Happy Valley Forest

Happy Valley – Woodland Forest Photo Project
King Township, Ontario – Spring 2016

Day View

For this project I photographed a hiking trail in Happy Valley during the Spring. The Photographs were taken one morning  a week for 10 weeks from early April to mid June. 



Area View 

Each set of photographs represent a location on the trail and the photographs that were taken on all of the 10 days at that location. The locations are of a general area and are not necessarily the exact same shooting location.

About the Project


I had been thinking about doing this project for sometime and during the Winter I tried a number of possibilities. The first experiment was to walk through this trail with my camera at hip height and take a photo every 50 paces. I tried this and it was interesting the first time but I knew I’d lose interest quickly with this much repetition. What I wanted was to establish the project so it would show the changes that take place during the Spring awakening of this woodland forest as well as keep me interested throughout. After several experiments I decided on a broad set of perimeters that would leave me with lots of decisions to make over the duration of the project.

I decided I would go out one day a week during the period between the end of Winter and the beginning of Summer and photograph the same trail in the mornings. I wasn’t really looking for the sunrise shots so I chose mid-mornings. I did think about doing the same shots each time but decided I would choose what to shoot on each trip as I expected that the changing conditions would bring forward different subjects to capture my interest. I did want to have some consistency but also I wanted to be free to photograph what seemed to standout on each outing and observe the changes during the season as well as the different opportunities the weather would present.


The first day out, most of the snow had gone from the woods and signs of early Spring were showing then as I got closer to the end of the trail it began to snow. A perfect day to photograph the transition from Winter to Spring. On Day 3 I was treated with a rainfall that brought the forest colours to life with more vibrancy then the previous days as well as seeing the raindrops on the plants bring a little sparkle to the images. On Day 1 image 13 there is a tree that had snapped off at the base and was hung up in another tree. I thought this was interesting and decided to take a shot of it on each trip to see what changes would take place around it and on Day 8 I had realised I had walked by the tree location and had missed it, so I returned and found it had fallen and now laid beside the path. Just beyond this fallen tree and passed the board walk another tree had fallen across the trail which shows in images 29 Day 9. Around Day 7 a remarkable change was taking place in the forest. The Spring migration of birds had made its way this far north and I was seeing a remarkable number of birds, one scarlet tanager and a eastern wood pee wee seemed to follow me through the woods but managed to stay far enough away that they were out of camera range. On this hike I chatted with a bird photographer who was trying to capture the migrating birds, he had a list of birds that he wanted to photograph. You’ll notice photographs, in many of the hikes, of trees shot from their base looking up. It was interesting to watch, in this way, as the leaves started to emerge and make dramatic changes in the lighting of the forest floor.

An unexpected side effect of my project was the people I met each morning, some came for their routine exercise, others came to enjoy the forest and had stories to tell about seeing deer and other animals on some of their treks and others came to walk their dogs.

Photo stats

Photographing dates, Shooting Time, Number taken, Number Shown here.

Day 1 – 2016-04-12 from 10:28 am to 12:11 pm  –  Photos taken 53 Photos shown 27
Day 2 – 2016-04-18 from 10:00 am to 11:50 am  –  Photos taken 67 Photos shown 28
Day 3 – 2016-04-26 from   9.35 am to 11:32 am  –  Photos taken 51 Photos shown 29
Day 4 – 2016-05-03 from   9:55 am to 12:29 pm  –  Photos taken 76 Photos shown 35
Day 5 – 2016-05-09 from 10:08 am to 12:26 pm  –  Photos taken 81 Photos shown 37
Day 6 – 2016-05-19 from 10:36 am to 12:40 pm  –  Photos taken 97 Photos shown 41
Day 7 – 2016 05-23 from 10:01 am to 12:40 pm  –  Photos taken 107 Photos shown 38
Day 8 – 2016-05-30 from 10:09 am to 12:28 pm  –  Photos taken 102 Photos shown 31
Day 9 – 2016-06-06 from 10:20 am to 12:53 pm  –  Photos taken 93 Photos shown 37
Day 10 – 2016-06-13 from 9:55 am to 11:37 am  –  Photos taken 93 Photos shown 34

Photographing Technique

All of the photographs were taken using a tripod. Most were taken at F14 to F22 and an ISO of 200 which resulted in slow shutter speeds around 1/2 a second or more. Most photos were taken with a 16mm to 45mm zoom lens. In a few instances I did use a fill-flash. While I tried to retain the integrity of each photograph I did edit each photograph in Adobe Lightroom, mostly to deal with the high contrast issues and green colour cast that is often prevalent in forest photography.