Published on: 6th October 2016
By F11 Magazine
High above us; a squadron of Canada Geese flying south maybe 30 birds in an immaculate double-V formation. It’s a sign; autumn is here. But is it? The locals here in Wakefield are bemoaning the late arrival of fall colour; the tale-end of September should be prime time. That’s Wakefield Quebec by the way just down the road from Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham. Yes Masham as in the village on the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales where Old Peculier comes from. I thought this was French Canada? What a curious blend of influences; I guess that’s the modern nation in a nutshell. Anyway on the drive from Montreal yesterday after tiring of counting Tim Horton’s I did turn to wondering if we’d got our timing all wrong. There was no getting away from it; the woods all around were still predominantly green. But today I’m philosophical; we’re back last night Canada beat Russia this morning I shot horses in the autumn mist this evening we’ll be grilling over hot coals and tomorrow we cross over the Ottawa River into Ontario and on to Algonquin. As for the maple leaves well that’s Mother Nature’s call.
A week later I’m tapping this out in our cabin in the woods on the shore of the Lake of Bays. I have been here before but it was some 50 years ago. Algonquin hasn’t changed though; it’s still the classic quintessential Canadian Shield landscape of still lakes rutting moose and not-so-silent woods I got to know as a boy on summer camps. Just being here brings back a flood of memories. As you can see from the picture at the top of this despatch the blood-red maple leaves are becoming more profuse by the day; the vibrancy of their colours still defy belief. Whole days pottering behind the lens in the woods and by rushing rapids have passed in self-indulgently creative joy. Algonquin and its environs in autumn are just so evocative. Canada has now won the World Cup of Hockey this morning at dawn we were bonding with otters and the pancakes with maple syrup are as good as ever especially after a fruitful dawn patrol. I know I view everything to do with Canada through rose-tinted glasses but trips rarely get get much better than this. You will of course be hearing all about it in future editions of the Chasing the Light Online Photography Magazine.
Wendy has been getting into shooting beaver footage for the inevitable Video Blog but that’s coming next month. In this month’s Issue my How It’s Done mini-series continues on location finding this time considering the apps I find most useful for landscape work and featuring a shoot in Derbyshire from mid-september that came at the end of a 10 day marathon of commitments shows and a commission which took me from Milborne Port to Carmarthen to Fishguard to Waterford to Cork to Limerick to Athlone to Westport to Belfast to Ayr to Carlisle and finally to Hathersage. Too many miles too many hotels too many grey skies and too few pixels exposed but it did at least all come together at dawn above the mist in the Derwent Valley. Such sessions do not happen by accident hence the series in the Chasing the Light Online Photography Magazine on location finding.
The Derbyshire Peaks District is hardly undiscovered territory neither is Ontario for that matter but every time I venture out tripod on the shoulder in the darkness before dawn is still an adventure wherever we are. In this month’s Low Down in the Chasing the Light Online Photography Magazine I examine how that spirit of adventure can enrich our lives – and fire our creativity. On a more technical note for the Field Trial I consider the role of filters in our photography today then put Lee Filter’s new range of grads to the test. And in Stepping Back I ‘step back’ to Bristol in 1988 to recall an autumnal shoot using the venerable Hassleblad 500. Meanwhile I also present my usual two Fundamentals of Post-Production Video Tutorials this month paying particular attention to the thorny dilemma of just how much sharpening our pictures need.
Elsewhere in Hoddinott’s Hangout Ross Hoddinott gives us a timely exploration of how we can use mist to enhance our landscape shots. In the Art of Landscapes we accompany Bas Meelker to the Bavarian Forest in winter where a fruitful photo trip bags some wonderful landscape and wildlife shots. Then in the Pipeline Ben Pipe visits the architecturally stunning city of Rotterdam to augment his portfolio – with great results. Finally for our Guest Feature we welcome on board landscape and travel photographer Jeremy Flint as he shares his highlights of his self-drive photo-tour through Namibia. It’s all there for our f11 Members. Not yet an f11? For just £39 a year you’re missing out on both the monthly Chasing the Light Online Photography Magazine and the free e-books. Here’s a video to prove it.
Today in a store in Huntsville I spotted a Toronto Maple Leafs onesie. I was tempted just to see Wendy’s face but I guess there are limits to the pressures a marriage can survive and we do make such a good team on trips like this. It’s been a productive week and we’re only half way through; tomorrow we move on to Georgian Bay. I will of course be inserting some of the best images from this Canadian adventure into our next Chasing the Light Road Show which will be in Farnborough as guests of Farnborough Camera Club on October 25th.
After that our Exmoor and Franche-Comté workshops will be upon us. We have had a late cancellation on the latter by the way so if you fancy some autumnal photographic indulgence in that little known yet spectacular region of eastern France we do have space for just one photographer plus partner. All in all it looks like I’ll be getting two autumns in this year. Maybe by mid-November I’ll have had enough of shooting red and golden leaves until next year but then again The Fall surely is the most photographic of seasons. Wherever you are I hope you have a good one too.