Tag Archives: ORTA

“Unexpected Colours of Late Winter”

“Unexpected Colours of Late Winter”

“Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.” 
― Flannery O’Connor

Well, back to reality. I live in a land of four seasons, often extreme and more often, surprising, offering unexpected gifts.

I got out on the trails again. The trails, at this time of the year, are downright treacherous, not only icy, but uneven and icy. So, a good set of ice cleats or ‘icers’ is an essential, unless you enjoy spending your time on your backside, sprawled across the trail. For me it’s also about protecting my camera gear. There’s not much more painful than watching a $1,600 lens bounce off the ice.

That’s the preface to today’s post. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, but still quite crisp and the trails were ice-covered, snow strewn in patches in the darker recesses of the forest. Late winter is like that around here. We get a few warm days, the snow melts and the resulting slush freezes overnight, only to repeat the cycle, especially on the packed down trails.

I have posted several photos earlier this year of my forest hikes, all are a bit dull, in this icy world of muted shades. In fact, that alone has kept me from bringing my camera with me on the past few hikes, nothing inspires.

Last week I purchased a new camera pack , a Tenba Solstice 24L, for those interested, which I am hoping to use in a few future expeditions, and today I decided to carry the pack with most of my gear to try it out. It is perhaps the best camera pack I have owned yet and opened up the option of having a large selection of lenses, filters, and accessories with me.

This ‘test’ hike brought me through familiar territory and I made a few images along the way. Then, I came across this beautiful scene. The late morning sun flashed from bright green spruce sapling and lit up the golden leaves of a small beech tree. I was determined to capture this bit of magic. After a few trials, I believe I have something close to what I saw. I am now re-inspired, despite what largely appears as a dull and tired landscape. Nature always seems to have a few tricks up her sleeve to keep me coming back.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 90mm
1/4 sec, f/11.0 ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Merry Christmas 2017”

“Merry Christmas 2017”

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” 
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. Hoping this find everyone healthy and happy and enjoying this time of the year in whatever way brings you joy, even through this Christmas post from the Secord Forest trailhead.

 

“Shining Brightly”

“Let your light shine as an inspiration to humanity and BE THE REASON someone believes in the goodness of people.” 
― Germany Kent

This combination of colours make my heart soar. It’s all light and movement. Despite the dark shadows behind them the bright poplar trunks are like beacons in comparison. The golden leaves against the cerulean sky is like a royal robe spread across the sky. The whole scene dazzles with light and brightness.

This image was made on part two of my “Golden Paths” journey, a new day and a slight change in colours. I’ve seen these polars hundreds of times, in different seasons. They stand at the north trailhead of the Secord Forest trail system, which I frequent often. Despite their location as trailhead markers, they have never been a subject of my photography. Partially, because hydro lines run in front of them, which distract for their beauty. Yet, this day, the light and camera angle allowed me to photograph them from a slightly different vantage point, eliminating the wires from the composition.

To those embarking on their journey into photography, I say this, “Never discount a subject, as future opportunities may surprise you. As you hone your skills, technique and circumstance will open up opportunities you had never anticipated.” Such was the case with this composition. I shot from a location that did not seem ideal, but the elements aligned for what I believe is a nice representation of this late October scene.

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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“Late October Blessings”

“Hidden in the glorious wildness like unmined gold.” – John Muir

Here we are, the end of October nearly upon us, and I’m out hiking in a tee shirt and shorts. The past few weeks have been so incredibly mild that it’s hard to believe it’s autumn. Yet, the leaves evidence that the natural cycles continue.

I have many photos from the past few weekends to review and post in a series that I will title “Golden Pathways”. All the images are from the local trails and contain the incredible colours of a forest transitioning from pale yellows to bright orange. The light has been glorious, yet difficult to fully communicate through images. Stay tuned. For now, here’s another iPhone teaser.

“Among the Undergrowth”

“Among the Undergrowth”

“I think it is far more important to save one square mile of wilderness, anywhere, by any means, than to produce another book on the subject.” 
― Edward Abbey

In this image, the pines emerge from a thickening undergrowth. You can also see evidence of deliberate ‘thinning’ of this managed forest. Larger trees are selectively removed, the forest managers careful to remove the branches, lest they become fuel for fires. The trunks cut into manageable pieces, are left to return to the earth, a slow, natural, but controlled cycle.

I chose to make this image because it shows the prevalence of the low underbrush, primarily sedges, bracken ferns, and a few maple, beech, and birch saplings, starting to take hold, as pine canopy thins. The sunlights is quite noticeable in the background, further evidencing this thinning. There is lots of room for growth here and I can only imagine what it will look like in a few short years, as the hardwoods take root “Among the Pines”, eventually becoming the dominant species till the pines become the minority in this evolving forest.

