Monthly Archives: April 2020

“Delicate Spring Beauties”

“Delicate Spring Beauties”

“It’s often surprising that the seemingly delicate has unseen strength and resilience” – Ed Lehming

Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica) never cease to astound me. They are among the very first spring blossoms to open up, long before trilliums and other ephemerals. They bloom in even frosty conditions. I expect this has something to do with their diminutive size, which is not apparent in the photo, where I was trying to capture the flower detail.

There have been many years where I have been surprised at how early they bloom, but are good indicators that other blossoms are soon to follow, even if the conditions don’t seem advanced enough, they seem to know.

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

1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“A Cautious Entrance”

“A Cautious Entrance”

“It is hard to be defensive toward a danger which you have never imagined existed.”
― John Christopher

It is indeed interesting watching this year’s spring emergence of wildflowers. Some, like the Hepatica pictured above, are designed to weather the uncertainties of spring. The many tiny hairs on the delicate new blossom protect the plant from spring frosts by providing a layer of insulation. I also noticed that plants this spring seem a bit more cautious in their opening. Many remain tightly bundled up and almost hesitant to expose themselves to the elements, risking permanent damage from frost.

I think we have a lot to learn from nature in rushing too quickly to expose ourselves to something more damaging. What we are experiencing these days is something altogether new, for which we are not prepared. We will emerge from this, in due time, but carefully measured steps remain important to ensure that we thrive.

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

1/500 sec, f/11.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Fragile”

“Fragile”

“Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile.”
― Bernard Beckett

As I observed these dried beech leaves a few days ago I saw many allusions to my current state of emotional well-being and my pursuit of calm and hope. There have been days recently when I have felt dried out, bereft of joy, and just waiting for the next message of bad news to push me to the brink. I’ve felt like curling up and hoping this all passes me by, trembling in the wind.

Yet, at the same time I realize just how tenacious these leaves can be. They cling to the branches all winter long as other leaves have long since fallen to the litter of the forest floor. I’ve previously commented on how the beech leaves are bright and colourful beacons of cheer in the otherwise dull, gray winter landscape.

It’s about perspective, I suppose; a matter of directing my thoughts to the positive and the belief that we as humans are able, resilient, and fully capable of solving this most recent problem. I need to remain confident and focus on the image of tenacity rather than fragility. I also know that these wonderful leaves will soon fall as well, but released by new growth rather than death, a continuing cycle of ebbs and flows; a balance. It’s all about how we look at it.

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

1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Bloodroot’s Spring Gift”

“Bloodroot’s Spring Gift”

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

In these uncertain times, the Tolkien quote resonates with me. There are so many things that are fair, and there are more and more every day. I’m making it my habit to actively seek them out.

Yesterday, I finally ventured back onto the local trail because they bring me joy and refresh me. They are infrequently travelled and allow lots of space if a fellow hiker happens to pass by. My purpose, aside from just getting outdoors is exactly what Tolkien alludes to; the quest for signs of beauty and renewal.

From my many years outdoors, I know the cycles of spring and which plants flower at specific times. Bloodroot is usually among the first to bloom, preceded by Coltsfoot. I was a bit disappointed as I scanned the forest floor hopefully. I saw many Bloodroots emerged from the dry brown debris of the forest floor. Usually they are in full bloom by now. After hiking a few more kilometers I was greeted by this beauty, still tightly wrapped in its leafy shroud. yet in full bloom; just what I needed; a gift of beauty and of hope. The cycle is delayed but I know with certainty that it will continue, just as nature always does. The symbolism of a gradual ‘opening’ inspires with me as we begin looking forward to something closer to ‘normal’.

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

1/25 sec, f/20.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Old and New”

“Old and New”

“As doom and gloom pervade our lives it’s difficult to feel freshness. Yet, nature shows us that just as one thing dies off, another appears. Our path need not be wearisome if we open our eyes in expectation to the new rather than the old.” – Ed Lehming

Such was my experience today, as I returned to my beloved trails. It’s nearing the end of April, the world is locked in a battle with a pandemic and much of the news is less than positive. The forest is my source of energy and I have missed it so much through this uncertainty.

