Category Archives: A Place for the Arts

“Chelsea Water Towers” – New York

“Chelsea Water Tanks” - New York“He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he showed me that newness is no virtue and oldness is no vice. Truth and beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist. Nothing is inferior for being old, and nothing is valuable for being modern.”
― John Piper

One of the first things that I noticed while walking around New York was the wooden water tanks that topped most buildings, whether old or new. There are slight variations, some are metal but most are wood (which is apparently cheaper to build), of varying ages and roughly the same size, about 10,000 gallons. They seem like such an anachronism in this vast modern city. Yet, as I researched them, they are a very practical solution to an infrastructure that can’t deliver sufficient water pressure to buildings over six stories tall. In fact, there are 12,000 to 17,000 active water towers in service throughout New York and more are being built or replaced every year.

The towers work a bit like a toilet, whereby, when the tank level gets low, a valve is tripped and water is pumped into the tank from pipes in the building’s basement. Health concerns have been raised recently, since the water simply sits, untreated in heat and cold and can stagnate. Also, a layer of sediment builds up in the tank, which needs to be cleaned out annually, and is often overlooked. Out of sight, out of mind.

The image above shows both types, the wooden tanks in the foreground and a large steel tank on top of the condo. Once you notice them, it’s hard to tune them out, since they are such a unique feature that seems to define New York City.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 31mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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“Fire Escape” – Church Street at Vesey, New York

“Fire Escape” - Church Street at Vesey, New York

“Even in its darkest passages, the heart is unconquerable. It is important that the body survives, but it is more meaningful that the human spirit prevails.”
― Dave Pelzer

Situated on the north-west corner of the World Trade Centre Plaza, I’m sure this building has some stories to tell, as it sustained some damage during the 9-11 attacks and has a clear view of the Plaza itself. I did not think of the building’s story as I stopped to photograph it. Though I’ve had time to reflect on that since.

The way the light played off the walls and created shadows is what first drew my eye to this image. There is also the structure of the fire escape that really brings this image together. I made a large print of this image, which hangs on the wall in front of me as I write this. The lines draw me in and keep me scanning all the fine details and subtle shade gradations. It seems to capture the ‘feel’ of New York, as I experienced it. It’s also quite a contrast to the ultra modern World Trade One and the Oculus, which are directly behind me and to the right as I made this image.

MAP

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 31mm
1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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“Pebbles in Melting Ice” – Duffins Creek

“Pebbles in Melting Ice” - Duffins Creek

“Ice contains no future,  just the past, sealed away. As if they’re alive, everything in the world is sealed up inside, clear and distinct. Ice can preserve all kinds of things that way- cleanly, clearly. That’s the essence of ice, the role it plays.”
― Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

A temporary reprieve from the cold of winter, hinting at a more prolonged thaw and the promise of spring ahead. Ice can preserve but the inevitable cycles of nature will eventually free those things locked away for winter.

In the image above, thawing ice reveals its treasures, slowly and wonderfully. The pebble tops emerge and just enough of the structure below is visible, yet the presence of the surrounding ice is undeniable. More could be revealed by breaking the ice, but that would affect the underlying order below. So, it’s best to leave it to emerge in time. Surely, this scene will re-freeze before spring comes to last but the glimpse into the promised warmth is welcomed.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 125 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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“Maple On Ice” – Seaton Trail

“Maple on Ice” - Seaton Trail

“The magical way the wintertime warms you up is through its frozen beauties!”
― Mehmet Murat Ildan

Yesterday, was a spectacular day! Here we are in mid February and the temperatures hit
12° C. The light was glorious and the outdoors beckoned me. So, with camera bag in hand, I set out to enjoy the day and see what it would reveal to me.

Since the temperatures last week were around -30° C, with a lack of snow, the local creeks had frozen solid to the bottom and the melt water flowed over sheets of pristine ice. On my journey, I came across these two maple leaves, wedged between two rocks and frozen to the creek bed. Clear cold water now ran across the surface, enhancing the colour of the leaves and creating an interesting distortion in the background. This is one of many images I made on my 9 kilometer hike and I’ll be sharing more over the next few days. Get ready for a brief ice and water theme.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 95 mm
1/40 sec, f/3.2, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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“Frozen Fingers”

“Frozen Fingers”

“We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away.”
― Alan Moore

Winter wears on, some days are bright and clear and others dark and dreary. Yet, through it all, nature lives on and builds crystal sculptures on frames of wood, grass, and stone. At the right time of day, the sun shines through, lighting them from within.

The image above is a lilac tree next to my house. With the rapid melt, the eavestroughs overflowed, splashing water on the cold lilacs in the shade. That slight difference in temperature was enough to re-freeze the water, encasing the slender branches and seed heads with a thick coat of ice. Water running over this base formed ripples which froze as subsequent layers. The effects of a slight breeze are also visible in the slightly bent ‘fingers’ of ice.

As a side note, though it was warm enough to melt the ice, the temperatures were cool enough to give me frozen fingers of my own.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 120mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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“Dead Maple on Reesor Road?” – Markham , Ontario

Dead Maple on Reesor Road

“Look at all the things around you, the immediate world around you. If you are alive, it will mean something to you, and if you care enough about photography, and if you know how to use it, you will want to photograph that meaningness.” – Paul Strand

I am reminded daily that I live in a living world. That world envelops me, nourishes me, sustains me. My eye picks up on subtle colours, a movement, some minor thing that stands out and gets my attention. As the quote above states so eloquently, these things mean something to me. These everyday scenes that fill our days which most people seem to pass by with some ingrained disregard.

In our ever busy world, I feel blessed that those moments do have meaning to me and that I can see them as a critical part of my world and experience. I’ve deliberately set out to share that meaning as best I can, through learning to become a better photographer, to convey meaningness by sharing those experiences here through images and words. My goal is to improve my ability and skills as a photographer, artist, and writer so that some of the meaning, richness, and joy that I take for my experiences can have similar meaning to others.

The image above was made a few years ago as I was driving home from an errand in a nearby town. It was a cold day in early January and the wind-whipped snow swirled in the fields like it was a living thing trying to escape the confines of the snowbanks.Most of the roadside grasses were already encased in a thick winter blanket, while a few hearty reeds bent in the wind. Among all this movement, a solitary maple, more dead than living, stood firmly and weathered the onslaught. Once more, when looking closely at what appeared to me, and was titled that way, as a dead tree, is still showing signs of life in a few of its branches, reminding me to be a better observer by slowing down and really understanding what I’m looking at.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 112 mm
1/200 sec, F/7.1, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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“View from the Bottom”

View from the Bottom (sm)

You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality. – Pablo Picasso

Light offers surprises and daily I see where many artists get their images from; daily scenes that reveal themselves when viewed for an unique perspective. In this case, the bottom of a beer glass, viewing a television screen on my wall. The blue light of the television floats against the sand coloured walls, distorted by the ripples in the base of the glass and traces of foam. The ‘art’ in this image does not reveal itself till you isolate the image and remove the reference to a glass.

iPhone 5s back camera @29mm
1/130 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com