The Essence of Autumn in Ontario

by Robert Berdan
October 27, 2010



sunrise in October in northern Ontario by Robert Berdan ©

Sunrise off Highway 400 just north of Port Severn Ontario

Every Autumn I try to get together with my father and spend some time taking pictures. This past Autumn between October 5 and 14, I visited my father who had to go in for heart surgery. Thankfully when I left him he was doing fine and on his way to full recovery.  Although we were not able to get out together in my free time I took some photos around our home and took one day to drive up to Algonquin park along highway 141 just east of Parry Sound. I took with me a back road mapbook and a beautiful book on Ontario Waterfalls by Mark Harris and George Fisher. 

Since my father was in the hospital, I called Garry Higgins president of the Midland Camera club and asked him if he would like join me on a drive to the Oxtongue river. Sometimes I like to photograph alone and other times I enjoy the company of another photographer.  It is certainly safer to have someone else with you when climbing onto slippery rocks or hiking back into the woods. We stopped at several water falls including: Rosseau, Skeleton, Stubs and Marsh Falls. All of them were small consisting mostly of rapids,  but beautiful, especially when surrounded by coloured maple trees. We drove to Algonquin on October 8 and at this time north of Midland a large percentage of the trees had already lost their leaves, but we still found some nice patches of colour.

Rosseau Falls by Robert Berdan ©

Rosseau Falls off highway 141 with Garry Higgins setting up to take a photograph

Rosseau Falls by Robert Berdan ©

Rosseau Falls looking down the stream

Autumn leaves by Robert Berdan ©

Autumn leaves in a pool near the waterfalls

Autumn reflections by Robert Berdan ©

Autumn Colours reflected in lake

Next to my parents home in Midland Ontario their is an old deciduous forest. Every morning I went for walk in the forest with my camera gear, not looking for anything in particular but just kept my eyes and ears open. The leaves in the forest were just starting to turn yellow and summac trees around the edges of the forest had turned brilliant red. 

Decidous forest in Ontario by Robert Berdan ©

Deciduous Forest near my parents home in Midland, Ontario in October

Summacs in Fall by Robert Berdan ©

Red summacs were found around the edge of the forest

On the forest floor I was astonished at the large number and variety of mushrooms. I began photographing them with my macro lens and the more I looked the more varieties I found. I also noticed that some of my shots were not sharp at the end of the day even though I was using a tripod. It turns out that when I was using long shutter speeds at F11-F22 of between 1\4 second up to 4 seconds, the lack of sharpness was due to camera vibration caused by the mirror slap. I started using an electronic cable release and these longer exposure were once again sharp. Just one of those back to basics things that works. I have found that with electronic cameras pushing the shutter button produces less vibration then my older film camera bodies and I guess I had become a bit lazy. The nice thing about photographing mushrooms, like wildflowers they don't run away.

Mushrooms by Robert Berdan ©

Mushroom by Robert Berdan ©

Turkey tail polypore bracket fungus by Robert Berdan ©

Turkey tail polypore fungus growing on tree

While aiming at some bracket fungus on a tree with my camera, I noticed something moving inside a hollow spot in the tree. I knocked on the tree and out came  a young raccoon who then climbed up higher for safety. I came back the next day and he posed for me once more as I photographed him crawling in and out of his shelter.  Raccoons are relatively rare in Alberta and I had never seen one here so this was a nice catch. 

Raccoon by Robert Berdan

Raccoons by Robert Berdan ©

On the way to the hospital in Newmarket, I stopped in Barrie to pick up my brother, but he had given me wrong directions and luckily while turning around I found 6 wild turkeys walking down the sidewalk. I jumped out of the carand was able to get a few shots before they flew off.

Wild Turkeys by Robert Berdan

Wild Turkeys photographed off a main road in Barrie Ontario

On one Sunday morning I went for a drive in the country through several small towns: Wyevale, Elmvale and Perkinsfield. Several farmers were selling pumpkins and a variety of other vegetables on wooden stands in front of their homes. At one stop in Perkinsfield I noticed this ornamental corn - each grain looked like a jewel. I took some photographs then felt obligated to purchase some of the corn along with a pumpkin and a few other vegetables. Later when I looked at the pictures I was amazed at how beautiful the kernals were and wished I had purchased more of them and had spent more time photographing them.

Ornamental corn by Robert Berdan ©

Ornamental corn photographed at farmers stand in Perkinsfield, Ontario

Mixed vegetables by Robert Berdan ©

Mixed Vegetables at Farmers Stand in Wyevale

Pumpkins by Robert Berdan ©

Pumpkin tapestry

When I left to return home to Calgary, my father was walking around the house and was able to climb a flight of stairs several times and was looking much better. I will try to return in the Spring and see if he is fit enough to do some short hikes into the forest and take photographs.

Autumn leaves reflected in water by Robert Berdan ©


Autumn field by Robert Berdan ©

Colours in the fields were just as vibrant as those in the forest

Autumn scene with road by Robert Berdan

End of the road - Midland point to Camp Simpresca

Berdan family by R. Berdan

My mother, father and two brothers, Mike and Frank - me on the right - My Dad is doing well after heart surgery and he is
looking forward to getting out in the Spring to take pictures again.


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