My expectations as I set out was that I would see a few of the early blooming spring ephemerals. At first not much was visible but I soon noticed some trilliums starting to emerge, some even had traces of flower buds, but it will be a while before they actually bloom. I was hoping to see a few Bloodroot by this time of year, but most were still tightly bundled up.

As my hike progressed I started noticing a few Spring Beauties blooming among the patches of Trout Lily leaves. The Trout Lilies will also be a while before they blossom. I figured that was the best I could hope for, as it has been rather cool this spring and being home I have fallen out of sync with the timing of the spring blooms.

Then, as I resigned to this rather scant showing of blossoms, I saw a splash of white against an old log and could not believe the that I was seeing a Hepatica (Sharp-Leafed Liverwort) blooming this early, and more advanced than other plants that generally bloom a few days before them.

The bright, fresh white against the rotting log brought me back to my recent mood, looking desperately for some brightness to see me through these times. This beautiful flower was just what I needed, but I would not have seen it had I not been actively looking for it. So, I will head into the next few days with the same philosophy of keeping my eyes and ears open to beauty and freshness.

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

1/25 sec, f/20.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Cable Cars and Monastery” – Montserrat, Spain

“Cablecars and Monastary” - Montserrat, Spain

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”
― David Mitchell

Since I’m quite limited in my travels these days, so I’m spending time enjoying memories of last year. I’m recalling vividly with each image the sights, sounds and aromas of the places I visited. In this case, my trip to Spain.

Yesterday I shared an image of Montserrat and the beautiful vistas it offered. That image is looking outward from the monastery high on the mountain’s slopes. Today’s image is looking upwards, towards the monastery, precariously perched on one of the cliffs and also showing the cable cars which transport you to that cliff.

As I stood waiting to board the next cable car, I could not help but imaging what it would have been like for the early monks to build the monastery in such a location. Just transporting materials would have been quite a challenge.

This was a strange day, as I have already noted. It varied between high cloud and brightness, which afforded me this photo, and torrential downpours. With this variability came thick patches for fog that clung to the hillside, often obscuring most of the buildings.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 185 mm
1/100 sec, f/5.0 ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Montserrat Vista” – Muntanya de Montserrat, ⁨Spain⁩

“Montserrat Vista” - Muntanya de Montserrat, ⁨Spain

“Clouds define my mood today, but they are as temporary as sunshine and offer balance and perspective” – Ed Lehming

I have not posted anything for a few days, I’ve limited my social media activity and found myself drawn inward. It’s a very strange feeling lately, even for someone who tends to value solitude.

The trails I usually hike on are open to me, but I feel a sense of guilt driving to them. We’re told to stay at home except for necessities. I find myself reviewing photos from the past year, seeking inspiration, which eludes me. Each day blends into the next. My work keeps me occupied during the week but it’s monotonous and I seek something to focus on, a problem to solve, a process to improve, but that also requires inspiration.

The world has slowed down during this “Great Pause” as I am now calling it. The present and future are veiled in clouds. There is no clear direction and like being in a thick fog, my other senses reach out past what my eyes can’t see. I listen for some sound of clarity, the feel of something to hold onto, the scent of change, for something to pull me forward. But, the clouds persist.

The image I chose for today is from my trip to Spain late last summer. Of the twenty one days we spent in Spain, it rained only one day, the day we had chosen to visit Montserrat, just north of Barcelona. It was one of those days you simply can’t plan for anything for more than a few minutes, the kind of day that varies from a fine mist, brightening with a promise of sunlight to full downpour. This was the day we spent mainly outdoors on this spectacular mountain with its oddly shaped rocks and beautiful monastery.

We made the most of it and despite the rain and the mist I was able to make a few photos that showed the mountain and surrounding countryside nicely. I’m trying to do the same thing as we live through the current COVID-19 pandemic. I’m trying to grab hold of the moments of brightness as it offers itself because I don’t know when  the next downpour is coming or when the sun is finally going to break through, even though I know it will, eventually.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/1000 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com