Tag Archives: impression

“York River Reflections”

“York River Reflections”

“Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot see physically with his eyes….Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an exploration into unknown areas.”
― Arshile Gorky

This is where is started, my fascination with photo abstractions. Back in March 0f 2012, I was hiking the shores of the York River, near Bancroft, Ontario when I noticed a beautiful reflection on the slightly rippled river surface. I made a few images and was pleased with the outcome. Then, I did something different: I cropped hem to remove the shoreline and flipped the image upside down, producing this beautiful ‘painterly’ abstract of the trees on the far shore. The slight flash of orange near the centre of the photo was an interesting and unexpected bonus.

A close friend of mine commented that it looked like a painting and I ran with that, making my first 24 x 36 canvas print, and yes, it did look like a painting then. It sold quickly and I’m considering reprinting it, larger, for my office wall, since it really has been a pivotal piece for me.

I’m thinking this may serve as the model for my next attempt at painting. Stay tuned.

Nikon D200
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 50mm
1/100 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)

“It’s Been a While”

“If you see a tree as blue, then make it blue”.
– Paul Gauguin

I posted this image to my Facebook page last week. It’s my first attempt at painting, of the non-digital type, in thirty five or so years. The last time I picked up a paintbrush to create art was back in high school and honestly, I was not very good at acrylics, favouring sketching and watercolours. Primarily because I could not get the colours right. I over processed and turned everything gray or brown. Of course, it was art class too, so it had to meet certain parameters. Creativity my my art class was not encouraged. Wow, that sounds odd, doesn’t it? And that, was the end of that. I much prefered to express myself through photography, which I was more comfortable with.

I recent posts, I have taken images that I composed with the camera that did not result in the image as I envisioned it. Some of those, I processed through digital art programs and was very pleased with the outcomes.

Last week, I went to an Impressionist exhibit in Toronto, called “Mystical Landscapes”, presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario. I’m drawn by the impressionist form and style myself a bit of a photo-impressionist, focussing on the feel of a place, rather than precision. I’ll often visit the same place over and over in different times and light, much like Monet did. I see different colours, like the Gauguin quote. I’ve seen lots of blue trees, in early evening light. You’ll notice, many of my trees in this painting are blue.

I’ve had this quote in my head for a few months now and it challenged me:

If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you can’t paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
— Vincent Van Gogh

So, I finally felt inspired to pick up a brush to see what happens, silence that voice. If it was a total disaster, I could just toss it and go back to photography, if it was half-good, I might pursue it.

Well, the result shocked me, as I stepped away and looked back at the painting on the easel I got quite emotional. I’d found something within myself that I did not know existed. This was something created out of nothing, just an image I had made, transformed into something new. I shared it with some friends who responded back positively, most asking me why I had not painted before this and encouraging me to continue with this, which I will do. My biggest surprise was that this 11 x 14 acrylic painting was done in about 2 hours, so I think I will continue, maybe take a lesson or two, since I’m relearning brush strokes for my youth.

Life sure is an interesting journey 🙂

“Inner Glow”

"Inner Glow"

“It would seem from this fact, that man is naturally a wild animal, and that when taken from the woods, he is never happy in his natural state, ’till he returns to them again.”
― Benjamin Rush

A brief post today of a digital painting I recently made of the cedar forest near Whitevale, Ontario. Despite the cold temperatures, warm sunlight glows from within the forest.

“Hemlock Bough”


“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
― Neil Gaiman

What more fitting image for the New Year than a bright green branch? So full of life and promise.

I made this image yesterday, while on my final hike for 2016. In fact, it’s the last image I made in 2016. Yet, the feel I was after was not quite there, so once again, I ran it through my Topaz Impressions plug in to get the effect I was after. The result is this impressionistic image, which is exactly what I was after.

May 2017 dawn fresh and bright and full of vigour in your lives, may the seeds of creativity produce fruit in abundance, and may we all remember that we are connected in more ways than we can imagine.

Happy New Year 2017




“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.”
― Mary Oliver

This will be my final post for 2016. My year ends much as it began, on the local trails, camera in hand. Today, I hiked about 6 km on snow packed trails, not meeting another hiker. The trek began bright but hazy and mild and ended two hours later, somewhat cooler with a fairly consistent snowfall, which inspired this final post.

It’s good to have some tools at your disposal. In this case, the ‘concept’ of an image capturing a December snow squall in the pine wood lot behind my house did not quite render my vision as a photo.

That’s where the ‘tools’ come in and running the image through the Topaz Impression plug-in yielded the desired results. It brought out the warm colours of the trees that I saw initially and enhances the nice blur of the heavy snow, a slightly washed-out effect, which is what I was after.

This has become a go-to for me if a photo does not convey the ‘feel’ I was after. My ‘impression’ of the scene. So, since I’m not a painter, I can be a photo-impressionist, and I like that. Wishing you a Happy 2017.

Till then,


“The Gut – Revisited”

"The Gut - Revisited"

“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.”
― Pierre-Auguste Renoir

I’ve contemplated this image many times. The original photo was very dark. I was trying to capture this beautiful gorge, aptly named “The Gut“, near Apsley, Ontario this past summer. It’s a very challenging photo due to dark shadows caused by the deep canyon walls to the left and the intensely bright cliff walls on the right. Yet my eyes saw this beautiful verdant passageway and all its colours as one evenly lit image.

There’s the problem we often face as photographers. Our eyes see something and the camera is just not as versatile as our eyes and brain in interpreting the image. That’s a reason I’m quite clear in stating that my photos depict ‘how’ I saw it. A person standing with me might not see it the same. Different eyes, different brain.

The joy in owning my Nikon D300, even though it’s a few years older, is that the image sensor is able to pull so much detail out of the shadows, with very little noise, when I edit the RAW image. I spent a bit of time dodging and burning the image, trying to balance out the light, yet even then, the image was not quite close to my vision.

I pulled the image into my Topaz Impression plug-in and rendered the image as an Impasto painting, with no further adjustments and, Voila! I had an image that did justice to what I saw that day. I don’t see this as cheating, rather, it’s a way for me to communicate my personal experience in a way that others might appreciate it.

The final image above shows all the richness of the forest, the glow of the afternoon sun on the cliff face and the movement and shimmer of the river, as it winds its way through the gorge. Very close to how I saw it, that wonderful hot afternoon in July.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)

“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:
or my website (some images available for purchase)


“The Thaw” – Secord Forest, Uxbridge

“February Thaw” - Secord Forest, Uxbridge

The photo title says it all. An image of a pine tree reflected in an ice puddle on the trail.

Here we are, early February and much of the scant snowfall we’ve had has melted off, running into creeks or pooling in icy puddles. The light this day was wonderful and lit the pines up with a soft glow. It was this ‘glow’ that attracted me to look closely at the puddle and choose this composition. I felt it was a nice way to communicate the concept of the thaw by reflecting the tree in the puddle itself. As you can also see from the blue tones of the ice, it was a bright, blue-sky day. It’s a bit of a different shot for me but I was in the mood for experimentation. I’d value your comments.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3 -0.67, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)