Tag Archives: blossoms

“Star of Bethlehem”

“Star of Bethlehem”

“Bright white blossoms greet me from the morning garden, as the sun warms the early June day with it’s own brightness.”
– Ed Lehming 

The gardens are beginning to come alive. I enjoy this time of year, watching plants and flowers begin to thrive as the days warm up. It’s always nice to see that everything has survived yet another winter.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, spring here has been cool, damp, and extended. In fact, it really has not warmed up much till only a few days ago, and it really shows in the gardens. It seems everything is racing to catch up. Daffodils were blooming until only a few days ago and a few gardens still have tulips blooming.

The Star of Bethlehem was a surprise addition to my garden. It came here unannounced when I transplanted several other plants from my mother-in-law’s garden a few years back. It’s a pleasant surprise and a welcome addition since it fills the flower beds with such lovely blossoms.

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

1/80 sec, f/16.0, ISO 400

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“Facing the Sun”

“Facing the Sun”

“Sunflowers, Not Facing the Sun” (A Poem)

I stand tall
As gracious as one could be
Blooming to my best
As slender as it touches my being
Everyone else is facing the sun
Bending towards its unfathomable galore
They and I are both undoubtedly
Grown on the benevolence of life’s essence
The brighter side mercilessly feeding desires unbound
By daunting the “courage to know” with each spin
Though, I am not able to face the sun the way they do
Yet, I learn from the knowledge bred within me
Beyond achievement markers, but an adverse ability
An opportunity to exercise my special self
From the cherubic attire of my blessed soul
To the unfathomable mystery the drape of this world hides
That I, by not facing the sun
Hunt the gems in the milieu of the human existence”
― Annie Ali

As the days shorten and cool, I find myself reflecting back on the wonderful summer of 2016. Many hot days, one the water, on the trails, or just sitting and relaxing, eyes closed and basking in the sun.

So, as I take in the last blossoms of summer, I’m particularly drawn to sunflowers, with their sun-like faces, petals blazing forth in warm yellows. Until recently I had not noticed all the variations of sunflowers, from the traditional seed-bearing varieties to the yellow or black faced ornamentals, all beautiful and all reminders, to me, of warmer days, as they matured, facing the sun and drinking in its energies, and reflecting it back now, as the sun itself is less present.

Nikon D800
Nikor 28-70mm f/3.5-4.6 @ 70mm
1.3 sec, f/22.0, ISO 400

High Resolution image on 500px:

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“Red-Osier Dogwood Blossoms” – Stouffville

“Red-Osier Dogwood Blossoms” - Stouffville

“In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.” – Aldo Leopold

Late spring, and green palettes are dotted with bright pinks, yellows, and whites, like patches of icing. They fairly glow in the bright sunshine. On closer inspection, these splashes of brightness are surprisingly complex.

I would not have expected the structures in the dogwood blossoms and have never really taken the time to look at them carefully. The cluster above was deliberately isolated from the rest by balancing my aperture to keep the cluster in the foreground in focus, while blurring the background and having the light trail off from white to black.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom- @300mm

1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

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“Dawson’s Magnolia” – Edwards Gardens, Toronto

“Dawson’s Magnolia” - Edwards Gardens, Toronto

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke

A final visit to the magnolias of Edwards Gardens in Toronto, at least for this year. I so enjoyed my day of walking the grounds and enjoying all the wonderful flowering trees. This is a great time of year. There are splashes of pinks, purples, whites, and purple among the new foliage in its multiple shades of green. The world around me is fairly glowing with new life, and I love it!

The tree above stood out above all the others I saw that day. Delicate blossoms cling to teh dark leafless branches in a spectacular display. The blossoms almost seem too big for teh slider tree to bear. All this against teh backdrop of new greenery and a slightly cloudy blue sky. It just says, “Spring” to me.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 82 mm
1/160 sec, f/46.3, ISO 200

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“Redbud & Rockery” – Edwards Gardens, Toronto

“Redbud and Rockery” - Edwards Gardens, Toronto

“Spring returns, resplendent in pinks and white. Trees and shrubs glow in the sun, bedecked in bright blossoms and pale green leaves. The world awakens;  the eternal cycle repeats. – Ed Lehming

As I mentioned in my last post, I have not been to this botanical gardens since I was a young child. It was so nice to see all the blossoming trees. I was especially surprised to see redbuds, since I was not aware that they could survive this climate. However, there were many specimens thriving here, including this trailing variety, artfully draped over a stone wall.

The soft pink blossoms against the gray stones are what first drew my eye to the scene and then it was just a matter of framing the shot effectively.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200

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“Pink Magnolias” – Edwards Gardens, Toronto

“Pink Magnolias” - Edwards Gardens, Toronto

“You saw a fluttering fan before her face and magnolia blooms and sleepy lakes under the moonlight when she walked.” 
— Zora Neale Hurston

The last time I visited Edwards Gardens in Toronto I must have been about 6 years old. It used to be a favoured destination for my family, as both my father and grandmother were avid gardeners. I vaguely recall the place, remembering only the amazing patches of colour   of mid-summer blossoms.

