Tag Archives: inspiration

“The Remnants”

“On revisiting places and memories, we are reminded of what was. We should not dwell on these things, but recall fondly the place these things had in forming the present” – Ed Lehming

I have shared images of these dead pine trees a few times in the past. I came across them several years ago and they stood out to me because they are such a stark contrast to the living forest that surrounds them. They appear to have died many years ago but the nature of their composition and lack of branches for the wind to catch has kept them standing for years.

Every year, they decay a bit more and there is often one less. I imagine they will all be gone in the next few years.

I always make a point in stopping in front of them, thinking about what must have happened to kill them off and fascinated by how they have remained vertical. They have provided me with some wonderful photo opportunities. Given the number of photos I have made here, no two are ever the same. Some element is always changed, be it the light, the colour of the foliage, or even the slight change in my position when composing the image.

On the day I made this image, a mere week ago, autumn was in full swing, the surrounding forest filled with soft light and brilliant gold, orange, and rusty colours, and a cluster of shrubs, which have only recently taken hold among the skeletal trucks, added a beautify sparkle of light that I had not noticed before.

It’s become a place of quiet reverence and reflection to me and one I will sorely miss once they are all gone. I will miss them once their time has passed but be grateful for the inspiration they have provided me.

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

“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)

Iceland Journal -“A Final Flurry” – Grindavik, Iceland

“And what began as a dream, becomes reality, becomes memory…”
– Ed Lehming

So, concludes my Iceland Journal (this one at least),as it began, an image of vast stretches of wondrous, raw, and ever changing landscape.

It has been a real joy going back through my photos, triggering memories of moments, which I have been able to document and share.

And so, I end this chapter of the story, as we end the year 2018 and head into 2019.

I would not have believed, at the start of 2018 that it would include a trip to Iceland, who knows what this year will bring?

Wishing you all a Happy New Year 2019!

“Tangle of Light and Limbs”

“Tangle of Light and Limbs”

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” 
― Ansel Adams

As those who follow my posts regularly, you will know that I enjoy testing new things. There is great satisfaction in this creative process, of communicating in a slightly different way than traditional photography.

Though, the core elements remain: light, line, composition, shape, space, form, and value. As a photographer, I’m always seeking light. The other elements are either there or they are not, I don’t go looking for them. I compose by what pleases me and have enough knowledge of composition to understand ‘why’ certain scenes appeal to me. That, I believe is the hardest thing to communicate to those who do not see this way.

Light, as I said, is the element I am seeking and sometimes it can turn an otherwise uninspiring scene into something magical, like this one, involving a dominant cedar tree within a local spruce bog. The mid-morning sunlight illuminates the tangled knot of branches on the forest floor with a bright glow that you simply can’t ignore. That’s the kind of light that inspired this short “Spirit of the Spruce Series”. That light enables me to showcase a small part of my world for others to enjoy, and hopefully, bring light and inspiration to others.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@78mm

1/4 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400

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“Across the Valley”

“Across the Valley”

“Art is to console those who are broken by life.” 
― Vincent van Gogh

I generally don’t post these ‘enhanced’ images, but enjoyed creating this one so much, I had to share it, hopefully it fulfills it’s intent to console somebody who needs a bit of brightness in their day.

The source image was made last week while  hiking my brother in law’s woodlot near Bancroft, Ontario. It was a cool November morning as I crossed over a ridge to be greeted by this scene of wonder.

Through the deep green foliage of the resident hemlocks, the opposite ridge was alight with sunshine reflecting from fallen oak leaves, bathing the scene in the most beautiful warm glow.

While the original photo was nice, I was inspired to make it more ‘painterly’ by running it through my Topaz Impressions filter. As I become more adept at painting, I’m hoping to make a real painting of this in the near future. For now, it’s a inspiration to a possible future.

I also just realized this will be my 1,000th post. From something that started out as a place to collect my thoughts, it’s grown into an inspiration, and a way for me to carefully consider my art.

Thanks to those who have chosen to join me on the journey. Here’s to the next 1,000!

“Late Summer Warmth”

“Late Summer Warmth”

“The tremendous pines towering above the dark marshy soil resembled a gathering of severe mute brothers from a forbidden ancient order worshiping forgotten gods no one had ever heard of outside of the world of secret occult visions.” 
― Simona Panova

As I went for a long hike last Sunday, looking for inspiration for my next photo series, I found myself in a large expanse of cultivated red pines. These trees would have been planted in the mid sixties to reclaim farmland as conservation areas were created.

