Monthly Archives: May 2020

“North Walker Woods Impressions”

“Words often fail to describe the feelings that our environment brings. How do I adequately share the joy of a spring forest? Art provides a medium to share my world.” – Ed Lehming

There are many time where I see a scene before me that is absolutely raw and emotionally beautiful. I try to share these scenes these scenes through my photographs, but there are times where even this is inadequate. In these cases, what I see and feel is best presented as more traditional art, in the form of a painting. Using software to create this ‘feel’ is generally a last resort as I struggle to pull life from a photo but the resulting image does not suffice. This is the primary reason I often create images with deliberate movement in them. The slight movement brings the scene to life and makes the eye spend more time considering what is being seen.

I really enjoy impressionist painting because of its ability to communicate a feeling through brush strokes, colour, and composition. My photos already offer the colour and composition but there is something in the brush strokes, a sense of depth, movement, and energy that a flat image just can’t do. Because impressionism resonates with me, I often find that converting my images into digital art gives me the satisfaction of elevating some of my images to a place a photograph sometimes can’t achieve. That was the case with this spring scene in Ontario’s North Walker Woods, a conservation area close to my home.

Here the spring forest is just starting to leaf out and the ground is filled with the white purity of trilliums. Presenting it as a digital painting brings out the soft serenity of the scene very nicely, in my opinion, and leaves me with something that was created by me, with a little bit of help.

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

1/200 sec, f/20.0, ISO 640
(Rendered with Topaz Impressions plug-in)

“Freshness”

I think I like spring the most. Everything is fresh and pristine, time and weather have not made their mark yet.” – Ed Lehming

I believe this may be my final trillium image for the season, the air has suddenly turned hot and muggy and what was once pure and white will already have begun to deteriorate. The white petals will turn a pale magenta but the pristine beauty they displayed last week will have faded.

This year has been a bit strange, very cool and dry. I fondly recall last year where cool temperatures lasted well into early June. I was enjoying trilliums for two weeks with a complete absence of biting insects.

The purity of this time of year is a special balm this year. With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic the freshness of the forest has restored me. I’ve extended my hike, taking time to really enjoy my forest surroundings and paying particular attention to all the new growth; leaves opening up, flowers filling the brown-gray forest floor with colour, and the sounds of birds returning. It really is a breath of fresh air.

From a photographic point of view, I had forgotten to turn my ISO back as I’d been shooting in mostly low light all day, so used a high shutter speed and moderate aperture to compensate. Sometimes these things happen.

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

1/2500 sec, f/10.0, ISO 800

“Beech Returns (and a bug)”

“The forest fills with fresh green growth, as the cycle of growth begins anew, and with it, the inevitable return of insects.” – Ed Lehming

This image is now approaching a week old and represents the first solid growth of beech leaves in my area. On previous posts I have commented on the cool and dry spring we’ve had. Two weeks ago it snowed. Then seemingly overnight the temperature climbed into the high 20’s (celcius) and the forest literally exploded into life.

I’ve been waiting for a bit of warmth to bring on growth and add some colour back to the landscape, but along with the warmth come the stinging and biting insects. In this area, a particularly nasty critter known as a blackfly dominates May to early June. They are about the size of fruit flies but in their quest for a meal leave small itchy punctures which tend to bleed due to the anticoagulant in their saliva. The saliva also causes them to itch terribly in most people, leaving large red welts with a predominant puncture wound in the centre. You don’t feel them when they bite but you sure feel the itch afterwards.

I have not ventured into the woods since I made this image. I’m hoping the heat will ‘burn off’ some of the swarms of blackflies, yes there are literally clouds of them, before my next visit but I may not be able to wait that long. I know these leaves will be fully opened on my next visit and the delicate fuzz which protects them from late frosts will have been shed, leaving shiny, deep-green leaves to drink in the sun’s energy.

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

1/500 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

“Spring Glides In”

“Spring Glides In”

“Like a deep exhale, a flush of bright green, dotted with trilliums sweeps over the forest floor” – Ed Lehming

It’s a remarkable event to see unfold, even over the span of a few days. A mere two weeks ago snow was falling in the forest, the air was chill and only a few hearty plants poked from the cold ground.

Now the air has changed, the snow is a memory and the forest world is transformed. Around me trilliums flourish and fill the fill the scene as far as I can see. New growth emerges in the forest background as trees eagerly leaf out, creating a greenish mist between the limbs. It’s difficult to capture just how beautiful this is in a single still photo so I added some movement to bring some life to the scene and try to portray the feeling of this event.

Those who spend time in nature regularly will understand. There are things that are so difficult to convey accurately. The forest is not a still thing, it’s alive with movement and an energy that’s had to describe. I hope this image does that some justice.

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

1/4 sec, f/32, ISO 160

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

“The Days Are Brightening”

“The Days Are Brightening”

“Flowers bring to life even the dullest days” – Ed Lehming

The first day of May, in the midst of pandemic lockdowns, and I am blessed with the beauty of a single blossom from a Gerbera that I somehow managed to coax through the winter.

It’s been a bit, no, actually very distressing to not be able to get out and photograph local wildflowers like I have in the past few years. The photos I have posted recently were all taken on a single hike last weekend; which I’m hoping to repeat this weekend.

