Category Archives: Plants & Flowers

“Pondside Tamarack”

“Pondside Hemlock”

“It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a reason to be happy or sad, you will always find it.” 
― Kamand Kojouri

In this hectic world, I am usually looking for things that bring me peace. I find this peace in simplicity and often in the most obscure things.

Last weekend I went out with the intention of going on an extended hike and make some photos of my experience. It’s been too long since I have been on the trails. Between extremely hot weather and a chaotic work schedule, finding the time and conditions to get out has just been a challenge lately. So when I found a few hours, I decided to take that time and get out there, simply to recharge. It was still hot and humid, but bearable. As I entered the familiar forest trail I was greeted by a cloud of mosquitoes unlike anything I have ever experienced. Despite a healthy application of bug spray, I was still overwhelmed by them and resigned myself to head back to the car.

Disappointed in the conditions, I decided to head to a different trailhead and try my luck. Despite this disappointment, my eyes are always drawn to something unique, some play of light, or interesting from, and as I walked back to the car I noticed this tamarack branch, covered in cones with a large pond in the background. I looked through my viewfinder, the composition formed nicely and offered me this image.

Such a simple moments brings peace to me and looking at the photo now, a few days later, it transports me back to that moment and the calm that ensued.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

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


“Wild Basil – Clinopodium vulgare”

“Wild Basil - Clinopodium vulgare”

“My love affair with nature is so deep that I am not satisfied with being a mere onlooker, or nature tourist. I crave a more real and meaningful relationship. The spicy teas and tasty delicacies I prepare from wild ingredients are the bread and wine in which I have communion and fellowship with nature, and with the Author of that nature.” 
― Euell Gibbons

Every hike seems to bring a new discover. As I walk familiar paths, some splash of colour or unusual shape pulls me deeper into my relationship with nature. This past week, I discovered this wild basil plant. Frankly, I did not know it grew in my area and this is the first time I’ve seen one. Strange, it seemed so familiar but I did not make the connection till later.

Since I did not know what it was till I researched the photo, I did not take the time to test the smell or taste. That will have to wait for a subsequent visit. For now, I’m happy to have the photo as a reminder to return.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/400 sec, f/10.0, ISO 320

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

“Prickly Goosberry – Ribes cynosbati”

“Prickly Goosberry - Ribes cynosbati”

“Beware of those who are bitter, for they will never allow you to enjoy your fruit.” 
― Suzy Kassem

The gooseberries are not just bitter, but well protected. I imagine birds would do alright with these but I’m trying to picture a squirrel or some other rodent trying to deal with these spiky berries.

This native fruit bearing shrub is a new one to me, even though I have hiked past this location hundreds of times. Why I did not notice something so unique puzzles me, as I’m always on the lookout for something unique along the way. Perhaps I’ve walked past before the fruit was formed or after the birds had stripped the berries already.

The image is quite green in tone, the result of a lush green canopy overhead filtering the sunlight. Rather than trying to colour correct the image, I decided to leave it as is, a reminder of this warm day among the greenery.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/100 sec, f/5.0, ISO 320



“When you reach for the stars, you are reaching for the farthest thing out there. When you reach deep into yourself, it is the same thing, but in the opposite direction. If you reach in both directions, you will have spanned the universe.” 
― Vera Nazarian

It’s late June, yet many of the plants are still growing. This fern along the trail is a good example of this. In the warm breezes of early summer the fronds are still unfurling, still reaching for sunlight.

I chose the quote to go with this image to align with the concept of reaching outwards as well as the growth I experience, internally, every time I partake in these moments on my hikes. I reach within myself, trying to understand what I am experiencing. There are always surprises and I enjoy these. All this life and movement is energizing to me, the solitary hiker.

In the image above, if you look very carefully, there is an insect lurking behind the terminal frond. I don’t usually notice these when I make the image, they reveal themselves when I process the image. It would seem almost every plant and flower has an insect lurking somewhere. This one seems to be deliberately hiding from my lens.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/400 sec, f/100, ISO 320 

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

“Showy Lady Slipper – 2018”

“Showy Lady Slipper - 2018”

“The beauty of that June day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction. The breezes were so caressingly soft and intimate on the skin as to be embarrassing.” 
― Dan Simmons

Here we are, freshly into summer. I have found myself longing to get on the trails, to explore the changes the past month has brought. I sought to find the many groves of wildflowers, so familiar to me these past few years. Most of all, a craved the crunch of the ground beneath my boots and the sweet smells and familiar sounds of the forest.

