Monthly Archives: January 2016

“Dreamy Treeline” -Markham, Ontario

“Dreamy Treeline” - Major MacKenzie & Reesor Rd.

Today, a break from ice water 🙂

I’ve driven past these trees on several occasions and could always see potential for a good photo, but the light has not been ideal. On this particular day, I think the conditions were just about right. It was a bit hazy and the sun reflected brightly from the upper branches. I fiddled with a few different styles for this image and it’s still not quite what I envisioned, but close. Maybe if I look at it long enough I’ll be inspired?

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 175 mm
1/125 sec, f/8.0, ISO 250
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“Ebb and Flow” – Duffins Creek Ice

“Ebb and Flow” - Duffins Creek Ice

Above is another photo of the winter waters of Duffins Creek, north of Pickering , Ontario. It seems the creek had frozen solid to the bottom recently, as water was flowing over the ice in many places.

This scene caught my attention as the sun revealed interesting aqua tones in the ice beneath the surface. The ice had tilted slightly, causing a bit of an ebb, or backflow, and created this wave that seems to be going against the current. The sunlit up the rocks under the water as  well as the ice slab in the background. It was a great day for light and that makes my day. It’s not a grand cascade in the mountains, but it is beautiful, nonetheless. The magic is in the light and the details the light brings forth. In this case, I chose a faster shutter to freeze the wave above the ice slab, as a long exposure lost much the detail.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm  f/2.8 @ 135mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Escape” – Duffins Creek at Whitevale Dam

“Escape”

It appeared that the water was escaping from beneath the weight of the ice and dancing across the rocks and another more appropriate title did not come to mind.

The early afternoon light filtered through from behind me and lit up some of the rocks, creating a beautiful glow on the rocks under the fast moving water. Once more, I tried to convey the sense of movement and urgency by doing a long exposure. There will likely be more in this series over the next few days.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 78mm
1/8 sec, f/32, ISO 250

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“Whitevale Winter Falls” – Whitevale, Ontario

“Whitevale Winter Falls”

I have to admit that I have been to these falls many times over the past few years, but never in winter. The falls are the result of a dam being build to keep and introduced species of trout from migrating too far upstream and eating the eggs of the native brown trout. I’ve posted a few photos of this dam in the past.

The winter scene is beautiful, especially in the right light, which I was blessed with on this visit. It has been particularly cold over the past few weeks, which created a substantial buildup of ice to almost the height of the dam, which is about 5 meters. If you look carefully at the top of the photo you can also see the water coming from under the ice covered pond above the dam

The light plays nicely through the columns of ice and I decided to challenge myself with a long exposure. The results are very satisfying.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @82mm
1/8 sec, f/32, ISO 250

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“Tenaya Creek Rush” – Yosemite National Park

Tenya Creek Rush

I love the movement of water. So, on my visit to Yosemite in 2013, I spent a good portion of my time hiking the shores of the many creeks and cascades throughout the park. Tenaya Creek, pictured above, parallels the Mirror Lake Loop trail and there are many opportunities, close to the trail, to view and photograph the creek as it churns down toward the main valley. What makes it even more beautiful, is the effect of the large granite boulders that litter the creekbed. The water churns over and around these boulders with such power and urgency. Close to my home the creeks are small, slow flowing meanders filled with small rounded rocks, with very little colour.

The mountain cascades, in contrast, are fast flowing, crystal clear and flow over pink and gray boulders. It’s much more active and colourful.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70mm
1/2 sec, f/29, ISO 280

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“Frozen Riverbend” – Duffins Creek near Whitevale

“Frozen Riverbend” - Duffins Creek near Whitevale

On a particularly nice day in mid-January, I went for a much needed hike along the Seaton Trail, south of Whitevale, Ontario, with my son. The day was an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and make some photos.

