Tag Archives: beech

“Tattered Remains”

“Tattered Remains”

“I have lived long enough. My way of life
Is fall’n into the sere, the yellow leaf,
And that which should accompany old age”
– William Shakespeare

The words to the Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun” echoes through my mind as I consider this image made on the trails yesterday. “It’s been a long cold northern winter”. Indeed, it feels that way.

In reality, this past winter was relatively mild, delayed till late November in its arrival, with a few large bouts of snow, but a lot of cold, windy days. More windy days than I can recall in recent years. The snow, came in large amounts, some melting off, but enough remaining in the forests to compress the leaves on the ground into a dense, solid mat. Something I have not seen for a few years.

The other effect, and I had not noticed this before, though I was not particularly looking for it, was that the beech leaves, which offered splashes of bright orange, well into autumn and early winter, really showed the ravages of the winter. Much of the colour was gone, leaving dull and parched leaves, with ragged edges. In fact, when I first saw them, they looked like ghostly remnants of their former selves. They even look like the skeletons of fish, with their bone-like veins.

The firm, robust, almost leathery, leaves of autumn had become desiccated and diaphanous, Yet diaphanous alludes to some softness, which these were not. The leaves hung to the branches like the brittle wraiths of autumn. Yet, when you look closely, new buds are present, waiting for a few day to coax them back to life, and the cycle continues. Life from death, or rather, a long sleep.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/50 sec, f/16.0, ISO 200

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“Shining Brightly”

“Shining Brightly”

“The joy you feel when you become a small life particle sun and share its brightness and warmth with those around you is indescribably great.”
― Ilchi Lee

As the upcoming winter makes its presence known daily, with cold winds, sleet, and icy mornings, a bit of autumn still remains. Beech seems to have some extra ‘stick’ to its leaves. They are almost always the last to fall and bring patches of brightness to even the dullest days.

I made this photo a few days ago, when the skies were not quite so dull and a bit of colour still shone through from the background. Even there, you can see a few patches of golden orange in the higher branches.

The beech leaves themselves are a bit weathered, but that is typical of this time of year and they are surprisingly intact considering the hot summer drought we had this past year. Surprisingly, most trees in my area produced some of the most astounding colour in years, despite the harsh conditions they faced.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 92 mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Forest Floor Companions”

“Forest Floor Companions”

“I am learning my way toward something that will make sense of my life, and I learn by going where I have to go, with whatever companions I am graced.” 
― Dean Koontz

At the base of a dead beech tree, these companions add brightness and life, among the dead and decomposing elements surrounding them.

For some unknown reason, the large beech trees in this local forest all died a few years ago. Many of them are very large and old, so it may just be a cycle, as there are many younger trees thriving in the same area. The die-off started a few years back and most of the elders are gone now, the bark peeling off their massive trunks,  branches falling to the ground with every passing winter. I also suspect a new housing development nearby may have altered the water table, ever so slightly, as to affect the older trees. The forest seems a bit ‘wetter’ than usual.

Yet, among all this death, spring offers her bounty of fresh life, in the form of wildflowers, growing in abundance at the base of these dead trees. There are Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica), also known by some as May Flowers or Fairy Spuds (the roots and flowers are edible), with their bright pink faces and delicate stems. Then there are also Trout Lilies with their mottled leaves and bright yellow flowers. Mixed in among them, though not pictured here are red and white trilliums, to name the most predominant in my area. It seems every year there are more, which is wonderful to see.

To think a few short years ago I would walk these same trails and never notice anything but the white trilliums. There is something to be said for slowing down and just looking. It’s amazing what we can see, if we take the time.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Alight in Golds”

“Alight in Golds”

One of my favourite abstracts from this past autumn. This photo was made while hiking the Secord Conservation Area trails a few weeks ago. As noted on earlier posts, this year produced beautiful gold tones in the beech trees along the trail and the autumn sunlight filtered down to the forest floor, producing a beautiful soft, warm light.

I used my vertical pan technique to produce the abstract blur effect which has become a bit of my brand. Since it’s done handheld, the results are often surprising and a bit variable. I have a pretty good idea how it will look and carefully select a composition which will yield favourable results.

In this particular composition, the golden beech leaves are in the foreground with maples and pines in the background. There are beech leaves mixed with maple on the ground and some low greenery at the base of the maples. The overall result is a somewhat serene image with soft splashes of gold against a darker background. It’s an image I am often drawn to on busy days and reminds me of the quiet times on the hiking trails.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm
1/4 sec @ f/20.0, ISO 250

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“Trailside Carnival”

“Trailside Carnival”Generally, titles for my photos come fairly easily. Not so in this case. I looked at the photo over and over and nothing seemed appropriate. It’s also a fairly tall composition, which I have stayed away from, unless absolutely necessary. After a while of looking at the elements, I thought, “This looks like a carnival, with all the bright colours mixing together.”

This is a hillside along one of the Secord Conservation Area trails. There are a lot of tall maples, beeches, and oaks in the foreground and some younger beeches (orange leaves) in the background mixed with a few maples which, for some reason, had not changed to their fall colours yet. The way the oranges and greens mixed together was interesting to me, and thus, the photo above was made.

It was also one of those days of soft, warm light that lit up the forest floor in patches and brought out some of the finer details of the tree trunks in the foreground. For me, just another glimpse into this serene place that I like to visit frequently.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 80mm
1/125 sec @ f/5.6 -.33, ISO 250

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“Glowing Beech Leaves”

“Glowing Beech Leaves” Durham Forest, Uxbridge

Did I mention I love the light in the fall?

During one of my hikes this fall, I was covered with a glowing canopy of golden beech leaves, brightly lit by the sun. All the light around me was this beautiful, warm yellow/orange and the entire forest just glowed.

Amid all this warmth, it was difficult to isolate a single image that showed the source of this wonderful light. This image is probably the best representation of what I saw. Multiply this image by thousands and that would give a good idea of just how glorious the light was. The leaves literally looked like they were made of gold. Granted, some had some decay and did not look their best, but that was not noticeable till you got up close.

This particular cluster showed its finery the best, with nice structure and clean lines, against the darker  pine forest in the background.

Whenever I look at this photo, it brings me back to the place and time when I made it and fills me with a warmth and longing to return, knowing it was just one of those fleeting moments that we can only return to in memory, but I’ll hold onto it, nonetheless and look forward to the next season with hopes that nature repeats her show once more.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 165mm
1/250 sec @ f/9.0 -.33, ISO 250

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“Spring Beauties” – Stouffville Reservoir

“Spring Beauties”  - Stouffville Reservoir

Yes, I know, two posts in one day. 🙂

I had the opportunity today, now that it is starting to at least look more like spring, to go for a hike around our local reservoir. It’s a beautiful little sanctuary, with diverse plants and wildlife. The hiking trail offers me a nice place to unwind, and photograph, even during a busy day, because it is so close.

I was not expecting to see much growth yet, due to the cold and wet spring we have had, but was surprised to see plenty of wild leeks already in leaf. My expectations for finding any blooming plants was very low. But, to my surprise, there were several clusters of these beautiful and delicate pink/purple flowers known as “Spring Beauties” blooming at the base of several beech trees, which seems to be their preference. The other pleasant surprise was that the trout lilies are in leaf and the trilliums are starting to bud out. So, if the weather holds, we should have a nice display in a week or so. Looking forward to it.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/250 @ f/8.0, ISO 250