Fall colours spark us to capture Canada
Story and Photos by Julia Pelish
Vacay.ca Visuals Editor
Autumn’s shorter days stir up mixed feelings for me. A bit of panic sets in at the thought of winter’s approach, yet I am always surprised by the amount of delight I feel at this time of year. The arrival of cool, crisp days comes with sparkling skies of blue that burst with the full spectrum of the colour wheel.
The joys of fall foliage draw many travellers to Canadian destinations that are known as ideal places to view the annual show. Spreading across Canada like an exuberant stadium wave, the fall colours showcase starts in the Atlantic provinces and moves westward with the setting sun to the far end of Vancouver Island. Canada is blessed with vast stunning landscapes that are connected by well-maintained roads and train stations. For many, outings to see the fall colours also include stops or overnight stays at the delightful towns that serve as base stations for trips into the nation’s parks and green spaces.
In autumn, restaurant menus are filled with the bounty that harvest season brings. Even the shortest road trip can be turned into a golden staycation when you head out to explore the surroundings during September and October. Fall foliage viewing dates can be as variable as the weather so check one of the informative regional websites (some listed below) that track the optimum times to see the colours. Ontario and Quebec offer the most intense colours. Canada also has a wealth of national and provincial parks that provide ample trails and outdoor space for enjoying the beauty of fall.
This is a season when I scheme for excuses to head outside with camera in hand to take advantage of so many photo opportunities. I love to photograph in early morning or evening because the quality of light is gentle and poetic. Each photographic moment reflects a unique set of fluctuating elements: composition, subject, light, timing and colour. Colour (or lack of) can be a dynamic visual element and it has always had the power to grab my attention. In the fall, colour naturally becomes the subject of the image. It changes everything, even our mood. I find everyday sights — even mundane urban landscape — become transformed because of the shifting light and new palette of vivid seasonal hues.
Fall’s beauty has historically been a powerful source of inspiration for visual artists. The works of Tom Thomson and his friends who formed the Group of Seven — including Thomson’s Autumn Tapestry: Tangled Trees (fall, 1914) at the National Gallery in Ottawa and Franklin Carmichael’s October Gold (1922) at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario — are eternal reminders of the importance of this season on our collective culture.
Perhaps it is because humans and trees share such a symbiotic relationship that we should celebrate their place in our world. Humans need the oxygen trees produce to create energy and we exhale the carbon dioxide that trees require to sustain their life cycle. No wonder I love nature and observing the seasons.
Ontario Parks: www.ontarioparks.com/fallcolour
Prince Edward Island: www.tourismpei.com/pei-fall-foliage
Vancouver and BC: www.tourismvancouver.com/do/explore/fall-colours/