Tag Archives: forest

“Shine”

“Shine”

“Through our dark times, if we have eyes open in hope, we can see glimpses of what might be, in what was.”
– Ed Lehming

The beautiful brightness of beech leaves in winter, and early spring for that matter is always a welcome sight. Even on the dullest snow-filled days, they glow with soft gold, a reminder of the rich colours of autumn. The sun, even in limited amounts, makes them seem to shine with an internal light.

Beech trees tend to hang onto their leaves throughout the winter, despite snow, and wind, most survive well into early spring, when warm and damp days tend to cause them to finally decompose. Many look pretty ragged by the time April arrives, yet some weather the seasons with surprising tenacity.

I’m always happy for them. They remind me of mild and colour filled autumn days and their shine is like a small beacon of life among the dark and frozen branches.

In this image, a recent, and unwelcome early spring snowfall on the final day of March clings to the delicate branches of a beech sapling, making the remaining leaves seem all the brighter against the snow-encrusted forest in the background.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 135 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

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

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“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

“Stillness”

“There is something sacred about stillness. The world has not changed, outside our bounds, we just realize peace and tranquility are possible, if we make space for it.”
– Ed Lehming

This is what I’m often faced with, as I take time to hike the local forests. It’s not a grand vista or a festival filled with brightly dressed people. The forest, in its simplest form, even at its gloomiest, still has pockets of beauty to share.

Here, bright orange beech leaves and the occasional stray oak leaf brightened the path in contrast to the dark December trees. Gentle snow drifted between the boughs and all the world was silent as I stood still on the trail, simply enjoying the peacefulness of the moment, my visible breath rising through the air around my face.

I love these times, where my senses are filled with the life of the forest. It’s what draws me here. You see, even in apparent stillness and calm, life in the forest goes on. Soon, small birds flit between branches, seeking seeds, squirrels scamper out of sight and into the high branches, and the very trees crackle as the temperature dips, yet the sense of stillness rarely departs. The other sound that fills my ears is the crunch of the snow beneath my feet, seeming so loud in this quiet retreat.

Though summer hikes have their appeal, I think I prefer the stillness and bright purity of winter, especially after a fresh snow, when the whole first seems to be inhaling deeply during its long rest.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 95 mm
1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400

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

 

“Among the Giants”

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.”
– Herman Hesse

As I start into 2019, I can’t but help reflecting on the profound influence trees have on me. I spend so much time among them, feeling their energy, sheltered under their branches, observing their slow but steady growth, season by season and, listening to them. Indeed, they have much to say about life itself.

Trees have influenced my photography and pursuit of painting as well. I am intimate with and thankful for the trees I am so blessed to live near. As my chosen quote states so well, trees are my sanctuary. In times where life gets hectic and work is overwhelming, the forests offer me respite, a place where I can simply be. To be among the trees is so incredibly refreshing to my senses. I smell the sap, hear the creak, groan and crackle of the wood as it heats and cools or resists the weather; my eyes are filled with the colours of fresh life as well as slow decay, all in their time. I feel the cool summer breezes among the branches and savour the shelter they offer in the storm.

So, when I came across this plantation of trees near Bancroft, Ontario, I could not help but notice the growth of young trees among their mature ancestors. Truly, among the giants and bathed in the soft winter light.

This is also an image that speaks of transition, from old to new and from past to future. I have no idea what 2019 has to offer. The year 2018 was a true blessing to me, personally, spiritually, and artistically and I expect the trees will continue play a large part in my future pursuits; I’m glad for the companionship.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/60 sec, f/8.0, ISO 400

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

“Back to the Woods”

“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

Today, a brief reprieve from my my Iceland series, which is not nearly complete. Yesterday, as the early snowfalls melted away, it took the the local forest for a moderate hike.

I’m blessed to live in an area with lots of forest and lots of easily accessible trails. There are favourites which I return to regularly, one being North Walkers Woods, which has a good network of interconnecting trails. The one I chose is what I refer to as the ‘ outer loop’ which follows the forest perimeter and is six kilometres long.

The day stared out dull and overcast, but sitting inside was not an appealing option for me. After a particularly horrible workweek, many of my co-workers were let go, in the ever present world of downsizing, I ended my week family ‘numb’ and simply needed to get out and recharge.

When I’m out hiking and making photos, the outside world fades away and I am simply present in the forest. I hear lots of people talking about this state of being present. I suppose I have always had the ability to do that, without having a formal name for it.

So, here I was, enjoying a good late autumn walk and seeing the dull day turn ever brighter. The sun never fully emerged from the clouds but the light was soft and warm enough to make a few simple forest images, including the one above.

I played with my Prisma app to get the slightly graphic effect, which is quite subtle, and you have to look closely to see the effects.

iPhone 7

“Three Along the Way”

“Three Along the Way”

“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

As I walk the local trails, I’m often quite aware that, at some point, the trailblazers and foresters had to make choices about what trees remained and what trees needed to be felled. As the trails meander to and fro, it’s clear that conscious decisions were made to avoid having to cut certain trees.

I suppose, being a cluster of three, tightly grouped, makes you less vulnerable to the chainsaw, however well intentioned. There are many such clusters along the trails and the path always gently flexes around them. For me, each of the trees I pass tell a bit of the story about the formation of this trail system, so many years ago. As the story emerges, I am ever grateful to those who had the foresight to set these lands apart for our future enjoyment, one tree at a time.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/22.0 ISO 400

“The Gentle Way”

“The Gentle Way”

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” 
― Pat Conroy

This image, while slightly darker than some of my prior posts, represents so well my typical experiences on the trail; bright sunshine streams between the branches light above, the canopy has a slight yellow tinge, as the days shorten, there are wonderful shifts in the light, each tree reflecting a slightly different shade of brown gray, or silver; far in the distance, a bright meadow shows through a gap in the trees, my destination, or just a glade along the trail edge?

The path, soft and sandy, littered with leaves, has become my gentle way. I tread these trails in reverence for the beauty they lead me through and am grateful to those early conservationists who had the foresight to set this land apart, so that I and many more could enjoy the wonder of the forest trails .

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70mm
1/4 sec, f/9.0 ISO 200

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