The conservation areas were created not only for recreation but as a strategy to control floodwater flow after hurricane Hazel flooded destroyed areas outside and within the city of Toronto. Given current events in Houston and Florida, I take comfort that people had the foresight to create a flood control measures. By planting forests, ground erosion is greatly reduced and the forests also cool the air, not to mention all the other elements like wildlife habitat and so on.

I’ve stood among these pines before, and made a few images, but decided that late summer would be a nice time to start a series of pine forest images titled “Among the Pines”. My first few shots featured a lot of golden brown, like the one above, but as I proceeded to hike and photograph, a surprising amount of green plays into the images as well. Since this is a planted forest, it is also managed, and so, the forest is ‘thinned’ out every few years, to encourage growth in the trees and allow light to shine between the trees, which brings on growth of ground cover and an array of colours and textures.

There are a lot of maple and beech saplings growing between the pines, which is a natural progression. It turns out, you can’t plant a maple forest. You have to plant pines first and the maples grow between them. Once you clear out the pines, after several years, the maples are established and take over. Something I did not know before.

So, here it is, image number one of the “Among the Pines” series. I hope you enjoy it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/14.0, ISO 400 

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“The Breach” – Chileno Beach

Breach at Chileo

“Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.”
― Pablo Picasso

Though this is my photo blog I have, recently, posted a few paintings. Actually, they are photos of paintings, so I’m really not crossing a line, am I?

As those of you who follow this blog regularly would know, I’ve commented in the past about the idea that I can’t paint, and that I have used digital painting as a proxy for this deficit. However, those digital paintings stirred something inside me to give painting a try. It was a big risk on my part. What if I proved myself right? Well, no harm in trying.

I was surprised to find that something that sat dormant for so long could be so easily awakened, simply by listening to my inner voice and a bit of preparation. I went out and bought some good quality paints and an assortment of brushes and really surprised myself. It has been a LONG time since I put brush to canvas and I never really enjoyed it, because I was just not good at mixing colours.

Time, and experience with photo composition and colour balance has taught me why my colours were off and a few online beginner courses in acrylic painting technique made me somewhat ready to try it again.

My recent whale watching trip and subsequent photos inspired me to attempt a painting of the whales breaching. So, here it is. I believe I have a long way to go to get my paintings to the level I desire, but I’m not disappointed in the result. This is my third painting since I started in mid-February.

“Reflected Cat-tails” – Secord Pond, Uxbridge

“Reflected Cat-tails” - Secord Pond, Uxbridge

The words “Seeing the extraordinary in everyday places.” has become a mantra for me. It resonates through my entire being. I’ve said before that I can’t seem to turn it off and would not want to.


As I walk the streets or hike the forest trails, I am able to see beauty almost everywhere. So, why would I want to turn that off. It becomes my connection with my Creator, a reminder of the marvelous detail that I miss when hurried. I revel in the quiet times, where it’s just me. Those solitary times are energizing for me, as I look around and notice a play of light, the soft motion of water, or plants in the breeze. Learning to effectively capture and sharing those moments bring me joy. As I sit and review my photos and try to put into words what that experience was like, I’m constantly reminded, that moment was in front of me to enjoy, a very brief part of an ongoing story in light, motion, and colour.

The inner creative in me likes to push boundaries and experiment with different ways of seeing things. I view other’s works, get inspired by images and words, to push my own boundaries and beliefs. As I share these experiments, I’m also sharing part of my journey, and opening an intimate part of my essence. Perhaps that journey resonates with others and brings them to the same place.

The image above is just such an experiment. I used an old Takumar 500mm f/5 lens that belonged to my father. For years I had considered selling it since it did not work with any of my cameras. Last week I acquired an adaptor that allowed me to use this lens for the first time in nearly thirty years. I had forgotten what a monster it is. Weighing in at nearly seven pounds and close to two feet long, this glass is not for the faint of heart and certainly not something I care to carry around on a regular basis.

I took it with me, along with a sturdy tripod, to Secord Pond, a small lake at a local conservation area.  While it was nice to make long telephoto images, I really enjoyed the effects it had when photographing the shoreline plants reflected in the water. Above, are cat-tails, reflected in the gently rippling water.

Nikon D200
Takumar 500 mm f/5 @ 500mm
1/60 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200

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