Grand Falls on the Mississippi River in Almonte Ontario

Grand Falls along the Mississippi River in Almonte, Ontario, Canada.

grand falls on the mississippi river in almonte ontario

Grand Falls on the Mississippi River in Almonte, Ontario (Purchase)

The town of Almonte, Ontario is located southwest of Ottawa and has some interesting locations to photograph. Unlike much of British Columbia, the cities in Ontario have a long history, and those such as Almonte seem to have done a better job of preserving historic buildings and locations. I had never heard of Almonte before visiting last fall, but it had been in the news recently as Dr. James Naismith (inventor of Basketball) was born there, and the Ontario based Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship. Much like Hogs Back Falls in Ottawa, Grand Falls along the Mississippi River in Almonte is right in the city. The first photograph here shows Grand Falls from the Almonte Street Bridge next to the old Almonte Electric Plant (1925) building which is currently home to the Mississippi River Power Corporation. The “waterfall” on the left is actually water that has gone through the power station.

mississippi river in almonte ontario fall leaves

Fall Foliage and the Mississippi River in Almonte (Purchase)

This second photograph shows the Mississippi River below Grand Falls and just downstream from the Almonte Street Bridge. While I find it is more difficult to make a pleasing image when facing downstream in most cases, here I liked the mix of the low water flow, colours, and fall foliage along the river.

mississippi river at almonte electric plant in ontario

Mississippi River in Almonte, Ontario (Purchase)

This is the view just above the old power station building and shows the Mississippi River and Grand Falls from the side. I would think this is likely a much lower water flow than one would see in spring. I’ve seen other photographs of the falls with a lot higher water levels. In many ways, I find waterfalls are better photographed with lower flows – they often show more character.

fall foliage and waterfall in almonte ontario

Waterfall along the Mississippi River (below Grand Falls) in Almonte (Purchase)

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I photographed this small waterfall from across the Mississippi River. The waterfall is actually just downstream from the second river photo above. The red maple tree on the right hand side of the top photo is the same one as you see on the right of the waterfall above.

For more photographs of Ontario you can visit my Ontario Gallery.

Hogs Back Falls on Ottawa’s Rideau River

Hog’s Back Falls, the Rideau River and the Hog’s Back Bridge in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Photographed from Hog’s Back Park.

hogs back falls ottawa rideau river

Hogs Back Falls from Ottawa’s Hogs Back Park (Purchase)

During my trip to Ontario and Québec I visited a waterfall in Ottawa, along the Rideau River, called Hogs Back Falls (or Prince of Wales Falls, officially). Hogs Back Falls are not actually a natural waterfall, and are the result of construction of a waste water channel during the building of the Rideau Canal. Originally this section of the river was a 2000 meter long rapids, some of which is still visible below Hogs Back Falls.

fall foliage above hogs back falls ottawa rideau river

Hog’s Back Falls and Hog’s Back Bridge in Ottawa (Purchase)

The first two photographs here are from the first viewpoint we found in Hogs Back Park. It has a nice view up the Rideau River and looks directly towards Hogs Back Falls. I made this initial composition to try to portray what a visitor would see here. I often start with a “big picture” photograph of an area and then try to work on more detailed compositions of individual elements that make a scene interesting. At this viewpoint we noticed a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) hunting for prey next to a small waterfall below. Another photographer at that spot offered me the use of his 100-400 lens. I declined, but he insisted, so I put the lens on and made a few photographs which did not turn out. This lens was interesting to try, but I also knew this was the wrong angle to photograph the Heron and I could probably do pretty well at a better spot. The 100-400 is a nice lens, and there are times when I’d want to use one, but not enough to buy one. Rather expensive for the amount of use I would get out of it and also quite heavy and large for my already near capacity camera bag (and back). If I was a serious wildlife photographer I’d likely own one already, but until that happens I’ll stick with my 70-200 and the 1.4x extender that I usually have attached (since I moved to a full frame camera).

fall foliage above hogs back falls ottawa rideau river

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) fishing in the Rideau River (Purchase)

