Tag Archives: calm

“Warm Silk”

“Warm Silk”

“The summer waters caressed the shore,
like a lover, gently stroking the beach,
in sheets of warm silk”
– Ed Lehming

I fell in love with this image almost as soon as I made it. It captured the feeling of that hot August dusk along the shores of Lake Huron.

What had been quite a windy day throughout most of the daytime hours, turned soft and gentle, as the sun began to set slowly in the west. A calm descended and the throngs of beach goers departed, leaving a handful of us to revel in the final, beautiful, moments of the day.

It was still very hot, even for early August, and the retreat of the winds made this heat more evident. Yet a gentle breeze carried pockets of cool lake air over the sunset watchers arrayed along the beach. It was a time of quiet reflection, each in their own world, recalling the events of the day. It was also a time of cell phones and cameras as the observers tried to capture a piece of this singular moment to take with them into their busy work-weeks.

For me, reflecting back on this photo, brings me back to that exact time and place, where land, and water, and sky combined to create something so wonderfully soothing. I am so thankful for these moments.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 400

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“Downward Plunge”

“Downward Plunge”

“Life moves very fast. It rushes from Heaven to Hell in a matter of seconds.” 
― Paulo Coelho

This past weekend, I took a little side drive to High Falls, which is really a former chute, turned to a waterfall by the installation of a dam nearly one hundred years ago. The dam closes off the end of Baptiste Lake, just north of the town of Bancroft, Ontario.

Because of the dam, the lake itself is a lot larger than it was originally, by about fifteen feet. As I stood along the side of the falls, I tried to picture this area before the dam was built. It must have been quite a sight, watching the massive flow of water surging through this narrow chute.

The dam was built to regulate the flow of the water from Baptiste Lake into the York River, which begins here and flows through the town of Bancroft several miles below. Spring floodwaters used to cause a lot of damage to the town. Even with the dam, the York River catchment basin is big enough to cause flooding in the town in the spring, as snow and ice melt. It must have been crazy before the dam was built.

I made several long exposures of various section of the falls, till a sudden cloudburst ended my day and I had to scramble back to the car, satisfied with only a few images. Of the five images I made, this one resonated with me the most. It shows the water spreading beyond the narrow rift and flowing over the surrounding rocks. The water was a bit higher than usual, in part because of our excessively rainy summer.

There is something about water that calms me, even rushing water. As I edited the image, I found myself zooming in on sections, taking in the complex movement and textures of the water as it rushes over teh rocks and downward to the rapids below.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200 

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“Female Red-Winged Blackbird”

“Female Red-Winged Blackbird” - Stouffville Reservoir

“You are the only guardian of your own truth, so know your truth and protect it at all costs.”
― Gugu Mona

This is an older photo which I find myself going back to from time to time. The photo was among the first I made with my then newly acquired 70-200 mm, f/2.8 lens. That lens has been my go-to lens ever since, despite it being quite heavy. It is just so very versatile in so many situations, from moderate zoom to close up studio work and event photography.

The image above is, to me, very calming. I enjoy the colour contrast of the golden cat-tails against the blue water as well as the fanned tail feathers of the blackbird, as it balances on the delicate stem. I can almost feel the gentle spring breeze floating over the water’s surface.

As with many of my images, I can still recall where this was made and the process of composing the photo. The bird was very cooperative and seemed to pose for me, which is rarely the case with birds in the wild.

Nikon D300
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200 mm
1/3200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400

“Gentle Awakening” – Fraser Lake

“Gentle Awakening” - Fraser Lake

“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.”
― John Steinbeck

A sleepy, gentle start to the day, now two weeks ago. This day started a bit less foggy than others, yet the water was still as late migrating waterfowl lazed about in the chilly lake and the sky shifted from gray, to shades of pink, gold, and blue. There’s also still a hint of colour on the distant shore, dispersed among the conifers.

As I sit writing this post, soft jazz sooths me further, recalling this beautiful morning. We need to savour this serenity in our busy world whenever it offers its gifts to us. Though I was only on Fraser Lake for four days this fall, each morning dawned slightly differently. The first morning being quite raw and choppy progressing to the glass-like appearance above and remaining so the rest of my stay, offering many photo opportunities.

I’ve spent many summers, falls, and winters on the lake and its shores. One summer was spent paddling the entire shoreline enjoying the diversity of plants and wildlife and that same winter enjoying cross-country skiing on the ice covered lake.

Then I consider that this is a single lake among thousands that dot the Ontario and recognise that there are more memories to come as I explore the province in live in.

“My Green World” – Secord Forest

“My Green World” - Secord Forest

“The human body may need to receive sunlight through the tree canopy in order to be in a healthy state. I call this light “Interference Green Light” and it may be the top thing that you need to be receiving in order to be in good health and free of pain.”
― Steven Magee

I don’t know how true the quote is, but I know I need my ‘green’ time. To walk the forests and gaze upon Creation, as often as possible. When I’m outdoors, the busy world of my life fades into the background. It’s still there, but as a peripheral thing, that I can cal at will, but the green and peace of nature permeates me.

