Monthly Archives: July 2018

“Green Haze”

“Sometimes life is hard … so we have to squeeze it, touch it, play with it, and make it soft like a dough! Now it’s soft enough to be shaped in any way we want! Keep moving, touching life, as this will keep it smooth and fun!”

― Karina Fonseca Azevedo

This photo as sat in my draft folder for many months. I made it with my iPhone, as I hiked a favourite trail with my wife and daughters. I’m not sure what it is about this image that has kept it ‘on hold’ for so long.

I was experimenting with long exposure with my iPhone, seeing if I could recreate the abstracts that I make with my main camera. The resulting image is a bit softer, without the saturation I get with my Nikon, bit the image is still pleasing and effective. The real trick to achieve the effect I enjoy so much is in the movement of the camera itself. Basic settings remain the same, but the ‘feel’ of the pan or vertical ‘sweep’ that I use is different. With more practice I could probably get close.

iPhone 7



“There is peace even in the storm” 
― Vincent van Gogh

I’m one of those people who loves storms. There is something in the unbridled power of them that fascinates me. I love the many forms that the clouds take as the winds whip and shape them. There is also something glorious in the way the storm changes the light.

A few days ago, after coming home from a nice dinner with my wife, I saw this storm cloud forming behind my house. I ran inside, grabbed my camera, and made a few images as it quickly billowed higher into the sky, changing form every second, hoping to capture it at it’s peak, before it tore itself apart or diffused. I was also working with great light and did not want to miss the bright rays playing off the sky behind it and within the cloud itself.

My goal is always to capture an image representative of what I saw, as well as how I perceived it. Here, I was trying to capture the play of early evening light within the cloud as well as the ominous feeling of the deep tones within the cloud. I think I succeeded in both and am very pleased with the results of a quickly composed shot.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 100mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0 ISO 400

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

“Light Along the Way”

“Light Along the Way”

“Let me bring you songs from the wood:
To make you feel much better than you could know
Dust you down from tip to toe
Show you how the garden grows
Hold you steady as you go
Join the chorus if you can:
It’ll make of you an honest man.”
– Jethro Tull

Strangely, the Jethro Tull song that I chose for my quote kept going through my head for much of this hike. How appropriate is that?

One of the things that I really notice as I hike is the marvellous play of light through the canopy, high above. I’ve talked about this before, how the forest floor fairly glows as beams of light penetrate the leaves.

This light is nearly always present, wit the exception of overcast or rainy days, and even then some stray light seems to make it through.

On this day, an extended 14km hike gave me lots of time to drink in this light as it reflected off the trail and cast a warm glow on the surrounding trees. It’s this wonderful contrast of light and shadow that I enjoy so much as a photographer and participant in the life of the forest. This was a fairly hot yet breezy day and the light was constantly shifting. As I did not have my wide angle lens handy, I resorted to my iPhone to try to capture one of these moments along the trail.

The resulting image was OK, but as I find with many stills, they fail to portray the light an energy of the living forest, so I used a Photoshop plug-in called Topaz Impressions to modify the photo till it ‘felt’ right. Which reminds me, I need to pick up my paint brushes again 🙂

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/30 sec; f/1.8; ISO 25

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

“Who Has Seen the Wind?”

“Who Has Seen the Wind?”

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair” 
― Kahlil Gibran

The earth does delight in our bare feet and the trail rises ahead to greet me. I’ve spent the past couple of weekends back on the local trails, enjoying the fresh air and sound of the wind shaking the branches high above me, the air is filled with birdsong  and the scent of tree sap.

One of the things I try to communicate through my abstract photography is that the forest is a living breathing thing, it’s seldom still and especially so on windy days. Last weekend, as I was making a series of images on the trail, a gust of wind caught me, just as I snapped the shutter. I make these images freehand, as I like the natural feel and control I have of the creative process. The effect of this ‘gust’ was a very slight shift in the first portion of the my upward sweep, which at first bothered me, but the more I considered the final image, the more I liked it. The movement is a bit more distorted but adds a different axis of movement, caused by the wind which seems to make the whole scene spring to action, as if rustling in that same breeze. It’s like witnessing a deep exhalation of the forest, for a brief moment, and then it all settles back to the norm.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/25.0, ISO 400

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

“Beauty in Stress”

“Beauty in Stress”

“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” 
― Steve Maraboli

Some strange things happen when plants are stressed. One of those is a switch to dormancy and loss of the chlorophyl that gives the leaves their green colour. The result, is fall colours and shedding of leaves.

In one particular patch of forest, some of the poplars have started to drop leaves due to the recent heat and drought-like conditions, littering the ground with brightly coloured leaves, which really stand out against the dry, sandy soil. They are quite stunning, and even more so because they are so spread out and out of season.

For humans, stress manifests in different ways, and in most cases, they are far from beautiful. So, I need to spend some time, in my stress filled life to appreciate the beauty I find along my journey, where I find it, and seek out more, to balance my own life.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400

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

“In My Darkness, Light”

“In My Darkness, Light”

“Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender” 
― Eckhart Tolle

I find my life, at present, troubling, I struggle for direction and find myself torn between a multitude of emotions: anger, sadness, grief, disappointment, and betrayal to name a few. I am uneasy about the future, the world around me. It’s a maelstrom of sensations I have not felt before. It seems like negative thoughts and emotions may at any time overwhelm me. And then, beacons of brightness remind me of the path forward. My family is there, trying to comfort me and I hear their words and feel their concern. This is a temporary moment, a juncture of the unfamiliar, yet ahead is brightness and hope. I know this in my heart and need to get my head to follow.

