Tag Archives: peace

“Stillness”

“There is something sacred about stillness. The world has not changed, outside our bounds, we just realize peace and tranquility are possible, if we make space for it.”
– Ed Lehming

This is what I’m often faced with, as I take time to hike the local forests. It’s not a grand vista or a festival filled with brightly dressed people. The forest, in its simplest form, even at its gloomiest, still has pockets of beauty to share.

Here, bright orange beech leaves and the occasional stray oak leaf brightened the path in contrast to the dark December trees. Gentle snow drifted between the boughs and all the world was silent as I stood still on the trail, simply enjoying the peacefulness of the moment, my visible breath rising through the air around my face.

I love these times, where my senses are filled with the life of the forest. It’s what draws me here. You see, even in apparent stillness and calm, life in the forest goes on. Soon, small birds flit between branches, seeking seeds, squirrels scamper out of sight and into the high branches, and the very trees crackle as the temperature dips, yet the sense of stillness rarely departs. The other sound that fills my ears is the crunch of the snow beneath my feet, seeming so loud in this quiet retreat.

Though summer hikes have their appeal, I think I prefer the stillness and bright purity of winter, especially after a fresh snow, when the whole first seems to be inhaling deeply during its long rest.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 95 mm
1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400

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

 

Iceland Journal – “Mountain Retreat”

“Mountain Retreat” - Northwest Iceland

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more” 
― Lord Byron

This was a common scene along many stretches of Iceland’s Ring Road; beautiful cabins on the mountainsides. I’m a bit envious. I’d love to stop at one of these retreats for a few days, surrounded by mountains and waterfalls. I know I’d spend my time reading and writing, inspired by the wonders of nature. Some, like this one, have small groves of trees planted around or near them, probably as a wind screen or source of firewood. The ever-present yellow grasses and mosses bring a splash of welcome colour to the wind-whipped landscape. Though the scene is primarily rock and snow, there is a peaceful and humbling majesty to it.

There were a few times, as we hiked some of the lower mountain trails when I would simply stand still, listening to the sounds of water flowing down the hillsides, the wind howling far above, and sometimes, just silence, peaceful, blessed silence.

My trip to Iceland last month was a balm to my soul; a much-needed pause in a busy and increasingly stressful world. For me to spend ten solid days with my son, with no real schedule, no firm plans, and to simply ‘be’ in this wonderful place has restored me.

To have the ability to capture some of what I experienced in photos is a blessing I am so thankful for. I can sit and review these moments and memories, each one stirring my soul and reminding me that there are still places of peace and wonder in this busy world.

In a way, the photos have become my cabin on the hill, a place that I can visit when I need to pause for a bit and restore myself. Though it’s not quite the same as the actual cabin, it brings be closer to that place.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 116mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0 ISO 200

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

Iceland – Day 9

“Videy Island” - Reykjavik, Iceland

“Videy Island”  – Reykjavik, Iceland

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” 
― John Lennon

This was our final full day in the glorious land known as Iceland and we spent the day touring the city on foot, starting at the harbour front. I could not help but be entranced by the raw beauty of this place, even when surrounded by a bustling and busy European City.

Looking across the bay, my eyes were drawn to the vast mountain plateau and distant volcanic peaks that dominate the horizon. In front of this snowy majesty sits a small, uninhabited island known as Videy Island . You’ll notice a single large building. This is Videy House, now a restaurant and historical centre.

Something that I did not notice, when I was composing the photo, is the small white structure, just left of centre. It turns out that this is the Imagine Peace Tower and is an outdoor artwork conceived by Yoko Ono, in memory of her late husband, John Lennon.

It’s a tower of light designed to communicate to the world that peace and love is what connects us. It is lit every night from October 9th (John’s birthday) until December 8th (the anniversary of his death). It’s also lit on the Winter Solstice and New Years Day.

Sadly, while we were there, I was still under the weather and did not have the opportunity to see it lit up.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 170mm
1/400 sec, f/11.0, ISO 400

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

“Pondside Tamarack”

“Pondside Hemlock”

“It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a reason to be happy or sad, you will always find it.” 
― Kamand Kojouri

In this hectic world, I am usually looking for things that bring me peace. I find this peace in simplicity and often in the most obscure things.

