Monthly Archives: November 2017

“Pool of Light”

"Pool of Light"

“The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us. Journey wisely.” 
― Alexandra Elle

This is my final image in the “Spirit of the Spruce” series. One of the primary and surprising elements to this series has been the bold patches of light which show in each image; some more, some less. That, to me was the ‘spirit’ of the spruce bog as a hiked and documented my time here. it has brought an ‘energy’ to this often gloomy part of the forest.

This final image shows the tight tangle of spruce, cedar, and fir in the dim background light. Despite this, hazy sunlight manages to shine through from beyond and also in the focal point of the image, where it manifests as a bright pool of light, illuminating trunk and deadfall alike.

As the quote says, the sun rises and sets every day, not that every day is bright sunshine, but there is light, nonetheless. I choose to live in it and enjoy it, even if it’s doled out in small amounts some days. On others, like that not too distant November morning, I savour every ounce of it.

It’s been a wonderful journey, this hike through the spruce. Now, as the air turns chillier and the light cooler as well, I have sights on a few new projects which have not quite materialized yet.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/9.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Waves of Light”

“Waves of Light”

“We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.” 
― Leonora Carrington

Indeed, only the light moves, and it appears in waves, as mid morning sunlight streams between the branches, warming the chilled November air.

This was the scene that spread before me last weekend, as I took advantage of a sunny Sunday morning hike. Though the air was still very chilly, the sunlight was stunning, golden, and warmed my senses. The sky was bright blue between the branches and the cedars still green with life.

Though most of the hardwoods have now dropped their leaves on winter’s approach a few flecks of gold hang in the air, shimmering in the slight breeze. I drink in scenes like this. Many would just proceed down the path, but I find myself standing and savouring, knowing even this will soon be cast into the cold and snow of the approaching winter, which brings a beauty of its own. But that can wait.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/9.0, ISO 400

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

“Mammoth”

“In the hills giant oaks
Fall upon their knees
You can touch parts 
You have no right to” 
― Kay Ryan

There is simply no other way to describe this intergrown cluster of four massive oak trees that grow along a trail I hike frequently. The cluster breaks evenly into four trunks that grow independently, all the same size. Trees must be eighty to a hundred years old, based on their size.

It is a thing to behold such a massive living thing. It stands in sharp contrast to its many smaller neighbours on this forest hillside, roots delving deep and holding it fast in winds, rain, and snowfalls. I can only imaging how far the roots actually spread, but I suspect they cover most of the slope.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Tangle of Light and Limbs”

“Tangle of Light and Limbs”

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” 
― Ansel Adams

As those who follow my posts regularly, you will know that I enjoy testing new things. There is great satisfaction in this creative process, of communicating in a slightly different way than traditional photography.

Though, the core elements remain: light, line, composition, shape, space, form, and value. As a photographer, I’m always seeking light. The other elements are either there or they are not, I don’t go looking for them. I compose by what pleases me and have enough knowledge of composition to understand ‘why’ certain scenes appeal to me. That, I believe is the hardest thing to communicate to those who do not see this way.

Light, as I said, is the element I am seeking and sometimes it can turn an otherwise uninspiring scene into something magical, like this one, involving a dominant cedar tree within a local spruce bog. The mid-morning sunlight illuminates the tangled knot of branches on the forest floor with a bright glow that you simply can’t ignore. That’s the kind of light that inspired this short “Spirit of the Spruce Series”. That light enables me to showcase a small part of my world for others to enjoy, and hopefully, bring light and inspiration to others.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Across the Valley”

“Across the Valley”

“Art is to console those who are broken by life.” 
― Vincent van Gogh

I generally don’t post these ‘enhanced’ images, but enjoyed creating this one so much, I had to share it, hopefully it fulfills it’s intent to console somebody who needs a bit of brightness in their day.

The source image was made last week while  hiking my brother in law’s woodlot near Bancroft, Ontario. It was a cool November morning as I crossed over a ridge to be greeted by this scene of wonder.

Through the deep green foliage of the resident hemlocks, the opposite ridge was alight with sunshine reflecting from fallen oak leaves, bathing the scene in the most beautiful warm glow.

While the original photo was nice, I was inspired to make it more ‘painterly’ by running it through my Topaz Impressions filter. As I become more adept at painting, I’m hoping to make a real painting of this in the near future. For now, it’s a inspiration to a possible future.

I also just realized this will be my 1,000th post. From something that started out as a place to collect my thoughts, it’s grown into an inspiration, and a way for me to carefully consider my art.

Thanks to those who have chosen to join me on the journey. Here’s to the next 1,000!

“Undergrowth and the Fallen”

“Undergrowth and the Fallen”

“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” 
― Aristotle

After thousands of years, the quote is still so appropriate. The outward appearance of this spruce bog is well, quite bog-like, a bit muted, and a bit depressing. But, outward appearances can be deceiving, can’t they?

Even the title of this image is more than it seems. The undergrowth and the fallen are essential elements to the ecology of the forest, without death, decay, and regrowth, eventually only death follows.

This scene is a tangle of low growing spruce and cedar, interspersed with the dried trunks of fallen spruce. For anyone who has ever had to navigate this terrain, you will know the pitfalls of stepping over and between sharp tangled branches, only to find yourself knee-deep in the thick black muck of the spruce bog are tripping over the endless tangle of roots and slash.

