Fall Colours 90% In Algonquin

Reports from Ontario’s Algonquin Park suggest that the fall colours (which come earlier to the park which is 250 km north of Toronto) are nearing their peak and this might be THE WEEKEND to visit this amazing photographic event. _dsc0051

Even if you’re just driving up for the day (3 hours each way) it’s still worthwhile as some of the very best shooting can be had from Hwy. 60 which runs through the south end of the park.

Fall colours come early to Algonquin as it’s farther north than Toronto and is situated on higher ground (which gets cooler faster than the lands to the south).algonquin-fall-2009-524

While this weekend should be amazing for shooting, it’s possible that Monday or Tuesday (while 10 degrees cooler) might be even better as the weather forecast calls for partial cloudy weather. Bright sunny blue skies make for contrasty bright colours. Cloudy to overcast make for deeper less contrasty scenes which often look better as photos.

Cloudy weather also makes it possible to shoot at slower shutter speeds which is essential if you shoot water or waterfalls and you want that milky look. Set ISO to as low as possible, put your camera on a sturdy tripod (essential), set your aperture to f/11 – f/16, turn your auto focus off!! and focus manually. (Why? You don’t want your autofocus seeing a blade of grass in the foreground and focusing on it rather than the river behind. Don’t ask me how I know this!)_dsc0128

Try and get a shutter speed around one second or slower and experiment. BTW use a remote shutter release or the self timer to keep camera shake to an absolute minimum.dsc_8140

If you’ve got an incident or spot light meter take it and take your Expodisc if you’ve got one and your PassPort Checker (the colour patch device) to help get your exposure dead on. Check your white balance and shoot RAW if you’re camera has it.

Finally, dress warmer (see photo above) than you think you’re going to need. You can always take off a parka when the sun comes up but trust me if you’re out shooting at dawn in Algonquin Park it can get really really cold. Wear light gloves and a hat ( a toque is perfect) . You’ll bless my name over and over again for this one hint alone 🙂

BTW if you can avoid the weekend, there will be less competition for shooting spots in some of the more popular places.