Monthly Archives: November 2016

“Afternoon Snack”


On a dull chilly day, what do you photograph? A snack, of course.

“Even in Our Darkness…”

“Even in Our Darkness...”

“I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

As I was reviewing my photos from the past few weeks, I kept glancing at this one, which at first seemed a bit dark for me. When I opened the thumbnail and looked closer it brought me back to the moment when I made the photo and I recalled why I made it.

I was sitting on a rock above a large beaver pond in the late afternoon. The dense spruce and hemlock forest was dark and damp, green with moss, and a bit foreboding feeling. Yet, through the dark canopy, a narrow opening allowed a patch of bright sunlight through. Just enough light to reveal the multitude of colour present in the dark place. Some trees glow green with mosses and lichen, while others, a soft brown. There are others which remain quite dark and gray, yet above, even the canopy has a soft green brightness to it.

So, despite what appears to be darkness, there is light, if we are observant and take the time to look.

How often have we experienced this darkness in our lives, the narrow sphere we feel we are in? Yet, just on the periphery, bright lives continue, children laugh, people love, and the world, even on rainy days, sits in wait of sunlight, which inevitably comes.

So, look deeply into this scene, which appears dark and somewhat sinister and see all the light in the details. Is this a forest you would walk joyfully into, even being aware of the subtle brightness? What lies beyond that line trees? There was more life beyond this veil of darkness. In fact, a beautiful grove of majestic oaks awaited me, just over the next rise. Sometimes you have to risk it and break through to the next layer, encouraged by the hints of light we are all given. Though not Nietzsche’s banks of roses, it was wonderful, nonetheless.

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

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“So near, and yet…”

“So near, and yet...”

“Distance sometimes lets you know who is worth keeping, and who is worth letting go.”
― Lana Del Rey

This is a bit of a shift for me today. I went back in my photo archive, looking for some colour and came across this image I made in the spring. The title came to me as soon as I saw the image, recalling how I composed it, deliberately leaving the dark area between the butterfly and the flower.

They were only inches apart, yet through the viewfinder, it appeared that the butterfly had a journey to make, a dark void to cross, as he sat considering the blossom. This was also true literally, as the image was made at the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory, not outdoors,  and this little fellow had plenty of competition lying in wait, seeking the same blossom, though they are out of the frame here.

It was also a bit of challenge for me, attempting macro-type photography with my 70-200mm zoom. But, the light was good, and the image stabilization was quite effective. However, I would like to return next year with a macro lens and attempt it once more.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200 mm
1/60 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)

“Gentle Awakening” – Fraser Lake

“Gentle Awakening” - Fraser Lake

“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.”
― John Steinbeck

A sleepy, gentle start to the day, now two weeks ago. This day started a bit less foggy than others, yet the water was still as late migrating waterfowl lazed about in the chilly lake and the sky shifted from gray, to shades of pink, gold, and blue. There’s also still a hint of colour on the distant shore, dispersed among the conifers.

As I sit writing this post, soft jazz sooths me further, recalling this beautiful morning. We need to savour this serenity in our busy world whenever it offers its gifts to us. Though I was only on Fraser Lake for four days this fall, each morning dawned slightly differently. The first morning being quite raw and choppy progressing to the glass-like appearance above and remaining so the rest of my stay, offering many photo opportunities.

I’ve spent many summers, falls, and winters on the lake and its shores. One summer was spent paddling the entire shoreline enjoying the diversity of plants and wildlife and that same winter enjoying cross-country skiing on the ice covered lake.

Then I consider that this is a single lake among thousands that dot the Ontario and recognise that there are more memories to come as I explore the province in live in.

“Variable Light” – Uxbridge, Ontario

“Variable Light” - Uxbridge, Ontario

“The sun was as flirty as Scarlett O’Hara with the Tarleton twins, breaking through the clouds in spectacular bursts that seemed like personal favors and then retreating for hours, days, and making us all ache for just a glimpse.”
― Lorna Landvik

Another fine early November day in southern Ontario, and a return to Secord Conservation Area, in search of a few images. The day could be defined most accurately by its variable light, as a low cloud deck drifted lazily above, casting patches of bright light across the landscape. The trees had recently dropped their leaves, blanketing the ground beneath them in gold. The rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds made these leaves glow warmly. It’s a effect of autumn and it’s soft light that I really enjoy and it’s really accented when the light is variable and patchy, contrasting nicely against the darker area and the clouds moody clouds above.

I’ve photographed from this location many times. There is something so beautiful about teh gently rolong hills and how thier lines flow togother. An ebb and flow of colour and light, fallow fields and pasturelands, diveded by rail fences and tree lines. Each layer a new scene to be enjoyed.

Recent high winds and a light snow cover have obliterated the neatly arranged leaves and dulled their colours as winter approaches, but I’m still looking for a few bright days and some of these glimpses into the autumn which has extended nicely.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 75 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

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“Bowl of Clementines”

“Bowl of Clementines”

“I have been finding treasures in places I did not want to search. I have been hearing wisdom from tongues I did not want to listen. I have been finding beauty where I did not want to look. And I have learned so much from journeys I did not want to take. Forgive me, O Gracious One; for I have been closing my ears and eyes for too long. I have learned that miracles are only called miracles because they are often witnessed by only those who can can see through all of life’s illusions.”
― Suzy Kassem

What do you do on a dull day after a few days of posting photos with bright orange leaves? You do a studio shot of clementines. Well, at least that’s what I did. I’ve been looking at this bowl on our kitchen table for the past few days, considering it as a photo subject. It’s also the result of constantly looking for and being aware of the wonderful yet mundane things in our lives.

