Autumn foliage from the sky

Along the St-Maurice valley

Along the St-Maurice valley

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Saturday October 5th, my girlfriend and I flew with two colleagues of mine who are also pilots. We rented a four-seater single engine Cessna 172 for a day trip by air. I wanted to capture the colors of autumn foliage from the sky and to offer my girlfriend a day trip that’s a little unusual.

We departed just after 9.00 from St-Hubert (CYHU) airport on Montreal’s South Shore. We caught up with the St-Maurice river valley just North of Shawinigan and follow the river’s course to La Tuque. This part was really colorful and breathtaking. From La Tuque, we crossed some vast expanses of uninhabited forested hills with hundreds of interspersed lakes as far as the eye can see. We were aiming for the Isle-aux-grues airport (CSH2).

Isle-aux-grues is actually a small archipelago in the middle of the St-Lawrence river located upstream of the Ile-aux-coudres but downstream of the Ile d’Orléans. Isle-aux-grues marks the beginning of the Charlevoix region East of Quebec City. We landed there but could not find any bikes which are usually available for people coming by air to tour the main island. We still walked from the airport to the Bateau Ivre, a shipwreck which houses a bar and restaurant. We also stopped at a cheese producing farm to buy some local products.

After a few hours spent on the island, we took off to come back to St-Hubert by following more or less the routing of Highway 20, which connects Quebec City to Montreal on the South Shore.

The fall weather was pretty much perfect, which makes for a great trip. The high point is definitely the St-Maurice valley but there are shapes and textures, whether natural or man-made, to photograph everywhere.

All pictures are shot from the left-hand side rear seat but I shot through all windows except the front windshield and the back window. One of the difficulties of shooting through windows is to control reflections. I tried to shoot at speeds around 1/1000s to minimize motion blur. For pictures which include sky and land, I did use HDR from a single RAW file.

Equipment: Canon DSLR 5D Mk II, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS lens, RAW conversion using Lightroom 4.1

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