lit up the forest floor in patches and brought out some of the finer details of the tree trunks in the foreground. For me, just another glimpse into this serene place that I like to visit frequently.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 80mm
1/125 sec @ f/5.6 -.33, ISO 250

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“28th Sideline Fall Beauty”

28th Sideline Fall Beauty

This has been a beautiful autumn. Generally, by this time of the year, the leaves are down and it’s hinting at the winter to come. It has made photographing fall colors a real pleasure. Bright reds and oranges are everywhere with a nice mix of yellows and some splashes of green, from plants less susceptible to frost.

The photo above was made along the 28th Sideline, in North Pickering, Ontario. The old maple trees here create a wonderful canopy over the road and there is not much traffic. The road itself is in the heart of expropriated lands destined, at one time, to become the new Pickering Airport. Those plans seem to have been put on the back-burner and some lands have been designated parkland. These lands, still full of fertile farmland, have fallen into disrepair, with a few farmhouses scattered across the vast acreage. Fields are still actively worked, but it has lost the feel of a once vibrant farm community.

The one gain in this situation is that there is a lot of land that has not been absorbed in urban sprawl and large expanses of rural wilderness can still be experienced here. I go to this spot every year, and it remains largely unchanged. A fun fact for me is that the eastern tree line (on the left side of the photo) is the eastern limit of the farm my mother-in-law grew up on. I’m sure she and her brothers played in these trees at some time.

Nikon D300
Tamron 18-50mm f/2.8 @ 36mm
1/125 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 100

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“Golden Poplars”

“Golden Poplars” - Secord Conservation Area

One of the wonders of photography, that I have noted before, is the fact that I can walk past a scene dozens of times and nothing ‘grabs’ me. In this case, there is a nice stand of poplars along one of my favourite hiking trails. I’ve photographed it many times and the results were “average”. I knew it had potential for a great photo, but conditions and lighting were never quite right to capture the photo I envisioned.

That was not the case last Sunday. On this particular hike, all the elements came together; the light, the colour of the leaves, the reflection of the bark, as well as the angle I was photographing from.

I carefully framed the shot to match my vision of the image, checked and double checked my camera setting, and made one single photograph ( a big risk there). I deliberately underexposed it, since I knew the tree bark could blow out some sections (I learned this through previous attempts).

When I got home and downloaded the images from my camera, I knew I had what I’ve been seeking. With only minor adjustments to compensate for the under exposure and a bit of sharpening, the image above emerged. It was all I had dreamt of. I also printed it as a 12×18 print and it now hangs proudly in my home gallery, where I can enjoy it as I work. I hope you enjoy it too!

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm
1/80 sec@ f/4.5 -0.33, ISO 250

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“Walk Among the Birches”

“Walk Among the Birches”

It’s fall. Time for me to get out into the woods and just enjoy being there. It’s been a late fall here and the temperature is still mild, considering the time of year. We’ve been visited by a few flurries and light frosts till last night. The colours are spectacular and trees slow to shed their leaves. Essentially, ideal fall conditions for photography and just enjoying nature, in all its glory.

I took a lunchtime stroll today and was surprised at how much colour was still present, despite our first real hard frost last night. I noticed a lot of leaves coming down and figured this might be my last chance to capture and share this beauty.

One of my go-to places is the local Secord Conservation area, just south of Uxbridge, Ontario. The trail winds its way through variable southern Ontario forest. Through groves of oak, maple, poplar, maple, cedar and spruce. There are meadows and swamps, high ridges and rolling hills. The Oak Ridges Trail Association does an amazing job at maintaining these trails, which I enjoy in all seasons.

I could not resist photographing this stand of birch trees next to the golden leaf-covered trail. The sun was bright with interspersed clouds, which made for great lighting conditions. I hope you enjoy my view of this walk as much as I do. More to come.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 @ 75mm
1/160 sec @ f/6.3 -0.33, ISO 250

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“Transformation” – Trailside Sumacs

“Transformation”

Another image from last evening’s “Reservoir Walk”.

I could do a whole book on this beautiful place, just minutes from my doorstep, and often overlooked, even by me.

Just north of my home is a reservoir designed to control flooding in case of heavy rains. This reservoir is part of an entire conservation system install in the 50’s when hurricane Hazel caused tremendous damage in the area.

The result is a wonderful pond, bounded by woods and a nice trail system. The area was deliberately planted to encourage a natural look and reduce erosion. And, nature has a mind of its own that supersedes out human endeavours. Now the area is a mix of planted shrubs and nature’s own handiwork. It seems like a ‘nice’ place to walk, but I have had many awesome photographic moments in this humble location.

Yesterday, I went out in the evening because the light was so wonderful. The reservoir trails change appearance by the hour, as the light warms and cools, and the sunlight changes direction. Last night the sun was just beginning to set and did a marvellous job at lighting up the sumac leaves, many of which have begun to change colour to their bright oranges and reds. This particular cluster caught me eye and I was able to capture it nicely, without too many obstructions by doing a long zoom to 300 mm. The combination of the golden sun backlight and fall colours really made this ‘pop’. I hope you enjoy it.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300mm @300 mm 
1/60 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 500

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