Last weekend I went out with the intention of going on an extended hike and make some photos of my experience. It’s been too long since I have been on the trails. Between extremely hot weather and a chaotic work schedule, finding the time and conditions to get out has just been a challenge lately. So when I found a few hours, I decided to take that time and get out there, simply to recharge. It was still hot and humid, but bearable. As I entered the familiar forest trail I was greeted by a cloud of mosquitoes unlike anything I have ever experienced. Despite a healthy application of bug spray, I was still overwhelmed by them and resigned myself to head back to the car.

Disappointed in the conditions, I decided to head to a different trailhead and try my luck. Despite this disappointment, my eyes are always drawn to something unique, some play of light, or interesting from, and as I walked back to the car I noticed this tamarack branch, covered in cones with a large pond in the background. I looked through my viewfinder, the composition formed nicely and offered me this image.

Such a simple moments brings peace to me and looking at the photo now, a few days later, it transports me back to that moment and the calm that ensued.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

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

“The Ragweed Bee”

“The Ragweed Bee”

“Mindfulness is about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion for life, and your actions happen in accordance with that. “
– Jon Kabat-Zinn

It’s allergy double jeopardy, a bee on ragweed.

Strange, I used to have a real aversion to bees and wasps. Now that I am pursuing more macro images, I find myself surrounded by them, as I strain for that next ‘shot’.

That was the case a few days ago, as I was making images of a few Japanese beetles. I looked up and found myself in a dense patch of ragweed, filled with bees. And guess, what, the bees were not even vaguely interested in me, as they harvested the bounty of nectar from the plants around me. I had honeybees right next to my arm, and they cared not that I was there. We were simply occupying the same space, each with our own purpose.

It really was quite an experience for me; I never gave the bees a second thought, and I believe the feeling was mutual. This has opened up a whole new world for me. I find myself making more and more images of bees busily harvesting for the bounty of wild flowers. It is certainly not something I would have considered even a year ago. I suppose you could say I’m in my element. The thought of being stung does not cross my mind as I simply enjoy being a spectator in this activity. At this point, they could land on me and it would not bother me one bit. This really is living in the moment, and I love it. I am at peace. Oh ya, I’m also, supposedly, allergic to ragweed, go figure.

This simple image, of a bee, clinging to a ragweed blossom is so peaceful and enjoyable, having experienced that unexpected moment. It is a moment of time where I am simply ‘in it’ and fascinated by the processes of life and it’s simplicity. We all need more of these moments, so I thought I’d share it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/800 sec, f/6.3 ISO 200

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

“Opening Soon”

“Opening Soon”

“You get peace of mind not by thinking about it or imagining it, but by quieting and relaxing the restless mind.”
― Remez Sasson

Alas, the next wave of peonies is upon me. All the varieties are now in full bloom, some already spend and the buds of the second generation of flowers is beginning to open. These secondary blossoms tend to be a bit smaller but no less beautiful.

I spotted this blossom, just starting to open this morning, and as a write, it’s already opened to twice its size. Once more, it rained, yet the blossoms are surviving and the water droplets add a certain ‘freshness’ to the image. That combination of life and newness brings a sense of peace to me, as the day and the blossom opens up to its potential.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
2.0 sec, f/36.0 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

“Tranquility”

“Tranquility”

“We must believe that there are places where tranquility exists and nature is given back her power to speak…”
― Nanette L. Avery

Seriously, I am trying to move away from whales, and the ocean, but the draw is too strong. I’m still going through the many photos I made on my recent vacation and finding images that simply resonate with me.

The image above of one such photo. Made around eight o’clock in the morning, as we were heading out for a day of diving.

The Sea of Cortez was calm, with a slight pinkish haze on the horizon. In the distance, the sparkling spout of a surfacing whale drew our attention from the stillness, yet not a sound was heard, other than the lapping of the water beneath our dive boat. Then the  dark outline of the Humpback Whale’s back broke the surface, with barely a ripple, just the smoothness and shimmer of its inky skin, which slid into the depths, just as it had appeared, soundless and gentle.

Then, as a finale to this act, the massive tail appeared, suspended above the waters like a flag, waving slowly, serenely. Till even it, disappeared, leaving a small pool of bubbles as evidence of its existence.

Just recalling this moment, bring an incredible sense of peace to me. It’s one of those moments I will cherish and will become one of those places I can go in my mind when life gets busy. I also have this photo, which I will hang on my wall, to look at, and remember, tranquility.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 110 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

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