Photo of the day: Autumn tableau

by DaniGirl on October 9, 2015 · 0 comments

in Photo of the Day

I picked up these sunflowers for my porch portraits earlier this week, and when I was cleaning up afterward I started playing with the placement of the sunflowers, a couple of pumpkins I also picked up for for porch decorations, and my little vintage step ladder. There’s nothing more fun than having a few minutes to play and work a scene.

Autumn tableau :)

It’s a lovely little Thanksgiving still life, isn’t it? I’m very thankful for pretty colours and fresh vegetables and happy sunflowers!


Most of the time when people come to the porch for portraits, there are little monkeys that I have to chase, cajole, and wrangle. You can imagine how lovely it was, then, to work with this pretty lady on some headshots for her website. Not once did I have to wipe her nose, make a raspberry noise to get her attention, or ask her who has the stinkiest feet in her family to make her laugh – but I did haul out one of my stinkier knock-knock jokes, because the session just felt incomplete without it.

headshots on the porch-2

The funny thing about the photo above, which is my favourite of the day, is the brick wall. When we were talking about the look she wanted to achieve, she’d said how much she liked the feel of the porch from my portfolio photos, and we joked that what she didn’t want was something “in front of some brick wall in retro black and white.” Well, it IS in colour, a least! 😉

The vibe we were going for was cozy and comfortable – I think we nailed it here.

headshots on the porch-3

And sometimes it’s just nice to have a simple photo of a pretty lady.

headshots on the porch-1

It still surprises me sometimes that people actually pay me to come to the porch, hang out and chat for a while, share a few laughs, and let me take pictures of them. Is that not an awesome job or what? And let me tell you, when there are no toddlers in the picture, pardon the pun, it hardly even feels like work at all! :)

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It was such a lovely, lingering summer, wasn’t it? Not everyone loves a warm autumn, though, and just a week or so ago, I was looking at the trees and wondering if our fall foliage season would be a bust. Now that we’ve had a few cool nights, though, and a soaking rain or two, the trees are beginning to shine in their lovely autumn reds, oranges and yellows.

306:365 Autumn leafy goodness

Families love portraits taken against that warm, colourful fall backdrop, and I’m also a bit of a weather geek, so I’ve been collecting resources for tracking the fall colours across Ontario and Quebec. I thought I’d share them, in case anyone wants to chase the brilliant autumn foliage this long Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s five sites you might find useful, skewed to those who live around Ottawa in Ontario, Quebec and the nearby United States.

Autumn spiral

400Eleven Colour Progression Report
: This neat site shows the percentage colour change, predominant leaf colour and suggestions for best locations for viewing fall colours throughout Ontario, broken down by region.

537:1000 Shiny tree

Ontario Parks interactive fall colour map: Ontario Parks has put together a neat interactive map that shows the dominant colour in each provincial park, and then gives a text description below of the dominant colour, colour change percentage and best viewing locations. I like the fact that it also states when the information was most recently updated, so you know how recently the information was posted.


Quebec Original fall colour map: Tourism Quebec offers a similar if not simplified map of the colour progression across southern Quebec. It only provides an assessment of whether a region is early in the fall colour season, nearing peak, mid-peak or post-peak.

leafy bokeh

Gatineau Park Fall Rhapsody: For those of us in the capital region, the National Capital Commission is hosting a series of events (this is the last of three weekends) to celebrate autumn, including a list of the 12 best places in the park to enjoy the fall colours. (Some of you may also read this as 12 places to avoid this weekend!)

Autumn leaves

US Fall Foliage Prediction Map
: This is actually the tool that set me off looking for a Canadian equivalent. I sort of expected Parks Canada might have put together something similar. Those of us relatively near the northern border can play with the slider under the map to guesstimate our peak foliage viewing times. Hint: it’s RIGHT NOW! This map begs the question, though – do they even have fall foliage in Florida?

Leafy canopy

If I were to road trip to chase the fall colours this year, Maine, Vermont and the Eastern Townships would be at the top of my list, but there’s no shortage of beautiful spots right here in Ottawa for a lovely autumnal hike after a big turkey dinner! Five years (!) ago, I wrote this post about lovely places to take fall photos in Ottawa.

I’ve shared my secrets, now you share yours! For those of us who will be actively avoiding those 12 best spots to view fall colours, where ELSE should we go?


This photo was taken at the tail end of summer, but doesn’t it have a lovely fall feel to it? Perfect to celebrate the first day of autumn!

Portrait of a family walk

I had a great time working with this fun family on a portrait session in the park. They wanted a mix of candid action shots and informal posed photos, but wrangling a preschooler and a toddler who had their own ideas proved to be an adventure all on its own. When that happens, all you can do is roll with it – literally, in this case with my trusty wagon. Luckily, they had a great sense of humour and we all ended up having a fun play in the morning sunshine.

Aren’t they a beautiful family?


There’s no greater honour than a repeat customer. This fellow came to visit the porch last year when we was barely old enough to sit up on his own. A year later, he can sit up, walk, and run away like this every time he saw the photographer coming to pester him again!

unhappy baby

That may be one of my favourite outtakes ever!

Poor guy, we had to work hard to make him comfortable and find ways to pose him, because he did not want to be out of reach of his mom. Finally, we found ways to compromise.

Holding on to mom

Don’t you love those soulful brown eyes?

Ah toddlers, you make me work so much harder – and the results are always worth it!

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Oops! I accidentally saved this as draft and then wondered why it didn’t post!

Here’s my wee babies, all grown up on the first day of Grade 2, Grade 6 and Grade 8.

First day of school

Handsome devils, eh? They get that from their father. :)

So far, the year is off to a good start. Crazy to think that next year, I’ll have one in elementary school, one in middle school and one in (gasp!) high school!


Don’t just hang your photos: Make wallpaper out of them!

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When a colleague got in touch to have photos done with his husband and son this spring, I was a little bit anxious. Okay, that’s a fib. I was REALLY anxious. It wasn’t so much the photo session that worried me as it was what he planned to do with the photos that sent me […]

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Photo of the day: Jumping out of summer

7 September 2015 Photo of the Day

Sigh. I like autumn with it’s new faces and new schedules and new friends, but I’m always sad when summer ends. Happy end of summer, y’all!

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Photo(s) of the day: A walk at the Chapman Mills boardwalk

27 August 2015 Ah, me boys

The boardwalk at the Chapman Mills conservation area near Barrhaven has always been one of our favourite places for a wander on a summer day. I have dozens of photos of the boys on the boardwalk going back to when we had Katie and before Lucas was even in the picture, so to speak. When […]

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Photo of the day: Avocado toast

26 August 2015 Eating and thinking and thinking about eating

It always tickles me when the various streams in my life converge and diverge. A while ago, someone on Facebook made a passing mention of avocado toast. Specifically, avocado mashed with fresh lime juice and sea salt on toast. I’m pretty sure I drooled, and I can tell you for sure that I tried it […]

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