Author Archives: Ed Lehming Photography

About Ed Lehming Photography

My photography focuses primarily on nature and landscapes, though I have ventured into the world of abstraction, architecture, portraiture, and street photography. To me, photography is the art of observation. It’s about finding beautiful things in ordinary places. My photography has very little to do with what I see and everything to do with how I see them as well as how they make me feel. Call me a photographic impressionist, if you will. I want people to look at my photos and say, “What am I looking at, what’s happening here, and how was this done?” Lately, my focus has been on pursuing the art of photographic abstractions, using lighting, motion, and strong vertical elements to create the “Trees & Forests” series of photographs. Joining the recently formed “A Place for the Arts”, artist’s co-op in Bancroft has allowed me to show many of my work in a beautiful creative space where other artists share their works and ideas. Many of my photos have been featured in magazine articles, web sites, and church bulletin covers. Over the past few years, I have entered several pieces in the Markham Fair where they have garnered many first place ribbons, in various categories, as well as “Best in Show” for my Black and White entry in 2014. My intent, through blogging is to share my photographs with a broader audience and be able to share, in words, some of my thoughts about the actual photo. I hope you enjoy your visits to this blog and recognise that all the photos are available for purchase via my web-site. Your support through purchases enables me to keep my equipment in good order and affords more opportunity to advance my passion.

Iceland – Day 10

“Kleifarvatn” - South-East Iceland

“Kleifarvatn” – South-East Iceland

“The very land oozed sulphurous steam, as if some ancient beast trapped below was exhaling through the cracks in the earth, yet the morning light filled the air with a quiet peace”
– Ed Lehming

Day 10, our final day in this wonderful land of contrasts: Fire and Ice, vast black plains and towering mountains. The land of endless waterfalls and barren lava fields.

On this final day, our loop ended where Highway 42 met Highway 427 along the south coast of Iceland, where our journey began on a dark morning at the end of October. We covered some 2,700 km of highways, side roads, and potholed dirt tracks.

The most amazing thing I discovered on this trip with my son is the incredible and indescribable diversity of this country. Every single vista, from majestic seaside mountains to the endless black and tortured lava fields is that there are surprises when you take the time to look closely.

I made far too many photos of the mountains we passed, but I fell in love with the Icelandic mountains, in their many forms, from tiered pyramids to flattened cones and every variation between. Some were pure black, made of ages of fine cinder and ash, while others were deep brown, covered in eons of moss. like ancient temples.

The deeper and more carefully you looked, the more wonderful they became, revealing details not noticed at first.

That is why I chose this as the final photo in this overview of our trip. When first composing the photo, I saw a lovely mountain lake with steaming volcanic vents in the distance. But, like the rest of the land, closer inspection reveals herds of grazing Icelandic horses and a farmhouse among the vents. The stark landscape opens up to be more than you first expect or see and the light, which shift sby the minute, always reveals more wonder.

The lake, in this photo, is called Kleifarvatn and is situated within one of Iceland’s many ‘rift’ valleys, areas of active geothermal activity. We drove around the lake, only a short drive from Reykjavik, on our way to the Krýsuvík Geothermal Area, a region of belching and bubbling mud pots, thermal vents, and hot springs as well as brightly coloured rocks, crusted with minerals. or final ‘photographic” destination before dropping off the rental car and heading to the airport.

Much of the trip was really about the journey and not the destination. As we drove to some of the more popular sites we were constantly amazed at the beautiful landscape between, despite low cloud and a constant dusting of snow at higher altitudes.

There are so many more places that we visited that a simple day by day review does not suffice. I will continue sharing some of the highlights of this trip over the next few weeks, retracing our journey around Iceland’s Ring-Road.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 145mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0 ISO 200

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


Iceland – Day 9

“Videy Island” - Reykjavik, Iceland

“Videy Island”  – Reykjavik, Iceland

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” 
― John Lennon

This was our final full day in the glorious land known as Iceland and we spent the day touring the city on foot, starting at the harbour front. I could not help but be entranced by the raw beauty of this place, even when surrounded by a bustling and busy European City.