I went back yesterday, with my wife, as part of our 25th wedding anniversary celebrations. My goal being to conjure up old memories, and make some nice photos, as well as taking her to a place from my past that she had not visited yet. Not surprisingly, there were lots of tulips and daffodils but I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the park’s numerous magnolias were still showing off many healthy blossoms. Most of the trees in my neighbourhood had already shed their blooms and progressed to leaf.

The subject above was just starting to fade in patched but for the most part was still in glorious bloom. Having visited so many years ago, and in summer, I was not really expecting to see this wonderful colour and I am glad we dropped in here for a stroll among the trees and flowers.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200

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“Wake Robins” – Stouffville Reservoir Trail

“Wake-Robins” - Stouffville Reservoir Trail

“I can still bring into my body the joy I felt at seeing the first trillium of spring, which seemed to be telling me, “Never give up hope, spring will come.” 
— Jessica Stern

The entrance of spring continues. After a day of cutting grass and getting gardens ready, I ventured out to a trail literally in my backyard. My hope was to see a few wildflowers emerging from their winter slumber, especially after this prolonged, cool, spring.

The regular patches I visit had a few sparse blossoms showing; they seemed thin and delayed, which did not come as a surprise. Given that, I followed the trail into the marshy woods and was greeted by an abundance of early bloomers. Among them, these beautiful Wake Robins or Red Trilliums, as some call them.

I love seeing these bright plants with their brilliant fresh leaves and red faces against the brown-gray background of the spring forest floor. It’s such a stack contrast between new life and the decay of the past. Needless to say, I spent quite a bit of time just drinking it in and making photos of the other species, which I will post over the next few days.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/25 sec, f/11.0, ISO 200

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“Spring’s First Daffodils” – Niagara-on-the Lake

“Spring’s First Daffodils”  -Niagara-on-the-Lake

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils
Beside the lake beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
― William Wordsworth

At long last, I feel I might be able to say that spring and warmer weather are here to stay? I’ve posted about ‘false starts‘ and the change of seasons, the endless repeating cycles, yet consistent warm days elude me. This image was made nearly two weeks ago, a mere 50 kilometers south of my home, yet my own daffodils are reluctant to bloom.

Daffodils, like peonies, are one of those marvelous plants that keep spreading every year. I often see large patches and imagine them being planted many years ago and just spreading out, covering larger areas over time.

Judging the forecast and their current state, I’d say they will open in the next day and it ‘should’ be warmer every day next week. Here’s hoping.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 98 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

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“Sierra Dogwood” – Yosemite National Park

Dogwood Blossoms - Mirrror Lake Loop 2013

“The whole tree when in flower looks as if covered with snow. In the spring when the streams are in flood it is the whitest of trees. In Indian summer the leaves become bright crimson, making a still grander show than the flowers.” – John Muir

Recent reports from Yosemite are informing me, in my absence, that the Sierra Dogwoods have begun to bloom. A clear indication that spring is here and I long to be there once more.

I’ve seen many images of these beautiful, delicate, spring blossoms, in photography books, websites, and my Facebook feed. For many years I determined to time a visit to Yosemite in the April-May timeframe to see them for myself. Driving into the park from Oakhurst, I spotted the first few dogwood trees among the pines, bright white flowers, against the dark forest. It was raining and dull, yet they shone in the mist. Of course, having never seen them close up myself, I pulled over and made a photo at the first convenient pull-out.

What I did not realize at the time was that many better opportunities would present themselves; nicer, bigger blossoms, better light, more interesting backgrounds. Nothing had prepared me for how glorious the peak bloom is in the park. Blossoms were everywhere and I must have taken hundreds of photos, in every conceivable composition, trying to get something unique, that captured my vision. The image above was made while hiking the Mirror Lake Loop, which presented many wonderful specimens for my enjoyment. The gentle, off and on, rain enhanced the photo by bringing out the shine of the leaves and softening the light.

It’s feeling like a Yosemite week, more to follow.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 135 mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

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“Cherry Blossoms” – Cherry Street, Toronto Portlands

“Cherry Blossoms” - Cherry Street, Toronto Portlands

It’s spring in Toronto and cherry blossom season. While multitudes of people went to High Park for the annual display, I happened upon a small cluster of trees in the Toronto port lands, on Cherry Street, of all places.

I had originally set out to photograph some industrial scenes and was disappointed by the lack of parking and very limited access to the docks, where I was hoping to make some images of ships and heavy equipment. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find this grove of trees in full blossoms and I didn’t have to fight my way though crowds to get to them. Overall, I’d call it a successful day.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 155 mm
1/320 sec @ f/9.0, ISO 250