Tag Archives: poplar

“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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“Undecided”

“Undecided”

“Step back in perspective, open your heart and welcome transition into a new phase of life.”
― Linda Rawson

I’ve been meaning to share this photo for a few weeks now. It was made back in December, when I was playing with some saved fall leaves. You see, back in October I came across many of these ‘undecided’ poplar leaves, half green and half yellow. I started referring to them as lemon-lime leaves. I honestly can’t recall ever seeing this before, though there seems to be a lot of things I did not observe before my more deliberate photo-ventures into the forest.

The colour difference made them interesting to me, so I collected a bunch with the intention of documenting them in the studio. Well, I finally got around to the photos and now, processing them to share. I find them interesting to look at. There is so much detail, I could lose myself in them, a bit like the Georgia O’Keeffe quote I’ve used before. The closer you look at something, the more it becomes your word, and nature has so many worlds to lose yourself in. So, I find myself toggling back and forth between the near and the far, landscape and macro, since I enjoy them both equally. Between long hikes in the winter forests and the warmth of the studio, I’m quite satisfied either way and there are several other leaves in my collection which I’m hoping to get to soon.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200 mm
1 sec, f/25, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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“Blowin’ in the Wind”

“Blowin’ in the Wind”

“Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

I think I’ve photographed this tree about a dozen times. Sometimes, it’s still and brightened by a golden sunset, other times, it’s filled with birds, darting to and fro. But on this occasion, the strong winds of a hot summer day tossed it’s branches from side to side.

I took the opportunity to capture this motion through a long exposure and the results are quite pleasing. As I look at the photo, I can almost feel the ht sun on my back and feel gusts of wind blowing past me into the outstretched branches.

The slight motion blur makes the image look a bit like a painting.

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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Poplars on the Trail” – Secord Forest Trail

“Poplars on the Trail” - Secord Forest Trail

Back in October, I spent quite a bit of my free time on the local trails, enjoying the mild fall, spectacular colours, and some quiet time to just appreciate the stillness of the forest.

At one point on the Secord Forest trail, the path runs through a large group (or stand) of poplars. I’ve tried on a few occasions to photograph them in a way that shows the interesting texture of the tree trunks and a sense of uncertainty, as the narrow path weaves into the distance between the many trees. You can’t see very far ahead at this point in the trail because of how the poplars block your view.

When viewed in colour, there are a lot of distractions caused by the bright leaves and grasses. So, I thought I’d try this as a black and white. I’m very pleased at how the textures really stand out, the ‘layering’ of the seemingly endless rows of trees fading into the background, as well as how the path between them is not obvious, which was my intent. The image is surprisingly stark, but I like the effect.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm

1/100 sec, f/5.0 -0.33, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Roadside Poplars” – Pontypool, Ontario

“Roadside Poplars” - Pontypool, Ontario

There was something about this stand of poplars that made me pull over on a drive back from Ottawa last week and make this image. At the time, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what, exactly, it was that made this scene so interesting. As I worked with the image I looked at several aspects and edited it various ways, looking for what it was that first drew my eye to the composition. It was not till I looked at it in black and white that all the fine detail emerged.

That was it, the contrasts between the bright bark of the poplar trunks offset by the dark background and the texture and glow of the grasses in the foreground. You see, this day was pretty much overcast with a few bursts of sunlight from the south. It was one of these moments of  direct sunlight which lit up the poplars as I approached them, yet the background remained in shade, producing this image with three different bands of light: Bright in the foreground, from the grass in sun, the dark background, with the poplar trunks in the middle, and the grayish clouds above. And, as I look the the photo again, there is this wonderful arching of a few branches near the centre of the image, like a gate to somewhere within the stand.

To me, it make the whole image looks like a very complex sketch. I may have to pull the markers and paper out and see if I’m up to the challenge some day soon. That would be an interesting exercise.

iPhone 5S, @ 4.2mm
1/1500 sec, f/2.2, ISO 32

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“The Unexpected” – Poplar Leaf on Log

I’ll admit to it.  I’m often looking for images to use as wallpapers for my desktop.  I guess I have a bit of desktop ADD.  I don’t like looking at the same images over and over and am always looking for something new and close to me.  There are many times where I see a suitable subject and photograph it, with the sole intention of creating a desktop wallpaper for myself.

This past week I went for a walk along my favourite local hiking trail and the poplars were just dropping their leaves after a hard frost.  There were a few ‘interesting’ leaves laying on the trail and a few stuck to logs along the way.  I stopped to make photos of a many of them.

