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Fall Season in Black and White

I have a collection of beautiful, colour images that date back 30 years. Admittedly, the best have been created more recently. This year, as the colour initially eked its way into the groves of trees here in Cochrane, I started thinking about the scenes of colour that I wanted to capture. As I looked about I realised that most of what I was seeing I had good images of the same place in my photo catalogue. I started puzzling over what I might do different this Fall.

One of my rules when photographing in the landscape is, once I’ve captured a scene to my satisfaction i pause, turn around and look the other way. Most times there is nothing of interest, photographically, but about 20% of the time there is—sometimes even better than the original scene I was working on. Using that analogy I thought, why not turn my back on the colour of the season and photograph Fall in black and white?

Initially, the idea excited me, so, camera in hand, out I went to meet the challenge. Well, challenging it was. Day after day I tried, but nothing was clicking. (Whoops, a pun slipped in there.) When I realised that I needed to start thinking of form and lines, and uniquely Fall scenes, good things started happening.

Presenting some of what I came up with means this will be more a photo ‘essay’ rather than an essay of prose. There aren’t many images in what follows, but these are the images I made that I enjoy the most.


Canola harvesting is done in the early Fall, usually in September. About a month before I took these photos of a cut and harvested canola field, it was coloured a striking yellow. The weather around Cochrane this year was good for canola, so I imagine the yield was good.

This pair of images is an example of what I mentioned about turning around and looking behind. The image above was my interest. I searched for the combination of curves and background and found what I was after. I was there for about half and hour, moving a bit one way and the other to get the composition I wanted. I finished, but as I picked up my tripod and camera to leave I did my about-face thing and was presented with what you see below. While I was working on the first image the sky had reformed and the white clouds were mirroring the canola rows below. The scene begged to be recorded. I think it is a more striking image than the one above on which I spent much time composing.

Next is a photo of pending work in my backyard. The trees are lovely in the summer, but they seem to have an unending supply of leaves for me to gather in the Fall.

Continuing to look for change related to Fall, I noticed that our men’s walking group looks different this week. It was only a few weeks ago when some had short pants while many had on short sleeve shirts.

This week the thick jackets and gloves have appeared. The end of Fall is in the air and we know winter boots will have to come out of the closet in the not too distant future.

There is another change with our men’s group as the Winter approaches. In the summer and early Fall, when we come to the end of our walk for the day, we gather in a circle with our lawn chairs to have our craic and put the world to rights. Once the temperature dips that gathering moves to one of the local cafes. On this morning the temperature at our house was -5°C, so the lawn chairs were put away until next year.

The birds are gone from our backyard. The last group was here about a week ago. They were young robins. The last robin fledglings of the year.

In the Fall, the only things to drop into our bird path are the leaves from the nearby catoneaster or blown in from the from our beautiful, red bark, Amur Cherry tree.

For me, these last blossoms on our little rose bush were an amazing story. As the Fall season is underway in Cochrane, our rose bush usually decides it’s time to get to bed for the winter. However, this year, two rose buds appeared in the middle of September and by October 1st they came into full bloom. They’ve even withstood a couple -2°C frosts while sticking up in a garden covered with leaves from all the other nearby plants. I have no idea why they were so tough this year, but happy they provided a bit of new life as so much else has shut down.

The Big Hill Creek at peace in the Fall as it meanders through Cochrane.

These two young fawns were good looking, healthy animals. Mom was close by keeping an eye on a walker with his dog. It is common to come across young fawns in the Fall around Cochrane.

That’s it for this Fall. What a challenging photography project. Still, it was fun and pushed my creativity. I’m pleased with what I have to show, but, as usual, I think I need to do better.


I can’t let the season finish without one showing of colour. I’ll close with this scene.

The Big Hill Creek at peace in the Fall as it meanders through Cochrane.

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