After I changed locations to a spot closer to the bridge, I was able to view and photograph the heron much easier than at the first viewpoint. The photograph above is the result. A number of people have picked it as their favourite out of my “top 10” favourite images from 2018 post. I like Herons. Not only do they “pose” nicely and sit still quite often which makes a photograph easier, they seem to have an air of elegance or something about them. Except when they don’t. Years ago I photographed one strutting around near the Capilano Fish Hatchery in North Vancouver (Great Blue Heron at Capilano River). I still quite like that photograph, but I most remember that heron as appearing young and inexperience by trying to eat some discarded gills (from the hatchery) that were laying about. It seems gills are quite rough and hard to swallow, as the heron appeared to choke for about 10 minutes before expectorating the gills back up onto the rocks. I chalked this up to an inexperience Heron, but perhaps they just aren’t that bright?

fall foliage above hogs back falls ottawa rideau river

A Great Blue Heron bites off more than it can chew

The Heron at Hogs Back Falls also had an embarrassing moment in public. At one point it snagged what looked like a Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and then tried to swallow it whole, as Herons do. It appears that no matter how willing the Heron, its esophagus was not up to the diameter required for the task, After several inelegant minutes attempting to choke down this Bass, it too was spit back onto the rocks, only to fall into the river. The Heron then returned to fishing for something a bit more manageable. After photographing the Heron we worked our way over the Hogs Back Bridge and photographed the Rideau River and many smaller water falls on the rocks below.

fall foliage above hogs back falls ottawa rideau river

Fall Foliage above the Rideau River and Hogs Back Falls in Ottawa (Purchase)

For more photographs from the Ottawa area visit my Ontario Gallery.

Dunlop Falls on Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park

Dunlop Falls on Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park, Québec, Canada.

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Dunlop Falls in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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    There are a few nice waterfalls in Québec’s Gatineau Park and Dunlop Falls is probably the easiest to access. After just a short walk up from the parking lot the trail heads along Fortune Creek (Ruisseau Fortune in French) which leads you up to the main falls. Fortune Creek has a few nice scenic spots itself even before you reach the falls, such as this stretch where a bridge on the Dunlop Trail crosses the creek. You can just see Dunlop Falls through the trees above the bridge in the photo below.

fortune creek in gatineau park

Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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    After just a few minutes we reached Dunlop Falls itself. As can often be the case in popular locations such as this, I had to wait for a while for another photographer to clear the bridge above the falls. After maybe 5 minutes they were satisfied and moved on, which had given me time to work out a composition I liked. While the fall foliage here was not spectacular, there is a bit of colour, and the fallen leaves covering the rocks do convey an autumn feel even without a lot of colourful leaves in the trees. I made a few different compositions from that location before heading up the brief, steep, climb to the bridge above the falls.

dunlop falls in gatineau park

Fall at Dunlop Falls in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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    The best view of these falls is from just below the bridge, but there is a view looking upstream along Fortune Creek as well, though that area is probably better to photograph with more water in the river. After photographing from the bridge briefly, we headed down the other side of the river to go back to the parking lot.

    Before visiting here I looked at a lot of park maps and tried to get a good handle on what points of interest were around. This last photograph shows a bit of a surprise. The creek here on is on the map, but is not named, and there is no indication of the waterfall itself either in the maps. After my trip I went through about every topographical map I could find in the hopes of discovering the name of the creek and or the falls. I came up with nothing. In a last ditch effort to name these I phoned the Gatineau Park Visitors Center. They were well aware of this waterfall and the creek, but indicated they had no names for them. So I decided that I’d just name it anyway, and chose “Fortune Falls” as Camp Fortune is nearby and the Fortune Parkway is just above the falls in this last photograph.

fortune falls in gatineau park

Fortune Falls in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

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   Photographing this spot was a bit of a challenge. As with many nature scenes, there is a lot of chaos, with branches and twigs sticking out of the water and all over the bank. A nice, neat, composition was not really going to be had here. Other than the waterfall itself, the yellow/gold reflection in the water attracted me to this scene. The difficult part was including the brightly lit foliage above (along the Fortune Parkway) that was providing the color in order to give the reflection some context. Without it one might be tempted to ask why the water there is yellow and the rest of the scene is not. There was bright sunshine on much of this foliage, however, so I included just a bit of it for context. Hopefully the image above and the other shot of Fortune Falls in my image library convey where the coloration is coming from!

