Category Archives: Landscape

“Simple Beauty”

“Beauty is subjective, yet there are times when even the simplest thing can bright joy to our lives.”
– Ed Lehming

One of the many reasons that I spend time outdoors hiking and making photos is the sheer joy of seeing something breathtaking in what many would consider mundane circumstances.

Many of the trails I’ve hiked, I have hiked hundreds of times and yet, almost every time, I see something new and wonderful. It may be a new flower where non has bloomed before, or a new sapling emerging from a decaying stump, or simply the way light catches the growth at a certain time of day or year.

It’s scenes like this, within a planted forest in transition, that make me stop and look deeper. Beneath the canopy of planted red pines, new growth emerges in the form of young red pines and beech trees. There are other shrubs emerging too but the bright green of the pine and the twinkling gold of the beech trees in the afternoon sunlight is almost magical to me and they stand out from the scene. It may be a simple composition, but it does what I intend, it captures the ‘feeling’ of this small patch of forest on a late December afternoon, through colours and texture. And for me, that is beautiful. I can almost feel the rough bark of the pines and hear the birds singing high in the branches above me.

As I have often said, it’s not always the grand vistas that amaze me, even more so, it’s the simple beauty right in front of me that most would pass by without a second glance.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/40 sec, f/3.2, ISO 100

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“A rock may seem a sound foundation but deep, nourished, and interwoven roots will be longer lasting”
– Ed Lehming

This tree growing around a large boulder at the top of a hill got me really thinking, as I made this image a few weeks ago. It seems that the boulder would be a challenging place to grow. In fact, as I considered this image, I tried to think of the process that would create this oddity. Did the tree start growing here and the frost gradually pushed the boulder up? Or did the tree start growing in a small patch of soil on top of the boulder?

It also got me thinking of the notion of the rock being a solid and somewhat permanent object to use as an anchor, yet the rock is not connected to anything and that diminishes its ability to support the tree. I imagine a strong wind or more heaving from frost will loosen this perch over a few years, yet there is a conflict here. The roots, wrapped around the rock fasten it in place, preventing movement.

The real strength here is in the deep roots, spreading and anchoring the tree and rock. Based on the size and age of the tree, this seems to be working but it’s very strange and unique.

How often do we embark on projects, firm in our resolve that things are solid when, in our limited perspective, we are anchored on less than we think?

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 175 mm
1/50 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

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“There is something sacred about stillness. The world has not changed, outside our bounds, we just realize peace and tranquility are possible, if we make space for it.”
– Ed Lehming

This is what I’m often faced with, as I take time to hike the local forests. It’s not a grand vista, or a festival filled with brightly dressed people. The forest, in its simplest form, even at its gloomiest, still has pockets of beauty to share.

Here, bright orange beech leaves and the occasional stray oak leaf brightened the path in contrast to the dark December trees. A gentle snow drifted between the boughs and all the world was silent as I stood still on the trail, simply enjoying the peacefulness of the moment, my visible breath rising through the air around my face.

I love these times, where my senses are filled with the life of the forest. It’s what draws me here. You see, even in apparent stillness and calm, life in the forest goes on. Soon, small birds flit between branches, seeking seeds, squirrels scamper out of site and into the high branches, and the very trees crackle as the temperature dips, yet the sense of stillness rarely departs. The other sound that fills my ears is the crunch of the snow beneath my feet, seeming so loud in this quiet retreat.

Though summer hikes have their appeal, I think I prefer the stillness and bright purity of winter, especially after a fresh snow, when the whole first seems to be inhaling deeply during its long rest.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 95 mm
1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400

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



“Like most boundaries, they have two aspects. What is inside it and what is outside, it all depends upon which side you are on”
– Ed Lehming

I’m still in retrospect mode, moving through photos I made last year, considering the thinking behind their creation and the feelings I was experiencing when I made them.

Much of this is influenced by the world around me, though I try my utmost to detach from the negatives constantly bombarding us these days. One of the themes that was inescapable is the concept of boundaries, both physical and conceptual. A boundary is a point of separation, some boundaries have a transition zone and others are abrupt, often driven by the intent of the boundary.

