Category Archives: Photography

“Balsam Sunlight”

“Balsam Sunlight”

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” 
― Martha Graham

Welcome to the spruce bog. Though it may not sound exotic, the light and imagery that I experienced on this usually familiar hike was stunning, causing me to start this new series titled “Spirit of the Spruce”. The entire series was photographed in a small stretch of trail no longer than a few hundred meters. One dominated by spruce and balsam fir.

As I set out last Saturday, I had no idea what the day might bring, only that the light was wondrous, and with wondrous light, anything is possible.

I’ve hiked this stretch of the Secord Forest hundreds of times, usually favouring it in mid June, when the orchids are blooming and the mosquitoes are swarming. Otherwise, it’s just an area that I pass through to get to another destination.

I could not believe my eyes as I gazed upon the familiar sight of tightly packed spuce, mosses, and tangled underbrush, beautiful warm sunlight streaming from above. The sunlight was the only thing warm that day, as the air was crisp and cold, but very clear.

The way the sun lit the scene up was spectacular, bringing light to a forest floor usually locked in darkness, the realm of mushrooms and mosquitoes. Not that day, sunlight reflected throughout this tangle of trees, revealing details often missed in the shadows.

So join me once more as I explore yet another often ignored environment, the spruce bog on Southern Ontario.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/9.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Three?”

“Three?”

“You might as well ask an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem. It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear thorough the search.” 
― Rick Riordan

And this search goes on., as I embark on another series of photographic abstracts. Yet, despite the quote, I believe I am able to explain my art. I take great satisfaction in these ‘light paintings’.

I find that by adding the slight movement it disturbs the viewer just enough that they begin to pay attention to details that are often missed. As I study my own photos of the same scene, one, a still photo and the other, a slight pan, colours that are lost or subdued on the static photo seem more vibrant, more alive. I find the movement adds a dynamic that is not there in a still image.

Perhaps it’s just how I see things and this is a way for me to ‘realize’ them. It’s also a way for me to create art, using light and movement rather than a brush. It is very satisfying because I am creating something new, something that was not there before. It the creation that drives me, that combined with the fact that the images seem to resonate with the viewer.

It’s been interesting for me, since I started creating these images, that not once, has anybody said to me, “That’s just a blurry picture”. Most viewers are intrigued with the images, and I find them drawn deeper into the scene than with crisp, clean shots, which seem to briefly satisfy.

As yet, this new series remains unnamed, but that will come to me shortly. In the meantime, enjoy.

This particular image is named “Three?” because there are three dominant trees, but there is more to it, isn’t there? There are more than just the three trees, there are others in the periphery that count too, do they not?

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@75mm

1/4 sec, f/10.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Line Up”

“Line Up”

“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” 
― Aldo Leopold

This part of the world looks like nothingness on a map. While there is a town close by, it really is a wilderness area. A land of steep, nearly unnavigable hillsides, dense forest, and swampy wetlands. To me, it’s paradise, a place to unwind and just enjoy an unblemished space in this world.

It’s also a place to look around and let the imagination run. I see beauty everywhere, in the curve of the path, the marvelous variety and diversity of life, and endless patterns.

In this image I saw lines. I saw the way the trees, maple, yellow birch, and hemlock lined up. I also noticed the one darker, narrow tree that runs vertically up the photo. It is literally, a line upwards, yet I could not get the composition and lighting right without including it, so here it is, as I saw it.

This ‘place’, is one of an endless series of ‘places’, each slightly different, which make up the Boreal forest in this area. I see the entire forest before me, but my eye breaks it up into components. Each part, though an element of the whole, is a so unique. I could go back to this expanse of forest and go back to this exact spot with little effort. Even now, as I write, I can place myself along the trail, to this exact spot and the moment in which the photo was made. Except now, my fingers are warmer than on that chilly November day, enjoying the “Boreal Trails”.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@75mm

1/4 sec, f/10.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (images are available for purchase)
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“Birches, Beech, and Balsam”

“Birch, Beech, and Balsam”

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.” 
― Wallace Stegner

Here’s a familiar sight along the “Boreal Trails”, an interspersing of the dominant species of trees, namely:  Birch, Beech, and Balsam. All three are seen in this image with a few maples, oak, and poplar, in the background.

Beech is easy to identify by its bark, which resembles a gray elephant hide. At this time of year, its about the only tree still hanging on to its leaves, which have turned a beautiful coppery orange. Birch, of course is known for it’s white, papery bark, though there are several species in this area: paper birch, which is seen here, and yellow birch, which has more of a silvery, tattered bark. Finally, there is the deep green balsam, an evergreen that grows as a shrub along trails but can grow into quite a large tree, over time.

The balsams tend to enjoy the ample light available along the trails and pathways and form thick clusters between the hardwoods that grow alongside them. They offer cover for larger ground birds, like ruffed grouse, which is quite common here. Often you can hear the grouse ‘cooing’ along the trails but can’t see them in the thick green balsams whose branches nearly touch the ground.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@112mm

1/4 sec, f/16.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“The Crossing”

The Crossing”

“… there’s a silent voice in the wilderness that we hear only when no one else is around. When you go far, far beyond, out across the netherlands of the Known, the din of human static slowly fades away, over and out.” 
― Rob Schultheis

I titled this ‘Crossing’ because it illustrates my point in a prior post about the lack of straight paths in the Boreal forest. A large tree has fallen across the path in front of me, ‘crossing’ my path.

It the way of trekking cross-country, and changing my way, slightly to get to my next destination. Here, I chose to go right and slightly up hill, to get to my destination, which is nearly unseen beaver pond just past the crest of the hill. Though, you can see a bit of a reflection between the trees at the centre, just below the shining beech leaves. By destination is straight ahead, but my path is far for straight. A true “Boreal Path”.

You’ll notice another ‘snag’, or pile of dead brush along that path as well. Like I said, there are no straight paths through this forest. I’m also ‘crossing’ the hill to get there and two of the Hemlocks in the foreground are ‘crossing’ over each other, almost weaving together.

This is a place of peace and quiet, and circuitous paths and a place so different from the human world I have escaped from. There are no clear paths, plans must flex situationally, and only the chatter of the ever-present Red Squirrels to replace the noise and busyness of the world outside the refuge.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@70mm

1/4 sec, f/7.1, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (images are available for purchase)
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“Sunday Morning Window Art”

“Sunday Morning Window Art”

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” 
― Pablo Picasso

I simply can’t turn it off. I see photos everywhere and every day, and I would have it no other way.

As an example, I saw ‘this’ as I stepped out of my car at church this morning. A light snow had melted and leaves from a nearby silver maple, bright yellow, fell and stuck to the wet truck window next to me.

I love the layers here. Leaves, rain drops, reflected trees and sky, all the elements of the day in one shot. The shot pretty much composed itself. it was just waiting for me to notice it.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/120 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20