Monthly Archives: April 2016

“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

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

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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Against the Odds”

"Against the Odds" - Duffins Creek

“When you do or think or feel something, do it with passion. Let it come from the heart. Put your heart and soul in it. And when you do, you will feel a river flowing sweetly through you and especially through your entire life. Life has much more meaning that way. ”
― Angie Karan

A painterly image I made yesterday, based on a photo of two trout swimming upstream at the Whitevale bridge, north of Pickering, Ontario.

What struck me was how the body of the dark fish flowed with the water, or did the water flow with the fish? As I processed the image, the flow of colour, from warm orange tones and larger river rocks at the bottom to cooler blue tones and multi-coloured pebbles at the top began to become more noticeable, yet the dark body of the fish dominates the scene. The entire image speaks of movement, energy, and overcoming. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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“Mating Pair” – Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

“Mating Pair” - Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John Lubbock

When time allows, I like to visit Duffins creek and stroll the riverbank, especially at this time of year. The narrow wooded trail follows the shoreline, through grand cedar stands, into deep gullys, along the creek, with its variable structure of rocky sandbanks, deep holes, and fast flowing rapids.

At this time of year, new growth is slowly emerging. Splashes of bright green dot the forest floor. Spring plants such as Coltsfoot, Bloodroot, Trout Lilies, and violets dot the landscape, welcoming the warmth of spring. Fiddleheads, the young growth of ferns, sit in tight knots, not quite ready to open, and the trout start their annual run up the creek to the dam at Whitevale, a small hamlet north of Pickering, Ontario.

At the right time of day, the trout try to leap up the fifteen foot high concrete dam, designed to keep the introduced steelhead trout from migrating further upstream. On this visit, the trout were not jumping yet and were pooled just beneath the dam. Many rested in the shallow pools just above the last set of rapids, including this pair, in full breeding colours. The shallow water allowed me to get a clear image from slightly above. This pair will breed and shortly thereafter, follow the creek back to Lake Ontario, where they will remain till the instinct to migrate up the creek returns next spring.

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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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“Pain in the Butt” – Seaton Trail

“Pain in the Butt” - Seaton Trail

“Such is the condition of organic nature! Whose first law might be expressed in the words ‘Eat or be eaten!’ and which would seem to be one great slaughter-house, one universal scene of rapacity and injustice!”
― Erasmus Darwin

Ever have one of those days where, out of nowhere, something just sneaks up and gets you from behind? You can take small comfort that you are not this Wood Frog. I’d say our troubles are tame compared to his.

I came across this scene a few days ago while on a short hike along Ontario’s Seaton Trail. I heard a rustle of leaves and spotted motion just off the trail. At first all I saw was the large Garter Snake, then I noticed it had caught the frog. The light was awesome, so I sat to watch this process play out and document it with my camera. I’ve seen photos in elementary school textbooks of how snakes eat their prey, but have never witnessed it firsthand. It’s quite the process

How the snake would get this large frog into it’s mouth was beyond me, especially considering the frog’s legs were still free and active, and he had filled himself up with air. Well, after a few mis-timed kicks, the frog’s legs were in the snake’s gullet and the rest was just a matter of time. Twenty minutes, to be precise, from when this image was made to the time the last trace of the frog disappeared. You just never know what you might see when out on the trails.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/100 sec, f/5.6 ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com