The creek was partially frozen over and full of wonderful detail in hues of blue and green. Above is a view of the typical scenery showing ice coverage and flow. The plants are all brown or yellow. You’d expect it to be drab and washed out, but the bright snow lights things up so nicely. Despite the cold air, it was a great day to just be out and about and the light was beautiful.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 110 mm
1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 250

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“Frozen Fractals” – Duffins Creek, Whitevale

“Frozen Fractals” - Duffins Creek, Whitevale

Never the same twice
Wonderful patterns in the ice
Beautiful randomness of nature
Just add water

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 250

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“Duffins Creek Ice Art II” – near Whitevale

“Duffins Creek Ice Art II” - near Whitevale

Nature is constantly amazing me. The image above is a simple shot of a frozen Duffins Creek. It looks like some marvelous abstract art piece that you would see in an expensive downtown gallery. But, this one’s free and created through the natural freezing process.

If you take the time to really look, you can see how the layers may have built up, how the water ebbed and flowed between the rocks on the creekbed, creating intricate curves, and trapping air bubbles.

I may start a whole series of these and compare different creeks in their ability to create art.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 170mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 250

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“Winter Dreams” – Seaton Trail

“Winter Dreams”

To start this out, I’m stealing a wonderful quote from a fellow blogger spanishwoods.

“In my opinion, the most ordinary things, the most common and familiar, if we could see them in their true light, would turn out to be the grandest miracles . . . and the most marvelous examples.”
—Michel de Montaigne

The above statement resonates with me on so many levels. I don’t live in an area with grand vistas, mountains, or oceans. The countryside surrounding my home is, at first appearance, quite bland.

But, if you have the eye to see deeper, and appreciate the fine details, the landscape opens up into a world of light and colour.

Today, after nearly two weeks of not venturing very far afield, I got up, looked at the stunning, clear light, and despite it being -12 degrees celsius outside, headed out with the intention of a much needed walk in the woods (and some photos). I made about 40 photos of forest trails, frozens creeks, and plants along the way. As the quote above states, it’s often the ordinary things, that on further observation, become quite spectacular. On occasion, I’m surprised by some detail I did not notice as I made the photo. After all, I’m limited to what I see through the viewfinder. Along my walk I stopped in a few locations to photograph the tiny seed pods of a plant called Dog Strangling Vine. Apparently, it’s an invasive species, imported deliberately or accidentally from Europe some 150 years ago. I don’t know that a dog has ever actually been strangled by it. The plant’s real name is European Swallow-Wort. These plants often grow in thick tangles, clinging to and climbing up trees, but every now and then a single tendril reaches between trees and those tend to make good subjects for photos where I can isolate a single seed pod or two. They are quite ordinary, but unique in how they grow.

I was very surprised today, in reviewing my photos that, despite it being mid January, my camera picked up the most awesome purples, and pinks as a burst of colour bokeh behind the seed pods. I don’t recall seeing anything pink or purple in the background when I made the photo. So, I’ll take this as a special gift. It adds a real dream-like effect to the image, coupled with the burst effect of a few background branches. If I had planned this, I would have been pleased. But, to have a complete surprise is awesome and keeps me inspired to seek out more of these special moments.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @200mm
1/100 sec, f/5.0 -0.33, ISO 250

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“Centre Eaton” – Montreal

Eaton Centre - Montreal

Never let me say “There’s nothing  to photograph”.

Though my preference is really nature and outdoors images, I also, occasionally,  have a ‘thing’ for patterns and urban scenes. Today, after a day spent in several corporate offices, I took a walk through ‘underground Montreal’. It’s a series of connected shopping complexes that reaches several kilometers under downtown Montreal.

During the day, this is a very busy place, full of commuters on their way to work, students, attending the adjacent McGill University and shoppers, out for a bargain. In the evening, it is essentially vacant, and I find it a nice place to walk and stretch my legs after a day sitting through meetings.

Today, I made my way to the upper level of this section of the complex, the Montreal Eatons Centre, to get a view of the complex from a higher vantage point. The above image is the result. I like the strong lines and flow of the place and added a bit of ‘posterizing’ to accentuate that effect.

iPhone 5s back camera 4.15mm f/2.2
1/40 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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