“A common sight in the right light suddenly becomes beautiful.” – Ed Lehming
I’ve passed this shed countless times and it barely registers. It’s just an old shed along the road near my home. It’s commonplace and a bit weather-worn.
A few evenings ago, as we walked to a local restaurant for diner with friends the early evening light changed the entire appearance of the shed. It glowed in the soft evening light, becoming the focus of my attention.
Fortunately, I had my phone with me and was able to capture another beautiful moment in time.
“Stone and wood; along the lake shore, bear witness to the tireless motion of water.” – Ed Lehming
This past week, as I stood on the stone covered shores of Lake Ontario, at Prince Edward Point, I had to consider how long these stones had been smoothed by the ceaseless action of waves crashing on the shores. Among the stones, pieces of driftwood, recent additions to the shoreline dance, also participate in the endless erosion.
The waves continue to roll in and the stones chatter, as if speaking, as the water rolls over them, pulls them back to the lake and then pushes them back again. The ancient language of the lakeshore, etched in the stones.
“Within the swamps of Prince Edward County, layers of green draw me deeper and deeper as the light shimmers with summer’s heat. Despite days of endless heat and sunshine, the forest remains lush.” – Ed Lehming
As I spend time exploring the landscapes of my second home, it’s the swamps that fascinate me. The swamps are not deep oozing bogs; they are filled with wonderful swamp maples which thrive in this unique environment.
I still recall these wetlands from my first trip into this unique part of Ontario. After driving through rolling hills and farmland, the road passed through a large patch of deep lush swampland. Seeing large trees living in a swamp was unexpected. At first I though the land had been recently flooded but research taught me that this species of maple is able to survive and thrive in the shallow swamps.
The contrast of the healthy trees and layers upon layer of deep green and healthy vegetation is wonderful. Even this summer, with days upon days of high temperatures and drought, the swamps are still lush, seemingly impervious to the conditions.
The canopy is thin enough that wonderful golden light is able to reach deep between the foliage making for an unusually bright swamp. The undergrowth seems to invite you to enter but I imagine you would not get far without getting bogged down. It’s like nothing else I have ever experienced and I was happy for the opportunity to capture it ad render it as yet another piece of digital art.
“Long, hot summer days and quiet country roads yield surprises and raise questions, to the curious.” – Ed Lehming
There are many times when a drive down a backroad offers interesting sights. Most frequently I see an old abandoned building and wonder how it came to be in the state it’s in. I try to picture it when it was first built, envision a family starting a home. As a new house, it must have held so much promise.
Yet here, along the roadside of Ontario’s Prince Edward County, many years after that time, the house has fallen into severe disrepair, a mere curiosity, barely standing, along the roadside and a photo opportunity for me.
I decided to render this image as digital art, to add some mood and interest to the image.
“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
“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)
“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.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm 1/4 sec, f/32, ISO 160
“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.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm 1/4 sec, f/25, ISO 250
“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?
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm 1/1000 sec, f/4.3, ISO 800
“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.