Algonquin Provincial Park in the Fall

Fall in Ontario is a beautiful time of the year that many Ontarians might take for granted. When I lived briefly in British Columbia as a student, many people I met were from Ontario, and invariably, the thing they missed most were the autumn colours.

Algonquin Provincial Park is renowned for its spectacular display of colourful foliage. Of course, if you’re from Toronto (or anywhere in Southern Ontario), it’s important to know the colours in Algonquin peak about two weeks before they do in Southern Ontario. Usually, campgrounds, hotels, and resorts book up fast for that last weekend in September.

Emily Provincial Park

One of our first getaways together, my girlfriend and I spent a lovely summer weekend at Emily Provincial Park.

The forest and moon photo was a composite of two separate photos.

Thousand Islands, New York City, and Wellnesste Lodge Roadtrip

For a two-week roadtrip, we ventured east from Toronto, stopping off for a cruise through the Thousand Islands before crossing the border and heading for New York City. On the return trip, we spent a few days in the Adirondack Mountains at Wellnesste Lodge. The quaint, peaceful resort was a welcome respite following several days of non-stop romping around NYC in 35-plus degree heat.

Cherry Blossoms: People in Bloom

For my second time taking photos at High Park during the spring cherry blossoms, I decided to focus on people taking in the natural beauty. Given the millions of people in Toronto, and the hordes of them who come to the park to see the blossoms, two of the strangers I candidly shot turned out be close friends of a co-worker. Small world indeed.

For the final photo, I tried a little experiment with zooming out during the short duration of the photo.

Dufferin Islands, Niagara Falls

Folks in Toronto make Niagara Falls a usual destination, sometimes going there for the heck of it. Visit the falls, of course, maybe the casino, and take in the ridiculous sights of Clifton Hill.

Just west of the Falls, a lovely little spot known as Dufferin Islands, a quiet, secluded, man-made area of little ponds, trees, and waterfowl, is a world away from the hustle bustle of Niagara Falls.

I spent some time there after a conference I was attending in Niagara Falls, and took some photos.

Autumn Photo Meetup

I went on an early morning photographer’s meetup at a park in Toronto to capture some of the autumn highlights. First thing in the morning, the light is warmed and the shadows more forgiving. The day’s first light basks your subjects, be they people, buildings, or nature, in a special glow that far too quickly gives way to the harsh, cold light of midday.

Algonquin Provincial Park Camping

2011 was the first time I had been back to Algonquin Provincial Park in a number of years. I was in a new relationship at this point, and it was our first camping trip together. One of the more memorable moments was on a bike ride starting from Lake of Two Rivers. We stopped at a river crossing and encountered a young family where dad, son, and daughter were taking advantage of the hot summer day by jumping off the bridge into the river below. I took many pictures of them jumping and offered to the mom to email her the photos. I did so once back home.


Cherry Blossoms 2011

This was the first time I had heard of and gone to see the Cherry Blossoms in Toronto’s High Park. The trees were a gift from Japan in 1959,  and every spring, they bloom forth in stunning pink and white, only to disappear as fast as they emerge. High Park posts daily progress of the blooming when the time comes.

For this photography meetup, we decided to meet before sunrise to capture the blossoms in the first available light. The extraordinary thing was just after sunrise, when professional photographers seemingly appeared from nowhere, lights and cameras in hand and set to action with models in gowns. Of course, we all flocked to take advantage of their pro setups.

By mid-morning, the park was bustling with people, and the fancily dressed ones still showed up.

Supermoon March 19, 2011

Every once in a (long) while, the moon gets a bit closer to the Earth, and appears up to 14% larger in the sky. This makes photographer go a little bonkers and get very upset if there’s cloud cover that night.

Fortunately, we had a clear calm night to take our photos as part of a meetup group. We ventured to the Humber River Bay area in Toronto. It’s not much darker here than the rest of the city, but the moon is nice and bright so urban light pollution isn’t a big an issue as when you’re trying to photograph the stars.

The final shot here is a composite of a zoomed in and wide angle shot, to exaggerate the size of the moon in the sky. I had to brush in the moon’s reflection in Lake Ontario to make it look convincing.


Arizona Trip

Being from Ontario, a visit to the US southwest is a photographer’s candy store. Everywhere you look, the colours, the textures, and the vistas of what at times seems like an alien landscape abound.

Highlights included Sunset Crater National Monument, where the twisted trees are remnants of a 900-year-old volcanic eruption. At Antelope Canyon, a special photographer’s tour in the morning allowed tripods and even some advice from the tour guide on best angles and exposure settings. I was the only one who showed up with a tripod, and the guide asked everyone else to step aside so I could take the ultimate photo.

For our brief visit to the Grand Canyon, I timed our descent down the canyon to coincide with the setting sun as we returned back up. A note about the Grand Canyon – the best way to experience it is to descend from the top edge. It’s safe and easy to get to “Ooh Ahh Point” (hilariously named by the National Parks Service) and well worth the time. I can only imagine how it feels to reach the Colorado River, a few thousand feet below.

A drive north to Monument Valley is a sight to behold. This area is synonymous with the American West, and western movies in particular. I managed to stay there past sunset and capture a star trails photo too.