Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Algonquin Park
October 3rd - 6th, 2014

We've lost count of how many times we've been to Algonquin over the years. It's our favourite place to see the fall colours. And for thousands of others too, based on the crowds. This year there was more rain than we would have liked, but there were enough sunny periods that it was still a great visit.

I take lots of pictures every year, in many of the same spots. Each year I hope to get some special shots. I find now that I'm happy if I get 2 or 3 what I think are special ones. I delete more than I keep.

With the fall colors, I often find it hard to capture what I'm seeing. That's one of a few reasons why I shoot more every fall.

This is my favourite from this year. Jane, in her red coat, makes the shot. It was taken along the Highway 60 corridor, in the park.

Enlarge the shots by clicking on them. It's the only way to get at least a bit of an idea of what you see if you're there in person. Poster-size would be even better. :-)

Our first stop this year was the fire tower at Dorset, just south of the park. We haven't climbed it the last few visits, but I've decided to again next time.
It started to rain just as we got out of the car. Not the results we've had in other years but I took a couple shots anyway.

We missed the reds of the Sugar Maple--again. We plan to go earlier next year to catch them.

A sign you won't often see.

Jane gathered some acorns for the squirrels and chipmunks back home. Most people seem to hate squirrels in their yard. We enjoy them. So we took home an Algonquin treat for them. They love them.
The motel we usually stay at has a river running through their property. We canoed on it a few visits back. This year it was too cool. The motel is also next to Arrowhead Provincial Park. It's much smaller than Algonquin but it's beautiful too.

A view along the river at the motel.
Before we get to Algonquin, we stop at Oxtongue Rapids. We're never alone. It's one of the most popular spots in the area for photographers. Last year we met a group of 15 or so here, from a Toronto camera club. This time it was 20 guys that were staying in a large cottage in the area. Parking can be very tight.

The road in is narrow, but beautiful.

The rapids. More rain, but it did stop after about 20 minutes.

In the woods at the rapids.
Splashes of orange... the next few shots are at another stop on the Oxtongue Rapids road.

A couple girls who lived nearby were near the bridge, having arrived on their ATV, with a young child in tow.

They had a fire going and welcomed us to warm our hands. It felt great.

Nature's fire... brighter than the girls' was.

Still not in the park yet. This was on another side-road. Someone went to a lot of effort.

Any time you see a bunch of cars parked along the highway in Algonquin, it's either for a hiking trail, a moose has been spotted, or there's a beautiful view. In this case it was the latter. This was another case of me having difficulty capturing the overall scene. The ones I shot were disappointing, so I didn't include any of them.

Sugar Maple. We did find a few solitary ones.

This was in Arrowhead Park. As I looked at my images, I realized that I didn't keep many of the shots from Algonquin. Many of the beautiful spots in Algonquin are along the highway where it's dangerous to stop--no shoulders or narrow ones, the view is on a curve, etc. So you just have to enjoy the beauty as you drive.

Jane changed coats on me... could recolor it in Photoshop but that's too much bother.

Some Red Oak leaves at the Visitor's Centre. It was a tiny tree though. Not many trees turn red, but those that do stand out.

A colorful bug on a Milkweed pod.

At the old airfield in Algonquin.The sign was enough to keep us alert & fairly close to the car.

Beat up, but it gives it character.
The area is far enough north that there is abundant, healthy lichen. At a distance this type looks like snow.

We walked the Beaver Pond trail in the park. Beaver dams are remarkable. All they have to work with are their teeth & forepaws.

What looks a bit like a path against the dam, is a mat of fallen pine needles that have drifted up against it.

A pretty reflection by the dam.

Many color combinations can catch your eye. Green & yellow can be striking at times.

Glacial erratics/rocks. They're out-of-place compared to the surrounding rocks. The largest are about 7 feet tall. The usual explanation is that they were carried by the glaciers of the ice age, then dropped as the ice sheet melted and retreated.

I do like fungi.

I think this one is Witch's Butter--I love the name. It's descriptive too.

I keep shooting moss. It's such a bright green, maybe the brightest & richest that I come across.
Brechin is a small town en route to the park. We stopped on the way home for a coffee, so I snapped a few shots of the figures they have along the main street.

Not sure what the bikes are about, unless they're for more support... or maybe they're an artistic touch to tie them all together. Whatever the reason, they do look good.

I don't think the young crowd would get the connection here. I haven't heard the word 'dough' to mean money in years. I assume an older employee at the bank chose the Pillsbury dough-boy. Or was it just a coincidence?

Not many what I would call great fall shots this year. Not sure I even got my 2 or 3. Maybe next year. 

But it's not for the pictures that we keep going back to Algonquin. The pictures only help us to relive our time spent there. They're an extremely poor substitute for being there. Seeing the color in person is really what it's all about. And it's something we never tire of.

- fini -

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Oshawa Second Marsh
September 30th, 2014

The marsh is showing its fall colours. The first thing I came across was this Dryad's Saddle fungus. Very common and easy to spot because they're large. This one was about 10-12 inches across.

I didn't realize they were edible. That explains why I saw some women gathering them in the spring in their earliest stage. Not very tasty when they're this large apparently. I'm tempted to try them next spring but I probably won't.

The Beaver Pond boardwalk is wonky but firm.

The marsh doesn't really have much bright fall colour. The colors tend to be the softer tones.

Not sure what this is but it's a rich purple. It was the only real color that I saw in Ghost Road Bush. It's Closed Gentian. Thanks Gerry.

A Sharp-shinned Hawk. Thanks Gerry.

I don't usually bother changing the sky in photos, but this was an easy one to substitute a new sky into, using Photoshop. Much better though.
Most color is along the berm, where the sun can bathe the wildflowers. There's still some Chicory around... a favourite of mine. I love its color.
Himalayan Balsam is spreading along the berm. It's dominant this time of year. The seed pods are ready for popping--a gentle squeeze and the pods twist and curl and release their seeds.

Its color varies from pale to bright pink, to off-white.

Jerusalem Artichoke (nothing to do with Jerusalem and not an artichoke) is also extending its range. There's lots of it along the berm this year. It towers over most other growth.

A Trumpeter Swan circled in to settle on the channel by the berm.

Putting on the brakes.

I do meet others in the marsh, but seldom more than you can count on one hand.

Cormorants have to dry their wings since their feathers aren't water-repellent  like most other waterfowl.

A mix on the raft in the bay.

A Monarch (the 2 black spots on its hind wings indicate it's a male) on a Jerusalem Artichoke blossom. Another common name for the JA is Sunroot... less of a mouthful and more meaningful maybe.
I caught this one just as it was taking off. Looks like some human-like figure, (with 4 eyes), in the center of its wings. Seems somehow appropriate for this time of year--Halloween colors & all. Click on the image for a closer look.

The channel by the berm. Mist adds a touch to many shots.

Wild Cucumber seed pods. Still green, but not for long.

The grey branches against the darker background caught my eye.

This is the month to look for fungi & mushrooms in our area. You'll find more than pretty much any other time of year.

The Friends of Second Marsh web site...
A direct link to a map of the paths/trails in the marsh...

A link to a page that has my past posts re the marsh, in one place rather than scattered throughout this blog...

- fini -

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