Tag Archives: cloud

Iceland Journal – “Crater Among the Clouds”

“Crater Among the Clouds” - Strútur Volcano, West Iceland

“Sunlight will always follow in a clouds wake.” 
― Anthony T. Hincks

One of the aspects of Iceland that I enjoyed most was that nothing lasts very long. It does not rain all day, nor snow all day, sunshine comes and goes, and the clouds above shift and morph by the minute.

Oh, the clouds and light of Iceland, they are simply unbelievable. Clouds come in layers, each layer with a mind of its own, passing and sliding between one another. One moment you are looking at a dark bank of low clouds on the horizon and minutes later, they slide back like a magical curtain revealing a mountain hidden among them.

The volcanic cone pictured here is Strútur, and ancient volcano in the highlands of western Iceland. As we ventured further inland, seeking the many wonderful waterfalls, one of the roads we had planned to drive turned out to be a “F” Road, one of Iceland’s many interior mountains roads, generally only accessible with rugged four-wheel drive vehicles and largely closed in winter months. This road was marked as a side road on our map, but as we ventured onto it the signage indicated that is was, in fact” an “F” Road, meaning our rental insurance was null and void if we travelled that road.

This slight setback caused us to turn back and take another road to our destination. That decision put us on a road that briefly headed deeper into Iceland’s backcountry and facing a think bank of clouds reaching across the distant horizon of low, rolling hills and lava fields.

As we progressed along this road, the clouds pulled back and revealed this wonderful sight. Strútur, is a large volcanic cone and is 937 meters high. You can see where the cone collapsed and the lava flowed outwards to where I made the photo.

Soon after I made the photo, the clouds rolled back in and obscured the mountain once more.

Once again, Iceland provided me with a brief and wonderful vista and then took it back again, all within mere minutes.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 116mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 200

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

“Variable Light” – Uxbridge, Ontario

“Variable Light” - Uxbridge, Ontario

“The sun was as flirty as Scarlett O’Hara with the Tarleton twins, breaking through the clouds in spectacular bursts that seemed like personal favors and then retreating for hours, days, and making us all ache for just a glimpse.”
― Lorna Landvik

Another fine early November day in southern Ontario, and a return to Secord Conservation Area, in search of a few images. The day could be defined most accurately by its variable light, as a low cloud deck drifted lazily above, casting patches of bright light across the landscape. The trees had recently dropped their leaves, blanketing the ground beneath them in gold. The rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds made these leaves glow warmly. It’s a effect of autumn and it’s soft light that I really enjoy and it’s really accented when the light is variable and patchy, contrasting nicely against the darker area and the clouds moody clouds above.

I’ve photographed from this location many times. There is something so beautiful about teh gently rolong hills and how thier lines flow togother. An ebb and flow of colour and light, fallow fields and pasturelands, diveded by rail fences and tree lines. Each layer a new scene to be enjoyed.

Recent high winds and a light snow cover have obliterated the neatly arranged leaves and dulled their colours as winter approaches, but I’m still looking for a few bright days and some of these glimpses into the autumn which has extended nicely.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 75 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)

“York River Crossing” – Slabtown, Ontario

“York River Crossing” - Slabtown, Ontario

“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.”
― Erol Ozan

Back to Slabtown, who’s only claim to fame, at present, seems to be the bridge that crosses the York River. In days gone by, it must have been a thriving mill town. Today, not so much. At this point in the river’s journey, it has just passed through the Great Bend. A long, fairly slow flowing section of the river.

It’s nice to be able to view different portions of the river as they pass below the roads. I’ve paddled sections of it and every bend is a new experience. Here, the river widens before entering the Conroy Marsh, eventually joining the mighty Madawaska River.

It was a great experience taking a couple of short backroad drives, to explore the area we have spent summers in for the past thirteen years. Most of that time was spend with our children and not so much just venturing out to new territory.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom
@ 70 mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)


“Low Cloud at Tunnel View” – Yosemite National Park

Low Cloud at Tunnel View - Yosemeite National Park

“Did you not look upon the world this morning and imagine it as the boy might see it? And did you not recognize the mist and the dew and the birdsong as elements not of a place or a time but of a spirit? And did you not envy the boy his spirit? ” – Jamie O’Neill

Another image from my 2013 visit to one of my ‘sacred places’. The experience of spring in Yosemite, especially after a storm is something surreal. The mists twist and writhe among the peaks like something living. Scenes are fleeting, never to be repeated again. I stand in awe, at the movement and the changes in light, every moment a new frame in an endless play of wonders.

This image was made from the Tunnel View area and looks to a group of granite cliffs, just beside Bridalveil Falls. It looked to me like a chinese painting. And then it was gone again, lost in the mist, till new new scene was ready to play out.

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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)

“Elgin Mills Solitaire” – Markham, Ontario

“Elgin Mills Solitaire”

I wish I could paint. There are so many scenes that I see on a regular basis and say to myself, “That would make a beautiful painting”. Especially if the light is just a bit off and I envision the image a bit different.

That was the case with this photo I made a few days ago. All the elements were just right, the light was soft from the west and a bank of clouds hovered low to the east, yet the image did not convey the scene in the same way as it struck me.

