Bruce Trail Part 9


Below is an article I wrote for the Beach Photo Club. I thought I’d include it to give you an idea of what the outings are all about. Enjoy

Mount Nemo Conservation Area

This outing will forever remain in my memory as the perfect day. Norm, Joanne and I were laughing on the way to the park about how we were covered head to foot in many layers of winter clothing for the last Bruce Trail outing to Pretty River. Night and day! I seemed to have remembered the feeling of all those layers; hat, mitts (doubled), scarf and neck-warmer. Not to mention; two pairs of socks, a turtleneck, polar fleece sweater, a sweater over that and jacket. Oh! And long johns. Phew! Not anymore! There were blue skies, some clouds, warm breeze, once we got into the forest, dappled sunlight, hardly any bugs……….. yup! The perfect day.

It certainly was the best attended Bruce trail yet. There were 5 of us. Norm, Joanne and myself being the usual suspects, joining our group was Claudia and her friend Doug. Doug was not a photographer, but was happy enough to come for the hike. Rather the amble. At one point he looked at his smart phone, declaring we had walked 3 kilometers and burnt 0 calories. I don’t know what the app was, but I believe it. Rather we had to have burnt some calories, but the way we walk and stop, and shoot, I can believe we may have burnt hardly anything at all.

Can you believe I’ve never seen anyone climb a rock face before in real life? Well, we got this experience firsthand. There were many people who also thought it was the perfect day for climbing. I forgot how many feet the escarpment was, but Joanne would ask the climbers how long it would take them to get to the top. Roughly, it would take them 20 to 30 minutes to climb. Pretty cool! Just looking down on them was a dizzying sight. There were many look offs to take advantage of watching them. We even happened upon one photographer in the bush, practically hanging off the edge of the cliff from his waist just to photograph the climbers. Better him than me.

On the way through the conservation area we came across many plants and objects that seemed to glow in the sunlight shining through the leaves. I had thought of those photographers who prefer not to shoot in afternoon light, thus whiling away the time. It came to me that finding a forest to hike in at this time of day was the perfect way of taking advantage of afternoon light at its best. I found myself adjusting the settings on my camera to fade an object to black. Like a lily floating on the waters’ surface watching the stem disappear into the black depths of the pond or lake. The effect was very whimsical. I used my teleconverter to achieve this. Though Norm said I was cheating and deviating away from my challenge of only using my 50 prime. With the teleconverter, I can get amazing depth of field, so if there was the slightest bit of colour in the gradation from light to black, the background would look like an artistic smear of oil paints.

I can’t understand the concept of not shooting in afternoon light. Some will say it’s my lack of experience, things will look two dimensional, blah, blah, blah. I say, this gives the effect of a Maud Lewis folk painting which is a style I love an embrace for its uniqueness and non-conformity to the usual photographic rules. So next time you have a bright, sunny afternoon with nothing to do, hit one of the many ravine trails in Toronto if you don’t want to travel outside the city. Look for the magic in dappled light that brings objects alive and glowing with a touch of whimsy.

To finish our day, we ate at a place called Lowville Bistro, in Lowville, literally just off the Guelph line. Luckily we were in time for brunch, ending at 4pm. If there was any place that had creamy scrambled eggs and local micro brewery beer, this would be the place and I was right. We sat outside on a garden surrounded patio, some of us enjoying the shade of the umbrella and others enjoying the sun. The beer went down smooth, the food, fantastic. If you’re looking for a quiet place to eat outside of the city, this is the place. Maybe go on Sunday when there’s live jazz. I can tell you, next time there’s an outing along the Guelph line, I’m going to suggest we go there again, the experience was…… perfect!

To end our perfect day there were a few more surprises to go. Admittedly I was a little heady from the beer, but I thought I’d throw out a suggestion to the group. “Hey guys!” I yelled to them up the road. We had spotted an old stone school house at the mouth of a picnic park and a bridge with gurgling water running underneath it. “I have an Edwardian costume with me. Do you want me to dress up?” There was an affirmative from all, so I made a dash back to the restaurant to get gussied up for the impromptu photo shot. I was eager to see if my self-made costume looked authentic enough even though, I didn’t make it from 100% natural fibers. *gasp*

Instead of changing again, I climbed into the car in full garb asking Norm to have a look out for a garden center. We stopped at a market as a possibility. There was no garden center, but we were able to go in, even though it was closing, to get some sweet baked goods and ice cream all around. Thanks Joanne!

If one were could add a soundtrack to one’s life, or day; right there and then it would be “Perfect Day” by Lou Reid:

“Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on”

That reminds me of the scavenger hunt. Think of these lyrics as a bonus round if you want to photograph them.

Well folks……… one more Bruce Trail outing to go. Rockway Falls Side Trail in the Niagara Region. It’s only a 2k hike, which is nothing, so we’ll have time to explore the surrounding area. Bring your tripods as there does look like there will be the opportunity to shoot water.