Tag Archives: beech

“Beech Returns (and a bug)”

“The forest fills with fresh green growth, as the cycle of growth begins anew, and with it, the inevitable return of insects.” – Ed Lehming

This image is now approaching a week old and represents the first solid growth of beech leaves in my area. On previous posts I have commented on the cool and dry spring we’ve had. Two weeks ago it snowed. Then seemingly overnight the temperature climbed into the high 20’s (celcius) and the forest literally exploded into life.

I’ve been waiting for a bit of warmth to bring on growth and add some colour back to the landscape, but along with the warmth come the stinging and biting insects. In this area, a particularly nasty critter known as a blackfly dominates May to early June. They are about the size of fruit flies but in their quest for a meal leave small itchy punctures which tend to bleed due to the anticoagulant in their saliva. The saliva also causes them to itch terribly in most people, leaving large red welts with a predominant puncture wound in the centre. You don’t feel them when they bite but you sure feel the itch afterwards.

I have not ventured into the woods since I made this image. I’m hoping the heat will ‘burn off’ some of the swarms of blackflies, yes there are literally clouds of them, before my next visit but I may not be able to wait that long. I know these leaves will be fully opened on my next visit and the delicate fuzz which protects them from late frosts will have been shed, leaving shiny, deep-green leaves to drink in the sun’s energy.

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

1/500 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

“The Inevitable Transition”

“The Inevitable Transition”

“All things change, it is inevitable, even the things that appear to be constants eventually pass into history. The cycles of time and nature cannot be stopped.” – Ed Lehming

I’ve written a few times about the beauty of beech leaves in the dead of winter. As other leaves have long since fallen to the ground, these leaves cling to the branches with incredible tenacity and offer much needed brightness to otherwise dull winter forests.

They hang on all winter long, and then, within days, they are gone, their purpose served. I’ve often wondered about this phenomenon and set out to understand it better. This spring I spend some time observing the ‘fall’ of the beech more closely and now understand the process better.

The previous years’ leaves are attached to the stem at a ‘bud point’. I’m sure there is a scientific term for this junction, but I’ll use my own expression here. Where other species’ leaves loose the connective fibres that attach the leaves, beech leaves do not. They remain connected to this ‘bud point’ all winter long. The connection is not broken till a new bud forms and pushes outwards, severing the connecting tissue. That’s why they all seem to fall off at the same time. Their cycle ends and another begins.

I can’t help but relate this analogy to what’s going on in our world right now. We are clinging with all out emotional strength to the world we have known for so many years and we will, by human nature, resist the change, each in our own fashion. But the change is already underway, all we can hope for is something better.

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

1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

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

 

“Fire Within”

“Fire Within”

“Within the autumn forests, trees put on a final brilliant show of colours to brighten our days as the days shorten and sunlight fades”
–  Ed Lehming

Can you imagine an autumn without colour? An autumn where the days simply become darker and the leaves drop to the ground as dried green husks?

Thankfully, that is not the case and as days become shorter and the temperatures cool there is still the splendour of fall colours adding the illusion of warmth to otherwise dull and gray days. I can’t imagine it any other way.

Over the past many years, I have spent as much time as possible on the forest trails around my house. Every year seems to yield some new miracle of colour. This year has been no exception. Though I was tied up with my Studio Tour the bright, warm weekend when the colours were at their peak, I have since managed a few short outings to take in what remains, and have not been disappointed.

I faced many scenes like this one; mostly bare forest with incredible shows of dazzling oranges produced by the beech trees. In this case, the single beech among a grove of birch trees looked like a fire within their trunks and branches. The colour was so incredibly stunning that I was concerned it would not show in the photograph, but it did. I made the photo hoping to do the scene justice and when I looked at my phone, I knew I was successful. Yes, this photo was made using my iPhone and is pretty much untouched with the exception of a bit of sharpening and black point adjustment to maintain the contrast that makes it so stunning.

The nice thing about beech trees, which I have mentioned before, is that they retain their colour for much of the winter, offering bright patches of orange and copper in an otherwise bleak landscape.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/1000 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

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

“April Revenant”

“April Revenant”

“The ghosts of winter cling stubbornly to thin branches, fluttering as bright reminders of days gone by.”
– Ed Lehming

As the days warm, the ghostly and diaphanous leaves of the beech begin to fade. Throughout the winter their brightness was a welcome respite from the cold, gray, and seemingly lifeless forest.

They have survived the winter winds, snow, and ice, though the season has clearly taken its toll. The leaves, once a bright coppery gold, are now thin, bleached, and ragged. Yet, as we await the freshness of spring, even these tatters provide a most welcome brightness to the otherwise drab forest.

This particular beech tree, with its now faded and ghostly leaves, stands before a tree which fell to the ground over the winter, evidenced by the bright, exposed wood on the stump. The limited sunlight played on the ground and the last remnants of snow lay in the shadows. It’s a snapshot which nicely captures a very brief moment in the forest. A scene which plays out for me year after year and also provides a real challenge in lighting, contrast, and composition to communicate the mood adequately.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/4 sec, f/29.0, ISO 200

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

“Final Traces”

“Final Traces”

“Winter’s parting left us traces of its touch; a bit of snow, a hint of frost, and cool breezes, as if someone had left a door open.”
– Ed Lehming

I wanted to revisit my beloved beech trees one last time before they wither into spring. Here, a closer look at the beautiful structure of the leaves, dusted in snow, from this past weekend’s unexpected dumping.