I liked the composition of this particular image and began to process it, only to be totally surprised at all the colours present in the fallen leaf.  Really, there is purple and fuschia in this? I was seeing only the greens and yellows when I made the image. Nature is truly amazing, especially when you take the time to look closer.

I consider myself as an observer, but every now and then, the unexpected shows itself, as in this photo. I challenge all of you to get out there and observe. New perspective are in store and your assumptions of what is considered obvious, may be challenged.

Enjoy.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @185mm
1/50 sec @ f.\3.5 -0.33. ISO 250

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

“Golden Poplars” - Secord Conservation Area

One of the wonders of photography, that I have noted before, is the fact that I can walk past a scene dozens of times and nothing ‘grabs’ me. In this case, there is a nice stand of poplars along one of my favourite hiking trails. I’ve photographed it many times and the results were “average”. I knew it had potential for a great photo, but conditions and lighting were never quite right to capture the photo I envisioned.

That was not the case last Sunday. On this particular hike, all the elements came together; the light, the colour of the leaves, the reflection of the bark, as well as the angle I was photographing from.

I carefully framed the shot to match my vision of the image, checked and double checked my camera setting, and made one single photograph ( a big risk there). I deliberately underexposed it, since I knew the tree bark could blow out some sections (I learned this through previous attempts).

When I got home and downloaded the images from my camera, I knew I had what I’ve been seeking. With only minor adjustments to compensate for the under exposure and a bit of sharpening, the image above emerged. It was all I had dreamt of. I also printed it as a 12×18 print and it now hangs proudly in my home gallery, where I can enjoy it as I work. I hope you enjoy it too!

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm
1/80 sec@ f/4.5 -0.33, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“A Shift in the Winds” – Stouffville Reservoir

“A Shift in the Winds” - Stouffville Reservoir

September, the month where some days convince you that summer will last for weeks, yet others are  stern reminders that change is inevitable. This holds true this year. After weeks of above average, sweltering days, the temperature plummets and we layer on hats and sweatshirts, wondering if this summer has passed us by.

The saving grace, for me is the gradual change of colours. The once verdant trees begin to shift to shades of orange and yellow. I do like the change and variety this time of year brings with it. I recall the days of new growth and flawless leaves. As I look around me now, those leaves are showing evidence of the hardships of days in sun and heat bring on. Edges are browned and shrivelled. Black spots of age dot the once pristine surfaces, leading to the inevitable fall.

Such was my walk today. The grove of poplars pictured above was a beautiful range of bright greens and yellows and the wind made them dance with life. Above me, a falcon disturbed the sparrows, who fled his hungry eyes with shrill chirps. The whole forest was alive with activity and bathed in glorious golden light.

I was happy to get out with my camera again to enjoy and capture this unique moment and, hopefully, bring some of that joy to others.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm @ 95mm
1/4 sec @ f/25, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“28th Sideline Poplars” – Pickering, Ontario

28th Sideline Poplars - Pickering Ontario

Among my favourite photos from last year.

Have you ever driven past a place dozens of times and thought, “I should stop sometime and make a photo of this”? That was the case with these poplars in Pickering. They are at the corner of side roads that I pass several time a year. But, the light is never quite right, or it’s dull and uninteresting looking.

On this particular day, I had my camera with me, but had no intention of doing any nature photography. It was a dull, rainy day and the landscape was pretty washed out. As I approached the trees, the sun broke through and the poplars lit up a bright yellow. I thought, “I should stop today and make photo of these today”. As I was having this internal conversation, the light began to shift again and a light rain started falling. So, I swung the car around and parked on the shoulder, got my gear ready and proceeded into the adjacent field to see what the light offered. It was not till I got home and looked at the images that I realized just how stunning they turned out.

I am so happy that I made the decision to stop (with some prodding from my wife). My advice, when the opportunity presents itself, take it, it may not present itself again. To this day, I have not seen the conditions even close to that day, driving the back roads of Pickering.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/5.6 @ 70mm
1/4@ f/11.0, ISO 200

 

“Reservoir Poplars” – Stouffville Reservoir

“Reservoir Poplars” - Stouffville Reservoir

Yet another tree abstraction. I’ve walked past these poplars many times, and every time, the light is a bit different or the foliage in the background has changed, every so slightly. This photo was made on Saturday as I went for a walk around our local reservoir. On this particular visit, the trees and undergrowth are not yet in bud and the bright red of the Red-Osier Dogwood shows clearly to the lower left, while the bright green of the cedars glows in the background. There is still a reminder that winter is not long past in the dull grey-brown of the ground at the base of the poplars.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70 mm
1/4 sec @f/32, ISO 200