There’s nothing better than a hike in the wood during the winter, especially when there is a decent snow cover, good sunlight and blue skies. The prior week saw fresh dumping of the white stuff on the ground, which resulted in several days worth of awesome photographic opportunities. And while I took out my new digital camera more than a film camera (because new gear). But Saturday provided Heather and me a chance to head out to one of our favourite parks. And I’m not talking about Niagara Falls, but rather Hilton Falls. One of the many parks around Milton that provides an escape from urban into nature.
In 1830 Henry Young gained title to Lot 8, rather than develop the area himself. He permitted Edward Hilton to construct a sawmill in 1835 on a Lot where a creek plunged over the Escarpment, providing ample water power for the Hilton Saw Mill. The Hilton name not only attached itself to the mill but also the small waterfall. Edward caught up in revolutionary fervour and a strong supporter of the Radical Reformers under William Lyon MacKenzie tossed his lot in with the rebellion. While Hilton’s role in the 1837-8 Upper Canada Rebellion is unknown, he managed to survive rebellion choosing to flee to the United States abandoning his mill in the process. George Park acquired the land in 1856, building a second mill on the site. The second mill was far larger than the first with a water wheel measuring twelve meters in diameter; it did not last long burning down in 1860. John Roberts built the third and final mill at the falls in 1863, operating it until 1867. The remains of Robert’s Mill are what can still be seen today sitting next to Hilton Falls. The area remained in private hands for the next century. In 1963, two smaller Conservation Authorities merged to form the Halton Region Conservation Authority, and one of their first major purchases was the 200 acre Hilton Falls area. While the mills were long gone, Hilton Falls quickly became a popular hiking destination with the massive trail network allowing mountain biking and cross country skiing.
You can only shoot trees and trails so often before you get bored and supply a decent amount of images for a post. Thankfully I’ve been averaging about twenty keepers per roll, which still presents the issue of choosing seven. At least this week, a lot are trees, snow, and trails. But having Heather along on the hike offered up some people to include in the images, and she was more than happy to pose for the camera. And while there were several with her smiling face, the first choice was the one of her walking slightly ahead of me further into the woods on the second half of the trail. Given current restrictions and the snow, I didn’t get a chance to walk down to the falls themselves but included the river that feeds the falls along with an angled up view of the stand of pine trees. Two other features I included are a line along the escarpment and the reservoir that is a key feature to Conservation Halton’s mission to help maintain flood control along the region’s waterways. And yes I included at least one picture of an empty snowy trailing heading into trees and the final choice an interesting rock formation.
Being on a hike with two cameras, I stuck to a single lens on the Nikon FM, my slow but perfectly capably 28mm f/3.5 lens. Despite being undercover much of the hike and the one-stop overexposure shooting the film at ASA-200 and pull developing. Despite these adjustments, I ended up getting apertures between f/8 and f/16 the entire time I was hoping for. Since I didn’t have much sky in the images, I didn’t have a filter on the lens, and I’m glad I didn’t because I feel it would have adversely affected the images. Plus having that wide-angle allowed for some decent environmental portraits of Heather. Having done several weeks with more exotic developers (RLS, Atomal, Acufine) using Kodak D-76 during the processing prove a nice change of pace and offered up good results and is a familiar combination and one of my favourites for Fomapan 400.
Next week we’re heading back to another historic downtown, that of Oakville, Ontario!