Category Archives: Nature

“Lush”

“Late August sunshine nourishes maturing plants. Fruiting vines, like grapes, hang heavy with their bounty.” – Ed Lehming

I’ve been spending more and more time at our home in Prince Edward County (PEC). One of the “county’s” claims to fame, and a major draw for urban tourists, are the numerous established and emerging wineries.

It’s a wonderful experience to visit the wineries and see all the ripening grapes in the fields, including these at Waupoos Winery at the south-east end of the county. It’s one of the oldest and most established wineries. It’s also quite unique in that the property extends right to the shores of Lake Ontario. I’m not sure the variety of these grapes but could not resist capturing an image of them. They look ready to burst.

Get ready for an ongoing theme of rural scenes and vineyards 🙂

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/1800 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

“Shoreline Leopard Frog”

“Seemingly out of place, on a wide gravel beach, the frog makes its way over the polished stones to the refreshing waters of the lake.” – Ed Lehming

On a recent trip to Ontario’s Prince Edward County, we spent some time on a quiet gravel beach. The beach was made of heavily polished limestone pieces deposited by the churning waters of Lake Ontario. These stones where all flat and smooth and extended inland some ten meters from the shore. The beach ended an an elevated shoreline of course limestone, sand, grasses, and scrubby trees.

It’s been an extremely hot and dry summer in this region, so I was surprised as a leopard frog emerged from the dry grass behind where I was sitting and began making its way to the water’s edge. It made sense that the frog would want the water, but it’s a fairly long and highly exposed route to take.

This particular frog did not seem to mind me blocking his way for a few minutes to get a photo while others on the same journey were pretty skittish. A few moments after making this image I started along the lakeshore and noticed many other frogs in the water and along the beach, also refreshing themselves. As I continued on my way, I saw a stick laying on the gravel. As I stepped towards it the ‘stick’ moved, as it turned out to be a rather large Garter Snake. This snake was not alone and there were many other snakes doing the same thing; hoping to intercept a frog on it’s way to or from the shore.

While I did not see any snakes who had successfully caught a frog, I’m sure it’s not an uncommon occurrence and there is absolutely no shelter for the frogs to escape from, they would have to rely completely on speed and stealth to survive the journey to and from the water.

“Runic”

“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.

 

“Deep Summer Greens”

Deep Summer Greens

“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.

“Morning Peony”

“Morning Peony”

“Hanging heavy with morning dew, a peony blossom among the leaves beams joyfully from the supporting foliage.” – Ed Lehming

I couldn’t have asked for a nicer composition, already framed by the bright green leaves of my spiraea bush, these peony blossoms were a joy to behold. It had just rained and the already large and heavy blossoms would have been on the ground had it not been for the spiraea’s support.

Those who cherish peony know the story. It seems that just as the blooms fully open, a rain storm will pass through and knock them down. Even after shaking as much water as possible from the flowers, they never quite stand up straight again.

This particular specimen was planted along one of my backyard fences as I was seeking a place to put all the peonies that I had acquired from my mother-in-law a few years back. It was important to her that her cherished peonies, many of which her mother passed down to her, stay in the family. So, this one, which was quite small only a few years ago, ended up in an available space next to a spiraea bush. Well, the peony has since flourished and the spirea has been a helpful neighbour, holding the heavy flowers up in even the heaviest rains. At time it looks like the blossoms are part of the bush itself, as they emerge between the leaves.

As I was tending to the garden that morning, I happened to have my phone close by and created this quick and natural composition. Everything was just right and I’m happy to be able to preserve another nice memory.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/540 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

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

“Multitude”

“Multitude”

“Seemingly simple but infinitely complex, nature offers new details the closer you look.” – Ed Lehming

This week I decided to take a break from mainstream social media, especially Facebook. I’ve found myself overwhelmed by intense and polarized viewpoints. I think much has to do with the physiological effects of the COVID restrictions. It will be some time before the full effects are assessed and understood. I know it’s been challenging for me on more than a few occasions.

