“Cozumel Shores”

“Cozumel Shores”

“The waves lapped lazily on tropical shores, 
warm and gentle breezes caressed the palms.
My very soul is refreshed by the peace of the day.”
– Ed Lehming

This image is in stark contrast to my recent Iceland series. I had not considered that I might be in the tropics mere months after my northern adventures. Both experiences have been incredibly refreshing, in completely different ways. The warm breezes and lush growth is so completely different from Iceland.

The similarity is that both places offered a slow pace. There was no urgency to be anywhere or do anything, which is a much-needed break from my busy work life. And both places offered experiences which I will hold in my memory forever.

While one felt nearly devoid of life, the other was bursting with life, colour,and diversity. The harsh and wind-swept lava mountains of the near arctic was replaced with palm trees and teaming ocean life.

I’ve been truly blessed in my ability to experience both places so close together in time that I can readily compare their virtues. What a fabulous world we live in!

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/320 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

 

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“End of Autumn?”

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” 
― Jim Bishop

I know, I’m a bit behind. This image was made on December 20th of last year. This image keeps popping up as I review my photos and I knew that I wanted to post it at some point soon. That time has now come.

This is actually an odd image in that the leaves are actually compressed by multiple snowfalls and thaws, three or four to my recollection, to the point in time when I made the image. The oak leaves, which dominate this scene hung onto the trees until early November this past autumn, which is odd as well.

The main reason I keep going back to this image is that most of my time spent on the trails is enjoying the scenery around me; the trees, the sky, the rolling hills, and such. Yet, I do spend even more time looking at the ground, as I navigate my way along trails, watching my step. Yet, I rarely consider the ground as a subject for my photos. I could actually create a whole series of interesting images documenting even a small section of the trail, since the composition changes so much over even a few meters.

The forest floor documents the surrounding forest so well. All the species of trees are proportionately represented here. In this case, it’s primarily red oak, with some sugar maple, and a smattering of poplar. There is also great variation in the colours of the leaves. Here the oak leaves vary from deep copper to pale yellow.

It’s like a painting made of leaves and I’m disappointed that I have not made more of these. They are so interesting and, if composed correctly, a very natural form of art.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/120 sec; f/1.8; ISO 40

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Simple Beauty”

“Beauty is subjective, yet there are times when even the simplest thing can bright joy to our lives.”
– Ed Lehming

One of the many reasons that I spend time outdoors hiking and making photos is the sheer joy of seeing something breathtaking in what many would consider mundane circumstances.

Many of the trails I’ve hiked, I have hiked hundreds of times and yet, almost every time, I see something new and wonderful. It may be a new flower where non has bloomed before, or a new sapling emerging from a decaying stump, or simply the way light catches the growth at a certain time of day or year.

It’s scenes like this, within a planted forest in transition, that make me stop and look deeper. Beneath the canopy of planted red pines, new growth emerges in the form of young red pines and beech trees. There are other shrubs emerging too but the bright green of the pine and the twinkling gold of the beech trees in the afternoon sunlight is almost magical to me and they stand out from the scene. It may be a simple composition, but it does what I intend, it captures the ‘feeling’ of this small patch of forest on a late December afternoon, through colours and texture. And for me, that is beautiful. I can almost feel the rough bark of the pines and hear the birds singing high in the branches above me.

As I have often said, it’s not always the grand vistas that amaze me, even more so, it’s the simple beauty right in front of me that most would pass by without a second glance.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/40 sec, f/3.2, ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Resolve”

“A rock may seem a sound foundation but deep, nourished, and interwoven roots will be longer lasting”
– Ed Lehming

This tree growing around a large boulder at the top of a hill got me really thinking, as I made this image a few weeks ago. It seems that the boulder would be a challenging place to grow. In fact, as I considered this image, I tried to think of the process that would create this oddity. Did the tree start growing here and the frost gradually pushed the boulder up? Or did the tree start growing in a small patch of soil on top of the boulder?

It also got me thinking of the notion of the rock being a solid and somewhat permanent object to use as an anchor, yet the rock is not connected to anything and that diminishes its ability to support the tree. I imagine a strong wind or more heaving from frost will loosen this perch over a few years, yet there is a conflict here. The roots, wrapped around the rock fasten it in place, preventing movement.

The real strength here is in the deep roots, spreading and anchoring the tree and rock. Based on the size and age of the tree, this seems to be working but it’s very strange and unique.

How often do we embark on projects, firm in our resolve that things are solid when, in our limited perspective, we are anchored on less than we think?

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 175 mm
1/50 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Stillness”

“There is something sacred about stillness. The world has not changed, outside our bounds, we just realize peace and tranquility are possible, if we make space for it.”
– Ed Lehming

This is what I’m often faced with, as I take time to hike the local forests. It’s not a grand vista, or a festival filled with brightly dressed people. The forest, in its simplest form, even at its gloomiest, still has pockets of beauty to share.