Yet, this difficult terrain offers a safe haven to rabbits, grouse, and deer, who navigate it with ease, making barely a sound. The spruce bog is nature’s filter, where water seeps through thick mosses, depositing impurities along the way. Many local creeks begin their travels as cool springs in a spruce bog, just like this. There’s more than meets the eye and much more significance than its outward appearance. You just have to look and become aware.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/8.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Balsam Sunlight”

“Balsam Sunlight”

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” 
― Martha Graham

Welcome to the spruce bog. Though it may not sound exotic, the light and imagery that I experienced on this usually familiar hike was stunning, causing me to start this new series titled “Spirit of the Spruce”. The entire series was photographed in a small stretch of trail no longer than a few hundred meters. One dominated by spruce and balsam fir.

As I set out last Saturday, I had no idea what the day might bring, only that the light was wondrous, and with wondrous light, anything is possible.

I’ve hiked this stretch of the Secord Forest hundreds of times, usually favouring it in mid June, when the orchids are blooming and the mosquitoes are swarming. Otherwise, it’s just an area that I pass through to get to another destination.

I could not believe my eyes as I gazed upon the familiar sight of tightly packed spuce, mosses, and tangled underbrush, beautiful warm sunlight streaming from above. The sunlight was the only thing warm that day, as the air was crisp and cold, but very clear.

The way the sun lit the scene up was spectacular, bringing light to a forest floor usually locked in darkness, the realm of mushrooms and mosquitoes. Not that day, sunlight reflected throughout this tangle of trees, revealing details often missed in the shadows.

So join me once more as I explore yet another often ignored environment, the spruce bog on Southern Ontario.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/9.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Three?”

“Three?”

“You might as well ask an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem. It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear thorough the search.” 
― Rick Riordan

And this search goes on., as I embark on another series of photographic abstracts. Yet, despite the quote, I believe I am able to explain my art. I take great satisfaction in these ‘light paintings’.

I find that by adding the slight movement it disturbs the viewer just enough that they begin to pay attention to details that are often missed. As I study my own photos of the same scene, one, a still photo and the other, a slight pan, colours that are lost or subdued on the static photo seem more vibrant, more alive. I find the movement adds a dynamic that is not there in a still image.

Perhaps it’s just how I see things and this is a way for me to ‘realize’ them. It’s also a way for me to create art, using light and movement rather than a brush. It is very satisfying because I am creating something new, something that was not there before. It the creation that drives me, that combined with the fact that the images seem to resonate with the viewer.

It’s been interesting for me, since I started creating these images, that not once, has anybody said to me, “That’s just a blurry picture”. Most viewers are intrigued with the images, and I find them drawn deeper into the scene than with crisp, clean shots, which seem to briefly satisfy.

As yet, this new series remains unnamed, but that will come to me shortly. In the meantime, enjoy.

This particular image is named “Three?” because there are three dominant trees, but there is more to it, isn’t there? There are more than just the three trees, there are others in the periphery that count too, do they not?

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@75mm

1/4 sec, f/10.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Line Up”

“Line Up”

“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” 
― Aldo Leopold

This part of the world looks like nothingness on a map. While there is a town close by, it really is a wilderness area. A land of steep, nearly unnavigable hillsides, dense forest, and swampy wetlands. To me, it’s paradise, a place to unwind and just enjoy an unblemished space in this world.

It’s also a place to look around and let the imagination run. I see beauty everywhere, in the curve of the path, the marvelous variety and diversity of life, and endless patterns.

In this image I saw lines. I saw the way the trees, maple, yellow birch, and hemlock lined up. I also noticed the one darker, narrow tree that runs vertically up the photo. It is literally, a line upwards, yet I could not get the composition and lighting right without including it, so here it is, as I saw it.

This ‘place’, is one of an endless series of ‘places’, each slightly different, which make up the Boreal forest in this area. I see the entire forest before me, but my eye breaks it up into components. Each part, though an element of the whole, is a so unique. I could go back to this expanse of forest and go back to this exact spot with little effort. Even now, as I write, I can place myself along the trail, to this exact spot and the moment in which the photo was made. Except now, my fingers are warmer than on that chilly November day, enjoying the “Boreal Trails”.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@75mm

1/4 sec, f/10.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Birches, Beech, and Balsam”

“Birch, Beech, and Balsam”

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.” 
― Wallace Stegner

Here’s a familiar sight along the “Boreal Trails”, an interspersing of the dominant species of trees, namely:  Birch, Beech, and Balsam. All three are seen in this image with a few maples, oak, and poplar, in the background.

Beech is easy to identify by its bark, which resembles a gray elephant hide. At this time of year, its about the only tree still hanging on to its leaves, which have turned a beautiful coppery orange. Birch, of course is known for it’s white, papery bark, though there are several species in this area: paper birch, which is seen here, and yellow birch, which has more of a silvery, tattered bark. Finally, there is the deep green balsam, an evergreen that grows as a shrub along trails but can grow into quite a large tree, over time.

The balsams tend to enjoy the ample light available along the trails and pathways and form thick clusters between the hardwoods that grow alongside them. They offer cover for larger ground birds, like ruffed grouse, which is quite common here. Often you can hear the grouse ‘cooing’ along the trails but can’t see them in the thick green balsams whose branches nearly touch the ground.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@112mm

1/4 sec, f/16.0, ISO 400

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