The arrangement in the bowl looked like a still life and I believe the studio lighting that I had set up for my series of flowers late summer worked well here as well. So, here is the result.

These clementines also seem somehow appropriate for me, since we are now approaching Christmas season. Growing up, clementines were a rare treat and always signified Christmas season. Nowadays you can find them nearly year round, but there is still something special about a December clementine. It brings back fond memories of cozy evenings with family and friends, sharing treats and memories.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200 mm
1.0 sec, f/14.0, ISO 200

Hi Resolution image on 500px

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“The Day Breaks Brightly” – Durham Forest

“The Day Breaks Brightly” - Durham Forest.jpg

“The true optimist not only expects the best to happen, but goes to work to make the best happen. The true optimist not only looks upon the bright side, but trains every force that is in him to produce more and more brightness in his life….”
― Christian D. Larson

Despite it being late November there has been a bright, golden theme in my photos recently and I’m pleased with that. I do tend to look for that brightness, despite walking through dark groves and solitary paths, I always seem to find some brightness. In this case there’s the wonderful effect of nice light and the bounteous oak and beech leaves glowing all around me, which have as yet to be buried in snow. Though we have had some light snowfalls lately, that snow has melted off and temperatures remain relatively nice, for November.

This image was made a few days ago in Durham forest, not far from my home. It was mid morning and the light was filtering brightly through the sparse canopy, lighting up the remaining leaves in bright tones of gold and orange. This particular section of the trail is unique in its abundance of tightly packed hardwoods, a mix of oak, maple and beech. Though only a few years old the grove has a very unique feel and lends itself well to my vertical pan abstractions.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 70 mm
1/4 sec, f/18.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Shining Brightly”

“Shining Brightly”

“The joy you feel when you become a small life particle sun and share its brightness and warmth with those around you is indescribably great.”
― Ilchi Lee

As the upcoming winter makes its presence known daily, with cold winds, sleet, and icy mornings, a bit of autumn still remains. Beech seems to have some extra ‘stick’ to its leaves. They are almost always the last to fall and bring patches of brightness to even the dullest days.

I made this photo a few days ago, when the skies were not quite so dull and a bit of colour still shone through from the background. Even there, you can see a few patches of golden orange in the higher branches.

The beech leaves themselves are a bit weathered, but that is typical of this time of year and they are surprisingly intact considering the hot summer drought we had this past year. Surprisingly, most trees in my area produced some of the most astounding colour in years, despite the harsh conditions they faced.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 92 mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Northern Serenity” – Hermon, Ontario

“Northern Serenity” - Hermon, Ontario.jpg

“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

I could have titled this “The Other End”, since it really is the opposite end of the beaver pond I shared last week, but the word ‘serenity’ and ‘peace’ kept echoing through my thoughts as I reviewed the image. The light on the glass-like water, the tall pines along the shores, and the soft light, just calms me and draws me back to the moment.

I stood on the beaver dam itself, for a long time, taking in the vista, after forcing my way through the tangle of balsams that line the shores of the pond. In fact, I have yet to experience an established beaver pond that is not surrounded by the moisture loving balsam firs, with their tangled branches, leaving barely any room to move around with any level of ease.

This natural ‘wall’ also offers protection to the wildlife that calls the pond and its environs home: the beavers, deer, moose, and waterfowl. Sitting inside this wall, separated me from the world of the forest and put me into the world of the beaver pond, which is a nice place to be.

And yes, it’s another iPhone photo 🙂

iPhone 5s back camera @ 4.2mm
1/1800 sec;   f/2.2;   ISO 32

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“Goodness is about character — integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.”
– Dennis Prager

I’m cheating a bit today, as this is a photo I made three years ago from the window of my car as I drove to work one morning. The tree in the foreground is on my wife’s home farm. When I was commuting to work, I would see this scene daily.

The post was prompted by one of those Facebook Memories pop-ups and I recalled the painful events that caused me to make the photo and insert the text, which is not something I normally do. But, I felt the quote and the image might help others come to terms with unhealthy relationships.

It was during this period in my life when several close friends suddenly turned on me, very publicly, to serve their own interests. I would not wish this experience on anyone. Those days were filled with self-doubt, depression, anger, and I nice touch of paranoia. I’m the type of person who is very cautious about who I let in my life and it hurts all the more when I realize I made a poor choice.

As I emerged from the experience, I spent a lot of time on introspection, trying to figure out what I had done to deserve their attacks, and how the situation escalated so quickly, is something I have to this day to figure out. I do know now that is was led by one individual and others followed along to remain in his favour and continue to do so. During this time I came across the quote by Dennis Prager and it reminded me why the true friends who stood by me during those dark days were and still remain my friends. It’s because they are, simply put, ‘good’ people, who exhibit the traits mentioned in the quote. It has become a bit of a mantra for me and a gauge to consider the character of those who call themselves my friends.