Looking across the bay, my eyes were drawn to the vast mountain plateau and distant volcanic peaks that dominate the horizon. In front of this snowy majesty sits a small, uninhabited island known as Videy Island . You’ll notice a single large building. This is Videy House, now a restaurant and historical centre.

Something that I did not notice, when I was composing the photo, is the small white structure, just left of centre. It turns out that this is the Imagine Peace Tower and is an outdoor artwork conceived by Yoko Ono, in memory of her late husband, John Lennon.

It’s a tower of light designed to communicate to the world that peace and love is what connects us. It is lit every night from October 9th (John’s birthday) until December 8th (the anniversary of his death). It’s also lit on the Winter Solstice and New Years Day.

Sadly, while we were there, I was still under the weather and did not have the opportunity to see it lit up.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 170mm
1/400 sec, f/11.0, ISO 400

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

Iceland – Day 8

“Hvammsfjörður” - Western Iceland

“Hvammsfjörður” – Western Iceland

“Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part.” 
― Hermann Broch

There was a slight delay in my posts over the past few days. You see, for the last 2 days of my ten day Iceland trip, I was sick with some sort of gastro-intestinal infection. I have no idea where it came from. It felt like flu, but we really have had minimal contact with people, other than shopkeepers and our guesthouse hosts. In nay case, I was quite ill and fell behind on my posts.

On day eight we headed back inland and I have yet to process those photos. We left Borgarnes toward Reyjavik and decided to avoid the tunnel that connects the Akrenes peninsula with the mainland.

We had heard from on of our guesthouse hosts that there was still a whaling station active at the end of Hvalfjörður, Icelandic for the Whaling Fjord. It added a bit to our drive but was a wonderful side trip. Whaling season has ended, but the vast processing plant was interesting to see.

From the fjord, we headed inland, across high mountain plateaus toward Geysir, the location of the geyser that others took their name from. As expected, the place was packed with tourists ad a full sized restaurant and visitor centre had been built. It really was a fascinating site to visit, despite the crowds. Basically, anywhere within a 2 hour drive from Reykjavik is filled with tourists on day trips.

The original Geysir is now just a smouldering blue pool and an adjacent geyser, Strokkur, which erupts about every 4 minutes. The rest of the area is filled with bubbling hot springs and steam vents. It does reek of sulphur, which was not a great thing for my unsettled stomach. Once I get photos of Strokkur processed, I’ll revisit this location with its own post.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 90 mm
1/80sec, f/4.5 ISO 200

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

Iceland – Day 7


“Hraunfossar - Wide View” - Western Iceland“Hraunfossar – Wide View” – Western Iceland

“In Iceland, water is everywhere. It surrounds the land itself. Water courses from high mountaintops, bursts from the ground, itself, and flows in endless ribbons over the ancient stone, cleansing the blackened and tortured landscape. The water rarely stands still, as if it’s the lifeblood of the land itself.”
– Ed Lehming

Today, as we headed toward the town of Borgarnes, on Iceland’s western coast, we pulled out a map and plotted a route that took us from the coast, inland to the high mountains, lava fields, and glaciers of south-eastern Iceland.

Along this route we picked a few points of interest, including Hraunfossar, a low and wide waterfall along the Hvítá river. The fall is unusual in that they burst forth from underground along the Hallmundarhraun, which is a massive lava plain that dominates this region. It’s strange to see this amount of water coming from the side of a hill, just below the vegetation. In fact, you hardly notice it at first.

I spent quite some time here, enjoying the scene before me and making many long exposure images of different parts of the waterfall.

Just above Hraunfossar is Barnafoss, a violent cascade created by the massive volumes of  water from the glacial Hvítá river. Barnafoss, which translates into “the children’s waterfall” is named after a local tale that on a Christmas Eve many years ago two children in the Hraunsás household who were supposed to stay home while the parents went to church for Christmas Mass. When the parents returned from mass, they discovered that the children had disappeared (possibly because the children got bored and decided to go out). They then followed the children’s tracks to this waterfall at the stone natural bridge where the tracks disappeared. The mother concluded that the children must have fallen into the river and drowned. Thus, the name.