Work has consumed my time, has left me drained and uninspired. I’ve been out walking,  in town, just to clear my mind and then back to the routine. My free time has been spendt simply trying to catch my breath and come down from the non-stop urgency of my job.

As I sat reviewing some of the photos from last year, it became clear to me that I was sacrificing something precious. I was abandoning the very thing that gives me energy and creativity. I was giving up being ‘in’ nature. How I got to this point is simple, it was a slow and steady increase in keeping up with the increasing demands of a job that requires years of acquired knowledge and a great deal of creativity, combined with increasingly tight deadlines. But, I have come to realize, that the pace is only sustainable for so long. I began feeling tired, irritable, and uninspired in other aspects of my life. A few times, I took the time to set up a studio shot or two, grabbed some quick images with my iPhone, but that was it.

As I sat looking at the calendar this past weekend, I realized that it was Orchid time. The brief period in late June when the Showy Lady Slipper Orchids bloom in a local conservation area. I simply had to get out to check on them. So today, I made a point of starting my day early and taking time at lunch to step away from the desk and into the forest. As soon as I stepped off the trailhead and into the forest, the outside world slid away around me and I felt the ‘oneness’ of the trail. Even the clouds of mosquitoes were welcome, though only briefly. I was blessed by a cooler day and a slight breeze, just enough to cool me and disperse the biting insects. Within 20 minutes I stood before these lovely flowers once more. The conditions were perfect and I was able to get the shots I wanted. It’s so good to be back!

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/200 sec, f/11.0, ISO 320

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

“Garden Sunshine”

“Garden Sunshine”

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” 
― Maud Hart Lovelace

I noticed, as I wrote this post, that I have not posted an image since May 31st. That’s what happens when you step away from something for too long; the time gets filled with other things.

The discipline of posting every day has been a very fulfilling experience for me. It forced me to be inspired when I was not and has taken me into the world of writing, which is not something I believe I am very good at. Posting and writing daily has caused me to consider my photos on a much deeper level. Writing about them has allowed me to go back to photos and the words that wrote and reflect back on that time and place. It has become a journal of my journey into me deliberate photography and has expanded my ability to explain much of the ‘why’ behind the photograph as well as the ‘how’.

So, today, as the rain finally falls outside, bringing much-needed moisture, summer is upon as, and so too, are roses.

As those who follow my blog will realize, I have a love for gardening and most plants do very well in my gardens. The one plant I have not been really interested in  is the rose. I love the look and fragrance of them, but have not felt a desire to grow the. My father was an avid and successful rose gardener, but for some reason, I never picked up on his particular passion. Perhaps that will be my challenge for next season.

The rose pictured above is actually named Garden Sunshine by the Richmond Hill Horticultural Society and is described by the hybridizer as ” “brilliant yellow, like sunshine in a plant,”. That is an apt description for this beautiful rose. What the description leaves out is the magnificent fragrance. I’m actually looking forward to having them in may garden.

The blossoms I photographed were given to my wife by a family friend who has several of these roses in his garden.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
3.0 sec, f/29.0, ISO 100 

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

“Lily of the Valley – Convallaria majalis”

“Lily of the Valley - Convallaria majalis”

“I miss your fragrance, sometimes I miss it this much that I can clearly smell you in the air.” 
― Qaisar Iqbal Janjua

Just in time for the last day of May. This has been a very delayed year for many of our spring flowers, here in Ontario. These just started blooming last week and I was happy to see a few remained for me to photograph.

The fragrance of lily of the valley is among my favourite scents and the memory of that smell brings back so many special times for me: gardening as a child, with my grandmother and father, my wedding day (we had lilacs and lily of the valley from our home and my wife’s family home as our flower arrangements and in the bouquet), as well as the birth of our first child, in May, 26 years ago. Lily of the valley and its wonderful sweetness was part of all those moments. I do miss it, when it’s not blooming, but the memory remains.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
3.0sec, f/29.0, ISO 100 

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