Tag Archives: Duffins Creek

“The Final Stretch”

“The Final Stretch”

“Are you tired? Are you feeling that you will not be able to reach your destination? Then all you have to remember is that those who reached their far and hard destinations also felt the same way on their way! Knowing what others felt will give you a great power to complete your journey!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

I was looking for a suitable quote for this image and Mehmet always seems to have something that resonates with me.

The journey of the countless rainbow trout up Duffins Creek every April fascinates me. Since I saw salmon spawning in BC, these mass migrations have been a thing of wonder. The distance the fish travel, through almost insurmountable obstacles; strong currents, shallow water, and tangles of fallen tree limbs, to name only a few.

Yet, they persevere and most make it to the destination. In this case, a large dam that separtarates the introduced rainbow trout from the native brown trout. It’s at this dam that I witness the greatest ‘stretches’ as the trout leap high in the air, hoping to conquer the dam, to no avail. It’s their final stretch, literally, as they extend their brightly coloured bodies through the air. Once they figure they can’t go any further upstream, they spawn in a deep pool at the base of the dam, and make the return journey to Lake Ontario, this time, with the current to their favour.

In case you are wondering, I sat on a rock near the base of the dam for about an hour, waiting for just the right moment, and testing my reflexes, to make several images and settling on this one, which nicely shows the colour of the trout as the sunlight shines on its outstretched body. Also an act of perseverance.

If you like this image, I made another one similar to it, 3 years go, in the same location.

https://edlehming.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/rainbow-trout-jump-whitevale-dam-pickering-ontario/

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200mm
1/2000 sec, f/5.0 ISO 250

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

“Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 29 – ‘Open’

“Duffins Creek Rainbow Trout”

I have several interpretations to the OPEN theme. It could be open to any category of post or it could be the ‘opening’ of something, like a door. In this case, it’s the opening of the natural spring cycle in my area of Canada. Throughout the winter, this large creek lies frozen. Within a few short weeks it transforms from ice to a living place once more (another opening of sorts), as the Rainbow Trout begin their annual spawning migration up the creek. Once more, it’s a link to a photo I made back in April, and one of my favourites.

This creates another link to OPEN for me, because a few days after the spawn ends, the fishing season opens.

I was debating submitting this image as well because the snake’s mouth is very clearly open as well. Ah, choices!“Pain in the Butt” - Seaton Trail

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Spawning Suckers” – Duffins Creek

“Spawning Suckers” - Duffins Creek

“We must begin thinking like a river if we are to leave a legacy of beauty and life for future generations.”
― David Brower

Amidst the exciting rainbow trout run at Duffins Creek, other species of native fish are also in the spawn, including the White Suckers, pictured above, which are mixed among the trout as they work their way upstream.

As I was walking the shore, enjoying and photographing the trout, I came across this group of suckers as they hovered above the stoney creek bed. The water was crystal clear and offered a nice view of the suckers in an interesting formation. The slight distortion of the water made this an interesting composition for me.

I always find it awesome that this beauty is just outside my doorstep, yet some people I meet locally have no idea it even exists. This is among the reasons I make photos, to prove to others that the things I experience daily are real and more than some embellished memory.

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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Against the Odds”

"Against the Odds" - Duffins Creek

“When you do or think or feel something, do it with passion. Let it come from the heart. Put your heart and soul in it. And when you do, you will feel a river flowing sweetly through you and especially through your entire life. Life has much more meaning that way. ”
― Angie Karan

A painterly image I made yesterday, based on a photo of two trout swimming upstream at the Whitevale bridge, north of Pickering, Ontario.

What struck me was how the body of the dark fish flowed with the water, or did the water flow with the fish? As I processed the image, the flow of colour, from warm orange tones and larger river rocks at the bottom to cooler blue tones and multi-coloured pebbles at the top began to become more noticeable, yet the dark body of the fish dominates the scene. The entire image speaks of movement, energy, and overcoming. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm
1/100 sec, f/5.0 ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

 

“Mating Pair” – Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

“Mating Pair” - Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John Lubbock

When time allows, I like to visit Duffins creek and stroll the riverbank, especially at this time of year. The narrow wooded trail follows the shoreline, through grand cedar stands, into deep gullys, along the creek, with its variable structure of rocky sandbanks, deep holes, and fast flowing rapids.

