I’m back on the creek path in my neighbourhood today. The autumn colours are fading fast but I guess you can’t expect much at the end of October. There is still some colour but the trees are heading towards brown or bare.
There are some trees that have turned a little later so there is still some good colour in spots. I just have to be more creative finding shots by changing my perspective. In the photo above I shot through the reeds from a low angle towards the tree. This kept the bare ground directly in front and to the side of the tree out of the shot.
Autumn Creek Path
With an overcast sky today it made for some nice soft light to be cast onto our scenes There was still enough light to light up different parts of the scene above to create the effect of a short tree tunnel. This spot is great from summer to fall and I tend to take a photo of it every time I walk past.
So I called up my friend Nigel and asked him if he was interested in a road trip to Algonquin Park. Now, Algonquin is over 3 hours away from our homes and its usual for us to get ideas like this, We’ve gone up to Tobermory for the day (3.5 hours one way) for a day. We’ve gone for drives that take us out to Bon Echo only to find it closed (it’s about 3 hours away). We feel that it’s always worth a drive and plus there are lots of places to stop along the way so it’s never a wasted trip. And today was pretty epic because – Autumn.
I mean, look at these gorgeous colours. How can you not take the opportunity to drive up? We had a pit stop in Huntsville were we got the idea to drive a little further north to Screaming Heads. Not sure what I’m talking about? Well, Screaming Heads is an art installation that is absolutely spectacular to see in person. Or course, we should have done some checking on whether it was open before we drove 30 minutes out of our way. Because of Covid-19 the place was closed to the public. Luckily we had our long lenses and caught a few photos from the road.
This photo doesn’t do the installation justice. It is a tiny portion of a massive area filled with all sorts of statues. I am putting this back on my bucket list for next year. Form here we headed back down towards Algonquin Park, We stopped for some lunch and decided that rather than going into the park we would head over to Oxtongue River.
It was definitely the better choice considering our limited time. I photographed these 3 paper birch trees across the rushing river.
Oxtongue River 2
But when I saw this twisted tree I knew I had to figure out a way to get a shot of it. I tried all sorts of angles. I ended up going back to the car to get my wide angle lens just so I could get enough of this twisted tree in with the river and the autumn colours. This photo is definitely one of my favourites from the trip.
Want to learn more about Screaming Heads? Check out them out here.
I’m off to Colonel Sam Smith Park with my friend Nigel. It’s the middle of January and we are hoping to find something to photograph. We’re anticipating seeing some ducks and lo and behold we find – ducks.
Gadwall Playing in the Waves
This Gadwall duck is playing in the waves at the shoreline before swimming as far from us as possible. I guess our long lenses are intimidating. Interesting fact about the Gadwall is that they often snatch food from diving ducks as they surface. They’re the pirates of the lake.
I notice that the ducks seem to congregate along the shoreline. I guess the shallows are warmer. Do ducks even feel the cold? I wonder sometimes as I’ve seen them stand on ice for long periods and they seem to enjoy just barely unfrozen water all winter. How? And can you give that superpower to me?
Male Long Tail Duck
This long-tailed duck is one of many enjoying a paddle around the shoreline. He has an impressive tail which I assume is for mating purposes but what’s interesting to note is his plumage during winter The males have two mirror-image plumages: in summer mostly black with a white face patch; in winter mostly white with rich brown, black, and gray on the face. I’ve only ever seen the winter plumage as they are from the high arctic and they are there for the summer and my travels don’t take me that far.
After our fill of the ducks we head home to warm up and plan our next outing.
It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve gone out to photograph and today with the sky overcast I thought it would be a good time to head back to 50 Point Pier for some moody photos. I brought along my 10x ND filter to get my experiment on.
ND or neutral density filters are like sunglasses for your camera. The filter can be either screwed on to the front of your lens or it can slide in front of your lens with the help of a filter holder (sold separate from the filter, lens or camera). When placed on the lens it reduces the amount of light getting in to your camera’s sensor.
Pier without the ND filter. Shutter speed 1/6th of a second
There are different densities of filters. Some are only slightly tinted while others are more tinted. The different levels of tints allow you to shoot slower shutter speeds or open your aperture depending on what you are looking to accomplish with your photos.
Why would you want a longer shutter speed? When allowing your shutter to be open longer anything moving in your scene will essentially smooth out as shown in the photograph below.
50 point pier with 10x ND Filter. Shutter speed 87 seconds
You’ll notice in the photo above that the colours are very different from the photo at the very beginning of this post. ND filters are supposed to be a neutral grey colour, however, they usually tend to have a little colour in them. This colour becomes more prominent when shooting a long exposure. You will notice the one I use shifts the colour toward a more purple shade. This is because there is a little purple in the grey tone of my filter.
One way to get rid of this colour shift is to create beautiful black and white images. Of course, if you are shooting in RAW you will be able to adjust the colour in your post processing to create the look you want.
Photography is all about experimenting and having a little fun. Most people don’t usually have a 10x ND filter but have one of the more common ones like a 3x or 6x. You are the artist so you decide which one works best for you.
We were still four hours from home but we wanted to stop at Depot Harbour before we pulled into our homes and got back to reality. There apparently is a ghost town located on the island.
While driving to our destination we stopped just off the road to get a photo of the small harbours. I loved how calm it looked with its overcast skies.
After some driving around at Depot Harbour we finally found what we were looking for – an old ghost town.
Some history on the site: Back in 1890 John Booth created the town of Depot Harbour to move his lumber to the area now known as Algonquin Park via a railway that was taken over by CNR in 1918. In 1993 the railway was damaged by a spring ice floe and was never repaired, bringing less and less ships to Depot Harbour. In 1945, the shops stopped arriving and by 1964 the town was abandoned. You can still see remnants of the old buildings (as shown in the photo above). Depot Harbour is the largest Ontario town to become a ghost town.
Permission to view the site must be obtained from the Wasauksing First Nations Band Office.