The ferns pictured above looked just like this. A verdant curtain, glowing with life, filled with hues of bright green and warmed by the sun. I could sit in this place for hours, watching the dragonflies flitting to and fro, the various butterflies on their endless quest for nectar, and the sound of the forest bids. It’s active and alive, yet ordered. Nature’s cycle, closing off spring and moving towards summer.

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

1/160 sec, f/5.6 ISO 560

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“April Sunset at Burleigh Falls”

“April Sunset at Burleigh Falls”

“As the soft spring sun begins to set, an ethereal light strikes the trees and boulders on the far shore, setting them ablaze in gold. The dark, cold, meltwater rushes by in a mad dash through ancient rocks. Intent on the calm of the lake below, where they foam and swirl, momentarily, then merge with the now still waters that preceded them. The day ends, in peace, and light, and water.”
– Ed Lehming

To stand on the shore and bear witness to these kinds of fleeting events fills me with joy. It’s the primary reason I spend so much time outdoors. To be able to capture a moment like this, to reflect back on it, and recall that experience once more is a blessing.

I knew that the spring rush this year at Ontario’s Burleigh Falls was going to be extraordinary. This was prompted by a Facebook post by a fellow photographer, where he rendered a wonderful black and white image that made me determined to see for myself. The light in the morning was wonderful but I was not fully prepared for the effect of the setting sun in late afternoon. Generally, I stop here in the summer, on my way home from camping, and the sun tends to be quite bright.

The position of the sun at this time of year bathes the shores in gold and lights up the whitecaps with soft tones of gold. The effect lasts only moments and is gone. I was overjoyed to have witnessed this and to be able to photograph it to share.

Nikon D200
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm
1/10 sec, f/32.0, ISO 160

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“Trailside Brook” – Seaton Trail, near Whitevale

“Trailside Brook” - Seaton Trail, near Whitevale

“Peace is not found by seeking it but in simply letting it be.”
― Janni Styles

I’ve enjoyed this small brook that flows from a farm field into Duffins Creek below Whitevale. The sound of the water flowing over the rocks is so calming. I could sit there all day and simply enjoy the peace.

I made this photo just before a light, early April snowfall started (not impressed by that feature). The mid afternoon light was dull and diffused, which made for an easy 1/8 second time exposure, to put the water into motion. It had frozen the night before, creating the few icicles visible to the mid-right. The photo captures a bit of the calm I enjoyed and I’m hoping to pass it on to others.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 80 mm
1/10 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

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“Creekbed Ripples”

“Creekbed Ripples”

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.” ― Norman Maclean

The above, is one of my favourite quotes. it simply resonates with me on a very profound level and I’m pleased to be able to start articulating those feelings through my images.

How often have you sat by a stream, calmed by the gently flowing water and the dance of light below the surface? I find myself taking these simple moments for granted. As I walk through the woods through the forest, I cross many streams, each unique in their character. Some are deep, dark and cool, others shallow and fast moving over stoney bottoms.

Yesterday, I sat by this small creek and simply watched and listened as the cool water flowed over a sparkling sand bottom. The shimmer of light on the ripples inspired me to make more of this that simply a photograph. I was trying to capture that subtle energy of the water, the play of light, and the many textures created by the flow.

The photo above is an abstraction on that initial image. For me, it ‘adequately’ captures that moment, shows the light, texture, and movement. I tried several other treatments, but none worked for me. I’m pleased with this one.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 2000

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“The Maddening Rush”

“The Maddening Rush” - Duffins Creek Thaw

“No reason for a feverish rush
For we will all arrive in the same place
At the right time. Justice will be served.
There will be no better or worse,
No big and small, no rewards, no punishment,
No guilt, no judges, no hierarchies;
Only silent equality.”
― Dejan Stojanovic

The image above could be a churning ocean or a stormy beach, but it’s a small section of creek below the falls at Whitevale, Ontario. I enjoyed the way the light played through water creating the glow from within the  wave. There’s an element to fast flowing water that I am drawn to. I like to play with my shutter speed, matching it to the flow of the water to convey this movement in my photos and I like how this one turned out because it shows the speed and surge of the water the way it appeared to me. A lot of water rushes through the rocks in this area just below the dam, creating a small section of low, but active set of rapids.

And after a short span in the tumult, the creek calms once more, around a gentle bend.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 90 mm
1/15 sec, f/32, ISO 250

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“Bathed in Gold” – Stouffville

“Bathed in Gold” - Stouffville

Similar to yesterday’s post, this photo was also made at Wendat Pond in the “Golden Hour”. This image took a bit more effort to set up, as I was deliberately trying to get the golden glow of the trees on the far shore as a backdrop and I was not very happy with my first few attempts. The bright glow I saw with my eyes was not being captured by the camera. So, a few more attempts later and this is the result. My goal is to represent not just what I see, but how I see it, through my photography.

It almost looks  like a fall image, but it is really mid-spring and the air is warming nicely and the tree in the background is a poplar, just coming into new leaf. The pale green leaves are catching the sun just right to reflect just the yellow tones and warming up the background.

Nikon D3000
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 95 mm
1/800 sec @ f/4.5, -0.33, ISO 250