At this time of year, new growth is slowly emerging. Splashes of bright green dot the forest floor. Spring plants such as Coltsfoot, Bloodroot, Trout Lilies, and violets dot the landscape, welcoming the warmth of spring. Fiddleheads, the young growth of ferns, sit in tight knots, not quite ready to open, and the trout start their annual run up the creek to the dam at Whitevale, a small hamlet north of Pickering, Ontario.

At the right time of day, the trout try to leap up the fifteen foot high concrete dam, designed to keep the introduced steelhead trout from migrating further upstream. On this visit, the trout were not jumping yet and were pooled just beneath the dam. Many rested in the shallow pools just above the last set of rapids, including this pair, in full breeding colours. The shallow water allowed me to get a clear image from slightly above. This pair will breed and shortly thereafter, follow the creek back to Lake Ontario, where they will remain till the instinct to migrate up the creek returns next spring.

Nikon D300
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:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“April Icicles over Duffins Creek”

“April Icicles over Duffins Creek”

“Whenever there is stillness there is the still small voice, God’s speaking from the whirlwind, nature’s old song, and dance…”
― Annie Dillard

Chilly water flows beneath icicles formed by the spray of the creek below. I found this to be an odd sight. April in my area has been ‘confusing’. We had beautiful sunshine and mild temperatures, followed by a deep freeze, snow, freezing rain, and strong winds, all within a few days. This has made it difficult to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

This small chute is located just below the Whitevale dam, north of Pickering, Ontario. It has become a fairly regular destination for me over the past few years. Primarily because I’m drawn to moving water and the serenity I find there, even as the water surges and churns over the rocks below the dam. It’s here that I make many of my winter photos of water flowing beneath the ice, or frozen in great icicles at the dam itself.

In this case, I found a lovely composition created by the tight combination of mist and air temperature. The moderately cold night had created conditions whereby spray from the water had splashed onto an overhanging branch and slowly frozen into these delicate icicle.  There was no wind, which provided me an opportunity to do a long exposure, which showed off the icicles and allowed me to put the water in the background into motion, as contrast between stillness and movement. Very much how I feel when I’m at the waterside.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 135 mm
1/10 sec, f/20.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

 

“Study in Wood #6” – Seaton Trail, Whitvale

“Study in Wood #6”

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”
― William Blake

I absolutely love the William Blake quote above. It goes beyond simply this image.

Number 6 in the series and growing. I keep coming across these gnarly old specimens, standing along the trails, or in city parks. I find myself staring at them, immersed in their story, while others pass them by as merely ‘stumps’. They all remind me of abstract paintings or deeply furrowed sculptures. Their lives recorded; marked out in intricate patterns, each unique.This particular tree had been recently stripped of its bark, revealing smooth undulating wood, with only tinges of moss taking hold.

Winter winds had embedded a few stray cedar and spruce needles in a hollow. I was not sure if I wanted to include them in this composition, but they are part of the image in front of me, so I decided to leave them in.

The smooth surface of this tree is so different from most trees I see. It reveals all the curves and bumps of a slow growing hardwood. Though the bark is gone, I expect it’s a member of the maple family. tree aficionados, feel free to help me on this one. By the end of summer, I expect this old fellow will be darkened with moss, it’s surface transforming from a solid, almost ivory-like texture to one mottled with mildew and softening as the decay process takes hold. Yet, here he is preserved as a photo for me to enjoy even when he’s gone back to the ground that birthed him, so many years ago.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 82 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

 

“Upstream” – Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

"Upstream" - Rainbow Trout in Duffins Creek

“No one is without troubles, without personal hardships and genuine challenges.  That fact may not be obvious because most people don’t advertise their woes and heartaches.  But nobody, not even the purest heart, escapes life without suffering battle scars.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich

The dark shape hovers, just below the surface. Defying the rush of the frigid spring waters. Moving neither forward, nor back. Fixed in it’s intent, it’s goal. Progress from this point seems improbable. Then, with a flick of it’s tail, like liquid lightning, it darts into the depths ahead, resting and awaiting the next challenge.

