Category Archives: Landscape

“Blue Birches”

Blue Birches

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” 
― W.B. Yeats

I wanted to post one more of my ‘artsy’ interpretations. This time, the predominant color is blue, very appropriate for this late March day. The image was made around noon yesterday and I applied a filter to enhance the tones and textures. I had no idea just how much blue was preset in this scene. And then, looking back, it is true. My brain just knows that snow and birches are white, right? Yes, but it filters out all information on the reflected light it is seen in.

Part of this exercise is my desire to interpret the image as more than a simple photo, to add a feel through colour and texture. SInce I’m not a great painter, I let the computer help me in this aspect, till my painting improves. One day, I hope to be able to create this image from scratch, but that will take much practice and patience.

What strikes me, as I noted in yesterday’s post, is just how much our brain filters our vision to match our perception. This has broader implications than a brief post would cover, but it plants the seeds for us to consider our perceptions and the strong effect they have on our interaction with the world we live in.

Something to consider…

Apple iPhone 7
iPhone 7 back camera 3.99mm f/1.8
1/900 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20


“March Creek and Balsams”

March Creek and Balsams

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” 
― Richard Wagner

A bit of fun this morning. I decided to ‘play’ with an image I made yesterday, by running it through a filter. The results are quite pleasing and I thought I’d share it today.

My photography has already become quite untraditional, through my use of motion. This is quite deliberate, as I am trying to document the world I experience in a different way. As I walk through the woods, I am drawn to things others would often miss, the slight movement of light through the trees, a hint of purple in the water. The movement I impart to my photos causes the viewer to have to look closer, to ‘fool’ the brain into not filtering based on pre-programmed notions of what something ‘should’ look like and focus on what is being viewed more intentionally. This often yields unexpected elements and, in my experince, enhances the colurs and textures already present in the image.

This is made a bit more apparent in the image above. All the colours and textures already existed but are filtered by the brain as it adjusts our perception. After all, snow is white, is it not? How often have you looked at a photo and wondered where all the blue shadows came from? Our cameras simply document the light that comes into them, unless we correct them with filters. Notice the slight turquoise tones to the snow, and the hints of purple. Next time you go out, have a try at seeing the scene ‘unfiltered’. You may be surprised.

Apple iPhone 7
iPhone 7 back camera 3.99mm f/1.8
1/120 sec, f/1.8, ISO 25

“Green Returns?”

“Green Returns”

“Going green doesn’t start with doing green acts — it starts with a shift in consciousness.  
― Ian Somerhalder

This image invokes two thoughts for me: First, I’m loving the fact that the dull greens of winter are becoming for vibrant, and secondly, I’m ever conscious of just how fragile these forests, that I enjoy so much, really are.

I am made even more aware of this as the snow melts and the heaps of garbage left by ‘hikers’ emerges from the snow drifts at several of the trail heads, taking away from the beauty of the forest. The term ‘hikers’, in this sense refers not to those of us who hold the forest trails as precious, rather, the weekend warriors who come and go, likely not returning, until they feel compelled to do something ‘green’ again.

This lack of respect for the natural environment really bothers me, as I would like to continue to enjoy and have my children and their children enjoy as well. Leaving garbage at trail heads or on trails is so unnecessary. “If you bring it in, take it out”, is my motto.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70mm
1/4 sec, f/10.0 ISO 250

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“Icy Trails”

“Icy Trails”

“There is always danger for those who are afraid.” 
― George Bernard Shaw

I could not resist the quote. I am told over and over, “Be careful on the trails, they are icy.” I get it from family and other who hike these trails in warmer days. I have never considered the trails dangerous, it’s just a matter of adjusting to the conditions. I avoid the slickest, uneven sections, particularly those on steep slopes. Even with cleats on, I am careful not to get over-confident. But, I am experienced on these trials and rely on common sense and acquired skills to see me safely through.

The amount of ice on the trails this year is pretty significant. The conditions have been just right to render the heavily trodden trails into ice rinks. Yet, I have a need to be out here, enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds me and documenting some part of that. Friends seem surprised that I am out in these conditions, yet most times I run into other hikers, so I am not alone in this venture. Except I am carrying a bunch of camera gear, which would not do well in a fall.