I’ve seen decades-long friendships erode and fall to pieces; not my personal friendships, but those of other acquaintances as each party tries to win the other over to their viewpoint. So, as the Facebook battle rages, I’ve decided to withdraw for a while and focus on the seeming simplicity of the natural world around me. Hopefully, some of my photos and thoughts will bring peace and pleasure to others as the human world rages on.

Though I’m withdrawing from Facebook my blog is set up to push content to my Facebook business page and that will continue because many of my customers and fans don’t do WordPress. I’m very happy that I do because the blogging community is so much more respectful and appreciative that mainstream sites.

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

1/500 sec, f/18.0, ISO 800

 

“Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)”

“Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)”

“Tiny hints of purple between the undergrowth draw me in. Wild geraniums are beginning to bloom as the forest darkens under a thickening canopy of leaves.” – Ed Lehming

I still recall vividly the first time I discovered these beautiful little blooms along a forest trail. At first, easy to overlook, but once you see them they seem to be in every nook and cranny. Not knowing what they were, I took a few photos and researched them when I got home.

It turns out that these are wild geraniums. They look nothing like their highly modified domestic and highly hybridized counterparts, but when you look at them side by side, some similarities start to show.

I’ve gotten to the point where I begin to note the foliage in late spring and make a point of going back to the denser patches around blossom time, which began last week. Once you notice them, like many of the other diminutive forest floor blossoms, it’s hard not see more. They do tend to like the shade, thus the unusually high aperture setting on my camera in order to facilitate the narrow aperture, and slightly moist soil but are quite adaptable and are a hint at the many forest wildflowers still to bloom.

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

1/80 sec, f/16, ISO 3200

“Chive Blossom”

“There can be wonder in even the simplest things. Sometimes it takes closer observation to see how amazing the mundane can be when you spend time considering it.” – Ed Lehming

One of the most satisfying aspects of photography is the ability to spend time with what I photograph, both during and after making the actual photograph.

The chive blossom pictured here is a prime example. I was out in the garden yesterday photographing some of the flowers when I noticed this single blossom highlighted by a single beam of sunlight. As I set the shot up and started composing the image and making sure it was focussed, some of the fine details of the flower itself revealed themselves. These details are not readily visible to the casual observer. They look like fluffy purple flowers. But when you look carefully and deliberately the fine yellow anthers are noticed as well as the complex layers of the sepals where the blossom joins to the plant stalk.

These details become even more noticeable as I process my image. The flower which is only about 3 centimeters in size shows every detail when viewed on a twentyone inch monitor, even more so when you zoom in.

I’ve really noticed this even more so with naturally occurring things, like plants, whereas man-made items don’t reveal any further complexity, which I find to be a very interesting and surprising phenomenon.

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

1/2500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 250

“Starshine”

“Small white stars dot the deep green carpet of the forest floor, a private constellation of purity.” – Ed Lehming

Starflower (Lysimachia borealis) was what I set out to photograph earlier this week. To my dismay, the hot dry weather had accelerated their blooms and I only found a few still flowering. But it was not a total loss, the few that remained were still in good condition and I was able to make this image.

The more time I spend hiking the more keenly aware I become of my natural surroundings. I’ve seen starflower plants emerging from between dried leaves since early May, making note of where the larger colonies where, so i could return at a later date. I’ve gotten better at identifying plants as tiny sprouts and flowerless greenery.

Part of my routine now is to seek out plants that I am not as familiar with, photograph them, and study them once I get home. That was the case with starflowers only a few years ago. They seemed quite rare at the time but as I became familiar with them, I find them to be quite abundant, which I a good thing, since they are such beautiful flowers, if every so briefly.

They can be a challenge to photograph since the bright white contrasts strongly with the deep green foliage. I tend to underexpose my images and correct in post-processing.

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

1/125 sec, f/16.0, ISO 1600