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  • Sydney Daniels

i'm falling again

The best season of the year has finally arrived, it's fall baby!

Hi friends, hope you've had an ok start to the term. I have been very fortunate to have had a lot of time to take some photos over these past few months and I have gathered them all here for you to get a glimpse of what fall looks like in Waterloo. I promised myself that I would be more committed to the blog this year so if I start slacking, yell at me (please). Also, I've started something new on my Instagram, we have wallpapers now! I wanted something else to use my photos for as well as a space to share them with you to actually use for yourself instead of just to look at. On my page, there is a story highlight called 'wallpapers' where I will post some of my favourites from recent shoots that you can save and use on your phone. I hope you like them. Aside from that, get cozy and enjoy the warm fall content.

Ecology project turned blog content

As much as I wish my own willpower and creativity were the things driving the urge to take more photos, it was actually to get a good grade in one of my courses. That being said, I am going all out on this assignment and I am so excited about it. For the duration of the fall term, I have to make 50 observations of plants and animals in the area and upload them to iNaturalist to be correctly identified. Being back in an unexplored town is very exciting for me since receiving this assignment. Not only is the concept itself entertaining and a great way to exercise my creativity, but it is also exposing me to new wildlife that I did not have access to back home. Waterloo has a surprising amount of biodiversity, especially for being a campus in a busy city. Thankfully, Laurel Creek is housing a lot of these creatures, but others are also just chilling in my backyard. With the help of a birdfeeder, I've spotted eight different bird species, which doesn't sound like a lot but most of them I rarely saw in Whitby. Aside from that, the campus also has a lot of wildlife to offer. My favourite from this collection has to be the red-tailed hawk. I've said in the past that bird photography is very difficult because they are normally pretty far away from the camera and they are almost always moving. This hawk, however, was different. While heading to a campfire, this gorgeous specimen flew to a light post right above our heads and just sat there. I was losing my mind, I have never been so close to one before with my camera on me, it was a huge photography win for me.

Tropicals year-round

Taking a break from the classic firey-coloured fall atmosphere, I spent a weekend in Toronto at the beginning of September. My friend, who knows me so well, took me to Allen Gardens which was basically therapy for me. If you've never been and you have time to kill downtown, you have to go visit. It is a 5-6 greenhouse setup with different environments in each one and it is absolutely stunning. There are classic tropical plants that are full-grown trees here. One section had a small water feature with some red-eared sliders chilling in the water, right next to the biggest golden pothos I have ever seen. The size of these tropical plants was astonishing because I figured if I ever saw them at this size it would be somewhere in South America, little did I know they were tucked away in this greenhouse in Toronto. Another section had both beautiful plants and architecture, this was the banana house. Under a tall, rounded glass roof, lived several massive tree-like plants including bananas and a bird of paradise. This section also had a massive monstera deliciosa which was actually fruiting. It was so picturesque, I could've stayed there the entire weekend. The last section was also very cool but dangerous: the cactus house. Along a long path lived gigantic cacti and lush, spiky aloe plants. It was so impressive, especially because it takes these plants many, many years to reach this size. There was a euphorbia tree that was practically touching the ceiling. Seeing these plants grow to a full, established plant to then thinking back to the miniature versions I worked with over the summer, it's crazy the potential these plants have when given the right conditions. A new life goal of mine; get a greenhouse attached to my actual home so I can watch my plants flourish.

Falling Hard

Part of why I love my program is because I get to take cool classes which let me go outside and take pictures for school. As part of a lab, we had to sit at three different locations on campus for 20 minutes each and record every species that passes by within that timeframe. Call me crazy but I thoroughly enjoyed the lab, I get to go sit outside for an hour and take pictures and I get marks for it. Win-win. Since this was later in the fall, the number of organisms we saw was not astounding but we did see a few critters and some gorgeous trees. I am slightly upset that it took me this long to get fall photos while most of the trees have lost a large sum of leaves, but I made it just in time to still see some colour. Even though these trees are going dormant, there is still a lot of life left in them for this season, the same goes for the ecosystem around them. For this lab, I knew I had to get photos that made the species of tree, plant, or bird easily identifiable, but the photographer side of me wanted cooler, funkier shots so I did take some artistic liberties in that department. I couldn't not take that opportunity, I wanted to have fun and be creative and provide my group with some cool photos and I think I delivered, prof really liked the goose one. The purpose of this lab was to observe how different land management strategies influenced biodiversity, but apart from that we also got to practice patience and observational skills. As boring as it might be to stare at a tree or grass for 20 minutes, it's important to keep looking because there were organisms hiding in plain sight like the spider tucked away in the mallows or the lichen covering the maple tree. Hibernation has not begun yet, go outside before everyone goes to sleep or to Florida.

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