One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how much litter gets dropped by Canadians in their wild places; if you walk in almost any conservation area, you will find litter somewhere – the ubiquitous Tim Horton’s cups or some plastic snack wrapper or similar.

How hard is it to pack your litter out with you? Remember the adage: leave nothing but footprints.

The image attached to this preachy post is of Grindstone Falls (also known as Great Falls); you’ll see on the right a classic example of what I’m talking about – the bright green thing at about half height.

There is such beauty in these wild places – who on earth would want to balls them up by dropping rubbish?

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red, Tailed, Hawk

Being from England, the sight of any bird of prey larger than a kestrel is a rare treat (unless one is driving down the M40 where the magnificent Red Kite is making a come-back); we have a deplorable history of killing off anything much scarier than a pigeon.

Happily, Canada still has quite a lot of its more impressive wildlife more or less intact; a nice example is the Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), which is a fairly common sight, even in the urban areas – these chaps may even have benefited from the spread of humans.

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch, Butterfly

   To see Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus) is one of the treats of coming to North America; having been brought up in the UK on a diet of David Attenborough documentaries, the epic multi-generational migration made by this species has been in the back of my mind since my early years.

   Although Monarchs are a familiar sight to people here in Canada, they are still a spectacular creature in their modest way. Unsurprisingly, they are under threat from a range of directions, including loss of their favoured milkweed habitat and damage to their overwintering sites in Mexico.

Visiting Albion Falls in strong sunshine.

Waterfall, Cascade, Albion, Falls, Fall, Water

   Albion Falls is one of the more beautiful of the many waterfalls that cascade down the Niagara Escarpment in and around Hamilton.

    Rather than being sensible and waiting for good lighting, on this occasion I was there close to midday and had to deal with bright sunshine making the scene hideously contrasty (I also had to frame the shot carefully – there were a couple of young ladies in bikinis doing a photo-shoot and I didn’t think it good form to include them in the shot!).

   A variable density ND filter helped keep some of the light under control and allowed a long enough exposure to smooth the water out reasonably well; the final step was to combine two separate exposures into one HDR image, to cope with the worst of the contrast.

   Since the image is all tone and not much colour, a black and white conversion seemed to be in order.