So, since I can’t paint, yet, I went to my Photoshop toolbox and started playing with some effects. And, lo and behold, I got the effect I wanted, as if it had been painted. Now, I will have some purists say that this is not photography, and I would agree, it’s art, based on photography. Be it a painting or a digitally manipulated image, it makes no difference to me and I don’t want to be limited by a particular discipline. Does that change how I approach my photography? Not in the least. As I’ve stated many time before: For me, it’s about ‘how’ I see things, rather than what I see. There is so  much more at play than just making an image. I want to be able to communicate how it made me ‘feel’. That, to me is art, and I’m good with it.

Back to the photo, I see many of these lone trees and they have been the subject of several of my photos. I’ve started calling them “Solitaires”, because “lone tree” makes it sound a bit depressing and that there are no other trees around, which is not the case, these ones are simply “apart” from their neighbours.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 170 mm
1/200 sec, @ f/7.1, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website

“West of Yosemite”

West of Yosemite

Today’s post is a bit of a step back in time to 2013. One place I can never get enough of is Yosemite National Park in California. The sheer scale of the landscapes is overwhelming for a ‘flatlander’ like myself. There are opportunities for images that are just not possible where I live.

For example, the image above was made while leaving the park after a day of photography. Just when I thought I was saturated for the day, this wonderful scene presented itself.

The photo was made from a roadside “pull-out”along highway 41 and highlights the layers of hills that make up the Sierra Nevada foothills. It was late afternoon and it had rained off and on all day. This diffused the light nicely and created a faint mist that lies between each layer. Again, being a rather dull, wet day, also created the nice dark silhouettes of the trees in the foreground. It’s kind of a ‘moody’ image that conveys the type of day it was. I like to think this is a non-typical image of the Yosemite area, which is usually portrayed with images of waterfalls and grand vistas. I have found that the drive to the valley is also very picturesque.

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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website

“Storm Front over Lake Huron”

“Storm Front over Lake Huron”

A revisit to what started as a beautiful mid August day at Sauble Beach this past August.

We had heard forecasts of rain all day, but the day started out sunny and windy. Since it was too windy for a good game of volleyball, we all headed to town for a bit to shop. Shortly thereafter, the clouds, which had been hanging far out on the lake started to roll in and thicken. From town, I could see the thin gray clouds start to thicken and take on strong structures and definition. So, I headed back to the cottage to retrieve my camera and head across the road to the beach.

This is what greeted me. A solid wall of black cloud with clearly defined shear zones. The wonder of Lake Huron is that it is so big and scenes like this may be taking place at a fairly long distance. As I stood and watched, a secondary dark cloud formed at the frontal boundary and began to roll like a wave against the other cloud at this ‘transition’ line. It was very dramatic and I was happy to be able to capture it while staying dry. This cloud movement went on for a long time over the water before it gradually moved to shore and started to rain. All the while, many people carried on watching the drama unfold in front of them and still swimming in the surf caused by the storm.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300mm @ 86mm
1/60 sec @ f/10, ISO 280

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:

“Out of the Storm” – Sauble Beach, Ontario

“Out of the Storm” - Sauble Beach, Ontario

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with family and friends at Ontario’s Sauble Beach, on Lake Huron. It began as a wonderful hot summer day splashing in the surf and playing hours of volleyball. The forecast was for thunderstorms late in the day. We watched across the water as the sky gradually darkened. The storm approached over the lake like a black wall, slowly creeping our way.

I took this as a wonderful opportunity to get some powerful storm photographs. As I stood on the shore making photos of the storm, I was struck by just how bright the circling seagulls were, in strong contrast to the dark skies.

This one kept circling me at just the right distance to make some good images. I’m really pleased at how it turned out. The biggest challenge was trying to keep him focused and framed properly.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm @ 210 mm
1/60 sec @ f/10.0, ISO 450

“Golden Hour”

"Golden Hour" - Markham, Ontario

I think everyone has, or knows of, one of these iconic ‘lone trees’. My friends and family will certainly be familiar with this one, which stands on the top of a hill at Elgin Mills and McCowan Road in Markham, Ontario, across from the Markham Fairgrounds. I have seen many photos of this beautiful maple tree and it’s not so perfect twin.

On this particular day in mid-December 2014, a storm was clearing, leaving fragments of cloud drifting quickly in the sky. The sun was setting in the most beautiful yellow and gold tones, which eventually turned deep orange and red.

In this photo, I was struck by the bright golden band just at ground level and how sharp the shadows of the weeds were, as well as the way the small clouds glowed yellow against the darker background clouds. It was just one of those moments where everything comes together and you get ‘the magic’.

Another funny aspect of this moment is that this is also popular spot for the police to set up radar traps. I think I freaked the cop out a bit when I pulled up next to him and started taking photos of the tree, but his cruiser was in one of the pull-outs that offers a good angle to photograph the tree. Generally, the shoulders along this stretch of road are too narrow to pull over safely. In the end, he did not seem to mind too much, because he was still able to pull over a driver who was speeding past.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 f/5.6 at 170mm
160 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 200