For more photographs from this area visit my Gatineau Park gallery in my Image Library.

Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park

A Summer evening at Lower Falls on Gold Creek at Golden Ears Provincial Park, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

lower falls on golden creek in golden ears park

Summer Evening at Lower Falls in Golden Ears Park (Purchase)

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   A few years ago I photographed Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park during a period in June where there was relatively little water flow over the falls. I really like that photo but since then I’ve wished I had a photo of Lower Falls with higher water levels. During the winter and at the height of spring runoff – the water flowing over the falls consumes almost the whole width of the area. This can be quite a raging torrent, and the spray the wind may blow in your face can make both viewing and photography difficult. This year I thought that the amount of rain and the snowpack we had would sustain a higher flow than I’d photographed back in 2015, and I was correct. The photo above shows a more typical view of Lower Falls than that older photo.

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Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   June is also my preferred time of year to photograph Lower Falls as the kids are still in school, the heat of summer isn’t yet here, and camping season hasn’t reached its peak. I’ve been to this falls on a hot summer evening and it would be nearly impossible to photograph as the place is covered in people. In June most are smart enough to not venture into the pools above the waterfall (people dying or being injured here has happened way too often) as the water flow is still quite high. Later on, however, the amount of swimmers makes any photography nearly impossible – so I’d recommend early – mid June as the perfect time for photographing these falls. If you get your timing right, you can also photograph some Streambank Arnica near the falls as well!

   I talked to someone from Toronto while I was photographing Lower Falls. His friend, and I don’t know what would possess someone to do this, hopped across the boulders downstream and wound up on the opposite side of the river from the falls. When he emerged from the forest he slipped and fell. I thought he was going to slide into the water, but he caught himself before he did, though his phone was not so lucky. The photo below shows where he slid, and the eventual path of his phone into the water. It did land in a fairly shallow part of the creek, however, so he spent about 10 minutes trying to determine how to climb down and retrieve it. This all seemed to me like I was about to watch someone die so I pointed out to his friend who had stayed on the viewing platform side of the river that many people have died in this spot when the current was more than they could handle. Despite a few calls to leave the phone, the guy jumped into the water near his phone (after taking off his shoes and socks) and retrieved it. The jump looked bad enough – but I had no idea how he was going to get back out! When I left he was still contemplating this, and had tried several routes out of there that had not been successful. I decided to leave. There was nothing I could do to help, and I didn’t want to watch anymore. As there were no stories in the news the next day I presume he found a route out and hopefully without injury. His phone was unlikely to be as lucky, as it was submerged for a good 10 minutes.

lower falls on golden creek in golden ears park

Lower Falls in Golden Ears Park

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   I have to say that while photographing these falls I made a number of mistakes I wouldn’t normally make, and the cell phone guy distraction is the excuse I’ll use this time. I did encounter some blowing mist/spray that was problematic. It was nice to know I had a weather sealed camera and lens, though I don’t get them wet on purpose and still wipe them down as much as possible. While talking to the fellow from Toronto and watching his friend risk his life for his phone… I failed to wipe as much spray off my front lens as I should have. Unfortunately this meant that a number of compositions were not usable which was entirely preventable. The photo above does have some spray effects you can see in the trees along the top, but most were much worse. I would normally consider that photograph non publishable but it did show the area where he fell better than other images. I may go back and try my luck here in a few weeks. Even if there are too many swimmers in the water – it is a great, short hike through a scenic area – and that is always worth it.

More photos from this park can be found in my Golden Ears Provincial Park Gallery.

Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park in Chilliwack BC

Bridal Veil Falls at Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

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View of Bridal Veil Falls (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I went back to Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park (in the Popkum area of Chilliwack, BC) for the first time in many years. I had last visited the falls in 2011 and it was time to go back and see how things had changed and make a few new photographs. Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park is one of those spots I avoid all summer as it is often very busy with tourists as many tour buses stop there. I prefer to walk/hike/photograph without crowds so my last trip there in mid September was good timing as there were only two cars there when I arrived. I always laugh a bit at the sign on the way up there that suggests the “hike” to the top takes about 15 minutes when 5 minutes is more accurate. I guess it depends on your fitness level, but I don’t exactly run up that hill. I was also wondering if there would be enough water in the falls to get a good photograph as we’d had many months of almost no precipitation this summer. It turned out the water level was just about perfect.

waterfall on bridal creek in bridal veil falls provincial park

Small Waterfall on Bridal Creek (Purchase)

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   There are several small waterfalls on Bridal Creek just downstream from Bridal Veil Falls – and this one (second photo, above) was my favourite with lots of foliage around it to make it interesting. The breeze was quite strong at this point and you can see the trees and shrubs in the forest were blowing around while I made this photo.

