Tag Archives: ontario

“Downward Plunge”

“Downward Plunge”

“Life moves very fast. It rushes from Heaven to Hell in a matter of seconds.” 
― Paulo Coelho

This past weekend, I took a little side drive to High Falls, which is really a former chute, turned to a waterfall by the installation of a dam nearly one hundred years ago. The dam closes off the end of Baptiste Lake, just north of the town of Bancroft, Ontario.

Because of the dam, the lake itself is a lot larger than it was originally, by about fifteen feet. As I stood along the side of the falls, I tried to picture this area before the dam was built. It must have been quite a sight, watching the massive flow of water surging through this narrow chute.

The dam was built to regulate the flow of the water from Baptiste Lake into the York River, which begins here and flows through the town of Bancroft several miles below. Spring floodwaters used to cause a lot of damage to the town. Even with the dam, the York River catchment basin is big enough to cause flooding in the town in the spring, as snow and ice melt. It must have been crazy before the dam was built.

I made several long exposures of various section of the falls, till a sudden cloudburst ended my day and I had to scramble back to the car, satisfied with only a few images. Of the five images I made, this one resonated with me the most. It shows the water spreading beyond the narrow rift and flowing over the surrounding rocks. The water was a bit higher than usual, in part because of our excessively rainy summer.

There is something about water that calms me, even rushing water. As I edited the image, I found myself zooming in on sections, taking in the complex movement and textures of the water as it rushes over teh rocks and downward to the rapids below.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200 

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“Into the Green Veil”

“Into the Green Veil”

“The Green Veil shimmers richly around me,
in tones of deepest emerald and muted olive;
a dominating threshold between earth and sky.
Yet, through this veil, 
gold light pierces and shimmers,
lighting the path and bright undergrowth,
in a dance of life and light.”
– Ed Lehming

I’ve been wanting to create a new series of images for some time, but the greens of summer, while lovely and filled with life, do not generally lend themselves to the photo abstractions I love so much.

Yesterday I felt inspired to get out for an early lunchtime walk and took my camera with me, as I often do, hoping for some inspiration. It did not take long, but a chance venture off my regular route brought me into an area of the forest with the most beautiful late summer light I have experienced this year. The forest surrounding me felt magical and filled me with joy. I had to do something with this moment, as it just felt right.

I made several images, reviewing each in my camera’s viewfinder. My abstraction technique is unpredictable and every single shot is slightly different, due to changes in the light and my movement. I was quite pleased with the resulting photos and believed I had enough material to create a new series of photos. The problem was, since it was a late summer forest, everything had a green cast to it. The human eye filters this out and we see a forest, but the camera is not so forgiving.

This green cast was bothering me and I was looking at ways to minimize it, without affecting the colours of the forest. Finally, I just gave up and processed and image, posting it on my blog yesterday for feedback, still having no idea what I would title this series. My last series: God Light, was quite easy to name, since it focussed on the wonderful patches of light that are created in forests. Those same patches exist in the summer too, as evidenced in the image above. But, what to call this summer series.

One of the followers of my blog David – It’s Complicated, wrote back with comments on the image and that they “like the color and effect of the green “veil”. Then it came to me, the “Green Veil” is dominant in all the images, and when I see it as a crucial element to the photo, I’m no longer inclined to remove it, but rather enhance its effect on the photos.

So, here’s the start of the “Into the Green Veil” series, the first image, above, is of the path leading into this forest glade. The title is also a bit of a play on words, as I was walking into a ‘vale’ as well.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/13.0, ISO 100

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“Indian Pipe” – Monotropa uniflora

“Indian Pipe” - Monotropa uniflora

“Sometimes all you need in your life is anything strange because strange things can revive your soul just like a cold water freshening your pale face with every splash!” 
― Mehmet Murat Ildan

I thought I had missed them. A week ago, as I was hiking a local conservation area, I came across a patch of Indian Pipes, a very strange plant and a bit of a rarity around here. Alas, they were past their prime and already turning black. Not photo worthy.