From here we traveled yet further inland, having mapped a course back to Borganes along a highway that looked like many of the unpaved roads we have travelled on this trip, only out find it had been re-designated as an “F” road, one of Iceland’s inland mountain roads, thus our rental car was forbidden to travel it.

Rather than simply turn back, we re-navigated to another gravel road that followed a less mountainous path along the opposite shore of the Hvítá river. In doing this loop, we did cross the Hvítá on a high plain and looked upstream to the glaciers that birthed it, making the detour interesting.

And so, we headed towards tonight’s destination: Borgarnes, a coastal town along the western cost to plan out our final few adventures in this astoundingly beautiful country.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 70mm
1/.0 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200

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

Iceland – Day 6

“October Afternoon at Kirkjufellfoss” - Iceland

“October Afternoon at Kirkjufellfoss” – Iceland

“People are very busy; they are so busy that when they walk in the crowds they see no one, no one but themselves; they hear no voice, no voice but their own voice!” 
― Mehmet Murat Ildan

Today was a day of long travels, over broken dirt roads, navigating a quicker route to our destination, the only real ‘destination’ we have had on this trip, apart from lodgings.

So far, we have ‘winged it’, simply driven between one overnight stop to the next, taking in the wonders along the way, enjoying the surprising gifts of beauty this country has to offer, and always expecting the unexpected.

Yes, we have a maps and guidebooks to help us find landmarks along the way, but till today, we did not set out with the intention of visiting a particular site. This has removed any pressure or expectation and has put us in places we had not expected to end up. It’s put us in places we see photos of, but really had no idea where they were, all the while avoiding the summer crowds during this off-season. Mind you, white outs and near impassible roads have helped with that too. Despite unforeseen weather and driving challenges, it has been and continues to be a completely amazing and soul-restoring trip.

Back today. We set out from our lodgings in Svinvaten, in North-East Iceland towards the town of Grundarfjörður, the home of Kirkjufellfoss and the crazy pyramid looking mountain that seems to be on everybody’s Instagram feed. To get there in reasonable time meant taking a few ‘shortcuts’.

Iceland’s road system includes a series of remote wilderness roads, knows as “F” roads, that take the traveller, with an appropriate vehicle into Iceland’s more remote locations. These roads are now closed for the season and our rental contract forbade using these roads. However, we found a few routes that parallel the F roads and cut directly cross-country to cut significant distances that result in sticking to the coast-hugging main highways. The roads we travelled were gravel, pot-holed tracks through open county, bounded by mountains and across vast plains of nothingness. It was beautiful, but slightly un-nerving.

In the end we reached our destination, only to find it filled with crowds (yes, even this time of year) of people with the accursed selfie sticks, posing in precarious locations around the falls.

My main reason for attending this location was to  see for myself what the falls looked like and how some of these beautiful images I see are made. Having been there myself now, any shots without people are the result of patience or post-processing. People were everywhere, each in their own world, oblivious to others. Some balancing and posing for extended periods, and making it next to impossible to get a good shot.

I really don’t like crowds, primarily because of this mentality, which seems so pervasive with the inception of Instagram; everybody trying to outdo the other for that ‘wow’ shot.

As for me, I set up in a few locations, waited between ‘waves’ of visitors and snapped a few shots, hoping for something worthwhile. I was pleased with the image above. I could not imaging going back to this place in the summer, despite its beauty and surreal appearance.

Nikon D300
TAMRON SP AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF A16NII @ 32 mm
1/4 sec, F/29, ISO 200

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

Iceland – Day 5

“Grjótárhnjúkur” - North Iceland

“Grjótárhnjúkur” – North Iceland 

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

On a day that started out dull, and blanketed in low cloud and with little promise of sights to photograph, we set out on the still icy road which would lead us to a stop at Goðafoss, a much photographed waterfall just off the main highway, a lovely lunch in the city of Akureyri, and finally, our overnight stay at a guesthouse in Svinvatn, a small interior lake.

