Category Archives: Abstract

“Warm Light in a Winter World”

“Warm Light in a Winter World”

“You think winter will never end, and then, when you don’t expect it, when you have almost forgotten it, warmth comes and a different light.” 
― Wendell Berry

Warm, merely describes the spectrum of the light, certainly not its effect on the surroundings.

Once more, this winter, I find myself drawn to the trails, despite the bone chilling -20C temperatures. Despite a few days above freezing, winter was swooped back and locked the world in its icy grip once more.

As I stood making this image, the trees around me were literally cracking as they rapidly cooled. I don’t have video capability here, but if you are interested in this experience, go to my https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Felehming%2Fvideos%2F10156194337614391%2F&show_text=0&width=267“>Facebook feed for a listen, it’s quite surreal.

Back to the photo, it was surprising to me that they late afternoon sun would have such a warm quality, as it reflected off the trees. If I had not experienced the actual temperatures, I would be mislead to believe it was actually warmer.

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

1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Bleak?”

“Bleak?”

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?” 
― Shannon L. Alder

I left the title as is, my first impression, but then, I looked deeper, at the bright orange beech leaves, the richness of the tree trunks, and the pale clean blue of the snow and realized, it’s not bleak at all.

Perception, is driven so much by experience and the stimuli present, at the moment. At the moment that I made the photo, I was standing in a winter forest, the temperature was hovering around -20C and delicate snow, like sparkling fairy dust, fell between the frozen limbs of the bare trees. So, now, as I consider this scene and reflect on my own words, that initial perception of bleakness, which many sojourners into the winter forest experience, is simply now true. if you look past first impressions, there is so much more.

In fact, as I consider that day and the 7 km hike a took, blazing trails though undisturbed snow, several parts of the forest were surprisingly alive with sound and motion. Within a hemlock grove, the air high above was filled with incredible birdsong, as hundreds of hungry chickadees flitted between limbs. The sound was indescribable and permeated the forest as I stood and soaked it in.

Ah, winter forests, not what they seem to be 🙂

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

1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“A Frozen Tangle”

“A Frozen Tangle”

“Winters are a desolate time where all senses are wiped away, and here in Canada, this is especially true. All smells are sucked clean from the air, leaving only a harsh, icy crispness. Colours are stripped away, leaving a stark white landscape, a sky which stays black at night and gray in the day, a world of only three shades.”
― Rebecca McNutt

This is an image from yesterday’s hike in a nearby forest. Like the quote says, winter is reduced to three shades, with a hint of faded colour. This tangle of trees seems to say “Do Not Enter” as they fade into the distant, chilly darkness. Even the purity of the snow speaks unfriendly notes of warning as the forest is locked in a robe of ice.

It’s hard to imagine that mere months ago, I was swatting mosquitoes in this same spot as I photographed orchids along the trail. Though, I have to admit, I do like the change of seasons, as each reveals new aspects of the scenes before me.

I was going to say that yesterday’s hike, at minus seventeen degrees celsius was cold, which it was, but today dawned at a crisp minus twenty-seven, making me reconsider a hike today. It may be a sit back and read day.

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

1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Gap”

“Gap”

“We must leave this terrifying place to-morrow and go searching for sunshine.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Though the forest image above is far from terrifying, at least for me, it can be a dark, foreboding place to many people, especially when  you look deeper into the forest, as the tree trunks weave ever tighter and form a dark wall. Yet, even this wall has a gap and the sunshine pours through it, streaming into the path before me.

There’s something about winter light, it’s the coolness, perhaps, that makes it feel so much clearer. Definitely not warmer, but still refreshing in its own way.

The trails are now fully snow filled an I’m about to head out again to see what the day brings.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@75mm

1/4 sec, f/14.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“A Light in the Darkness”

“A Light in the Darkness”

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

I can almost put myself in a Tolkien story when the elements combine to produce scenes like this. The forest seems imbued with its own stories of wonder. The more time I spend in the forest the more I become aware of this phenomenon. I have stood in deep spruce groves and witnessed a singular beam of light fall upon one single tree like a heavenly spotlight. It’s a surreal effect and really stops you in your tracks. It’s as if the forest is trying to impart some special message to me.

The isolation in light makes you really notice details previously washed out against the background. Much like the studio floral images that I have enjoyed making so much this year. The world around seems to disappear like so much noise and I have the opportunity to appreciate those singular wonders, only to later realize that this is only one element among thousands in the forest, yet it’s precious to take focused notice, even briefly.

Such it was with this bright orange leafed beech sapling growing from a tangle of fallen limbs within a dark grove of tall red pines. I happened to catch that brief moment when a ray of sun chanced upon it, making me pause and simply enjoy it, as well as saving the memory as a photo, presented here. It was not till I started editing the image that I noticed the small spruce growing in front of it. It’s so nice spending time with these images and appreciating the forest all the more as I begin to really begin feel the life that makes it such a draw for me.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/18.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Sunshine on the Hillside”

“Sunshine on the Hillside”

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

Even at this time of year, days away from the first official day of winter, I’m enjoying the sunshine of autumn. Especially this time of year when it is so bright and crisp, yet seemingly scarce, making it all the more precious.

As I spent a few hours out on the trails last weekend, the slight overcast sky opened up, albeit briefly, to let some of this precious light fall on the world around me. It has a particularly magical effect on the golden beech leaves which still cling with incredible tenacity to the branches that bore them through the summer. This wonderful gold on white effect is absolutely beautiful when the sun strikes it.

It was especially noticeable on this hillside of plantation red pines interspersed with young maples. In the mix of trees, a few young beech trees are starting to establish themselves, standing slightly apart from their companion trees. And, since they still bear leaves, they really stand out in the bare woods.

We just had a substantial snowfall this past week, so I am hoping to spend at least a bit of time hiking and photographing this forest, transformed once more, into something altogether different from a mere few weeks ago.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/22.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Familiar Paths”

“Familiar Paths”

“When everything looks unusual around you, your eyes and your mind mostly need anything usual! Unfamiliar disturbs us; familiar comforts us! But for the wise man, unusual is more precious than the usual because it offers us a new way, a new vision, a new idea, a new world!” 
― Mehmet Murat Ildan

Perhaps, what I enjoy most about creating these photo abstractions is that they slightly disturb. I can photograph a familiar scene and it suddenly appears different. The main elements are still familiar and recognizable, but there is a slight shift in what is being seen. The image takes on a whole new meaning and forces me to reconsider what I am looking at.

For example, this winding path is about a five minute walk from my house. I’ve walked it hundreds of times, in all seasons. Yet, when I view it rendered like this, it appears to be a different place. It still has hints of familiarity, just enough to evoke the memory of the place, but I find my eyes drifting across the scene, considering aspects of it that I had not noticed before.

As I consider most of my recent pieces, that same element exists in all of them: a hit of the familiar and the disturbance caused by a different viewpoint, created by the movement . Perhaps there is a lesson in this, as we live in our all too familiar world, passing by what we consider mundane and uninspiring. A little disturbance might just change our perception. Something to consider?

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/10.0, ISO 100

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