Thursday, 30 October 2014

On the Path
Fall & some Tree Tunnels
Sept--Oct 2014

Time is slipping by. Doesn't it always? Tomorrow is Halloween. Then it's November. Makes me think of one of my favourite sayings: "Life is what happens to you when you're busy doing other things." Fall also reminds me of life. Ready or not, the next stage is here. Enough philosophy.

I enjoy the seasons. Winter less so than I used to, but the changes are beautiful. Fall is still my favourite. When the leaves change color, the views are spectacular.

Even Poison Ivy takes on fall colors. Sometimes simple...

Sometimes not so simple.

Some cling, some don't.

Bittersweet berries. They stand out.

I haven't seen many Ladybugs this year. Are they suffering from our extensive use of pesticides too?

I love the tree tunnels. The path is in the heart of the city but the tunnels shield me from the 'busyness' that is only yards away from the path.

On a busy day I meet others, but on a quiet day I have the path to myself.

The woods at the top of the path are a quiet retreat. I'm alone in them 99% of the time. The path through them only adds a few minutes to my walk, but they keep me in touch with another side of nature. In fall, the leaves carpet the forest floor. I enjoy the crunch of the leaves under my feet every year, as though it were the first time I've experienced it.

Young love.

A 'Leaf fan' amongst the leaves... couldn't resist. For non-Canadians, one guy is wearing a Toronto Maple Leaf's hockey team sweater.

Sumach is blazing red at its prime.

Interesting pattern on Wild Grape leaves.

Milkweed... in its early stages in fall.

The most colorful bug I encounter on the path... Japanese Beetle. By the way, all these images were taken with a shirt-pocket point & shoot so some of them suffer.

A favourite of mine. Hard to explain why.

Colorful confusion.

Common Toadflax. I much prefer the more common name... Butter & Eggs.

A prehistoric green caterpillar.

A Scottie out for a walk. Its ears give it away.

Late-day light on some Wild Carrot.

Black Locust seed pods.

Back home... cute.

They get more than their share of the bird seed.

Freedom. I never tire of watching geese fly over. I always listen for their call but sometimes there's only silence.

The temperatures are slowly approaching zero degrees for a low. Snow flurries are getting ever closer. More change.

- fini -

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 -

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