As we approached Goðafoss, the sky began to brighten, but a layer of cloud still blocked the sun, but made for good conditions to photograph the waterfall, post to follow at a later date.

With the highlight of our day completed, we headed out of Akureyri, the second largest city in Iceland, following a long valley through the mountain range that rises on the western edge of the Eyjafjörður fjord.

With the sky just slightly overcast, the drive through the valley was lovely, and yielded a few ‘decent’ photos. I the distance, we could see a mountain peak, a bit hazy in the distance, lit up by the sun. We kept watching, as the peak began to come into sharper view, snow whipping from its snow covered summit.

We pulled over along the road to make a few photos of this interesting vista before us. Then, suddenly, magic happened. As I stood ready to make a photo, the clouds overhead changed the light, ever so slightly and bathed the valley before me in a wonderful golden hue and the world before me was like a scene from a dream, then it was gone again. But, I was able to capture that one brief moment as a photo I will treasure for a long time. The long valley, with the snowy mountain. A miracle of light and timing.

So, a ho hum day, became a day of sheer joy. That seems to be the nature of Iceland, you always have to be prepared for something new and wonderful, despite icy roads and gray skies.

What an incredible change from yesterday’s icy drive.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 145 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 200

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

Iceland – Day 4

“Möðrudalsfjallgarðar” - East Iceland

“Möðrudalsfjallgarðar” – East Iceland

“When hell freezes over the Earth shall be covered in snow.” 
― Anthony T. Hincks

The theme of this day is snow, never-ending snow, floating snow, drifting snow, skin biting snow. You see, today we headed into the north of Iceland. As we awoke in the town of Egilsstaðir, light snow had already fallen overnight and dusted the world in white. The forecast showed the snow would be ending by mid-morning.

That was my first mistake, there is no such thing as a long-term forecast in Iceland, and a large arctic storm west of Norway was pushing cold air and moisture towards Iceland. Roads that started snow-dusted soon turned to ice and, as we ventured ever higher into the mountains which divide East and North Iceland, we ran into a continuous series of storms which created white-out conditions.

I should note that our rental vehicle was a 4×4 with studded tires. I wondered, “Why the studs?”, when we picked it up that rainy morning a few days ago. Now I know. There are no salters here and we only saw two snow ploughs on our 170 km drive, despite the horrible conditions.

This was to be our shortest drive on the ring road trek, but ended up taking much longer due to the ‘white knuckle” road conditions.

Despite this, we still had a great time and made many beautiful photos along the way, including Dettifoss and Snelfoss, two massive waterfalls that flow through an enormous fissure running through a wasteland of volcanic rock. That 24 km drive down the Dettifoss road was more of the same: icy roads and constant snow drifts. If roads at home were like this, I would not venture out.

As we neared the end of the day, having survived the roads, thus far, we headed for the Krafla Geothermal Plant, at the base of Krafla, a 818m high volcanic dome, with plans to drive to the viewing area at the top and take in the beautiful emerald-green pool that fills the cone. When we arrived, we found the access road closed, due to poor conditions. We sat in the car till yet another squall passed over and decided to hike the 2.5 km road to the top. Half way there we had reached the lead edge of the peak and were greeted with +100 km/h winds and stinging snow. In the distance, another squall loomed close by. Since there was no shelter at this height, we decided it was safer to head back down, rather than proceed.

I can’t say I have ever experienced nature in such a raw form.

Our final destination for the day was the Grjótagjá Cave, a series of caves containing hot springs, too hot for human use, filling the caves with warm steam. It is also quite amazing to realize the caves were caused by the collapse of the land within the valley, creating visible cracks that define the edge of the volcanic formation below.

I ended my day with a fantastic lamb and mushroom pizza and a lovely Icelandic Porter at a local restaurant. I seem to be ending each day with food?

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/4167 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

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