Monthly Archives: November 2016

“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

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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.

“Sunshine Grove” – Hermon, Ontario

“Sunshine Grove- Hermon, Ontario

“Rather than crying and  craving for those who left our path during dark moments of our life, let’s spend some time to thank those who stood and helped us to pass those dark paths.”
― Nehali Lalwani

This image was made on a somewhat foggy morning. As the fog dissipated I came across this scene. Amidst a damp low area, filled with spruce and hemlock, stands a small grove of silver birch. The sun streaming through the branches, lighting up the forest floor in glowing bands and reflecting off the shiny bark made it seem like a magical place. Literally, a light among the darkness. I sat here for quite some time, on the log in the foreground, just enjoying the light and sense of peace this place brought me.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 70 mm
1/120 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

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“November’s Golden Litter” – Hermon, Ontario

"November's Golden Litter" - Hermon, Ontario“November is usually such a disagreeable month…as if the year had suddenly found out that she was growing old and could do nothing but weep and fret over it. This year is growing old gracefully…just like a stately old lady who knows she can be charming even with gray hair and wrinkles. We’ve had lovely days and delicious twilights.”
― L.M. Montgomery

It reminded me of a scene from The Hobbit, as Bilbo enters Smaug’s lair and sees gold strewn everywhere, pouring across the floor and flowing between the columns. Though this is not gold, rather, an abundance of oak and beech leaves covering the rugged forest floor near Bancroft Ontario, flowing like a golden river between the rocks and trees.

Four mild November days and bright sunshine made the forest a wonderland of colour and light, especially accented by the golden leaves which were everywhere, on the tops of ridges, on ledges, and in deep valleys, everything was alight in the same golden glow. It really was surreal.

The image above is just one of many I made while hiking through tone of the deep valleys that is so typical of this region. Many ridges are a challenge to climb, so some careful planning is required before the attempt is made. This particular valley is quite shallow but many feature sheer drops and I’ve found my way through them with several years of exploring. It’s always a pleasure to get back here.

iPhone 5s back camera @ 4.2mm
1/120 sec;   f/2.2;   ISO 64

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“November Fog” – Fraser Lake, Ontario

“November Fog” - Fraser Lake, Ontario

“She is free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. ‘Time’ for her isn’t something to fight against. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water.”
― Roman Payne

If today’s forecast is any indication, it would appear that our wonderful, mild Ontario November is at an end and winter is anxiously knocking on our door.

That makes my memories of my ‘retreat’ at the beginning of this week all the more special. Cool nights and warm days brought a combination of colourful sunrises and a few foggy ones. Both are beautiful in their own way.

The image above was made this past Wednesday as the fog drifted lazily over the lake and draped the landscape with a layered veil, creating shadows in varying tones of gray. The landscape was quiet and serene as I stood on the shores of Fraser Lake, a gentle breeze moving tendrils of mist along the shoreline.

I felt the black and white image of this scene best conveyed the mood and puts me back to that time and place. A wonderful reminder of gentle November days to savour as the cold of winter takes hold.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 175 mm
1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

High Res Image is on 500px

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“Moody Dawn over Irish Valley” – Fort Stewart, Ontario

“Moody Dawn over Irish Valley” - Fort Stewart, Ontario

“Daybreak,’ he said, looking out at it. ‘I always thought it was funny that dawn should be called daybreak. This is when the day is made – it’s the beginning. I’ts the best part: you’ve got all the potential of the day to come, and you haven’t wasted yet. When it gets dark, that should be daybreak. When the day is broken. When it turns into night time, that’s when it all start’s to go wrong.”
― Erin Kelly

The recent November dawns and dusks have been spectacular, whether on the lake or off. With cool nights and warm days, fog, in all its forms was readily available.

On this particular morning the fog had lifted into a low, churning, cloud deck that left vestiges of itself lingering in the valley below. In the distant right, the sun makes its appearance, ready to burn off the moisture, leading into a beautiful sunny day with only traces of the cloud to remind us of how the day began.

Irish Valley is an area of northeastern Ontario just east of Bancroft in the North Hastings Highlands region. The Little Mississippi River meanders below pasture lands in the foreground. A little piece of paradise that I will miss over the winter.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 70 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 800

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