Tag Archives: ontario

“Prickly Goosberry – Ribes cynosbati”

“Prickly Goosberry - Ribes cynosbati”

“Beware of those who are bitter, for they will never allow you to enjoy your fruit.” 
― Suzy Kassem

The gooseberries are not just bitter, but well protected. I imagine birds would do alright with these but I’m trying to picture a squirrel or some other rodent trying to deal with these spiky berries.

This native fruit bearing shrub is a new one to me, even though I have hiked past this location hundreds of times. Why I did not notice something so unique puzzles me, as I’m always on the lookout for something unique along the way. Perhaps I’ve walked past before the fruit was formed or after the birds had stripped the berries already.

The image is quite green in tone, the result of a lush green canopy overhead filtering the sunlight. Rather than trying to colour correct the image, I decided to leave it as is, a reminder of this warm day among the greenery.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/100 sec, f/5.0, ISO 320


“Showy Lady Slipper – 2018”

“Showy Lady Slipper - 2018”

“The beauty of that June day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction. The breezes were so caressingly soft and intimate on the skin as to be embarrassing.” 
― Dan Simmons

Here we are, freshly into summer. I have found myself longing to get on the trails, to explore the changes the past month has brought. I sought to find the many groves of wildflowers, so familiar to me these past few years. Most of all, a craved the crunch of the ground beneath my boots and the sweet smells and familiar sounds of the forest.

Work has consumed my time, has left me drained and uninspired. I’ve been out walking,  in town, just to clear my mind and then back to the routine. My free time has been spendt simply trying to catch my breath and come down from the non-stop urgency of my job.

As I sat reviewing some of the photos from last year, it became clear to me that I was sacrificing something precious. I was abandoning the very thing that gives me energy and creativity. I was giving up being ‘in’ nature. How I got to this point is simple, it was a slow and steady increase in keeping up with the increasing demands of a job that requires years of acquired knowledge and a great deal of creativity, combined with increasingly tight deadlines. But, I have come to realize, that the pace is only sustainable for so long. I began feeling tired, irritable, and uninspired in other aspects of my life. A few times, I took the time to set up a studio shot or two, grabbed some quick images with my iPhone, but that was it.

As I sat looking at the calendar this past weekend, I realized that it was Orchid time. The brief period in late June when the Showy Lady Slipper Orchids bloom in a local conservation area. I simply had to get out to check on them. So today, I made a point of starting my day early and taking time at lunch to step away from the desk and into the forest. As soon as I stepped off the trailhead and into the forest, the outside world slid away around me and I felt the ‘oneness’ of the trail. Even the clouds of mosquitoes were welcome, though only briefly. I was blessed by a cooler day and a slight breeze, just enough to cool me and disperse the biting insects. Within 20 minutes I stood before these lovely flowers once more. The conditions were perfect and I was able to get the shots I wanted. It’s so good to be back!

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/200 sec, f/11.0, ISO 320

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

“Garden Sunshine”

“Garden Sunshine”

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.” 
― Maud Hart Lovelace

I noticed, as I wrote this post, that I have not posted an image since May 31st. That’s what happens when you step away from something for too long; the time gets filled with other things.

The discipline of posting every day has been a very fulfilling experience for me. It forced me to be inspired when I was not and has taken me into the world of writing, which is not something I believe I am very good at. Posting and writing daily has caused me to consider my photos on a much deeper level. Writing about them has allowed me to go back to photos and the words that wrote and reflect back on that time and place. It has become a journal of my journey into me deliberate photography and has expanded my ability to explain much of the ‘why’ behind the photograph as well as the ‘how’.

So, today, as the rain finally falls outside, bringing much-needed moisture, summer is upon as, and so too, are roses.

As those who follow my blog will realize, I have a love for gardening and most plants do very well in my gardens. The one plant I have not been really interested in  is the rose. I love the look and fragrance of them, but have not felt a desire to grow the. My father was an avid and successful rose gardener, but for some reason, I never picked up on his particular passion. Perhaps that will be my challenge for next season.

The rose pictured above is actually named Garden Sunshine by the Richmond Hill Horticultural Society and is described by the hybridizer as ” “brilliant yellow, like sunshine in a plant,”. That is an apt description for this beautiful rose. What the description leaves out is the magnificent fragrance. I’m actually looking forward to having them in may garden.

The blossoms I photographed were given to my wife by a family friend who has several of these roses in his garden.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
3.0 sec, f/29.0, ISO 100 

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

“Trillium Trio”

“With brightness and purity like the snow which so recently trapped it, the trillium remembers winter while signalling spring”
– Ed Lehming

Though I posted a photo of a newly blossomed trillium a few weeks ago, the trilliums in Eastern Ontario, Bancroft, to be more specific, are a bit delayed. Warm air did not arrive here until recently, and with the warm air, new life and growth.

