“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” ― Lauren DeStefano
One of the beautiful effects of autumn is the glow of sunlight through changing leaves. My son referred to it a few days a ago as “looking like stained glass”. There are times when the forest glows in surreal colours, softly diffused in the air around us. It’s soothing and wonderful. This is one of the many reasons I try to get outside as much as possible at this time of year, even if only for a few minutes.
I set out this past weekend to capture some fall images. The trees here are just starting to show their colours, sometimes in single trees, and other times larger groves, though the colour change seems to be limited to the canopy and has not yet filtered to the lower leaves, keeping the forest interiors mainly green, for now.
The image above was mad at the trailhead, just outside my car. I really did not have to go far for this and several other images. I did send the next hour or so on the trail, mainly photographing mushrooms, as the forest was still quite green, with a few exceptions, like the yellow leaves above.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@ 200 mm 1/125 sec, f/6.3, ISO 800
“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” ― Isaac Asimov
Something about fall that has always fascinated me is how slow decay, cooler temperatures, and a shorter period of daylight, can change a plant so dramatically.
Recently I came across this dogwood in a local forest. Almost all the leaves show signs of decay, being thoroughly spotted and in some case, even perforated by decay. Then there are the dramatic fuchsia leaves. I look at the companion leaves carefully and don’t see even a hint of that colour in them. It is quite dramatic, especially when the sun filters through the canopy, making the leaves glow.
Then, I think back on the same plant in early summer, leaves freshly formed and glowing green, not a blemish to mar their beauty. They endure a lot through the summer and award us with this wonderful show of colour, with a few blemishes and scars to remind us that the summer can be harsh too.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@ 62mm 1/2 sec, f/20.0, ISO 400
“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.” ― Michael Pollan
I thought I would try this technique on leafy plants and expand from my blossom photos. We have several varieties of coleus in our gardens, but this one has weathered the drought better than the rest.
The wonder of coleus is that you can take a little sprig of it, place it in water for a few weeks to root and grow a whole new plant. For me, that’s great, as they winter over well and offer nice colour all summer long.
I did cheat a bit on this image. Because the plant was quite dry and flat, I misted it with water before making the photo.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@ 200 mm 1/5 sec, f/11.0, ISO 200
This photo is a slight flashback to mid-November, when I went on a long hike through the Durham Forest, south of Uxbridge, Ontario.
At the time, we were in the midst of a wonderful, extended fall and many of the maple and beech leaves were still on the trees, but enough had fallen to let ample light into the forest. I had been hiking for a few hours and decided to take a lesser path, as a shortcut, back to my car. The shortcoming of this decision was that the trail went up a steep incline, but saved be about half an hour of additional walking. By this point, I’d already walked about 20km. But, I’m not complaining, because the trail also went through a wonderfully diverse hardwood forest, filled with poplar, birch, maple, beech, and oak.
The photo above shows the incline with the trail gradually fading away behind the canopy. It also reveals many of the bright colours of the remaining leaves, as the branches reach across the trail to form a bit of a tunnel above me. What a wonderful day that was to be out on the trails.
Nikon D300 Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm 1/60 sec, f/4.0 -0.33, ISO 250
This photo was made in early November and autumn had settled in comfortably, for an extended stay. The days had already shortened enough to bring out amazing, bright colours, but the air was warm and comfortable. Best of all, the bugs were gone; even the dopey fall wasps.
Along a minor path of the south-east corner of the East Duffins Creek Headwaters trail is this beautiful grove of maples, interspersed with beech trees. The maples had already dropped many of their leaves, but the beaches, with their smooth,metallic looking, trunks, were magnificent, as the soft, warm sun shone through the canopy and set them ablaze with golden light. I stood here for a long time, reveling in the beauty. The leaves seemed to be almost on fire with their own light, thus the title, “The Fire Within”. There really was no other way to describe this scene. I also employed my vertical-pan abstract technique to further enhance the surreal feeling of this place. I think it nicely locks in some fine details but the movement adds life to it.
Nikon D300 Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 135 mm 1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 250
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.