Tag Archives: painterly

“Inner Glow”

"Inner Glow"

“It would seem from this fact, that man is naturally a wild animal, and that when taken from the woods, he is never happy in his natural state, ’till he returns to them again.”
― Benjamin Rush

A brief post today of a digital painting I recently made of the cedar forest near Whitevale, Ontario. Despite the cold temperatures, warm sunlight glows from within the forest.



“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.”
― Mary Oliver

This will be my final post for 2016. My year ends much as it began, on the local trails, camera in hand. Today, I hiked about 6 km on snow packed trails, not meeting another hiker. The trek began bright but hazy and mild and ended two hours later, somewhat cooler with a fairly consistent snowfall, which inspired this final post.

It’s good to have some tools at your disposal. In this case, the ‘concept’ of an image capturing a December snow squall in the pine wood lot behind my house did not quite render my vision as a photo.

That’s where the ‘tools’ come in and running the image through the Topaz Impression plug-in yielded the desired results. It brought out the warm colours of the trees that I saw initially and enhances the nice blur of the heavy snow, a slightly washed-out effect, which is what I was after.

This has become a go-to for me if a photo does not convey the ‘feel’ I was after. My ‘impression’ of the scene. So, since I’m not a painter, I can be a photo-impressionist, and I like that. Wishing you a Happy 2017.

Till then,


“Ablaze with Life” – Two Views

%22ablaze-with-life%22-steady“Ablaze with Life”

“But it is a pipe.”
“No, it’s not,” I said. “It’s a drawing of a pipe. Get it? All representations of a thing are inherently abstract. It’s very clever.”
― John Green

I’ve had a few people comment on the forest abstracts that I create and how I do it. That is something that I have learned through experimentation and though I share my camera settings, the precise method is difficult to describe. I’m afraid if I over thought it, the images may not look the same. It’s really a ‘feel’ thing, the ‘art’ part for me. None of this workis done in Lightroom or Photoshop. It would simply not be satisfying for me.

One thing I did want to share is a before and after view of the same scene. First, I look for bright colours and a strong dark to light contrast, which was the case of this forest edge scene with the dark tree trunks and bright leaves (yellow maple and red oak). If you look carefully at the two images, you will see that the abstract captures most of the details and actually enhances the colours by blurring them together, leaving less dark shadows.

I tend to stick to a 1/4 sec shutter speed, since that has worked best for me. Next ,I do a vertical pan when activating the shutter. I often make multiple images and adjust aperture for exposure. The rest is really just previewing the images and deciding if what I have captured is what I envisioned. There have been instances when I have come across a composition I like and made 20 attempts to get it right with not a single suitable image. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

It’s a technique I learned from another photographer and customized to my own style. It’s also very satisfying, since I am creating something that did not exist before, in its modified form, yet still has natural origins.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 70 mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Dawn Redwood” – Edwards Gardens, Toronto

"Ancient Redwood" - Edwards Gardens, Toronto

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.”
― John Steinbeck

This is the second dawn redwood (Metasequoia) I have seen in Ontario recently, both were in a botanical gardens setting. The first was at the Niagara Botanical Gardens and the specimen above was at Edwards Gardens, in Toronto, the home of the Toronto Botanical Gardens. They look like living fossils but are actually fast growing and not as old as you would suspect.

The species was discovered in Lichuan county in the Hubei province of China in 1944 and was soon adopted in North America as a popular ornamental. That would explain why they are found in various botanical gardens. Also, because they get so large, they would not be suitable for residential properties.

This one is said to have been planted in 1960, on a site chosen to ensure it would would be bathed in the early morning sunlight on June 20 each year, the birthday of the wife of the gardener who planted it.

I felt this would look nice as a painted piece, so took some artistic liberty with Photoshop, mainly to hide the ugly chain link fence directly behind the tree and to enhance the texture of the bark.

As John Steinbeck states so well above, there is a ‘feel’ to redwoods that is difficult to communicate.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 82 mm
1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 220

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)


“Spring Poplars on the Bend” – Stouffville

“Spring Poplars on the Bend”

“See that path in front of you? That path has been laid before you, the one that you’re supposed to take, the one you’re told to take through life…just like everyone else. If you follow that path, you’ll be following all the rules, you’ll always know that you did what everyone wanted you to do and you’ll make it through…
See that path in front of you? I dare you to step off and make your own.”
― Travis Culliton

Looking out my home office window yesterday, as the dark clouds cleared and the sky brightened, I could not help but get outside for a few minutes to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. There is a nice trail system 5 minutes from home. So I took my camera to see what this day offered.

I’ve walked this path hundreds of times and there is always some slight variation in light, foliage, and viewpoint that makes each walk unique. I’ve also photographed these poplars on numerous occasions, including vertical pan shots like this.

However, this day, that slight play of light, new growth, and the bright green grass (including dandelions) made the element s align for this lovely spring image. It seems far too long since I’ve created one of these ‘painterly’ images, which I enjoy so much. Hopefully, this image of a bright spring day brightens someone else’s day.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)

“Spring’s First Daffodils” – Niagara-on-the Lake

“Spring’s First Daffodils”  -Niagara-on-the-Lake

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden daffodils
Beside the lake beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
― William Wordsworth

At long last, I feel I might be able to say that spring and warmer weather are here to stay? I’ve posted about ‘false starts‘ and the change of seasons, the endless repeating cycles, yet consistent warm days elude me. This image was made nearly two weeks ago, a mere 50 kilometers south of my home, yet my own daffodils are reluctant to bloom.

Daffodils, like peonies, are one of those marvelous plants that keep spreading every year. I often see large patches and imagine them being planted many years ago and just spreading out, covering larger areas over time.

Judging the forecast and their current state, I’d say they will open in the next day and it ‘should’ be warmer every day next week. Here’s hoping.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 98 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)