I have been blessed with not just abilities and skills but good and caring people, and as I sit writing these words, trying to make sense of things that make no sense, I’m able to draw on my art, my images, the words and actions of the good people in my life and put things in perspective.

The world I live in is alive and filled with good and joyful things, I just need to remember them, constantly. Images, like this one, as I let the image fill me, remind me of so many of those experiences, they help ground me.

There is a reason for me being in this place and time, just like there was a reason for me being at the place and time when I made the photo, and I find they are weaving together to help me make sense. The word “surrender” echoes through me, not in an “I give up” sense, but rather, I “accept” this moment for what it is, a mere step on the journey. I may have stubbed my toe, but that will heal and I will move forward, stronger for the experience. Despite what feels like darkness, there is always light, I just need to keep focussed on it and appreciate it for what it is, then the darkness seems less dark.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/22.0, ISO 400

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



“Three things are needed
For humanity to co-exist:
Truth, peace and basic needs.
Everything else –
Is irrelevant.” 
― Suzy Kassem

A reminder, along the way, of what is important. This cluster of tree brought to mind the quote above by Suzy Kassem. So relevant in these complex times.

I have a friend who builds hand crafted furniture, all his work, tables and chairs, have three legs. He jokes, two is just not enough, and four is too many. The number three, is balanced and just enough. The number three is in my mind. So, when I saw this grouping of trees, it triggered thoughts of balance, life, and the events happening in my world, outside the sanctuary of the forest.

Our world seems to be lacking any semblance of truth, peace is just a dream to many, and in a world of excess, basic needs seem to be forgotten, as we pursue the latest fad. Yet, it seems so simple, doesn’t it? We need all three, in balance, and it feels like one is always lacking, or diminished. concept.

At this point in time, as I place myself back in the forest vista, I hold onto this image and try to picture it with one tree missing, and it just isn’t the same. Three are needed.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/11.0, ISO 400

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



“Taking time in stillness is an essential part of my every day. It saves my sanity, it grounds and centers me. I can carry that peace with me wherever I go.” 
― Akiroq Brost

Welcome once more to a moment in the forest, this time a warm, dry, and largely mosquito free sojourn into the green.

As I hike these trails, often 10-15 km at a time, I pass many wonderful scenes and many, many trees, yet every so often a scene presents itself which makes my pause on my journey and a photo come together.

In this image, a large sugar maple dominates the scene just on the edge of a hemlock grove.

Titles for my images often come to me as soon as I start composing the image and I often find myself wondering what particular elements of the image prompted that though process. So, I consider this image. Dominant. Yes, this maple is the largest tree in the scene, it has more texture, and is in the foreground, but I see these scenes many times along my hikes. So, what is it about this particular tree that brings that word to mind above the rest of the moments I experience?

I think, in this case, it’s simply the placement of the tree, just to the left of a game trail. It almost welcomes me to enter an partake. The next thing I see is an exposed rock, reflecting the warm sunlight, followed by the glow of an exposed stump, and the journey continues. In the end, it’s the combination of light and line that seems to start with this one tree. It’s the anchor and the beginning and dominant, yet not imposing or threatening. Interestingly, a made another image of it from a slightly different angle and the scene lost all it allure.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/14.0, ISO 400

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

“My Shady Place”

“My Shady Place”

“It is in the shade that you look up at a tree and appreciate its efforts.” 
― Matshona Dhliwayo

The versatility and adaptability of nature is endless. Here, a small fern has found a place in the shade that allows it to grow, protected for the heat, and largely isolated from competing plants.

I often see theses mini gardens, some filled with ferns, others with small trees or mushrooms. It seems that all it takes is for a little soil to form and a seed to fall in the right place to create these private places of growth.

This one caught my attention along the trail as the sun was reflecting brightly from the fern’s leaves and the moss encrusted bark of the fallen tree in an otherwise shaded and green forest floor. As you can see, the moss is quite dry since we have had very little rain over the past few weeks and the forest is showing the stress of this weather. But, this little fern seems to be doing quite well init shelter.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/50 sec, f/3.5, ISO 400

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

“Fence-row Foliage”

“Fence-row Foliage”.jpg

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” 
― Fred Rogers

Many times, I find these ‘secondary’ photos. Meaning, photos I had not set out to make. In this case, I had gone out to photograph local wheat fields, see yesterday’s post “Abundance“. As I had completed the photos I had set out to make, I was greeted by this lovely scene along a fence row, late day sunlight penetrating the shadows.

The first thing I noticed was the beautiful soft light and then, as I considered the scene further, the bright reds of the woodbine vines held my attention.

It’s late June, and we have been in an extended period of hot and humid weather, not quite a drought by definition, but close to it. One of the effects of this weather is that plants become stressed from lack of water and that stress often manifests in a colour change, similar to autumn. Only a few leaves have changed here but I have seen other plants go completely yellow, such as is the case in another recent post, “Grounded Sunlight”

The whole scene here gives an impression of lush summer growth and belays the reality of a hot and dry evening at the edge of a wheat field.

iPhone 7 back camera