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Small Waterfalls and Bridal Veil Falls (Purchase)

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   Just downstream from the main falls there is a rocky area with lots of fallen trees. I wanted to get a photo from this spot as the creek flows through this area in a random sort of way with small falls forming over tree trunks, rocks, and other temporary topography. Downstream from this point Bridal Creek does form back into a more organized creek before heading down towards the parking lot.

You can view more of my photographs of the falls and Bridal Creek in my Bridal Falls Provincial Park Gallery.

A Summer Evening at Steelhead Falls

Salmonberries and Ferns surround Steelhead Falls at the Hayward Lake Recreational Area in Mission, British Columbia, Canada

steelhead falls in missions hayward lake recreation area

Steelhead Falls on a Summer Evening (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I returned to Steelhead Falls in Mission’s Hayward Lake Recreational Area to make some photographs. The first time I photographed Steelhead Falls was an overcast day in late spring – quite different conditions than I found on this sunny day in mid August. To get to the falls you must first find the parking lot at the top of the hill (just to the east of the Stave Lake Dam). From there the falls can be found after a short hike along the Reservoir Trail heading south. There is a short trail down to the viewing platform and the falls after you cross the bridge over Steelhead Creek – which is the second creek you’ll cross.

   This first photograph here is the main view of the falls you see from the viewing platform. You can see some direct sunlight in the upper right corner. I usually photograph waterfalls on an overcast day as direct sunlight can be pretty difficult to deal with. An alternative to this is waiting until the sun starts to set and the direct sunlight is no longer falling on the falls. The effectiveness of this will depend on the location. This worked out quite well at Steelhead Falls though I had to wait until those spots of sunlight made their way up the hill and were no longer shining on the water.

upper steelhead falls in missions hayward lake recreation area

Upper Half of Steelhead Falls (Purchase)

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   You can see quite a difference between my photographs of Steelhead Falls a few years ago and these ones even though some of the locations and compositions are similar. The overcast days tend to lead to more saturated colors while the conditions I had a few weeks ago cast a warmer glow over everything – and I quite like that effect (best seen in the last three photographs here). You may also see a bit of a difference in the amount of foliage around some of the spots I photographed. It seems in the few years since I was last there Steelhead Falls has become a bit of an Instagram place to be seen and has attracted a lot of people who could learn a bit about “leave no trace”. “The shot” people are after seems to be from the bottom of the falls, so there is a “trail” down there now and a lot of the foliage (mostly Salmonberry and various fern species) are trampled or have died. When I was there clearly someone had used a machete or something similar to hack a trail along the edge of the creek towards an upstream area. The area isn’t totally defoliated like I’ve seen at some sites, but if the popularity here remains, I’m sure that will be the eventual outcome.

steelhead falls in missions hayward lake recreation area

Uppermost Falls at Steelhead Falls on Steelhead Creek (Purchase)

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   This last photograph shows the very top of Steelhead Falls that you can’t see from the angle of the viewing platform. There are a lot of different tiers to this series of falls and together they make a good photography subject as there is no shortage of composition possibilities. Trampling foliage off the trail to get the Instagram shot from the bottom of the falls just isn’t necessary.

steelhead falls in missions hayward lake recreation area

Upper Half of Steelhead Falls (Purchase)

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For more photographs of this location visit my Waterfall Gallery.