Though there is still frost in the ground in the deeper recesses of the forest, the plant life is starting to take hold here as well. As I made this image, I was considering the wonderful whiteness of the trillium blossoms and the recent snow. The connection inspired the short quote I made for the image.

I can’t think of another flower that is so brilliantly white. They seem so delicate, yet a blossom trapped by a fallen leaf, will tear the leaf apart to open. So, they may seem delicate but as with much in nature, there is a hidden strength in persistence.

It’s beauty is made more special by its brevity, as soon as it warms up enough, their flowers will fade into the memory of the forest and leave room for other plants, though the leaves remain bright and strong all summer long.

iPhone 7 @ 3.99mm
1/90 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20

“High Water”

“Gentle spring waves wash high upon the shore, drenching the land with moisture and restoring life, winter is at an end.”
– Ed Lehming

A few short weeks ago, Marble Lake was still ice covered and winter ruled, refusing to relinquish its hold on the land. A deep freeze and late snowfall meant frost remained locked into the ground, blocking the flow of melt water, channeling it on new courses.

The ice is gone, yet the water is bone-chillingly cold. Swimming will have to wait a few more weeks.

As I travelled north to our camper this long weekend, I noticed that some lakes were seemingly lower than others, appearing as if water had been quite high at sometime and found a release, leaving its mark on the shore.

It’s been a very different spring and was particularly noticeable as I went for a hike in the forest behind our camper. Unlike the forests near home, where wildflowers have burst forth almost overnight, growth I delayed here in the Bancroft region. Trilliums have just started to bloom, sorrel is ready to bloom today, if it warms up enough. It’s a mixed bag of plants and their ability to adapt to this chilly spring.

Even the black flies, the scourge of the Boreal forest are slow to emerge, but they have, just not feeding yet. I’m sure that will change soon enough.

Today, I am hoping to get a hike in to Egan Chute, one of my favourite local cascades, to get some updated photos.

iPhone 7
1/4000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20

“First Trillium of 2018”

“First Trillium of 2018”

“Living in the present moment is the recurring baptism of the soul, forever purifying every new day with a new you.” 
― Alaric Hutchinson

And there it was , white, pure, radiant, and completely unexpected. The first trillium  the season completely surprised me. From all my time spend in the forest, the steady rhythms of nature have become my own rhythms, a steady progression through time and season.

As I entered the forest yesterday, I was simply wanting to be there, with no specific goal, other than simply enjoying the day. I was expecting to see the clumps of hepatica beginning to slowly fade and the foliage leafed out and I was wondering if I might see a few Wake-Robins (Red Trilliums). What I found instead was a highly accelerated carnival of spring wildflowers a full week ahead of my expectations.

The forest floor and hardwood ridges were filled with Trout Lily in full bloom, white trilliums, soon to emerge, and this one, single blossom, fully open and tilting toward the sun.

Somewhere in the background a grouse drummed, looking for a mate, a pheasant cawed over the ridge, and ravens hovered high above me. The sights and sounds of the forest at this time of year are so uplifting, as the earth yawns and stretches after its long rest. Life has returned to the world once more, including a few black-flies that floated in a stupor in the warm spring air. Reminding me, that the season of biting insects was also returning, but not just yet.

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

1/640 sec, f/13.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

“Early Blue Cohosh”

“Early Blue Cohosh”

“Change is the end of something you know and the beginning of something else that you don’t know. Something new that holds opportunities.” 
― Kholoud Yasser

I believe I enjoy spring almost as much as autumn. While autumn is filled with brilliant colours, it is also a sort of ending, as the colours gradually fade and the world prepares for a winter sleep. Spring, on the other hand, is also filled with colours, but the colours grow and spread. Both seasons are times of transition, of change. As the quote says so nicely; the beginning of something else, slightly different every year.

The changes in the forest over the past few days have been startling. Last weekend, some of the trails still had ice on them and snow lingered stubbornly in the deep recesses. Now, with a bit of warmer air and sunshine, the miracle of spring takes hold. Everywhere you look, and you have to look carefully at this point of the year, life emerges once more from the dull litter of winter.

One of the toughest spring plants to spot, due to its dark colouration, is Blue Cohosh. However, like many of these plants, once you discover them, you wonder why you did not notice them before. This lovely spring ephemeral is deep purple, and to the untrained eye, looks like a piece of rag, until the drooping leaves eventually open and spread.

This specimen was not visible a mere day before, and despite being only an inch tall, and still opening, it has already produced blooms. Until last year, I had not even noticed the flowers, since they are so dark and blend in with the rest of the plant. The blossoms are interesting when you see them close up, but they are quite small and easy to overlook.

And so, change in the forest continues, offering more opportunities and new things to discover, and photograph.

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

1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)