So, here you have it, a small moment on the icy trails, the forest gradually emerging from its winter rest, as life and colour begin to show themselves once more.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70mm
1/4 sec, f/20.0 ISO 250

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“Spring Approaches”

“Spring Approaches”Winter hung in there, like an invalid refusing to die. Day after grey day the ice stayed hard; the world remained unfriendly and cold.” 
― Neil Gaiman

Contrary to the quote that I chose for this image, with the lengthening days and a few days of sunshine, winter is beginning to loosen its icy grip on the forest. The patches of ice and snow are retreating and the dull browns and yellows of the forest floor are beginning to take over.

Today, as I ventured into the forest once more, sounds dominated. There was the crunch, crunch of my icers (metal cleats that I attach to my hiking boots), on the frozen trail, hints of birdsong in the distance, and the roar of the wind, high above, setting the treetops into a wild frenzy of movement. As I watched the branches sway and clatter together, the movement reminded me of birth, the forest is waking, after its slumber and soon more hints of green will begin to emerge, the cycle repeats and soon, it will not just be sights and sounds, but the smells of the forest, that dominate.

This image, though not a filled with colours as my previous post, nicely illustrates the recession of snow, as it retreats back into a shallow valley, a brief respite from its inevitable demise.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0 ISO 250

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“Unexpected Colours of Late Winter”

“Unexpected Colours of Late Winter”

“Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.” 
― Flannery O’Connor

Well, back to reality. I live in a land of four seasons, often extreme and more often, surprising, offering unexpected gifts.

I got out on the trails again. The trails, at this time of the year, are downright treacherous, not only icy, but uneven and icy. So, a good set of ice cleats or ‘icers’ is an essential, unless you enjoy spending your time on your backside, sprawled across the trail. For me it’s also about protecting my camera gear. There’s not much more painful than watching a $1,600 lens bounce off the ice.

That’s the preface to today’s post. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, but still quite crisp and the trails were ice-covered, snow strewn in patches in the darker recesses of the forest. Late winter is like that around here. We get a few warm days, the snow melts and the resulting slush freezes overnight, only to repeat the cycle, especially on the packed down trails.

I have posted several photos earlier this year of my forest hikes, all are a bit dull, in this icy world of muted shades. In fact, that alone has kept me from bringing my camera with me on the past few hikes, nothing inspires.

Last week I purchased a new camera pack , a Tenba Solstice 24L, for those interested, which I am hoping to use in a few future expeditions, and today I decided to carry the pack with most of my gear to try it out. It is perhaps the best camera pack I have owned yet and opened up the option of having a large selection of lenses, filters, and accessories with me.

This ‘test’ hike brought me through familiar territory and I made a few images along the way. Then, I came across this beautiful scene. The late morning sun flashed from bright green spruce sapling and lit up the golden leaves of a small beech tree. I was determined to capture this bit of magic. After a few trials, I believe I have something close to what I saw. I am now re-inspired, despite what largely appears as a dull and tired landscape. Nature always seems to have a few tricks up her sleeve to keep me coming back.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 90mm
1/4 sec, f/11.0 ISO 250

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“Sierra de la Laguna and Estuary” – San Jose del Cabo

“Sierra de la Laguna and Estuary” - San Jose del Cabo

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” 
― John Muir

I realized, as I was posting this image, that the same scene is the background for a previous post. But, that’s how I create many of my compositions. Several images from the same vantage point, as I take in my surroundings and observe the various elements that make up the broader scene.

What resonates with me in this image is the stark contrasts between the lush vegetation of the estuary in the foreground and the stark mountains of the Sierra de la Laguna in the background. By the way, all the green you see on the slopes of the mountain are various varieties of cactus and other brittle and spiky desert plants.

This image was made close to mid-day and a fine veil of mist hangs above lush palms like a halo, creating a slight haze across the lower mountains.

The Sierra create what I often term a ‘spine’ down the centre of the Baja Peninsula. Though rugged and mostly arid, I have noticed a few places which are green and inviting. These places will need to be explored on future visits to this region which beckons my back.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 300mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0 ISO 400

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