Monthly Archives: April 2016

“Spring’s First Daffodils” – Niagara-on-the Lake

“Spring’s First Daffodils”  -Niagara-on-the-Lake

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils
Beside the lake beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
― William Wordsworth

At long last, I feel I might be able to say that spring and warmer weather are here to stay? I’ve posted about ‘false starts‘ and the change of seasons, the endless repeating cycles, yet consistent warm days elude me. This image was made nearly two weeks ago, a mere 50 kilometers south of my home, yet my own daffodils are reluctant to bloom.

Daffodils, like peonies, are one of those marvelous plants that keep spreading every year. I often see large patches and imagine them being planted many years ago and just spreading out, covering larger areas over time.

Judging the forecast and their current state, I’d say they will open in the next day and it ‘should’ be warmer every day next week. Here’s hoping.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 98 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

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“Last Year’s Blossoms” – Niagara Falls, Ontario

“Last Year’s Blooms”

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
 – Wayne Dyer

April is a strange time to visit a botanical garden, since there are no blooms to enjoy. Yet, if you look closer, vestiges of last year remain in tones of brown, gray, and yellow. Yet, amid shrivelled shells and dried branches, hints for life begin to emerge.

I can’t recall the variety of tree that this is, but the bright yellow skeletons of last year’s blossoms glowed in the sun and drew my eye towards them. It was not till I looked closer that I saw the fresh green buds beginning to show, reminding me not to allow first appearances cloud my vision in all aspects of life. Nature has so much to teach us.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 180 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3 +0.33, ISO 200

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Thursday Doors – April 28, 2016

“Stationnement Prive” - Notre Dame Cathedral, Montreal

An interesting side entrance to Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal. It would appear the door was added as an afterthought.

iPhone 5s back camera 4.15mm f/2.2
1/125 sec;   f/2.2;   ISO 40

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“Looking for Home” – Whitevale Dam

“Looking for Home” - Whitevale Dam

“Love should not cause suffocation and death if it is truly love. Don’t bundle someone into an uncomfortable cage just because you want to ensure their safety in your life. The bird knows where it belongs, and will never fly to a wrong nest.”
― Michael Bassey Johnson

As I stood at the base of the Whitevale Dam, watching the trout spawn, I noticed this little bird, perched atop a broken tree limb sticking from the water. It sat there, surveying its world for quite some time. Was it simply pausing for a moment from the busy task of nest building. I’m certain it was not lost, though it was looking all around, perhaps for a suitable place to start, for as the quote above states, the bird knows where it belongs.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/1600 sec, f/6.3 ISO 200

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“Underside” – Queenston-Lewiston Bridge

“Underside” - Queenston-Lewiston Bridge

“Seeing all life in perfect symmetry.
Perceiving each day with righteous clarity.
Living each moment in purposed reality.
Believing each day is the start of eternity.”
― S. Tarr

A unique way of looking at this heavily travelled bridge between Canada and the USA at Niagara Falls.

I’ve driven across this bridge many times and sat, lined up, for what felt like an eternity, at the border checkpoint both going to the US and returning home to Canada. With all the security on the surface of the bridge I was surprised at the complete lack, or apparent lack thereof, below the bridge. In fact, there is a beautiful walking/cycling path that I made this photo from, which allows you to see not only the details of the bridge supports but also the details and pathways on the far shore, which I had never noticed before.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 48 mm
1/125 sec, f/8.0 ISO 200

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“Coltsfoot” – Whitevale Dam

"Coltsfoot by Boulder"

“Little yellow flower
Like a dandelion shrunk
Yet she’s not its kin at all
She blooms there without leaves

Shows her face in early spring
Shines brightly like the sun
In my childhood, she was dear
Quite precious to be true 

She it was who truly said
That spring had just arrived
I picked bouquets in my small hands
And brought them home to mom 

Even now, quite old and grown
Coltsfoot is still quite dear
In early springtime it’s of her
That I try to catch a glimpse”

Coltsfoot is a pleasant little flower that I look forward to each spring. It’s the first to bloom and many people mistake them for dandelions. When the coltsfoot blooms, spring is just around the corner.

