Category Archives: Nature

“Sierra Nevada Olive Groves” – Spain

“Sierra Nevada Olive Groves” - Spain

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I stated yesterday, I’m finding myself quite reflective these days. As I review my photos I’m really struck by all the wonderful experiences the past year has provided. I’m grateful to have the health and resources to be able to travel and experience the world, and grateful for the ability to visually document these experiences.

Many of the most joyful moments in our travels have been the quiet and simple things, like standing in an ancient olive grove in the foothills of Spain’s Sierra Nevada. This ancient grove, just outside of Granada, is several hundred years old and bounded to the south by rugged mountains. As I stood there, I could imagine the farmers of old planting this grove in the shadow of the same mountains. The dry and sparse soil provided just enough to allow these trees to flourish and bear fruit which produces some of the finest olive oil in the world. It was not a quick process but by having just enough of the right minerals the trees bore a better quality yield than might have been imagined.

So, on reflecting on these scenes, I’m reminded that even though our travels are far from luxurious, they provide us with these small experiences, shared with friends and family that have yielded more than we could have imagined, and I am forever thankful for that.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 98mm
1/1000 sec, f/16.0 ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

 

“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)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Up and Over”

“Up and Over”

“What lies ahead? We seldom know the details, but we anticipate, hoping for the best.” – Ed Lehming

As February transitions to March, I am keenly aware of the subtle changes in the forest. The light is a bit warmer and softer than it has been for far too long, there are more birds flitting about in the branches high above. There is more movement and the sounds are different. Even the air has a new feel.

There is a change just ahead and just like the forest trails as they rise and dip, so do the seasons, but it’s never quite the same, there is always some slight variation beyond the next hill.

It’s those subtle changes that I enjoy the most, not anxiously, but with glad anticipation. That barely noticable change may be the inspiration for my next favourite photo, though I have tread these paths so many times before.

There is also a change in me, how I see things, how I perceive them, as well as my many experiences lead me on, always knowing that what lies ahead will not be the same as what I have become accustomed to and I hope that my journey thus far has prepared me to fully enjoy them.

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

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Shadow Play in the March Forest”

“Shadow Play in the March Forest”

“Light and shadow compete in the changing light just as the warm and cool air swirls within the March forest, each seeking dominion at this time of transition.” – Ed Lehming

For this image I set out to try something very different from my usual style. First of all, I shot the image in mono, getting the light and shadow to balance just right after several failed attempts. Second, I shot a forest scene in landscape orientation while still moving my camera to get the slight sense of motion that I like so much.

As the image came together I was quite pleased in how it realized so close to what I had envisioned. It brought forth a forest still snow-bound, yet somehow alive and filled with energy. The flow of the snow on the gently sloped ground further enhanced this feeling of life, or motion. The trees don’t feel static either, they seem to flow into each other and are accented by the light reflecting from the fine branches that weave and wind between them.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/4 sec, f/29, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Enter March”

"Enter March"

“Enter March with caution, it may seem calm and quite but the month can surprise the unprepared with surprising fury, all is not as it seems in the moment. – Ed Lehming

It’s been quite a change since my last outing at the end of February. The snow remains, but warm and sunny days followed and the snow now lies deep and wet, and packed, making the trails easier to walk, without snowshoes, but very uneven.

The clouds and snow of February have been for now, replaced by sunshine and mild days. When I went out to make this photo I was wearing a sweatshirt and down-filled vest and ended up taking the vest off and rolling my sleeves up before I was halfway done.

These days offer beautiful light and last week’s snow still flows relatively pure and unbroken. A step off the trail and you are knee-deep in it, so the only disturbance to the snow is the occasional dog venturing off after a squirrel.

I do love these days, where the contrast of winter cold and snow against sunlit bright warm leaves is so noticable. It almost feels like the light of spring is breaking through. But I won’t be deceived, March can bring some ‘interesting’ weather as well and I’m fully prepared to don my toque and winter jacket a few more times before it’s done.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/4 sec, f/25, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“February Light and Shadow”

“February Light and Shadow”

“The days of February’s end are unpredictable, often dull and snow filled. Yet, in the right conditions glimpses of spring light brighten the days.” – Ed Lehming

There is a certain magic in late February. A spring nears, the sun rises ever so slightly higher in the sky. Beams of warm light penetrate the forest, probing into what was just weeks ago a dull and shaded glade.

This warm sunshine lights up the formerly muted thickets, revealing wonderful greens and golds. It’s the splashes of brightness that I really enjoy. The way they seem to focus my attention on distant details that were shadows a few short weeks ago. The beams dance among the tree trunk, causing a glow that strongly contrasts with the shaded areas. It feels like an early sign of the life that will soon abound in the springtime forest.

In this image, those elements abound as the sun is able to light up the taller trees and short firs on this slight rise in the terraine. It’s like a beautiful cascade of light and colour rising from the snow covered ground.

And so, February passes away and March arrives.

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

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Leap Day Trudge”

“Leap Day Trudge”

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
― Anne Bradstreet

This day, February 29, a leap day, was yet another opportunity for me to get outdoors and spend some time enjoying the fresh fallen snow. It was a rather crisp day, with a temperature of -13 C, calm, and bright. I figured that the cold temperatures might keep many people indoors, and I was right.

When I got to the trailhead, there was not a single car in the lot and the trails were completely untouched. I had brought my snowshoes along because the 30 cm of fresh snow we received over the previous two days would not provide an easy walk. I was wise in choosing this option because even with snowshoes on, I found myself breaking fresh trail through deep powdery snow for the entire 5 km hike, high stepping the entire way. It was exhausting yet exhilarating at the same time.

To walk through this winter world in solitude and experiencing the simple things like the sound of the sound of snow puffing and crunching underfoot, the eerie crackling of the trees in the deep cold, and the soft flitter of birds high above is refreshing to me.

Because the snow was so deep, I had plenty of opportunities to simply pause, rest, and listen as I caught my breath. It also offered the opportunity to make a few photos as I stood on the trail surveying my surroundings and made me realize just how deep the snow was by the newly packed trail behind me.

The photo I chose today is looking back at the trail after having emerged from the forest into a small clearing. You can see my path between the trees.

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

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com