The brightness of the pure white snow almost enhances the golden glow of the leaves clinging to a single branch.

Many times I find myself spending particular attention to these leaves, always looking for the best angle to photograph them from, as light and background play a large part in the final composition. In this case, I used a moderate aperture setting to ensure the entire leaf was in focus while softening the background details, comprised mostly of snow-covered branches.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200 mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

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

 

“Shine”

“Shine”

“Through our dark times, if we have eyes open in hope, we can see glimpses of what might be, in what was.”
– Ed Lehming

The beautiful brightness of beech leaves in winter, and early spring for that matter is always a welcome sight. Even on the dullest snow-filled days, they glow with soft gold, a reminder of the rich colours of autumn. The sun, even in limited amounts, makes them seem to shine with an internal light.

Beech trees tend to hang onto their leaves throughout the winter, despite snow, and wind, most survive well into early spring, when warm and damp days tend to cause them to finally decompose. Many look pretty ragged by the time April arrives, yet some weather the seasons with surprising tenacity.

I’m always happy for them. They remind me of mild and colour filled autumn days and their shine is like a small beacon of life among the dark and frozen branches.

In this image, a recent, and unwelcome early spring snowfall on the final day of March clings to the delicate branches of a beech sapling, making the remaining leaves seem all the brighter against the snow-encrusted forest in the background.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 135 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

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

“A Shift to Bronze”

“A Shift to Bronze”

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
― L. M. Montgomery

As I prepare for my 2018 Studio Tour, it gives me time to reflect on present photos, as well as those from previous years and I am astounded about how many have been printed, yet I have not taken the time to comment on them.

This image is one of those photos that for one reason or another was set aside. Interestingly, as I was preparing images for the Studio Tour, this one was chosen by three different individuals to be included.

The photo was made last autumn, a week after last year’s Tour. It was interesting, because the Tour weekend falls on the weekend after Canadian Thanksgiving, usually a peak period for autumn colours and I was slightly bemoaning the fact that I was missing out on this.

The day was cool, and windy, but the leaves were still hanging on quite well, despite this. Much of the predominant green and yellow was starting to fade and oranges, golds and bronzes were taking hold. It was the start of my “Golden Paths” series and has become one of my more powerful series of autumn images.

Here, I’m hiking past a familiar cluster of birch trees, with their yellow leaves just starting to wither and backfilled with the golden bronzes of the many beech trees. It really represents that ‘shift’ in colours so prominent at that particular time of year.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/32.0 ISO 100

“Sunset Swell”

“Sunset Swell”

“One day, all your worries will set like the sun does and deserved happiness will come gushing like waves at the beach do. All you need to make sure is that your trips to beach never end.” 
― Jasleen Kaur Gumber

Another glorious end of day at Sauble Beach. Even the gentlest dusk breezes move the water into waves that endlessly lap at the shore. Some, a bit more aggressively than others.

I spent the day at the lakeshore, watching the character of the waves shift throughout the day; from powerful, rolling, two meter swells to the gentle rollers of twilight. It was, basically, a day for doing nothing other than experiencing the movement of water and sharing that time with friends and family. A rather nice way to spend the day.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/16.0, ISO 400

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

“Loner”

“Loner”

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” 
― John Joseph Powell

Today has been interesting. The week was filled with significant milestones: I posted my 1,00th post and hit my 4 years WordPress anniversary. Then, I took a bit a bit of a break, having to refuel, creatively, and find some new subject matter to focus on.

The weather has been uncooperative and my schedule chaotic, so I’m finding myself reviewing some of my more recent photos, looking for inspiration and looking forward to making a few new images. Now that I am becoming much more selective in my images, I find I have less to ‘fall back’ on.

During this period of a week I’ve been a bit inactive on my blog, only to check in to find I had 2 views in the entire day. That’s a far cry for the hundreds I’ve had in the past few weeks, I guess I need to get active again?

No matter, here’s an image I made a few weeks ago of a singular beech tree surrounded by larger maples. Though it is so much smaller, the beech is still showing off its golden leaves, which it will retain well after the first snow falls of December. I plan on going back to shoot the same image with snow, as I imagine it will be quite lovely.

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

1/100 sec, f/5.0, 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

“Receding”

“Receeding”

“We’re always attracted to the edges of what we are, out by the edges where it’s a little raw and nervy. “
– E. L. Doctorow

Similar to my photo from a few days ago “Transitions and Sunsets“, this is another transition photo, made on the same shoreline, at a different time. The elements remain the same, but the light and weather conditions are different.

In this image, made mid afternoon, the water is beginning to recede, having been pushed ashore by high winds and waves. The small ripples in the water are the only indication of this wind, all else would seem calm, the timeless ebb and flow of waves on the shore. The effect the water has on the tone of the sand, making it slightly darker, is what first caught my eye, as well as the sorting of sand grains between light and dark, which is so common on beaches around here, creating the streaks of tan and gray.

It’s yet another image that I simply enjoy looking at and drawing meaning from.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/270 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20