Tag Archives: experience

“Swamp Vervain – Verbena hastata”

“Swamp Vervain - Verbena hastata”

“When you see how fragile and delicate life can be, all else fades into the background.”
– Jenna Morasca

Here’s yet another purple, mid-summer blossom. I recall very well when I first saw one, blooming at the edge of a swampy area near my home. It was the first time I had ever seen this lovely, delicate species and it took me a while to figure out what it was called.

Swamp Vervain is not an overly attractive name for this beauty, but it does grow in wet areas, so it’s appropriate. I prefer the latin name, as hastata means having a triangular or spear-shape, which nicely describes the flowers, as you can see from the photo.

The next day, it seemed they were everywhere. I guess I had just not noticed them before and my new awareness gave me new eyes for it. To get this image, I went back to the places I remember seeing it previously, and it was quite simple to find.

My lesson in this is knowing what to look for as well as where and when to look. This has made it easier and less time consuming to find good subjects for my photography. I’m removing some of the ‘chance’ which has been an element of my photography in the past. It also means I’m going out at the right time of day to optimize my lighting.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500 sec, f/3.5 ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Floral Door Hardware” – Hotel California, Todos Santos

“Floral Door Hardware” -  Hotel Caifornia, Todos Santos

“When you take the time to look carefully, deliberately, to really ‘observe’, the fine details missed by our busy, ever filtering consciousness, expand our vision and engrave that memory more permanently.”
 – Ed Lehming

It’s the details, those little things our brains tend to file away as inconsequential within the broader experience, that fascinate and perplex me. Our eyes see it all, but very little is retained, unlike the camera, which keeps a permanent record of everything. But, as I said in my quote above, you have to take the time to look for those details and consciously remember them, or the details are purged, as we hurry to take everything in. Are we really taking everything in? Yes, but so much more is lost. That’s just how our brains are wired.

I find that to be the saddest thing in our busy world, at least in western cultures. We save up and vacation in the locales of our imagining. But, when we get there we, and I’m speaking generally here, tend to go to the places we have seen images of and drink in a larger experience than the photos or videos of others provide. That is quite fulfilling as we are now seeing ‘more’. Yet, how often do we stand in a place and really experience it? Taking in every fine detail?

My example above is a piece of hardware on a rustic door at Hotel California, in the Mexican village of Todos Santos. We had spent quite a bit of time touring this well-known tourist destination. But, it was not till I was standing outside the door, waiting for the rest of my family to finish their various activities, that I noticed this beautiful, handcrafted door hardware. In the shape of a coneflower, the petals are brass, stamped with yet more detail and the centre, is forged iron. In my opinion, a wonderful addition to the weathered wooden doors leading to the gift shop. Then there’s the wood itself, with it’s complex grain and subtle colour hues. Who saw the staple? No cheating.

Had I not been standing there, I might have noticed them, but not the details. I’ve had the same  experience when I take a hike with someone and find them surprised at the number of photos I have made of wildflowers and other items along the way that they missed, even though the believed they were taking it all in.

If you want to be an observer and savour and experience fully, you need to slow down, just like enjoying a good meal. Take it in, one small bite at a time and let the image fill your senses.

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 Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

 

“Hopeful”

"Hopeful"

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein

There’s a lot going on in the world these days. Most news seems bad and you can wonder where it’s all going. Yet, within the doom and gloom that the mainstream media feeds us, there is always brightness. Days march on, the cycle of nature continues. I find myself musing on some of my images and why I made them as well as why I have held off on others.

The image above is one of those that I considered for a while before proceeding. A bouquet that I have recently disassembled and photograph contained many wonderful flowers, my ‘go to’ flowers, the ones that are, on first sight stunning. I find myself favouring those and yet, the small stem of yellow chrysanthemums was neglected. The blossoms on this stem were a bit irregular, some unopened, and the bright yellow petals were a challenge to photograph without losing detail.

So, I found myself considering all my whys and excuses for not photographing them and could not come up with a solid reason other than they did not quite measure up to what I envisioned or wanted to share. So why not, why not put them in front of the lens and see what I can make of them? Which I did and the result is above. It’s not a large detailed blossom with lots of layers and colours, yet the more I look at it, even through my personal lens of how it ‘should’ look, it’s still beautiful.

Then I go back to thinking of our world, with all its imperfections, again, through my experiential lense and I see so much beauty within the turmoil and find myself hopeful that like the chrysanthemum, it will surprise me.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200 mm
2.0 sec, f/25.0, ISO 100

Hi Resolution image on 500px

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Coltsfoot Seed Heads” – Uxbridge

“Coltsfoot Seed Heads” - Secord Forest Trail

“Life is not made up of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years, but of moments. You must experience each one before you can appreciate it.” 
― Sarah Ban Breathnach

As with its yellow blossoms, many people mistake the coltsfoot seed heads for those of the dandelion. That is, until you take the time to look closer.

I’m finding more and more that people are just not taking the time to actively participate in the world around them. If something can’t be observed quickly or looked up on-line, it gets left behind. Our natural world beckons us to be part of it. When I take hikes to make photos, my world slows down, the business of life slips away, and I can be ‘in’ nature, not just a silent observer. The sounds fill my ears, the smells trigger memories, and the ever changing light dances through my vision. Some call this living in the moment, and I like that term, because that ‘moment’ lasts only briefly and then, becomes memory.

One of my greatest satisfactions in making photos is that all the images I make represent ‘moments’ which I have borne witness to. I take that as a gift, especially if I am able to effectively convey the ‘feeling’ of that moment through my art.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

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

“Forest Floor Eruption” – Stouffville Reservoir

cropped-e2809cforest-floor-eruptione2809d-stouffville-reservoir1.jpg

A slightly different view of the forest for you to ponder.

I spend a lot of time in the forest hiking and making photographs. People ask me where I find the wildflowers that I photograph. My response is, “Along the way”. I see them, because I know what to look for, where to look, and when to look, since I have experienced them in previous walks. Many of the flowers only bloom for a short period. So, if you miss them, your chance that year is gone.

A few years ago I went for a walk with a friend who wanted to show me the creek where the trout run. As we walked to the site, which he was very familiar with and had visited many times, I stopped and made several photos. He really had no idea why I kept stopping, until he saw the photos from the walk. He had no idea he had walked past so many beautiful sights. That’s the day I realized that the trick, if that’s what you call it, is to slow down and immerse yourself in your surroundings, to start really ‘seeing’ the finer details. I’ve found that once my eye picks up on a particular flower or plant that I have not seen before, I suddenly see them everywhere. It’s not like they were not there before, I’ve simply tuned in at a different level.

Many experiences in life also seem to be like that. Things go unnoticed until you encounter them once, then you see them easier and know them for what they are. As above, you become an experienced observer.

The photo above contains all the wildflowers I have recently photographed. Can you spot them?

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70 mm
1/125 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 250