Tag Archives: observation

“Wood Nymph on Crab Apple Leaf”

“Wood Nymph on Crab Apple Leaf”

“Miracles… seem to me to rest not so much upon… healing power coming suddenly near us from afar but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that, for a moment, our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there around us always.” 
― Willa Cather

For those living in the path of today’s solar eclipse, I’m sure it will be tough to compete with the spectacle in the sky. If I had to chase those spectacles, I’m sure I would have stopped making photographs years ago. Fortunately, that is not the case and there is so much wonder in the seemingly mundane spaces around us daily.

Today, I set out mid-morning to make a few images of local wildflowers, only to find many have already gone to seed and the next ‘wave’ is just starting to bud. Yet, in my periphery I caught movement and noticed this wood nymph floating and fluttering from plant to plant, occasionally sitting to sun itself, then taking to the sky again.

It took a while for it to finally land on a leaf that offered me decent lighting and a side view. And, it took me a while to get close enough to get a good image, without spooking it away. Persistence paid off and I was a able to get a few nice shots of it. Despite some wear and tear, so common in butterfly wings this late in the season, it was a fairly nice example of this common woodland butterfly. The only drawback was that the butterfly was content to just sit there and did not open its wings to offer me a top view. Despite this, I’m always happy to be reminded that being in nature frequently puts me more in tune with it and makes it easier for me to spot things like this that others simply don’t notice. I often have people looking at my photos surprised that I made the image steps from home.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/40 sec, f/16.0, ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Hoverfly on Timothy Grass Blossom”

“Hoverfly on Timothy Grass Blossom”

The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.
– Joseph B. Wirthlin

The quote above really resonates with me. I have often commented about how my brain has learned to ‘filter’ out so much of what I see. Just how clever our brains can be came to light in a very real way a few months ago when I underwent a surgical procedure on both my eyes called an iridotomy. Essentially, a laser is used to drill small drain holes in my irises to prevent pressure build up behind the lense, which is a hereditary trait in my family, and a real issue for me as a photographer.

After the surgery, these small holes allowed additional light into my eyes and caused bright lights to create a secondary ‘ghost’ image. This ‘ghosting ‘ lasted about four week and my brain gradually filtered it out. Now, I can’t see the ‘ghost’ even when I try. The brain is that powerful.

So, I am making it a point to re-see the world around me and try to remove some of those filters. Photography is a huge enabler to the process.

If you look closely, you’ll see the tiny purple blossoms, which are clearly attracting yet another hoverfly. A whole new world is opening to me this summer, as I make images of the flora and fauna in the small meadow at the end of my street.

I’m discovering a complex network of life in this mundane place, which is mundane no more. Even on a quiet morning, the place is alive with activity and colour, you have bt to look for it and once you see it, there is no going back.

It does look odd to the outside observer, as I focus my camera on a stem of grass, but that observer would have no idea of the wonder I am seeing. So be it. Too often I hear photographers saying they live in an area that is boring, that there is nothing worth photographing. Well, this small meadow is an example of just how untrue statements like that are. They have stopped seeing. I am learning to re-see, with the same fascination I had as a child and it feels great.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/100 sec, f/16.0 ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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http://www.edlehming.com

“Summer’s Splendour”

“Summer’s Splendour”

“Happiness is not a thing – it is a feeling; a way of joyful living and being. It comes from inner fulfilment and appreciating the world you live in.” 
― Rasheed Ogunlaru

I could not think of a more suitable title for this studio image of a purple coneflower from my garden. As I look at the flow of the petals and the incredible order of the disk florets, glowing in the light.

It’s something almost magical to behold and I find the isolation technique I use makes those details stand out even more. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with this image, simply enjoying the textures and structures of this beautiful blossom, dotted with tiny grains of pollen. Appreciating the whole by observing the component parts that make up the whole.

I’m finding these images and the time I spend composing the shots has made me more aware of many of these details as I observe the flowers and wildlife outdoors even more deliberately. I try to turn off the filters my brain has learned over the years, to see the blossom like this, naturally.

It’s becoming a journey to live life in the same manner. Some call it mindfulness, or living in the moment. I like to look at it is deliberate appreciation for the world around me. It’s also making it easier for me to compose better images, as I’m learning to see things for more than just an object to be photographed, but rather, an opportunity to preserve the essence of what I’m seeing. Writing about these experiences is helping tremendously, as the process of writing slows my brain down and causes me to more carefully consider the image and what I want to share about it and the process that led to its creation.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/200 sec, f/16.0 ISO 200

High Resolution Image on 500px

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

 

“Air Traffic”

"Air Traffic"

“He imagines a necessary joy in things that must fly to eat.”
― Wendell Berry

A final look at this fleabane plant and accompanying wildlife. The Crescent butterfly, now satisfied, flies off to its next destination, while a small bee arrives to repeat the cycle.