Whatcom Falls Fall Foliage Colors

Whatcom Falls in Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham, Washington State, USA

whatcom falls at whatcom falls park in bellingham washington usa

Fall Foliage at Whatcom Falls (Purchase)

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 Whatcom Falls park in Bellingham is one of the few US based places I remember going to as a kid from British Columbia. I remember going down and spending the afternoon fishing and having lunch or dinner on one of the park benches. When I visited it again probably 20 years later I remembered the name, but not the waterfalls or what I was about to find to photograph. I made this image way back in 2009, but it remains one of my favourites of the main falls in Whatcom Falls Park. I occasionally “complain” about the fall foliage colours in this part of the world, but it looks like 2009 was a great year! Most of the fall foliage we get around here are from the Bigleaf Maple trees (Acer macrophyllum), or sometimes from the smaller Vine Maples (Acer circinatum). When they get the right conditions they can really give some great colors. The above photograph is the view at Whatcom Falls park of the main waterfall from the Limestone Bridge that crosses Whatcom Creek. Most of the fall foliage colours in this first photograph are from Bigleaf Maple trees.

whatcom falls at whatcom falls park in bellingham washington usa

Fall Foliage along Whatcom Creek (Purchase)

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 This second photograph is the view looking downstream on the other side of that same Limestone Bridge. There are a few larger Bigleaf Maple leaves in this photo but most of the colour here comes from the smaller leaved Vine Maples.

For my other photographs of Whatcom Falls Park please visit my Washington State Misc. Photos Gallery in my Image Library.

Lower Falls Trail in Golden Ears Provincial Park

I have a batch of newer images from this location in this post: Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park.

Lower Falls and the emerald pools of Gold Creek at Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

lower falls and emerald pools of gold creek in golden ears provincial park

Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   One of the easier hikes to do in Golden Ears Provincial Park is the Lower Falls Trail (map) along Gold Creek. The trailhead is easy to find at the northwest end of the parking lot (the grey spot just after the Gold Creek Bridge on the map linked earlier). This hike is only 5.5km (round trip) and has minimal elevation change which makes it much more accessible than some of the other trails in Golden Ears Park. The trail has also been upgraded in recent years, so much of it is crushed gravel. Personally I dislike walking on crushed gravel and prefer a natural trail even with tree roots, slugs and the occasional puddle. I guess the resurfacing does have some benefit in initial parts of the trail that were often filled with puddles and mud in the spring and fall, but I would have preferred they left the rest as is. I have previously hiked to Alder Flats on a number of occasions, and while that is a nice hike, it doesn’t have the scenery one gets to enjoy along the much easier Lower Falls Trail.

   After walking about 1km up the trail from the parking lot I came to the first spot where I stopped for photography. There are many small side trails down to the creek along the entire Lower Falls Trail (be sure to follow those instead of making your own). My first stop was only about 5 meters from the trail and showed a nice summer view of Gold Creek. This looks to be a good spot to stop during fall foliage colors as well.

   My next stop was probably the most famous spot along the Lower Falls Trail – the viewpoint where one can see Gold Creek and parts of Mount Blandshard. Just before this viewpoint you’ll see a number of side trails to a beach which is a great spot to stop and eat lunch or just relax.

lower falls and gold creek with a flowering streambank arnica

Lower Falls and Streambank Arnica (Purchase)

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   After a 10-15 minute walk from the viewpoint I arrived at my ultimate destination: Lower Falls itself. The water levels shown here are probably more typical in late August, but were this low in late June due to our lack of winter snowpack in the mountains and a drought this spring/summer. In normal years this waterfall will be a raging torrent in fall, winter and spring – and can be quite dangerous. I was able to get up on a rock and photograph Lower Falls from a nice vantage point but only due to the lower water levels and lack of strong currents (and depth) in the water below. In far too many of the past years people have fallen into the water at various points in Gold Creek and died as a result.

   Many of the cracks in the rocks near Lower Falls had Streambank Arnica (Arnica amplexicaulis) growing in them. I was lucky that one of the Arnica plants was in a good position to include in the above composition along with the waterfall. On my way back to the main viewing platform I photographed one of the other Streambank Arnica plants growing in a crack in one of the boulders beneath the falls.

streambank arnica growing out of rocks near lower falls

Streambank Arnica (Arnica amplexicaulis) flowering next to Lower Falls (Purchase)

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For more of my photographs from the Golden Ears area visit my Golden Ears Provincial Park Gallery.