Tag Archives: composition

“Light and Shadow”

“Light and Shadow”

“The simple gift of light is all the more precious when in the presence of its companion, darkness.” – Ed Lehming 

This tulip blossom has provided me a few interesting images. Considering that the photo was made in early evening, with a room filled with light and simply setting my camera to expose to the brightest part of the flower. The background fades to a deep blue in strong contrast to the yellows and orange of the flower.

It’s that strong contrast that yields the best images, the ones that grab my attention and make me consider why this works so well.

I tend to compose my images intuitively. There are certain elements such as framing and focal point, but a lot of what ends up making the image good is not something I notice consciously when I compose. I simply know it works. It’s not till I sit down and edit the image that the subtleties begin to emerge and the photo tells a bigger story.

For example, when I framed the photo, I instinctively set the base of the blossom as my focal point, making sure it was properly exposed and then tried to get as much of the petal detail in focus while shooting hand-held, so hand movement had some effect as well.

What I did not notice as I composed the image was the almost echoe-like blossom in the background, out of focus and slightly in the shadows.. I also did not notice the interesting shadows inside the flower itself, nor the wonderful yellow brightness of the petals within.

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

1/250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200

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

“Wake-Robin Pose”

“Wake-Robin Pose”

“Sometimes nature creates its own compositions, using what’s on hand, usually with wonderful results.” – Ed Lehming

This is my second red trillium (wake-robin) photo, but I do like them so much. For those who have tried to photograph them, they tend to pose two challenges: first, red is difficult to expose properly against the greens and browns of the forest floor. Most images are overexposed or details are lost. Second, red trillium blossoms tend to droop or face the forest floor, so it’s tough to get a straight on shot, unless you are willing to get real low to the ground. With the more and more present ticks, many of us now hesitate to do this without taking special precautions.

This past Sunday, nature helped me out. It was a cold sleet filled day and I was surprised that they were even blooming; all the other spring flowers had closed for the day. However, despite the overcast sky, there was good diffused light to photograph by, meaning I did not risk blown-out or overly contrasty images. I was also helped out by a fallen branch that this blossom was resting on, showing the full face of a nicely formed blossom. The stick also runs diagonally through the frame making for a lovely, naturally occuring composition. With a few minutes properly framing the image for a good angle and light balance, the resulting photo is shown here.

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

1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

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

“Guardian of the Stairs” – Aix-en-Thermes

“Guardian of the Stairs” - Aix-en-Thermes

Monochrome Monday
“Guardian of the Stairs” – Aix-aux-Thermes

As this month progresses and I get to finally reviewing and editing some of last years travel photos I’m finding myself leaning more towards mono images. They just seem to have more character and emotion to them.

Here, a local cat lounges at the base of  a set stone steps in the French town of Aix en Thermes, seemingly guarding the way. The photo essentially composed itself with the cat as the focal point and the gradients of the steps just adding interest and a bit of mystery as they rise and bend out of sight. I should note that I often consider shooting in mono and ensuring that I get enough tonal variety and contrast to make it interesting but end up reverting to the comfort zone of colour and switching to mono as I edit.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 17-50 mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF A1N6II @ 48mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 320

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

 

“Snow and Sunshine”

“Snow and Sunshine”

“There are a few precious days in February when hints of spring float in the air.” – Ed Lehming

I’m continuing with a series of photos I made last weekend while hiking local trails. These are the final few days of February and I was glad to have two wonderfully mild and bright days to be on the trails.

As I mentioned earlier, I had a repeat injury to my knee which has kept me off the uneven and often icy trails since December. So to be back out in such ideal conditions makes it doubly nice.

The dark days of winter are passing behind us and the sun is getting higher in the sky each day. I find it has a beautiful warmth this time of year and sheds just enough light to bring out the highlights in the otherwise dull forest. It’s these patches of light that I am so fond off because they draw my attention into distant details that I might otherwise miss.

When composing this image, my primary intent was to capture vertical lines of the trees in the foreground contrasting with the horizontal movement of the snow and long shadows around them. However, there are a few ‘pops’ of golden light in the background that pull you deeper into the image and scan the tangle of trees along the distant hillside.

It’s the continuous realization of these scenes that has me coming back to the forest time and time again. It’s never the same twice and there is always some new revelation for me to enjoy.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 90 mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 100

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

“Sugar Shack” East Lake, PEC

“Sugar Shack, East Lake PEC”

“You can feel it in the air and in memories of the past. Despite the snow and wind, a hint of spring and the coming spring rite of maple syrup whispers at our thoughts.” – Ed Lehming

On a recent trip to Ontario’s Prince Edward County, I was drawn to this peaceful scene of a sugar shack nestled in the woods that I spotted across a farm field and knew I had to make a photo of it.

In my mind, I already had the composition I wanted and it took only a handful of shots before I had something I could work with. What I had not figured out was how to most effectively present the image. As I reviewed the image on my computer and imagined a few different outcomes, I settled on a simple black and white version. It seems to work  well, because even now, as I look at it, I can almost see the steam billowing from the roof vents as maple syrup production starts up in the coming weeks. A sure sign of spring.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 200 mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0 ISO 500

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

“Stand”

“Stand”

“There is wonder in simplicity. Sometimes a mundane scene can offer more than first meets the eye.”
– Ed Lehming

Today I chose an image from last weekend’s hike along the York River. The small stand of bright birches against the deep green forest interested me. As with many of my photos, my initial perception is a simple composition, nice lines, and contrasts. Then, when I start actually processing the image, to get the colours closer to how I see them, wonderful and often surprising details emerge.

