Monthly Archives: December 2017

“Potential”

“Potential”

“To focus solely on endings is to trade conclusions for the very beginnings that created them. And if this cycle should persist, we will likewise miss the beginning that will follow this ending.” 
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

This year concludes, as it began, with a simple image of a hemlock cone. This was not intentional on my part, it’s simply how things work sometimes. It’s a different tree, in a different forest, three hundred and sixty five days apart.

The year for me as a photographer, artist, father, husband, and human has been wonderful. As I look back on that photo from January the first of this year, I had no idea where life was taking me. I’ve grown in my skill and resolve on so many levels and that tiny seed seems an appropriate symbol to reflect on. This diminutive seed has the potential to become a massive and wonderful tree, if the elements are correct, producing seeds of its own. So, as the year concludes, or rather, cycles into the next, I look forward to the potential outcomes and many more experiences which add to my life.

See you all next year!

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm

1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400

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There’s a Trail there, somewhere.

An icy hike, in -20 C temperatures, but glorious, nonetheless. I spend two hours breaking trail in this frigid wonderland. More images and thoughts to follow.

“A Frozen Tangle”

“A Frozen Tangle”

“Winters are a desolate time where all senses are wiped away, and here in Canada, this is especially true. All smells are sucked clean from the air, leaving only a harsh, icy crispness. Colours are stripped away, leaving a stark white landscape, a sky which stays black at night and gray in the day, a world of only three shades.”
― Rebecca McNutt

This is an image from yesterday’s hike in a nearby forest. Like the quote says, winter is reduced to three shades, with a hint of faded colour. This tangle of trees seems to say “Do Not Enter” as they fade into the distant, chilly darkness. Even the purity of the snow speaks unfriendly notes of warning as the forest is locked in a robe of ice.

It’s hard to imagine that mere months ago, I was swatting mosquitoes in this same spot as I photographed orchids along the trail. Though, I have to admit, I do like the change of seasons, as each reveals new aspects of the scenes before me.

I was going to say that yesterday’s hike, at minus seventeen degrees celsius was cold, which it was, but today dawned at a crisp minus twenty-seven, making me reconsider a hike today. It may be a sit back and read day.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm

1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 400

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“Chill Out”

“Gap”

“Gap”

“We must leave this terrifying place to-morrow and go searching for sunshine.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Though the forest image above is far from terrifying, at least for me, it can be a dark, foreboding place to many people, especially when  you look deeper into the forest, as the tree trunks weave ever tighter and form a dark wall. Yet, even this wall has a gap and the sunshine pours through it, streaming into the path before me.

There’s something about winter light, it’s the coolness, perhaps, that makes it feel so much clearer. Definitely not warmer, but still refreshing in its own way.

The trails are now fully snow filled an I’m about to head out again to see what the day brings.

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

1/4 sec, f/14.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Merry Christmas 2017”

“Merry Christmas 2017”

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” 
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. Hoping this find everyone healthy and happy and enjoying this time of the year in whatever way brings you joy, even through this Christmas post from the Secord Forest trailhead.

 

“Winter Woods”

“Winter Woods”“It is growing cold. Winter is putting footsteps in the meadow. What whiteness boasts that sun that comes into this wood! One would say milk-colored maidens are dancing on the petals of orchids. How coldly burns our sun! One would say its rays of light are shards of snow, one imagines the sun lives upon a snow crested peak on this day. One would say she is a woman who wears a gown of winter frost that blinds the eyes. Helplessness has weakened me. Wandering has wearied my legs.” 
― Roman Payne

Here it is, the first day of winter, the Winter Solstice. Though snow has been on the ground for a few days now, this is my first real venture onto the trails for a few days. I am now on Christmas holidays and decided that since work is done and presents wrapped, I’ spend a few hours on the trails just clearing my mind.

Today was bright, but overcast and quite chilly at -8 degrees celsius. This also meant that I had the trails to myself, which I prefer. With a few mild days before and the cold today the trails were a bit icy, but not treacherous, as they often get after heavy traffic packs the snow down. So, I was able to hike in boots, without the need of cleats yet.

The change that a bit of snow brings is astounding. Light appears in places that have been shaded all summer and the lack of leaves opens the forest up so you can see further and deeper, revealing the subtle changes that the previous three seasons have created. I’m also seeing things ‘more’. I’m more aware of subtle changes in the forest, since I’m out making photos all years and that has made me more aware of the things around me. So, I am experiencing this first day of winter with new eyes and a new perspective and simply having the time to fully immerse myself in it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@85mm

1/4 sec, f/25.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“A Distant Light”

“A Distant Light”

“The dream crossed twilight between birth and dying.” 
― T.S. Eliot

This will likely be my final image from the ‘Night of the False Dawn”, as I have chosen to call it, though I did make many more images. This image shows a cluster of pine trees on the horizon with a background of brightly lit clouds. Keep in mind, this is around eleven o’clock at night.

The light, as my previous posts noted, are caused by light pollution from the city of Toronto and are the result of ice crystals in a low cloud deck reflecting that light. It has an unsettling, dystopian look to it, not a typical, cheerful winter scene.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@82mm

0.8 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“11:00 PM”

“11:00 pm”

“Melancholy were the sounds on a winter’s night.” 
― Virginia Woolf

I thought I would do something a bit different and revisit a time and place I talked about yesterday, but from a slightly different angle and as a slightly different composition.

This lone oak tree is perhaps the most photographed tree in this area. Even to the untrained, it just calls out ‘Take my picture.”

As I said in yesterday’s post, this image, which appears as a sunrise, or a sun set was actually made at 11:00pm. The glow in the sky is the result of light pollution from the city of Toronto, some thirty miles south of this location. The effect, as already stated was unsettling, as it resembled twilight so closely. despite this, I spend several minutes making photos, trying to do it justice. I believe I accomplished that, as the colours you see her are exactly what I saw that evening.

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

1/2 sec, f/3.2, ISO 500

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Like a Great False Dawn”

“Like a Great False Dawn”

“Beauty is seeing a flower bloom in a garden or in nature.
Artificial is seeing that same flower try and grow in a vase of water.” 
― Anthony T. Hincks

The only words that came to me as I gazed across the horizon, while driving home from a concert last night, was that it looked like a gloaming false dawn. As you can see from the image, there are streaks of blue and red created by the reflected light of Toronto reflecting from a shifting, low cloud deck. It really looks like the sun is rising on the horizon, except this was close to 11:00pm!

I have seen this phenomenon (light pollution) before but nowhere as intensely as yesterday evening. The combination of low, frost filled clouds and millions of city lights, was ideal to create this effect. It also made me wonder, more than ever before, the effect that this amount of artificial light can have on us. The sky directly above me was dark, as I was travelling several miles north of Toronto, between the various town lights, yet I was surrounded by these false dawns, each one marking the a town or city.

As I drove towards my home town of Stouffville, the effect also manifested itself, but not quite to this degree. I made not eof how the light transitioned from darkness, and suddenly I was enveloped in this canopy of light. It felt like a dark, overcast day more than it did night-time. It was actually a bit disorienting and a bit spooky.

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

1/2 sec, f/3.2, ISO 500

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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