Taking Advantage Of Days Like This

I love this time of year.  I really do.  Especially when the temperature hovers between slightly chilly and toasty warm – with healthy doses of sunshine and crisp breezes thrown in for good measure.  It is as if Mother Nature is doing all She can to ensure our journey into the coming winter months is an easy one.

I cherish the days that are filled with sunshine.  Days that bring warmth.  Days that allow me to get outside and roam, without having to don mitts and a parka.  I love it when Fall lets me cling to bits and pieces of Summer for a few extra weeks.

Water’s Edge

Which is exactly what I did yesterday as I accompanied an a small group of students on an outdoor educational excursion.  What a glorious day to be at the water’s edge, feasting on a gorgeous display of nature as it transitions into a new season.

I was taking photos of (what else?) the leaves, nature, the kids, and all the fun stuff they were learning about.  But it is this image of blurry reflections that I like best.  Even with the distortion, you can see that they are fixated on their subjects and making some pretty cool discoveries in the swampy muck.  (They were looking for things like bugs and snails to study)

I love what I do, especially on days like this.

An Eco-Tour: Hiking In Ontario

On our recent family camping trip, we were fortunate enough to find ourselves surrounded by a heavily wooded area, complete with some hiking trails that were also a part of the much larger Bruce Trail system.

We strapped on our sneakers and grabbed some water, and set out to explore this natural wonderland.  After being greeted by a massive trout pond, the terrain went from steep climbs to marshy lowlands.  We encountered everything from old growth forest, with massive hardwood trees, to pristine rows of tall pine and cedars.  Gigantic rock formations jetted out from side of steep drop-offs,creating cliffs with walls of moss and trees clinging to them.  Within the cool shade of the forest, we happened upon a the quick-moving waters of a stream, jam-packed with critters of all kinds.

It truly was as if we were on a mini Eco-Tour!

Our starting point.
Trout Pond (those shadows are a school of trout)
This guy was probably close to two feet long!
…growing on the side of huge old tree, long since fallen to the forest floor.
This was one of my favourite sights, enormous old trees amongst a thick carpet of green.
A close up of what covered the ground on either side of well-worn path we hiked on.
Another captivating sight, row after row of tall narrow pine trees. They seemed endless.
All I can say is, thank goodness for trail markers like this one. They kept us heading in the right direction!
The terrain was a bit rough at times. We were either climbing up, or slowly picking our way down hills and cliff sides. Here, one of the kids uses a walking stick and keeps his water handy.
A gigantic hint of the Canadian Shield.
Each layer is a part of the history it took to form this region.
We were surrounded by these massive walls of rock and mos
Growing at the foot of the rock face were thick stands of these massive ferns. They reminded me of something from Jurassic Park!
Seems someone got kind of lazy with the trail markers! They went from arrows to splotches of tree trunks as we went along. They still kept on the right track though.
The kids loved the many streams that encompassed the area we were in. So much to explore and find in these quick-moving waters. I liked the way the spots of sunlight broke up the shade.
Some “wildlife”: crayfish from the river. Don’t worry, everyone was put back in their home, after a brief observation.  

What an amazing experience!  We all gained some insight into the eco-systems of Northern Ontario and walked away with a lasting impression of how raw, abundant and enthralling nature is.  It was especially thrilling for me.  As I usually find myself in this setting for my photography, seeing the reactions of my kids was quite rewarding.  It was nice to have them be apart of my photo taking process, and to let them see for themselves the beauty that inspires me and my work.

Saturday: Lanterns

Night-time in the campground.

A colourful string of lanterns hang from the awning our trailer.  The warm glow they cast adds to our playful mood and the laid back atmosphere out here.