North River from the Cabot Trail, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Photography does present some challenges. My wife and I drove to Cape Breton last week to see the fall colours and hike in the woods in that most glorious part of our fair Province. Cape Breton’s hills and hardwood forests, and wonderful, clear streams, abounding with trout and holding still a few salmon, are great at any time of year, but in the fall, the foliage makes the place come alive with colour.
The tourist season is at its tail end, kind of a shame as folks don’t know what they’re missing, and the hotel we stayed in closed the day we left. That made for a bit of a challenge finding meals, as many of the restaurants had also closed, but that just added to the fun as we tried other spots than our normal travels to Norma’s former home area.
The real challenge came this time with the weather. We hiked in to Uisge Ban Falls – after a rain storm. This meant the falls were full and running well – but also meant the footing was treacherous with wet leaves and stones. We toured the Highland Museum in Iona, but there it was so windy and cold the peat fire in the “early house” (a replica of a crofter’s hut from Barra, Scotland) was actually welcome – although one young visitor declared it “stinky”.
The real challenge though, was that the rain and cold weather made the foliage images I was after quite tough. With no sun the entire 4 days we were there, the images didn’t have the light I would have liked, but the softness of the gray skies did lend a moodiness to the scenes. The folige was at its peak, so it all worked out in the end – although we could have done without the snow on top of the Highlands Park that we experienced as we went around the Cabot Trail!
In any case, fall is a wonderful time to get out and make some images. It is up to the photographer to choose what it is about any given subject they are trying to show. For me, it’s the beauty before the harshness of winter sets in – and the beauty then becomes the whiteness of snow, ice and how we all cope with winter!