Here, bright orange beech leaves and the occasional stray oak leaf brightened the path in contrast to the dark December trees. A gentle snow drifted between the boughs and all the world was silent as I stood still on the trail, simply enjoying the peacefulness of the moment, my visible breath rising through the air around my face.

I love these times, where my senses are filled with the life of the forest. It’s what draws me here. You see, even in apparent stillness and calm, life in the forest goes on. Soon, small birds flit between branches, seeking seeds, squirrels scamper out of site and into the high branches, and the very trees crackle as the temperature dips, yet the sense of stillness rarely departs. The other sound that fills my ears is the crunch of the snow beneath my feet, seeming so loud in this quiet retreat.

Though summer hikes have their appeal, I think I prefer the stillness and bright purity of winter, especially after a fresh snow, when the whole first seems to be inhaling deeply during its long rest.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 95 mm
1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

 

“Boundaries”


“Like most boundaries, they have two aspects. What is inside it and what is outside, it all depends upon which side you are on”
– Ed Lehming

I’m still in retrospect mode, moving through photos I made last year, considering the thinking behind their creation and the feelings I was experiencing when I made them.

Much of this is influenced by the world around me, though I try my utmost to detach from the negatives constantly bombarding us these days. One of the themes that was inescapable is the concept of boundaries, both physical and conceptual. A boundary is a point of separation, some boundaries have a transition zone and others are abrupt, often driven by the intent of the boundary.

In the case of this photo, the boundary between winter and autumn is quite abrupt, which is what made me stop to consider what I was seeing. The entire autumn in my area has been highly changeable, transitioning from snow, to rain, to sunshine, with snow never remaining on the ground for more than a few days. This also meant that any snowfall was temporary, at best. Here, the shade of the pine trees shelters a section of snow, creating a very defined boundary.

As I made the image, the thought about the nature of boundaries began to form. After all, if I stand on the boundary and look one way, I’m greeted with a snow filled and wintry view. Yet, if I remain in the same spot and turn around, it’s a late autumn day. If I did not have the benefit of seeing the whole picture, I could assume it is one season, when it is not. So, the boundary is, like I noted in my quote, really dependent on which side you are on and which way you are looking. It’s a concept I would like to continue to build on over the next few months.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 92 mm
1/4 sec, f/16.0 ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Sorrow…”

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” 
― Charles Dickens

On January 2nd, 2019 the world, for me, became a bit less joyful. On reviewing my Facebook feed yesterday evening, I noticed that an old friend, Blair Koski-Klien, had “updated her story” which intrigued me, since she’s usually not one to do so.

I was surprised to find that the update had been written by her husband, Andy and was, in fact, an announcement of her passing, in the early hours of the morning, the final pages of her story. It felt quite surreal.

His words were beautiful and summed her up so well, yet I felt profoundly saddened at the news. You see, Blair, though we were not close friends, was one of the most genuinely joyful people I have ever met. If she had personal struggles, she soldiered through them with a bright smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.

That smile, that radiant, exuberant smile, is what I recall of Blair. Our life paths crossed for only a few years and we shared a circle of friends. I regret that I never got to know her real well. She was also a few years younger than me and though we would chat from time to time or meet socially, I must admit, I never really got to know the person. Such is life in our teens it seems.

Life continued on and our circle of friends went our separate ways. I thought of her occasionally, usually when I met someone like her, that smiling spark in the room, memories would surface, but nobody ever matched Blair. There was a contagious positive energy in her that brought life and laughter to any occasion.

Over the years, friends reconnected through Facebook and other social media and, eventually, Blair showed up. It was so nice to see where her life had taken her; to see her as a happy mother to her son, Carson, and wife to Andy. I’ve not had the pleasure to meet them, but I’m certain that her love and energy filled their home.

As I sit and consider Blair, tears fill my eyes, at the thought that this beautiful young woman has been taken from us. Today, the world feels a bit colder, a bit less joyful, and a bit emptier without her. Yet, through my sorrow, I see that face, that smile, and hear her laughter and it’s all OK again. I’m grateful to have known her for even a short time and she has made an impact on my life. My regret is not to have been able to tell her that while she was still with us, something so many of us are guilty of.

There are so many people who enter our lives, though briefly, who have a subtle yet profound impact on our lives. We may not realize it at the time but when we do, it’s important that we acknowledge it and let them know. Our time here is often brief and unpredictable and we need to let those who enrich our lives with theirs know just how important they are to us.

One of God’s bright lights has gone out, leaving us seeking it’s light, and knowing it’s still shining, unseen by us, in places we have yet to see.

RIP Blair