Monthly Archives: December 2017

“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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“A Light in the Darkness”

“A Light in the Darkness”

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

I can almost put myself in a Tolkien story when the elements combine to produce scenes like this. The forest seems imbued with its own stories of wonder. The more time I spend in the forest the more I become aware of this phenomenon. I have stood in deep spruce groves and witnessed a singular beam of light fall upon one single tree like a heavenly spotlight. It’s a surreal effect and really stops you in your tracks. It’s as if the forest is trying to impart some special message to me.

The isolation in light makes you really notice details previously washed out against the background. Much like the studio floral images that I have enjoyed making so much this year. The world around seems to disappear like so much noise and I have the opportunity to appreciate those singular wonders, only to later realize that this is only one element among thousands in the forest, yet it’s precious to take focused notice, even briefly.

Such it was with this bright orange leafed beech sapling growing from a tangle of fallen limbs within a dark grove of tall red pines. I happened to catch that brief moment when a ray of sun chanced upon it, making me pause and simply enjoy it, as well as saving the memory as a photo, presented here. It was not till I started editing the image that I noticed the small spruce growing in front of it. It’s so nice spending time with these images and appreciating the forest all the more as I begin to really begin feel the life that makes it such a draw for me.

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

1/4 sec, f/18.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Sunshine on the Hillside”

“Sunshine on the Hillside”

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

Even at this time of year, days away from the first official day of winter, I’m enjoying the sunshine of autumn. Especially this time of year when it is so bright and crisp, yet seemingly scarce, making it all the more precious.

As I spent a few hours out on the trails last weekend, the slight overcast sky opened up, albeit briefly, to let some of this precious light fall on the world around me. It has a particularly magical effect on the golden beech leaves which still cling with incredible tenacity to the branches that bore them through the summer. This wonderful gold on white effect is absolutely beautiful when the sun strikes it.

It was especially noticeable on this hillside of plantation red pines interspersed with young maples. In the mix of trees, a few young beech trees are starting to establish themselves, standing slightly apart from their companion trees. And, since they still bear leaves, they really stand out in the bare woods.

We just had a substantial snowfall this past week, so I am hoping to spend at least a bit of time hiking and photographing this forest, transformed once more, into something altogether different from a mere few weeks ago.

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

1/4 sec, f/22.0, ISO 400

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

“Familiar Paths”

“When everything looks unusual around you, your eyes and your mind mostly need anything usual! Unfamiliar disturbs us; familiar comforts us! But for the wise man, unusual is more precious than the usual because it offers us a new way, a new vision, a new idea, a new world!” 
― Mehmet Murat Ildan

Perhaps, what I enjoy most about creating these photo abstractions is that they slightly disturb. I can photograph a familiar scene and it suddenly appears different. The main elements are still familiar and recognizable, but there is a slight shift in what is being seen. The image takes on a whole new meaning and forces me to reconsider what I am looking at.

For example, this winding path is about a five minute walk from my house. I’ve walked it hundreds of times, in all seasons. Yet, when I view it rendered like this, it appears to be a different place. It still has hints of familiarity, just enough to evoke the memory of the place, but I find my eyes drifting across the scene, considering aspects of it that I had not noticed before.

As I consider most of my recent pieces, that same element exists in all of them: a hit of the familiar and the disturbance caused by a different viewpoint, created by the movement . Perhaps there is a lesson in this, as we live in our all too familiar world, passing by what we consider mundane and uninspiring. A little disturbance might just change our perception. Something to consider?

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

1/4 sec, f/10.0, ISO 100

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

“Traces”“Thank goodness for the first snow, it was a reminder–no matter how old you became and how much you’d seen, things could still be new if you were willing to believe they still mattered.” 
― Candace Bushnell

As my hike last weekend proceeded, the day warmed up just enough for the exposed patches of snow to melt, leaving only traces in the shadows, but enough to remind me that more is going to come and that the seasons will continue their endless cycle.

I like this part of the trail, primarily dominated by large maples and interspersed with their younger offspring and the occasional red pine. There is something magical about the light and how it diffuses and bounces off the trunks. This image, I think, shows that well and also captures some of the remaining greenery, ferns mostly, defying the rapidly cooling days, as winter approaches.

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:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com