I stand on the shore, watching this drama played out, time and time again. Beneath cold, rushing waters, in currents that would sweep us off our feet, the rainbow trout, in their annual spring migration persevere against the elements. They hang, suspended, seemingly motionless, as the waters rush around them, for longer than seems possible.

These are the early migrants, having already travelled many miles up Duffins creek, from Lake Ontario, through deep, calm pools, shallow, rocky rapids, barely deep enough to cover their hulking masses; across clay bottoms and sandy shoals. These are not small fish. Many are over two feet long and weighing close to twenty pounds (9 kg). Yet they get through waters that barely cover them.

This is the Duffins Creek Migration, an annual spring event that is just starting out and at it’s peek will see trout in vast quantities, ‘stacked’ in certain areas of the creek, awaiting their turn to run further up the creek, following these early venturers.

I chose this particular image since this is how the trout often appear from the shore. They are just a shadow, suspended in the water, defying the current.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/10 sec, f/16.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Duffins Creek Rainbow Trout”

“Duffins Creek Rainbow Trout”

“I could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me someplace far. Someplace with no ghosts, no memories, and no sins.”
― Khaled Hosseini

In what has become a springtime ritual for me, since discovering the phenomenon, some 20 years after living here, is walking the shores of Duffins Creek, near the town of Whitevale, and enjoying the annual trout run from Lake Ontario, to the Whitevale dam, where I have had some success photographing the trout trying to scale the ten foot tall dam.

To my observations, the run is not triggered by a particular week in the calendar, water temperature, or how clear the water is. The ‘run’ seems to to triggered by some combination of the hours of sunlight and daytime temperatures. Only the trout know what causes this urge to migrate upstream.

Along the shores of this creek grows a plant known as coltsfoot. It’s a small yellow flower, resembling a stunted, thick stemmed dandelion. The first blossom of this spring plant coincides perfectly with the trout run. We’ve had a mixed bag this spring, with temperatures early in the month above normal, yet the coltsfoot was not blooming, until recently. Low and behold, the trout have returned to the river for their annual pilgrimage to the dam. As noted above, the dam is ten feet tall and designed to keep this introduced species from migrating up the river and feeding on the native brown trout.

While they had not made it to the dam yet, I certainly enjoyed seeing the flashes of colour in the water as they fought their way past the current. I’m hoping to get back in the next few days to photograph the jumping.

The trout pictured above was hovering in the current in a relatively shallow part of the creek, providing me the opportunity to make a nice image, showing all his bright colours and patterns.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 135 mm
1/50 sec, f/3.5, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Undercut” – Duffins Creek at Whitevale

“Undercut” - Duffins Creek at Whitevale

“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.”
― Laura Gilpin

A few mere weeks ago, this entire scene was filled with ice and snow. A handful of mild days, and it’s all a memory, preserved and recalled in thoughts and photos.

Since I don’t live in an area with high mountains and grand vistas, I take great pleasure in long hikes along the local creeks and through forest paths. Moving water, especially in the form of creeks, cascades, and rapids, holds a special fascination to me. I love the way it moves, how the light plays in the currents and eddies. The water courses themselves are alive and always a bit different every time I visit. There’s a new log on the banks, winter ice has rearranged the rocks on the bottom, sediment has accumulated and changed the course, ever so slightly.

The scene above, would be typical of an April day along the creek, as the spring runoff concludes and the sediment levels decrease, the creek becomes clearer and the rainbow trout begin their annual run to spawn. But, this is March and the trout are not quite ready, but the water awaits, cold and clear. The coltsfoot and bloodroot will begin to bloom, signalling the start of the run. I imagine, if the air stays mild, that will be within the next few days and I look forward to seeing life returning to this magical place.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 95 mm
1/10 sec, f/22, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com