Till then, I am quite satisfied to be greeted every morning by this lovely plant, which I have noticed has two more blossoms forming. Hopefully, as sign of things to come.

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

1/6 sec, f/20.0, ISO 200

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

“May Hiacynths”

“May Hyacinths”

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

It’s spring, and finally mild enough that it feels like spring, the gardens, which till now, have been waiting patiently for some warmth to stir life into them are now erupting with perennials.

This is such a needed reprieve from the past weeks of of staying home and waiting for signs of life. I know the cycles of nature will continue, but everything seems to have been delayed by cool weather and feels even more so with the monotony of being in self-isolation as this COVID-19 pandemic runs its course.

The warmer weather and blossoms also mean I can spend more time outdoors working on the gardens and getting rid of the winter’s litter. This time of preparation is therapeutic for me; it keeps me busy and focussed on the future. I’m looking forward to having a bit more time to nurture my garden this year, as I expect we will not be venturing far from home any time soon.

With the flowers now in bloom I’m also able to enjoy capturing the beauty with my camera and sharing it with others who may also be in need of some spring cheer.

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

1/60 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

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

“Squirrel Corn – Dicentra canadensis”

“Always something new and interesting. Nature offers so many exciting possibilities” – Ed Lehming

It’s time for the next wave of spring blossoms to make an appearance. I’ve been watching the little clump of leaves for the past few days, waiting for the blooms and was surprised to see blossoms already. It seems a few days of warmer weather makes a difference.

Squirrel Corn is an interesting plant, related to Dutchman’s Breeches, but with a slightly different shape to the flower. Even the blue-green leaves look similar and I was not sure which species this was till it bloomed. Sadly, they won’t last long as the temperatures warm and they will fade quickly.

Much like my photos of the white trilliums, getting good images without the white completely blown-out is a challenge, especially on bright days. I had to push my ISO setting down quite a bit and move my shutter speed up to expose it correctly as this plant was in full sunlight.

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

1/1250 sec, f/10.0, ISO 160

“Sideways Glance”

“Sideways Glance”

“One clear moment, one of trance
One missed step, one perfect dance
One missed shot, one and only chance
Life is all…but one fleeting glance.”
― Sanober Khan

Being literally surrounded by trilliums poses a challenge: they all look so lovely and so perfect. How do you present them differently. It’s so tempting when composing shots to photograph them straight on or slightly off-centre. They are just so lovely. There are literally thousands of opportunities for a nice photo and I was not about to shoot dozens of images to sort through.

I just happened to catch the movement of a squirrel behind me, as I looked over my shoulder I spotted this blossom, slightly shaded and in profile. It was, just like it’s multitude of companions at this time of the year, perfectly and wonderfully formed, without blemish.

A bit of sunlight lit up the base of the flower and created a bit of shadow on the veins. After a quick setup, I had my image. Not typical, but I like how it turned out, all from a sideways glance.

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

1/180 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200

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

“Life and Colour Return”

“Life and Colour Return”

“Deep healthy greens and bright yellow now fill the spaces once dull and drab. Spring opens her mantle to the world in a flourish of health and brightness.” – Ed Lehming

A wonderful and much needed hike restored me once more. What started as a quest for trilliums offered so much more. The day was bright and warm; trilliums filled the forest floor like white beacons; the lime green flush of fresh Lily of the Valley, Clintonia, and Fiddle-heads stretched like a delicate carpet deep into the forest.

This is a time of year I love, there is freshness and new life everywhere, the light has changed as the sun rises higher in the sky each day. The growth is rapid, almost urgent, as each plant claims its place in the forest ecosystem. It’s also a time where ample light still finds its way between the developing canopy and fills the forest floor with light.

For this image I employed my favourite technique of deliberate camera movement. It brings out more colour and life through slight movement, far better than a simple static image. I can almost feel the energy of the forest in these images and they bring me such pleasure to produce. I find it draws me in and causes me to consider details I might otherwise overlook.

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

1/4 sec, f/25, ISO 250

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

“One Last Look”

“One Last Look”

“Nature’s gifts are always fleeting. These moments must be savoured while we can, and then the moment is gone, leaving only fond memories and dreams for tomorrow.” – Ed Lehming

Alas, the final days of the wake-robin are at hand. These flowers which have brought me so much joy this summer are fading fast, with only a few intact specimens remaining. What the sun has not dried and the wind and rain (and snow) have not pummeled, slugs have scarred.

I recall only ten days ago, seeing and photographing the first few blossoms to emerge on a rainy, sleet filled day. At the time, they were among the only blossoms brave enough to open on that cold spring day. But now, the sun is rising every higher and white trilliums dominate the landscape. I looked along the path for an intact flower, for one last photo, knowing that by tomorrow they will all be gone.

I’ve really enjoyed the wake-robins this year, more than others. They have been plentiful and I’ve been able to get good images through a combination of good fortune and getting down low to the ground with my tripod. The light has been exceptional, with a few slightly overcast days providing me ideal conditions. Today was quite a bit brighter but I was able to find this blossom on the edge of the shadows, just enough so that the image is not overly harsh. I also wanted to make sure that all the petals were in sharp focus, so I used a very narrow aperture, higher ISO, and slower shutter speed to get me what I was after.

So, here it is, the final blossom, so I can enjoy one last look.

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

1/100 sec, f/20.0, ISO 400

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