Tag Archives: hope

“The Days Are Brightening”

“The Days Are Brightening”

“Flowers bring to life even the dullest days” – Ed Lehming

The first day of May, in the midst of pandemic lockdowns, and I am blessed with the beauty of a single blossom from a Gerbera that I somehow managed to coax through the winter.

It’s been a bit, no, actually very distressing to not be able to get out and photograph local wildflowers like I have in the past few years. The photos I have posted recently were all taken on a single hike last weekend; which I’m hoping to repeat this weekend.

Till then, I am quite satisfied to be greeted every morning by this lovely plant, which I have noticed has two more blossoms forming. Hopefully, as sign of things to come.

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

1/6 sec, f/20.0, ISO 200

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

“May Hiacynths”

“May Hyacinths”

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

It’s spring, and finally mild enough that it feels like spring, the gardens, which till now, have been waiting patiently for some warmth to stir life into them are now erupting with perennials.

This is such a needed reprieve from the past weeks of of staying home and waiting for signs of life. I know the cycles of nature will continue, but everything seems to have been delayed by cool weather and feels even more so with the monotony of being in self-isolation as this COVID-19 pandemic runs its course.

The warmer weather and blossoms also mean I can spend more time outdoors working on the gardens and getting rid of the winter’s litter. This time of preparation is therapeutic for me; it keeps me busy and focussed on the future. I’m looking forward to having a bit more time to nurture my garden this year, as I expect we will not be venturing far from home any time soon.

With the flowers now in bloom I’m also able to enjoy capturing the beauty with my camera and sharing it with others who may also be in need of some spring cheer.

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

1/60 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

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

“First of the Season” – In memory of Marjorie Fretz

First of the Season (low res)

“There is something special about the first trillium of the year. As I walk the trails, I keep a keen eye open for this marvelous harbinger of spring, and when it see it, I know, warm days and beauty follow.” – Ed Lehming

Here it is, the first white trillium of the year. The original was a ‘nice’ photo, but I was looking for more, something to personalize it this year. This bizarre year of COVID-19, isolation, and emotions I still can’t process. So, I decided to render it as digital art, not something I do very often, but somehow it felt very appropriate today. I wanted more than a photo. I wanted something that connected me personally to this beautiful moment where I beheld this single, wonderful blossom. For me, some sign of hope of normality, and a future that I can look forward to.

I’m hoping that this image can bring some joy to others. Joy seems to be a rare commodity these days.

“The Inevitable Transition”

“The Inevitable Transition”

“All things change, it is inevitable, even the things that appear to be constants eventually pass into history. The cycles of time and nature cannot be stopped.” – Ed Lehming

I’ve written a few times about the beauty of beech leaves in the dead of winter. As other leaves have long since fallen to the ground, these leaves cling to the branches with incredible tenacity and offer much needed brightness to otherwise dull winter forests.

They hang on all winter long, and then, within days, they are gone, their purpose served. I’ve often wondered about this phenomenon and set out to understand it better. This spring I spend some time observing the ‘fall’ of the beech more closely and now understand the process better.

The previous years’ leaves are attached to the stem at a ‘bud point’. I’m sure there is a scientific term for this junction, but I’ll use my own expression here. Where other species’ leaves loose the connective fibres that attach the leaves, beech leaves do not. They remain connected to this ‘bud point’ all winter long. The connection is not broken till a new bud forms and pushes outwards, severing the connecting tissue. That’s why they all seem to fall off at the same time. Their cycle ends and another begins.

I can’t help but relate this analogy to what’s going on in our world right now. We are clinging with all out emotional strength to the world we have known for so many years and we will, by human nature, resist the change, each in our own fashion. But the change is already underway, all we can hope for is something better.

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

1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

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

 

“Fragile”

“Fragile”

“Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile.”
― Bernard Beckett

As I observed these dried beech leaves a few days ago I saw many allusions to my current state of emotional well-being and my pursuit of calm and hope. There have been days recently when I have felt dried out, bereft of joy, and just waiting for the next message of bad news to push me to the brink. I’ve felt like curling up and hoping this all passes me by, trembling in the wind.

Yet, at the same time I realize just how tenacious these leaves can be. They cling to the branches all winter long as other leaves have long since fallen to the litter of the forest floor. I’ve previously commented on how the beech leaves are bright and colourful beacons of cheer in the otherwise dull, gray winter landscape.

It’s about perspective, I suppose; a matter of directing my thoughts to the positive and the belief that we as humans are able, resilient, and fully capable of solving this most recent problem. I need to remain confident and focus on the image of tenacity rather than fragility. I also know that these wonderful leaves will soon fall as well, but released by new growth rather than death, a continuing cycle of ebbs and flows; a balance. It’s all about how we look at it.

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

1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 400

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

“Bloodroot’s Spring Gift”

“Bloodroot’s Spring Gift”

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

In these uncertain times, the Tolkien quote resonates with me. There are so many things that are fair, and there are more and more every day. I’m making it my habit to actively seek them out.