In the case of this photo, the boundary between winter and autumn is quite abrupt, which is what made me stop to consider what I was seeing. The entire autumn in my area has been highly changeable, transitioning from snow, to rain, to sunshine, with snow never remaining on the ground for more than a few days. This also meant that any snowfall was temporary, at best. Here, the shade of the pine trees shelters a section of snow, creating a very defined boundary.

As I made the image, the thought about the nature of boundaries began to form. After all, if I stand on the boundary and look one way, I’m greeted with a snow filled and wintry view. Yet, if I remain in the same spot and turn around, it’s a late autumn day. If I did not have the benefit of seeing the whole picture, I could assume it is one season, when it is not. So, the boundary is, like I noted in my quote, really dependent on which side you are on and which way you are looking. It’s a concept I would like to continue to build on over the next few months.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 92 mm
1/4 sec, f/16.0 ISO 400

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

“Among the Giants”

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.”
– Herman Hesse

As I start into 2019, I can’t but help reflecting on the profound influence trees have on me. I spend so much time among them, feeling their energy, sheltered under their branches, observing their slow but steady growth, season by season and, listening to them. Indeed, they have much to say about life itself.

Trees have influenced my photography and pursuit of painting as well. I am intimate with and thankful for the trees I am so blessed to live near. As my chosen quote states so well, trees are my sanctuary. In times where life gets hectic and work is overwhelming, the forests offer me respite, a place where I can simply be. To be among the trees is so incredibly refreshing to my senses. I smell the sap, hear the creak, groan and crackle of the wood as it heats and cools or resists the weather; my eyes are filled with the colours of fresh life as well as slow decay, all in their time. I feel the cool summer breezes among the branches and savour the shelter they offer in the storm.

So, when I came across this plantation of trees near Bancroft, Ontario, I could not help but notice the growth of young trees among their mature ancestors. Truly, among the giants and bathed in the soft winter light.

This is also an image that speaks of transition, from old to new and from past to future. I have no idea what 2019 has to offer. The year 2018 was a true blessing to me, personally, spiritually, and artistically and I expect the trees will continue play a large part in my future pursuits; I’m glad for the companionship.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/60 sec, f/8.0, ISO 400

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

Iceland Journal -“A Final Flurry” – Grindavik, Iceland

“And what began as a dream, becomes reality, becomes memory…”
– Ed Lehming

So, concludes my Iceland Journal (this one at least),as it began, an image of vast stretches of wondrous, raw, and ever changing landscape.

It has been a real joy going back through my photos, triggering memories of moments, which I have been able to document and share.

And so, I end this chapter of the story, as we end the year 2018 and head into 2019.

I would not have believed, at the start of 2018 that it would include a trip to Iceland, who knows what this year will bring?

Wishing you all a Happy New Year 2019!

Iceland Journal – “The Magical Light of Iceland” – Kleifarvatn, Iceland

“We went down into the silent garden. Dawn is the time when nothing breathes, the hour of silence. Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.” 
― Leonora Carrington

The light in Iceland is incomparable, it possesses a magical quality and softness that simply pervades everything. I think, in part, is was partially due to the time of year, late October, when we visited. The sun never gets up very high and wonderful shadows are created. This ‘low’ sun also makes the light softer and warmer.

Here, along the shores of Kleifarvatn, the sun catches the yellow grasses on the low hillsides and makes them glow with light. Despite the snowy conditions, the whole scene is warm looking. Trust me, it was not warm when I made the photo!

There are colours here that are unrivalled in my experience, an inner glow, that I fell in love with. I can fully understand how Iceland holds other photographers in its thrall. The light shifts, dims, brightens, and brings out details like a spotlight, then moves on to the next subject.

It’s really quite remarkable, upon arriving here, we entered a world that looked blasted, tortured, and lifeless, yet the land slowly reveals its wonder, moment by moment until you are fully emerged in a sublime beauty that is so unexpected and so ceaseless that it’s almost overwhelming. And it’s all driven by the light, the magical sub-arctic light, and those beautiful mosses and grasses, which stand in such incredible contrast to the black sand and jagged rock.

As this year winds down, I’ve been able to send a lot of time recalling this memorable trip, through photos and memory.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 70 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 400

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