Fall Colors

The splendor of fall, right at your doorstep. Here in Nova Scotia you need not dust off the credit card to afford a trip through the blaze of fall. If you live in Halifax most trips can be can be done as a one-tank trip. Some of us drive by scenes that we really should be stopping to capture. As an example how many people here in HRM drive by Shubi Park, Hemlock Ravine, Point Pleasant Park, Miller Lake, or Mt Uniack House?

Cape Breton has the Festival Of Colors during the first part of October where you can spend your days looking at or photographing the colors, participating in workshops and in the evening putting ‘er up at several Celidhs – The Cape Breton version of a huge kitchen party.

The reason we get the spectacular color show is because we get warm days and crisp nights as the summer turns to fall. The leaves that have been shading us all summer have the colors in them the whole time; the colors were just hidden by the green chlorophyll in the leaf. As the chlorophyll dies off due to the lack of light and the cooler temperatures we get to see the anthocyanin pigments that were always in the leaf. The bright reds, yellows, and crimsons now pop and astound us with their beauty. These colors are at their best when there is a lot of light and a lot of sugar trapped in the leaf. If the days are warm and sunny, sugar production is high and runs to the leaf. Then the nights must be crisp, this   prevents the movement of sugar-rich fluid back into the trunk, trapping it in the leaves. When these conditions are met the result is the display of earthbound fireworks. Dry weather intensifies the color because the sugar in the leaves is not diluted by a lot of water in the sap.

These conditions also make for the best leaf watching weather. The days are great for hiking and the evenings are perfect for snuggling or romantic walks in the crunchy leaves under foot.
You will get the best photos on your digital camera if you set the ISO to its lowest setting, your shutter speed high and your camera on a tripod. If your digital camera does not permit the use of a cable release, use the camera's self-timer to make "hands-off" exposures.  Then you need to take the best possible artistic exposure of the scene. If there is water flowing in the scene slow down the shutter speed to show movement in the water. With these things in place you will have a perfectly acceptable photo to display to friends. But if you wish to manipulate your photo like pros used to do in their darkroom you must now turn to your computer and special software. Remember it is easy to remove items, very difficult to add items. Hence the reason for striving for the best photo possible to start out with.


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