Yesterday, I finally ventured back onto the local trail because they bring me joy and refresh me. They are infrequently travelled and allow lots of space if a fellow hiker happens to pass by. My purpose, aside from just getting outdoors is exactly what Tolkien alludes to; the quest for signs of beauty and renewal.

From my many years outdoors, I know the cycles of spring and which plants flower at specific times. Bloodroot is usually among the first to bloom, preceded by Coltsfoot. I was a bit disappointed as I scanned the forest floor hopefully. I saw many Bloodroots emerged from the dry brown debris of the forest floor. Usually they are in full bloom by now. After hiking a few more kilometers I was greeted by this beauty, still tightly wrapped in its leafy shroud. yet in full bloom; just what I needed; a gift of beauty and of hope. The cycle is delayed but I know with certainty that it will continue, just as nature always does. The symbolism of a gradual ‘opening’ inspires with me as we begin looking forward to something closer to ‘normal’.

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

1/25 sec, f/20.0, ISO 400

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

“Old and New”

“Old and New”

“As doom and gloom pervade our lives it’s difficult to feel freshness. Yet, nature shows us that just as one thing dies off, another appears. Our path need not be wearisome if we open our eyes in expectation to the new rather than the old.” – Ed Lehming

Such was my experience today, as I returned to my beloved trails. It’s nearing the end of April, the world is locked in a battle with a pandemic and much of the news is less than positive. The forest is my source of energy and I have missed it so much through this uncertainty.

My expectations as I set out was that I would see a few of the early blooming spring ephemerals. At first not much was visible but I soon noticed some trilliums starting to emerge, some even had traces of flower buds, but it will be a while before they actually bloom. I was hoping to see a few Bloodroot by this time of year, but most were still tightly bundled up.

As my hike progressed I started noticing a few Spring Beauties blooming among the patches of Trout Lily leaves. The Trout Lilies will also be a while before they blossom. I figured that was the best I could hope for, as it has been rather cool this spring and being home I have fallen out of sync with the timing of the spring blooms.

Then, as I resigned to this rather scant showing of blossoms, I saw a splash of white against an old log and could not believe the that I was seeing a Hepatica (Sharp-Leafed Liverwort) blooming this early, and more advanced than other plants that generally bloom a few days before them.

The bright, fresh white against the rotting log brought me back to my recent mood, looking desperately for some brightness to see me through these times. This beautiful flower was just what I needed, but I would not have seen it had I not been actively looking for it. So, I will head into the next few days with the same philosophy of keeping my eyes and ears open to beauty and freshness.

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

1/25 sec, f/20.0, ISO 400

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

“A Distant Glow”

“A Distant Glow”

“Even in the darkness and the tangles of life, light seems to find its way to us.” – Ed Lehming 

This image was made in January, during a family vacation to Mexico. I was experimenting with my deliberate camera movement (DCM) technique using the jungle foliage as my subject. It’s a bit different than the forests in my area as the jungle is quite tight compared to the wider spaces of hardwood forests There are also less vertical elements and the light is so much different.

I got a lot of shots that just looked ‘blurry’ rather than painterly and most were significantly over or underexposed. After a few tries I had landed on the right settings and made a series of images that where interesting but nothing really ‘stuck’. However, this one particular image happened to catch the reflected light of the setting sun as a bright flash in the shadows.

The light was not something I particularly noticed as I made the image, which is often the case in these abstract shots. However, these elements seem to always be there and I must subconsciously detect them as I compose the image.

As I was looking for material to post, this particular image stood out, given the mood of the world today. People seem to be struggling with all the unknowns and navigate their way through these days of uncertainty. The little flash of light reminds me that all is not completely dark, if you deliberately look for the good things and focus on them. Suddenly, the tangle and darkness of our world offers some hope, and I’m personally encouraged by that.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 135mm
1/4 sec, f/10.0 ISO 400

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

“Up and Over”

“Up and Over”

“What lies ahead? We seldom know the details, but we anticipate, hoping for the best.” – Ed Lehming

As February transitions to March, I am keenly aware of the subtle changes in the forest. The light is a bit warmer and softer than it has been for far too long, there are more birds flitting about in the branches high above. There is more movement and the sounds are different. Even the air has a new feel.

There is a change just ahead and just like the forest trails as they rise and dip, so do the seasons, but it’s never quite the same, there is always some slight variation beyond the next hill.

It’s those subtle changes that I enjoy the most, not anxiously, but with glad anticipation. That barely noticable change may be the inspiration for my next favourite photo, though I have tread these paths so many times before.

There is also a change in me, how I see things, how I perceive them, as well as my many experiences lead me on, always knowing that what lies ahead will not be the same as what I have become accustomed to and I hope that my journey thus far has prepared me to fully enjoy them.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/4 sec, f/32, ISO 200

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

“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