I found the beautiful poem above while looking for a quote suitable for this photo, which I touched up to look like a painting, Something I am quite fond of doing with some of my photos simply because I like the painterly look in some cases.

That a poem about coltsfoot exists is quite delightful and I’m surprised more is not written about it, as it was and is considered a key medicinal plant for treating lung aliments. To the point where the coltsfoot symbol was used to designate a pharmacy not too many years ago. The latin name Tussilago farfara is derived from latin tussis, meaning cough, and ago, meaning to cast or to act on.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 135 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6 ISO 200

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Mannequin Monday #1


My first submission to Mannequin Monday on Piran Cafe

The eyes are a bit too lifelike.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 122 mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5 ISO 200

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“Northern Sweet Coltsfoot” – Whitevale, Ontario

“Northern Sweet Coltsfoot” - Whitevale, Ontario

“The most fulfilling adventures happen when you start your journey without knowing where you’re going, because only then are you free to experience the unexpected detours you’re meant to take.” 
― A.J. Darkholme

Ah, yes, the unexpected, one of my greatest delights. I set out to make photos of fish spawning in a local creek and come across a large, beautiful cluster of spring flowers I have never encountered before. They looked a lot like the familiar Coltsfoot that I see daily now along the creek-bed and in ditches on the roadside. This plant seemed to have the forming leaves of the familiar coltsfoot and the stem of a coltsfoot, but the flower-head looked like an immature Milkweed. This struck me as odd, as I am familiar with most of the native plant species I encounter. Could this be some species that was planted in someone garden and escaped?

I also have a ‘thing’ for wildflowers and local plants, so tend to switch from traditional landscapes to the miniature landscapes that I find on the forest floor, along river basins, and on hillsides, as I travel the countryside.

I made this photograph and looked it up when I got home, a practice I have been following for some years to educate myself on the plants I come across throughout the year. This one surprised me, as I did not know there was such a thing as Sweet Coltsfoot. It all makes sense now and an unexpected encounter became a learning moment for me.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 122 mm
1/1250 sec, f/2.8 ISO 200

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“Spawning Suckers” – Duffins Creek

“Spawning Suckers” - Duffins Creek

“We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.”
― David Brower

Amidst the exciting rainbow trout run at Duffins Creek, other species of native fish are also in the spawn, including the White Suckers, pictured above, which are mixed among the trout as they work their way upstream.

As I was walking the shore, enjoying and photographing the trout, I came across this group of suckers as they hovered above the stoney creek bed. The water was crystal clear and offered a nice view of the suckers in an interesting formation. The slight distortion of the water made this an interesting composition for me.

I always find it awesome that this beauty is just outside my doorstep, yet some people I meet locally have no idea it even exists. This is among the reasons I make photos, to prove to others that the things I experience daily are real and more than some embellished memory.

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

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“Springtime Forest Walk”

"Spring Forest Walk"

“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.”
― Susan Polis Schutz

If we were having a coffee…

I’d tell you about how beautiful the past week has been. Temperatures, though up and down, have been getting milder, my favourite wildflowers are beginning to bloom, and the trout are running up Duffins Creek. The annual cycle of spring is in full swing.

These are the days I can barely stand to sit inside working, but work  has to get done. Yet, I’m fortunate to live very close to many hiking trails and creeks that I can enjoy during my lunch time. And then, there are weekends where the trails beckon for longer visits, weather permitting.

Today, I went for a hike with my son, who also enjoys the outdoors and photography. We visited the dam at Whitevale, hoping to capture some migrating trout jumping. It’s been a strange season and the water is still quite cold, so, no luck there. On top of that, the fishing season just opened and the usually quiet shores were lined with a continuous row of fishermen, some friendly and welcoming, others, not so much. I know this is but a brief moment in time and soon calm will return once more.

We left the creek and drove a few miles north to the East Duffins Creek Headwaters trail, for peaceful walk in the woods, pictured above. The trails are lined with red pine and a mix of hardwoods. This area is at a slightly higher elevation and wildflowers were a bit more sparse. Despite that, we had a great time walking and catching up. How’s your week been?

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6 ISO 200

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