Behind the birches, the sunlight catches some balsam trunks and yields a wonderful golden light, a very subtle competition to the bright white of the birches. Some of that golden light appears on the birches as well, though it’s not something I was conscious of when I made the image.

So, a simple image of a stand of birches has become so much more.

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

1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200

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

“My Safe Place”

“My Safe Place”

“Our eyes are drawn to things, often not knowing the specifics. Trust your instinct and study what they are trying to show you.”
– Ed Lehming

There have been countless times where I have been drawn to a composition; some seemingly random object or scene, not knowing at the time why I was moved to photograph it. Then, on reviewing the image during my editing process some marvelous detail reveals itself.

It’s those times that I am so grateful for this ability to ‘see’ unseen things in my photography and somewhat saddened that I have ignored it for many years. It seems to be an intuitive thing and I wonder if only some of us have it? People tell me I have an ‘eye’ for composition and I know it’s not something I have learned, it’s always been there. I suppose I have refined it through repetition and experience but it still surprises me. I also wonder what life would be like if I could not filter it. Would I spend my days staring in amazement at everything I behold?

Then, there are times like this. While making photos of a waterfall recently,  I noticed a chipmunk sitting on a rock. I don’t normally make images of chipmunks, as I’m not big on ‘cute’ images. However, I stopped to make a few images of this fellow as he cleaned himself atop the rock. He did not even seem to mind me as I approached him for a closer shot.

As a processed the photos I had to laugh. The chipmunk is perfectly safe where he is and knew I would not approach much closer, as he is completely surrounded by a healthy patch of poison ivy. I would have noticed if I had gotten closer, but from my vantage point and focusing on the chipmunk, I had not noticed it.

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

1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400

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

“Delicate and Complex”

“Delicate and Complex”

“The deeper one looks into what appears simple, the more complex it really is. Even the very delicate and wispy structures show there is more to them than meets the casual eye.”
– Ed Lehming

The natural world is continually amazing. The simple and commonplace are not what they appear. Living forms are incredible in their diversity and design.

Take the simple dandelion seed head. It looks like a fluff ball, a novelty for children and adults alike. But really look at it. Look deeply and deliberately and it’s absolutely stunning how it’s designed. Hundreds of seeds per flower, each with their own feathery parachute, wait for a breeze strong enough to disperse them far from the parent plant. The wind creates just enough of a pull to dislodge the seed from the  base. Not enough wind and the seed remains anchored.

For this image I first had to find a seedhead that was largely intact. Not an easy task as it has been quite breezy the past few days. Ideal for the dandelion, not so much for me. When I found a good specimen, I had to decide on my composition and depth of field. Getting the right  depth of field also meant I needed good light, as I also had to contend with a slight breeze, meaning I also needed a fairly fast shutter speed. Not so simple a task when shooting without the benefit of a tripod.

In the end I got a couple of images that I was happy with. If I wanted to do more, like have the entire seed head in focus, I would have to bring one into my studio for a much longer exposure and some focus stacking. Perhaps another day. For now, I’m pleased that the detail is there while still keeping the image a touch soft, matchined the image title nicely.

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

1/160 sec, f/22.0, ISO 400

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

“End of Autumn?”

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” 
― Jim Bishop

I know, I’m a bit behind. This image was made on December 20th of last year. This image keeps popping up as I review my photos and I knew that I wanted to post it at some point soon. That time has now come.

This is actually an odd image in that the leaves are actually compressed by multiple snowfalls and thaws, three or four to my recollection, to the point in time when I made the image. The oak leaves, which dominate this scene hung onto the trees until early November this past autumn, which is odd as well.

The main reason I keep going back to this image is that most of my time spent on the trails is enjoying the scenery around me; the trees, the sky, the rolling hills, and such. Yet, I do spend even more time looking at the ground, as I navigate my way along trails, watching my step. Yet, I rarely consider the ground as a subject for my photos. I could actually create a whole series of interesting images documenting even a small section of the trail, since the composition changes so much over even a few meters.

The forest floor documents the surrounding forest so well. All the species of trees are proportionately represented here. In this case, it’s primarily red oak, with some sugar maple, and a smattering of poplar. There is also great variation in the colours of the leaves. Here the oak leaves vary from deep copper to pale yellow.

It’s like a painting made of leaves and I’m disappointed that I have not made more of these. They are so interesting and, if composed correctly, a very natural form of art.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/120 sec; f/1.8; ISO 40

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

“Simple Beauty”

“Beauty is subjective, yet there are times when even the simplest thing can bright joy to our lives.”
– Ed Lehming

One of the many reasons that I spend time outdoors hiking and making photos is the sheer joy of seeing something breathtaking in what many would consider mundane circumstances.

Many of the trails I’ve hiked, I have hiked hundreds of times and yet, almost every time, I see something new and wonderful. It may be a new flower where none has bloomed before, or a new sapling emerging from a decaying stump, or simply the way light catches the growth at a certain time of day or year.

It’s scenes like this, within a planted forest in transition, that make me stop and look deeper. Beneath the canopy of planted red pines, new growth emerges in the form of young red pines and beech trees. There are other shrubs emerging too but the bright green of the pine and the twinkling gold of the beech trees in the afternoon sunlight is almost magical to me and they stand out from the scene. It may be a simple composition, but it does what I intend, it captures the ‘feeling’ of this small patch of forest on a late December afternoon, through colours and texture. And for me, that is beautiful. I can almost feel the rough bark of the pines and hear the birds singing high in the branches above me.

As I have often said, it’s not always the grand vistas that amaze me, even more so, it’s the simple beauty right in front of me that most would pass by without a second glance.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/40 sec, f/3.2, ISO 100

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