Earlier today, as I made a brief foray into a local forest, I was surprised to find numerous clusters of Indian Pipe still in great condition. I was even more surprised to find them in bloom. Honestly, I did not know they bloomed, as I have never seen them at this stage and in such fine condition. I made several images in the highly variable light of the pine forest and this was the best of the series. Generally, the heads of the Indian Pipe are nodding, thus the name: Monotropa, from Greek monos, meaning “one” and tropos, meaning “turn”. I was also surprised by the pink colouration, as these plants lack chlorophyll, which is what gives plants their green colour. These odd plants get their nutrients through a mycorrhizal relationship with a fungus, which in turn gets its nutrients for local trees. It’s this complex relationship that has led to the Indian Pipes lack of chlorophyll, they don’t need it.

As I said, there were many clusters of this usually rare plant to be found, likely brought on by the warm, wet summer we have had. Usually, I have to look hard to find even a single plant, at the right time of year. Fortunately, I had my macro lense and tripod with me, so I was able to collect a nice sharp image, with good depth of field.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/6 sec, f/22.0, ISO 100

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“The Day Beckons”

A beautiful, cool dawn on Bancroft’s Marble Lake. The mist swirls gently on the water’s surface, as the sun rises behind a low ridge.   A pattern repeated throughout the summer, each time, slightly different.

In the distance, Blue Jays screech high in the trees and the world awakens as the sunlight reaches further every minute. A new day begins. 

“Honeysuckle”

“Honeysuckle”

“I drag myself over to the honeysuckle bush and pluck a flower. I gently pull the stamen through the blossom and set the drop of nectar on my tongue. The sweetness spreads through my mouth, down my throat, warming my veins with memories of summer.”
– Suzanne Collins

I don’t believe there are many fragrances that compare with honeysuckle on a warm summer evening. As I walked the narrow roadways and access points at Sauble Beach this past weekend, the fragrance hung on the air, sweet and full of memories, as the quote so aptly describes.

There are entire fences, heavy with honeysuckle vines. I could stand there for hours drinking in the fragrance and marvelling at the complex flowers, as hummingbirds and bees feast close by. Of course, I could not resist the temptation to photograph them for future enjoyment, just without the fragrance, which will remain a memory to be savoured.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/50 sec, f/10.0, ISO 200

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“Swamp Vervain – Verbena hastata”

“Swamp Vervain - Verbena hastata”

“When you see how fragile and delicate life can be, all else fades into the background.”
– Jenna Morasca

Here’s yet another purple, mid-summer blossom. I recall very well when I first saw one, blooming at the edge of a swampy area near my home. It was the first time I had ever seen this lovely, delicate species and it took me a while to figure out what it was called.

Swamp Vervain is not an overly attractive name for this beauty, but it does grow in wet areas, so it’s appropriate. I prefer the latin name, as hastata means having a triangular or spear-shape, which nicely describes the flowers, as you can see from the photo.

The next day, it seemed they were everywhere. I guess I had just not noticed them before and my new awareness gave me new eyes for it. To get this image, I went back to the places I remember seeing it previously, and it was quite simple to find.

My lesson in this is knowing what to look for as well as where and when to look. This has made it easier and less time consuming to find good subjects for my photography. I’m removing some of the ‘chance’ which has been an element of my photography in the past. It also means I’m going out at the right time of day to optimize my lighting.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500 sec, f/3.5 ISO 100

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“Chicory Blossom Meetup”

“Chicory Blossom Meetup”

“The blues of summer,
flowers and bright skies.
Days of warmth and laughter,
and lakefront evening sighs.”
– Ed Lehming

This seems to be season of the hoverfly. They are everywhere I look. Not that’s a bad thing, by any means, they are an interesting insect and quite colourful too. Though, I have yet to photograph one in flight.

I found this pair while photographing a chicory blossom a few days ago. The one seems to be as deep into the flower as it can go, perhaps that’s where the nectar is to be found? It made for an interesting image, since it also gives a nice side view of the other hoverfly.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 200

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