When Nature Calls

September 21, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

When Nature Calls, I like to head out to one of my local conservation areas and hangout. Photo opportunities are out there but you have to find them and... Get out there!! I love to take my camera and try new techniques or just practice. Earlier in the summer I had stumbled upon a real gem. The Fletcher Creek Ecological Preserve off of Gore Rd on Concession 7. Recently I was on solo hiking/camping trip near by and went to explore the area. I was out here with my son previously in the summer but he could not complete the hike. I knew at some point I would be back.


The temperature that day was about 27C. It was hot in the sun but nice in the shade. I brought only the camera. No camera bag or gear. You can see the trail route on the map photo above. Walking a nice trail system with my camera in hand, I came across a stream. It was a beautiful area. You could walk bit down stream and I noticed how clear the water was. I adjusted my ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed, as the light in the area was significantly darker than other areas of the trail and I tried a couple of photos. 

One downstream and one upstream. 

In the above photo I had held the camera down low crouching on some rocks and you can see the foreground and background was blurry. I was thinking I needed more light but lowering the aperture which was @ f6.3 was not so wise to gain the light. Shutter speed could be manipulated too but too slow as in this situation, @ 1/30th of a second with no tripod was not going to work either and didn't. The tripod could have made things much more stable and I could use the slower shutter speed to catch the water flowing. So in this case (meaning handheld) my ISO @ 1000 could have been changed along with a tighter aperture for sharpness. I would still have to up my shutter speed enough to handle camera shake.  Also, the background highlights are blown out. With two different areas of light I could have used a flash for the foreground and exposed for the background.  This gives me a reason to go back and re-shoot this. Take my time and bring my gear. Practice makes perfect. Again, you can learn all the theory you want but unless you get out there you will not get those results. Thats why Nature is perfect for Photography. 

As I made my way through a nice winding path it opened up to a beautiful old quarry. With camera settings re adjusted. (ISO 100, @ f8, Shutter Speed @ 250). The Above photo is from the first lookout facing north. This is a beautiful area with clear water running through it. There are three main lookouts around the quarry that explain its history. 

This was an old limestone quarry the Hamilton Conservation Authority had purchased in the late 80's. In the early 90's they made it the preserve and proceeded to naturalize the area. 

Notice how clear the water is. I was up on a ledge and could still see the rocks under the water. This area has a spring running through it. I had to be mindful of th suns position in the photos. There were very few clouds so I had adjusted my exposure when shooting towards the sun to find a happy medium between the sky and the shadows in the trees. Exposing for the Sky would create darker shadows in the trees. Exposing for the Trees and shadowed areas would blow out the sky. I wanted it to be more like what I was seeing.

A view facing East from the second lookout area. Notice the clouds?  The sun, a hard light source, was slightly to my above right so shadows can be an issue. You can still see rock detail in the shadows. Plus you can see the tree detail. This is just how the day looked. Awesome!! 

Looking west the suns position was more in front of the camera to the left. Blue Skies Smiling At Me.

In this view, again some cloud detail in the distance, but also detail in the tree shadows made for a beautiful photo. I would have liked more actual cloud in the sky as it would help create more depth in the photo. You can walk down and explore the whole area. In fact, a couple was having a picnic to the right of this photo. They even had a newborn. Its a very peaceful serene area. The people I came across along the trail were very friendly. But how could you not be on a day like this. 

For more on this Ecological Preserve click here Fletcher Creek Ecological Preserve