I like the movement in this image. It nicely illustrates the activity that goes on, even around a single plant, all day long. Each visitor, in its turn, partaking of what the plant has to offer; in return, the plant sends its pollen along to neighbouring plants, a hitchhiker tagging along with the hungry visitors, anther cycle. It’s quite a thing to watch, and much of it is missed, since the smaller flies and bees are so small and fast, that they are merely blurs to the naked eye, frozen here, to enjoy and wonder at.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500sec, f/7.1 ISO 400

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“The Humble Fleabane”

“The Humble Flea-Bane”

“With the utmost love and attention the man who walks must study and observe every smallest living thing, be it a child, a dog, a fly, a butterfly, a sparrow, a worm, a flower, a man, a house, a tree, a hedge, a snail, a mouse, a cloud, a hill, a leaf, or no more than a poor discarded scrap of paper on which, perhaps, a dear good child at school has written his first clumsy letters. The highest and the lowest, the most serious and the most hilarious things are to him equally beloved, beautiful, and valuable.”
― Robert Walser

There is such beauty in even the most common of wildflowers, even this small member of the daisy family. I was going to title this First Fleabane of the season, since it is that, but I wanted to focus on commonplace beauty.

Over the past year or so of photography, my perspective on what beauty is has shifted dramatically. I’m now finding a richness in the more diminutive flowers, in dead or dying blossoms, the way light plays on a shrivelled leaf. Objects, that at first glance, don’t seem worthy of a second glance, or a more careful inspection.

I’ve become increasingly aware of how much of my world my brain filters out as ‘inconsequential’, causing me to pass it by. The more deliberate I become in observation, the more my world opens up to experiences I have missed in the past. Even at this, I’m still left baffled at what I’m missing. Through photography, I’m able to freeze that moment and really take the time to fully experience an image and my hope is that those moments are resonating with my readers.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/2500 sec, f/5.0 ISO 100

High Resolution Image on 500px

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

“Tender Pinks”

“Tender Pinks”

“Have you noticed how nobody ever looks up? Nobody looks at chimneys, or trees against the sky, or the tops of buildings. Everybody just looks down at the pavement or their shoes. The whole world could pass them by and most people wouldn’t notice.”
― Julie Andrews Edwards

While not quite the ‘punchy’ neon of yesterday’s dahlia, this more subdued blossom is still a stunner. The thing I enjoy most about these floral macros is the incredible detail.

Despite spending time looking at flowers, trying to observe the same, I find my eyes darting around and my brain ‘filtering’. It’s not till the image is locked in and isolated that I’m able to really see the details. I’m wondering if that’s unique to me, though I expect its how we’re all wired.

In this day and age of instant gratification and cell phones, I’m concerned that society in general is losing the skill of observation and true appreciation of the wonders in our world. Even images like this, garner a quick glance and a like. After all, with technology, we can always go back to it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
6.0 sec, f/45.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

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

“Dutchman’s Breeches”

“Dutchman’s Breeches”

“A little piece of everywhere I go becomes a big part of everything I do.”
― Richie Norton

Spring, has to be my favorite time of year. Not just because of the warming weather, but because every day has new discoveries, sometimes many. Having spent most of my life outdoors, I’m finding myself continually amazed at just how much of my world I casually ignored.

Becoming a deliberate photographer has transformed my world and how I see it. As the quote above puts it so succinctly, these little pieces of my experience have transformed me, they have become a part of who I am. Through my photography, I’m seeing the world in news ways, appreciating life in new ways, and loving it.

I think I also need to clarify a point above. By referring to myself as a ‘deliberate’ photographer, I mean I set out with a purpose. So, rather than just snapshots of events or casual observations of my day, I set out to really ‘see’ the world around me. I take the time to study a scene and compose my images to fully express what I have seen, with the hopes that this is conveyed to my audience. At minimum, it allows me time with the scene, allowing me to fully appreciate it.

In the case of the Dutchman’s Breeches above, I’ve seen photos of the plant in books, knew it grew around here, and looked for it, with no success. I made images of a close relative to it, Squirrel Corn, last year and did not notice that the plant in this photo was only a few meters away, as well as the bloodroot I shared earlier. Now I’m spending time observing associated plants and their related growing patterns. I can honestly say that I am learning something new every day and truly enjoying the journey.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/100 sec, f/18.0 ISO 100

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