Tuesday, October 02, 2012

I'm done shooting fall colours...

... or maybe not! Every year I say the same thing and every year I am overwhelmed by the glory that nature brings us to enjoy and challenges us to capture. I do live in God's Country. It's been 5 years now and this has to be the best one of all.

If you don't like looking at pictures of fall colours, don't read this blog. I have so many to show you, I guess I overdid it! But where do you stop?


I shot this same spot last year, up in the hills behind Minden. This time I added some oil paint effect to make it more abstract because, well, because I can! 
Nature throws lots of stuff at you: some of which you can't capture. In another shot in the same location, there was a rock or stump standing up in a stream in the foreground. I thought it was neat how it looked like a duck, but of course it couldn't be one because it didn't move all the time I was there. It was only when I got home and blew it up to 200% that I discovered it was a large turtle! And a couple of babies.


I never would have been able to figure this out if it wasn't for the D600's amazing resolution.
This was at 100mm, and I had a 400mm with me but who knew? 

The sun selectively caused these autumn ferns to glow! 

I spent the weekend shooting up in Muskoka with Shannon whose hospitality was boundless. In fact, this was Sunday morning's breakfast:


That's Chris at the other end of the table! Shannon and Chris are one of those "healthy" couples (OK, in fairness, I don't know all that much about Chris's convictions, but Shannon is into healthy, organic stuff). Everything on this plate is natural and the pancakes are made from stuff I can't even remember. The green things are sunflower sprouts and the eggs came from her own chickens! It tasted as good as it looks.  By the way, the "Iris Blur" filter in Photoshop CS6 works great.
Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. Although this is about the colours, it's also about the D600 and about a really cool venue that I (we) are really going to have to revisit.

On the way to Port Sidney, I took Highway 118. It was late in the day, the sun poking out of the broken clouds from time to time. I stopped to capture the amazing light reflecting off this rock face:


It's hard to capture what you actually see. This soft effect makes it look like I remember it. 
Saturday morning, we went to a place called "Screaming Heads", just outside Burk's Falls, north of Huntsville. This is a large rural property (I guess 100 acres) owned by a retired art teacher by the name of Peter Camani (we met him. An unusual individual). There are hundreds of works of art scattered around the property.


One of the screaming heads. I'm talking about the cement sculpture, not Shannon who posed in it to give the picture a sense of scale. This was not among the largest ones. 
The place defies description. You have to visit his website here to get a feel for it. I could post dozens more pictures to show you the giant hand sticking up out of the ground, the dragon on top of the castle-like house... go to his website, or better, visit Screaming Heads yourself!


Wolves howling at the moon., amid other strange constructs, and surrounded by the colours of fall. 
There was also a large garden where you first drive in, dominated by a sea of sunflowers.


Shannon shooting sunflowers. I showed her how to use "commander mode" to remotely fire an off-camera flash. By the way, it was raining pretty well the whole time we were there. Brand new D600 in the rain... 
Speaking of the D600, I am blown away by the sharpness of the images it produces. At times, I'm shooting with my older Nikon 24-120 f/3.5-5.6 VR lens (not one of the new f/4 models), which is reported to be one of their worst lenses ever. Guess what?


Sunflowers in the rain 

This is a 100% crop out of the above image. Nothing particularly done to it in the computer: it was this sharp coming out of the camera! Click here to see a bigger version of this image.
Anyway, I guess I'm getting carried away. We shot a bunch of other stuff, including a fireworks display in the rain:


Those red spots are water drops on the lens. It's hard not to get them when you point the lens up in the rain! Look at the happy face in the upper right corner! I have NO IDEA how they did this, but that's what one of the final fireworks bursts looked like. This is a composite, by the way, of 7 images. f/16, ISO 100, shutter held open for a couple of bursts, if you want to try it.
On Sunday we shot a couple more spots.


A misty morning lake. 


Slo-mo at a dam in Port Sidney. 1/6 second at f/22. I couldn't do a really long exposure because Shannon had my big ND filter, but this showed some texture in the water. 
One final shot (enough, right? Amazing weekend!). We ran into Russ from Barrie and his Golden Retriever, Cleo. I took a bunch of shots while Russ was fishing, and oil painted this one of Cleo. I'm waiting for him to email me so I can send him the picture:


Cleo's 11 years old and your usual friendly Golden. She wanted to come up and cuddle and be petted, wet fur and all! Great dog! Click here to see a detailed view of the same image. 
OK, I'm done for today. Phew! More fall colours to come next weekend: I can't resist!

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