May 1st, 2021 signalled the opening of the cottage, and for the brief time we were allowed, we spent it making sure the cottage was ship-shape and enjoyed a change of scenery.
While I love the colours of autumn, there is a certain magic to the early springtime hues, with its deep browns and vibrant shades of green. An overcast day, especially after a rainfall, brings out these colours even better, and allows us to see subtle details that would be lost to the shadows created by harsh sunlight.
Near the visitor parking, there is a copse of trees, valiantly fighting to retain dominance in what is gradually becoming more of a wetland, leading into Rice Lake. Last year, I noticed the abundance of Ostrich Ferns. I spent quite a while photographing those mature plants last season, and made a mental note to revisit the area the following spring.
My trip over to the spot this past weekend did not disappoint, in large part, I think, due to the persistent rain and the overcast sky. True, I would need a higher ISO to make my images in this low light, but it was a small price to pay. I shot mainly with - yet again - my Zuiko 100-400mm lens, generally wide open, to get close to and isolate specific clumps of ferns and other spring flora. Shooting with the long lens also helped me avoid stepping too deep into the forest floor where I could inadvertently damage delicate plants.
Note: I did not carry my tripod for these two short walks; I relied solely on the the in-camera image stabilization to steady my compositions. I'm happy to say that for the majority, I lucked out and was happy with the results. My goal was to shoot wide-open or close to it, so I wasn't going to need extensively long shutterspeeds. That said, I was often shooting slower than 1/60 second.
Applying local adjustments to the two images above helped to add some depth, visual interest and separation between the moss-covered rocks and logs.
A wide, 4-second exposure of a spring creek waterfall, captured with my iPhone, followed by a much tighter detail shot with my Olympus camera.
Before heading home from our short stay, I also had an opportunity to briefly visit the nearby Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park. I've hiked in this small park before, but usually in the autumn. I thought it would be nice to do a little "forest bathing" amidst some of the oldest trees in Ontario. Naturally, the camera came with me. I pulled out my Panasonic 45-150mm lens for this little walk.
I walked a short way down two trails, near the parking lot. It always surprises me how one's perspective changes when you are simply retracing your footsteps; you see things you didn't see before. Slight changes in your own elevation on a trail can provide a different view and you are also seeing the same thing literally from two sides.
This first image is an example of how a change in perspective can make the difference. As I walked down the trail, my eyes took in these large fallen trees, but the strong diagonal lines were not quite so obvious. As well, the forest backdrop was very different in contrast to when I walked back up the trail. Those two elements made me pause on the return trip and I took the time to compose a couple versions of the scene.
Before and after
While I didn't see too many Trilliums, there was a preponderance of Trout Lilies, often growing in the shelter of tree roots. The blossoms were just starting to open, raindrops tenaciously hanging on to the petals.
So, while it was a short stay at the #fortressofmoderatesolitude, I am hopeful things will improve in the coming weeks and we will be allowed to stay longer. In the meantime, I will make pictures wherever I am - even my own backyard.