Category Archives: Art

“Drive Shed and Dames Rockets”

The whites, yellows, and pale purples of early spring begin to fade, yet purple holds on, larger and more brilliant than before.” – Ed Lehming

We have spent the past two weekends starting a fairly significant garden.

As we worked, tilled, and planted a scene that we simply could not ignore was the profusion of deep purple Dame’s Rockets. The literally surround the one-acre garden plot (we did not plant the whole acre). The Rockets a tall and lush and remind us that spring is soon to end, and the summer plants will take over.

The building I chose for the background is a drive shed, used to store tools and implements. It’s a wonderful, weatherworn structure with a tin roof. I have no idea what the little belfry is about. I don’t think it ever held a bell but was attached as a decoration. It does add interest.

I enjoyed the scene so much that I also rendered it as an impessionistic digital painting.

I find this is such a beautiful calming image. Though we were all tired from toiling in the field, scenes like this bring us joy and getting a garden going is very satisfying.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/1900 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

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

“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)

“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)

“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)

“Depth, perception?”

“Depth, perception?”

“What do we perceive when faced with something we don’t expect” – Ed Lehming

This image, made very spontaneously over dinner a few nights ago, has held my attention since I made it. It’s the result of evening sun shining through a tulip blossom and deliberate focus on one of the anthers within the flower.

It’s one of those joyous ‘accidents’ that all photographers get at some point. It’s also the joy of spontaneity that will linger with me every time I look at this photo. I will recall the lovely meal that I was enjoying as the sunlight entered through our kitchen window. I will recall the conversations with my wife and how those conversations were briefly and pleasantly interrupted by the lightshow of the sun on the tulips; how we both looked up at the same time.

I was very fortunate that my camera was sitting, conveniently, on the table in the living room, still affixed with my macro lens from my morning sojourn into the forest. With a few adjustments and a snap of the shutter this photo emerged. It should be noted that this is exactly what came from my camera. With the exception of a crop to my preferred aspect ratio there have been no alterations to this photo.

There are a lot of aspects to this photo that I enjoy. Primarily that I can identify the focal point quite easily, but then it fades off into something a bit more abstract, with no clear reference points. The leading petal just blends softly into the background fading into a red mist. Apart from the anthers, the entire image is slightly out of focus but still pleasing and altogether unexpected. It’s that unexpected element that keeps pulling me in, perhaps trying to understand what I’m seeing?

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

1/1000 sec, f/4.3, ISO 800

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

“First of the Season” – In memory of Marjorie Fretz

First of the Season (low res)

“There is something special about the first trillium of the year. As I walk the trails, I keep a keen eye open for this marvelous harbinger of spring, and when it see it, I know, warm days and beauty follow.” – Ed Lehming

Here it is, the first white trillium of the year. The original was a ‘nice’ photo, but I was looking for more, something to personalize it this year. This bizarre year of COVID-19, isolation, and emotions I still can’t process. So, I decided to render it as digital art, not something I do very often, but somehow it felt very appropriate today. I wanted more than a photo. I wanted something that connected me personally to this beautiful moment where I beheld this single, wonderful blossom. For me, some sign of hope of normality, and a future that I can look forward to.

I’m hoping that this image can bring some joy to others. Joy seems to be a rare commodity these days.

“Warm Breezes at Tulum”

"Warm Breezes at Tulum"

“Caribbean warmth rolled from the sea, caressing this ancient land as emerald waves lapped the shore.” – Ed Lehming

Today I really felt a need to retreat back to fond memories. It feels like so long ago but was only months.

Our group set out for a day trip to Mexico’s Tulum ruins along the Yucatan coast. Tulum is a rare Mayan ruin that sits on the coast, rather than inland as most are. There are many theories and histories about this place. One thing that is certain, throughout its life Tulum was a trading port and even had a primitive lighthouse to guide seafaring traders safely through the coral reefs. It was also in its most ancient history believed to have been a sacred site occupied by priests and astronomers.

We found the visit very interesting but what I really loved was the view across the water and the bright colours of the water and foliage as they meet the rocky coastline.

The image above is a digital painting made from one of my photos.

“Dry Ground and Spring Warmth”

“Dry Ground and Spring Warmth”

“The cycle continues, winter leads to spring and the ground drinks in the warmth of the brightening sunshine. Traces of winter remain as distant memories” – Ed Lehming

Nowadays I’m even more appreciative of the beautiful outdoor spaces so close to home. It also helps that the snow and ice is gradually receding. Not gone,as there were some quite treacherous stretches that made me happy to have my ‘icers’ on.

But, there were several clear stretches of open, leaf-covered ground and even a few hearty sedges beginning to peer through. It won’t be long till spring is in full swing.

It is so different this year though. With all the focus on COVID-19 and “social distancing” some of the anticipated joy of spring is missing. On reflection, the only real difference is in my perception. Driving to the trailhead, I’m feeling a bit apprehensive. Am I doing the right thing by venturing out? I get to the trailhead and there are a disproportionate number of cars for this time of year. Clearly, I’m not the only one who needed to get outdoors. As I start my hike, I notice very few tracks and when I get to the first icy section, the sparse footprint turn back; I realize that these are not the true ‘hikers’, simply people wanting to be outside, with no intention of entering the formal trail system. They are just looking around, likely unfamiliar with this area.

During my five kilometer hike, I meet one other person, heading the other direction. WE exchange a brief hello in passing and continue on our way. Each enjoying some quiet time in nature and watching the earth continue it’s cycles, oblivious to what’s happening in the human world.

As I emerge from the trail, refreshed and a few new photos on my camera, the trailhead is still crammed with cars, but nobody in sight. A good day to recharge.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/4 sec, f/32, ISO 400

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

“Afloat in February Snows”

“Afloat in February Snows”

“Floating in a soft sea of snow, the forest weathers the drifting tide of whiteness that surrounds them.” – Ed Lehming

As I composed this image I was struck by the illusion of movement in the snow as it followed the contours of the forest floor. By adding just a bit more movement than I normally do, the illusion is enhanced further and the snow takes on the appearance of  soft liquid waves or fine mist. My technique to achieve these slightly blurred images is the result of a lot of trial and error and now muscle memory. So to do something like, with no change to my camera settings, is a bit uncomfortable and unpredictable.

It’s a bit out of the ordinary, but sometimes I like to follow a creative thread to see where it leads me. In this case, I am quite pleased with the result of changing my technique, ever so slightly, to take me to something altogether unexpected.

I also switched back to my favourite Tamron 70-200 mm lens which enables me to compose the image as I shoot rather than cropping on the computer. I try to limit my edits to just a few fine adjustments.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 110 mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200

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

“Pastel Pathways”

“Pastel Pathways”

“The surprises light offers are endless” – Ed Lehming

Today’s image has a direct connection to the one I posted yesterday. Namely, the interesting colours that winter can offer.

This is the first image I made as I embarked on a 6 km hike at a local conservation area. I used my standard camera setting for my deliberate camera movement pans, but this image was slightly overexposed. I would normally have deleted this image immediately but decided to keep it. As I brought the image up on my computer, I was surprised by the variety of wonderful pastel colours present within the image. I decided to leave the image exactly as it came from the camera to share this effect. What really amazed me was the amount of pale purple present in the image. It’s not something my eye picked up on as I composed it.

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

1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 250

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