Tag Archives: journey

Iceland Journal – “Glaciers Ahead”

“Glaciers Ahead” - South Iceland

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

This single photo can sum up my Icelandic journey. By the way, I was not driving when I made this photo, I stopped and stepped onto the sparsely travelled road. The landscape, in its varied layers, over the visible distance, changes from rugged lava fields, the Eldhraun, covered in ancient moss, to rugged plateaus and the ever present yellow grasses flanked by steep talus slopes, filled with waterfalls and the dark high cliffs of Lómagnúpsnef, the bounding landmark to the western edge of the massive Skeiðarársandur, yet another glacial washout plain, this one, some 56 km wide and filled with a tangled network of creeks and rivers winding their way through black sand and golden grass to the sea. Their source: the vast glacier field known as Vatnatjökull, visible in the far distance.

As the road makes another turn, a huge boulder dominates the scene and yet another waterfall, Gulufoss, I believe, falls from the rim of the plateau. I can picture this plateau in late spring, spewing water through every crack and crevice.

Actually, only one of the glaciers that make up Vatnatjökull is visible in this image, Skeiðarárjokull, the source of the washout, can be seen stretching out in a bright white plain before the distant mountains and glaciers of Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s highest peak, a 2,119 meter high volcano, also covered in ice, the summit obscured by clouds.

As the day progressed and we drew nearer to Hvannadalshnúkur, I found myself hiking through mossy lava fields to get a closer look at a small waterfall, driving a small potholed dirt road that rattled my teeth to get a closer view of Svínafelsjökull, one of several outflow glaciers coming from Hvannadalshnúkur. Here, I could almost touch the fractured glacier as it flowed between the mountains, melting into a muddy pool, filled with glacial icebergs of varying size and colour. We then spend time along the pond, enjoying the icebergs in their variety. I even had the chance to pick up a small, crystal clear fragment and taste it. A magnificent and unexpected experience. It was oh, so pure and pleasant. The taste of a glacier!

My journey, as I reflect on these images and memories did not end when I flew home, rather, it continues, as I begin to understand the incredible forces and dynamics that shape this country.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

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

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“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

“The Light that Lights My Way”

“The Light that Lights My Way”

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” 
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Scenes like this are one of the reasons I hike. I’ve referred to these dappled pools of light as “God-Light”, to quote C.S. Lewis. These small patches of golden light, like pools of energy seem to appear on all but the most overcast days. They are but one of the many effects in the forest which have a profound impact on me. In the forest, I feel in tune with my surroundings, the busyness of the workweek fades to a dull memory and my world come alive.

There is more to the light around me, while it lights my way, it warms my spirit and brings out the child in me. I find myself transfixed by the wonderful diversity of the forest paths, and grinning at simple things like a butterfly trying to land in the wind. Many of these scenes go undocumented, too brief to be captured as a photo, but remain with me as beautiful memories of my walks through the woods.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/10.0 ISO 100

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

“Autumn Fracture” 

“When our thoughts are unsettled and our inner world is in a muddle, we may sharpen our wits and try to recognize the invisible edges of our fractured stance. If we seek to figure out, what our life story is all about, we may be able to put the missing pieces in place and identify what is driving us, what we are actually up to and why we are running like mad dogs, sometimes. 
― Erik Pevernagie

The title for this image came quickly, prompted by the ‘cracked’ look of the image, caused by a weave of bright white branches across the frame. The image is like a summary of the fall colours, from bright yellows, to reds, and splatterings of red.

The reds were the original intention of the photo. I thought they would look nice against the yellows and fiery oranges of the bushes behind. I paid no heed to the branches in the foreground, figuring they would be blurred out. But, that’s the wonder of this style of image creation. The would not be denied and made their presence known as ‘cracks’. They are actually the branches of the highbush cranberry shrub which bears the read berries of my attention. So, the entire top layer is that particular bush and sequential layers fade to eventually end in blue sky.

I must admit that I enjoy the effect and it’s caused me to spend quite a bit of time considering the image and its complexities. despite appearing broken, it’s an image filled with energy and life which will not be discounted.

It also seems a fitting conclusion to my “Golden Paths” series, which I have so enjoyed producing. The image is, for me, a summary of the journey, the blending of colours and emotions, ending in a grande finale of light and colour.

The “Golden Paths” series, while a joy to produce, also posed challenges of ‘culling’ many images that would have fit, but offered a weaker narrative than I wanted. It has been a significant step on my journey as an artist, trying to express often deeply emotional subjects effectively. I thank you all for joining me on this leg of the journey. More to come.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/36.0, ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“The Turning”

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” 
― Terry Pratchett

Exiting the forest proper, I’m on the edge of a thin poplar stand, the path turns to one side and I’m faced with this tangle of bright sapling and fiery glow from the beeches and maples behind them.

The turning, is part of a cycle, which repeats over and over, yet each time I pass though, I see more and appreciate it even more. In this case, it’s not a turning back, it’s a re-turn, looking forward, with a slightly different set of eyes and experiences than the first time through.

The image also catches another turning, the change in the forest from yellows to golds and orange. Though subtle now, within the next few days I will be bidding a fond farewell to yellow once more and the coppery-orange of the beech trees begins to dominate. The Golden Path is shifting once more as the journey continues and I take another turn towards its conclusion, but based on the number of images I still have to go through, that may still be a while, and I’m good with that.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Respite” 

Because forgiveness is like this: a room can be dank because you have closed the windows, you’ve closed the curtains. But the sun is shining outside, and the air is fresh outside. In order to get that fresh air, you have to get up and open the window and draw the curtains apart. – Desmond Tutu

After hiking through a fairly dark and dull patch of forest, I was greeted with this ‘gateway’ of light, a respite, from the dark. Though dark shadows still lurk at the periphery, they merely ‘lurk’. They are inconsequential, yet necessary, as they frame and  actually ‘enhance’ the golden light streaming from ahead and above.

This is yet another one of those places I’ve passed through many times. Yes, the forest is always a bit dark and foreboding here, though I know I will emerge soon. Yet today, the light was incredible, tinted yellow by the thick poplars which line the edge of the forest, the slightest slivers of blue sky adding their voice as well. Small patches of cool, bright light, shimmer from the path just in front of me, but they pale in comparison with the warm, golden light ahead.

I’ve spent some time considering this photo and the many analogies which can be drawn from it and will be spending more time with it, though the journey along this “Golden Path” must also continue forward. I will revel in this brief respite from the darkness and move forward to see what the light has to offer me next.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Our Winding Ways”

“Our Winding Ways”

“The best part of the journey is the surprise and wonder along the way.” 
― Ken Poirot

The quote I chose for this image is quite simple, yet has such depth to me. As I hike and make images, I am constantly surprised at what lies before me. My path is seldom straight, and I can’t always see what’s ahead, though I journey in anticipation. Every bend yields something new and often unexpected. The light plays in different ways, making familiar scenes change before our eyes. The forest, is always shifting, changing, adapting.

At some point, someone created this path. It may have started as a game trail or been deliberately carved through the forest. It often makes sense, winding around objects or following the contours of the land. Straight paths speed the journey, but often take us far from the many beautiful places the forest has to offer. Personally, I prefer the winding path. A path where I can take my time and enjoy as much of my surroundings as possible.

As this path winds its way through the forest, the canopy takes on more or the golden hues that inspired this series of images, the “Golden Paths” series. Some of the paths in this series are straight, some curved, and some, barely discernible, but all are the ways I have travelled and each holds its own experience for me. Something I’m trying to communicate with this series.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/10.0, ISO 100

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