It has been interesting to me, working on this series to take the time to observe the many patterns in a very familiar forest. It’s not till I paused and really considered the elements in each composition that I became more and more aware of the stages and changes this area is going through, some accelerated and others a bit slower, each as it is required to be, an essential part of the life of the living breathing forest.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/18.0, ISO 100 

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Above the Conifers”

“Above the Conifers”

“The forest stretched on seemingly forever with the most monotonous predictability, each tree just like the next – trunk, branches, leaves; trunk, branches, leaves. Of course a tree would have taken a different view of the matter. We all tend to see the way others are alike and how we differ, and it’s probably just as well we do, since that prevents a great deal of confusion. But perhaps we should remind ourselves from time to time that ours is a very partial view, and that the world is full of a great deal more variety than we ever manage to take in.” 
― Thomas M. Disch

This image features the trunks of the pine trees higher up, just below the canopy. It yields a much brighter image, as elements of the sky and some high maples reflect the day’s bright sunlight among the rows of darker pines. There’s also an interesting weave of the smaller trees in the background. Among the seeming monotony of planted pines, wonderful patterns emerge and it’s no longer the same monotonous forest.

I enjoyed creating this fairly quick series on my hike this past weekend. I had not intended on a long hike, more focussed on making several connected images for my “Among the Pines” series. But, that Sunday was gorgeous for mid September and I ended up travelling some eight kilometers and exploring areas I had as yet not visited. The expansive trails of the Oak Ridges Trail System offer me so much variety. Even though I have been hiking them extensively for the past several years, there is always something new, some side trail that leads to an unexpected stream or meadow.

I’m blessed to live in an area with such diversity and with so may well maintained trails, literally on my doorstep. That’s why so many of my images feature these forests, I doubt I will ever get tired of them and the hours of solitude they provide me, so I can recharge after a busy day or workweek.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/20.0, ISO 100 

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Three Trees on the Hillside”

“A forest is not a wilderness, but a community of souls who speak to one another on the wind.”
– Anthony T. Hincks

Nature creates unexpected patterns, those things that are noticeably different than others. Here, a group of three large trees grows together, sharing the same patch of ground. Their neighbours, are spread fairly evenly, each with its patch of ground, its own source of sparse sunlight and nutrients. Yet, these three grew together, sharing everything, so different that it drew my attention right away.

Beyond them, a lengthened patch of sunlight reveals a path untrodden, beckoning exploration. The light is everywhere, despite the ever present veil of green. Above, bright flashes of blue dance in the sky and into the canopy high above.

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:
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“Trailside Guardian”

“Trailside Guardian”

“You are the light in a dark place. You are the water to my drought. You are everything I never knew existed and everything I wanted all at the same time.” 
― Shelly Crane

The next image in my “Into the Green Veil” series is of a large maple tree which stood along the trail, roots spreading deeply into the forest floor. Further into the forest, slightly smaller maples catch golden rays of light.

The single large tree captured my attention primarily because it was the largest tree in this stretch of forest and secondly how the light reflected from its bark. It’s always about the light and its effects on the surrounding environment. There are also lovely golden patches of light dappled across the ground and up the slight rise behind the tree, yet the ‘green veil’ is omnipresent, though subdued by the golds and yellows.

Strangely enough, the light on the ‘guardian’ has more of a silver tone to it than the surrounding light, perhaps affected by the maple’s gray bark, though some golden tones are mixed in, as the light fades towards the left.

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:
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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

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

“Singular”

“Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that came down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures. 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Over the past few days, I’ve been deliberately spending my lunches in the local forests, reconnecting with the wood and getting back to my love of photo-abstractions. Summer posses a unique challenge as bright greens dominate. Every now and then, a composition presents itself, as the light shifts continually, and an image emerges from the depths.

In the same theme as my 2016 Autumn series titled “God Light“, these patches of sunlight, moving and shifting throughout the branches have a deep spiritual effect on me. It’s almost like I’m supposed to focus on that particular place for some meaning. Sitting with the images pulls me into the scene, realizing there is more at play than just the patch of light, there is a larger effect on the surrounding trees, as this light further reflects on the larger space.

In this image, not only is the ground lit up, but a singular sapling, seemingly devoid of foliage is also caught in the light, becoming the focal point of the image, till the eye drifts past it and picks up the textures of the larger maples framing it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/4 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100

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