“One does not have to travel to far flung and remote places to find beauty. We simply need to open ourselves up to see it, by expecting it, in our daily journeys.” – Ed Lehming
In line with my recent “Along the Way” theme, here’s another roadside treasure that I captured on my recent drive from Bancroft, Ontario to Picton. This stretch of Highway 62, north of the farmlands of Madoc, leads us through some near north Canadian Shield wilderness which is so typical of the North Hastings region. This same landscape continues north to Ontario’s Algonquin Park and beyond and can be easily enjoyed from the highway.
The rocky terrain, filled with pines, small lakes, and swamps goes on for miles in the same pattern and most travelers take it for granted,simply driving through it, focussed on a destination, when the journey is just as beautiful.
This small, roadside lake is called Spring Lake and I simply loved the serene little island with its tall pines and backdrop of fluffy summer clouds. I see these scenes all the time as I’m driving, enjoying them and envisioning a possible photograph, but often fail to stop. Or, I’ll see the scene and the angle or light has changed enough by the time I pull over that the composition is lost as a memory. This one worked out.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 122 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200
“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportsmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.” ― John Lubbock
It’s strange how some of these fairly common wildflowers grow only in specific areas. Recently I was travelling north and saw immense patches of tansy and recalled that I had seen some closer to home. Travelling the local back roads, I kept looking for a patch, without success. Then, last week I saw two big patches of them, growing in complete isolation. I suppose the soil conditions were just right in only this particular spot.
I find myself noting these unique micro-environments when I’m driving. I may not always have the opportunity to stop, but I do take note, in case the opportunity to return arises. Lately, I’m seeing new and unique wildflowers with more frequency, given the drought-like conditions around here lately, even that is fading quickly, as I’m seeing plants, in leaf, wilting in the sun. Some of my go-to locations are now filled only with hearty grasses and dry stems. It seems only the deep-rooted plants are able to survive the constant heat and dryness.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@ 200 mm 1/2 sec, f/16.0, ISO 200
“The fields…are white already to harvest” (John 4:35 KJV), or as other versions put it, “ripe for harvest.”…One part of the harvest metaphor we may have missed was the importance of timing-there is a season for both sowing and reaping, and sometimes there is a season of simply waiting and watering.” ― Keri Wyatt Kent
I just got back from a few days in Ontario’s Bruce County. The region offers rolling farmlands, long sandy beaches, and some of the most spectacular sunsets in Canada along the shores of Lake Huron (which, being 183 miles wide, is almost like an inland sea).
As we drove to our destination, the beachfront at Sauble Beach, I had to stop several times to make photos of the spectacular landscapes that spread before me.
This is one of my favourite times of year to photograph Ontario’s rural landscapes. The contrast between the deep blue sky and the golden fields of grain is quite striking. Add to the mix a few wispy clouds and you can almost feel the warm air and hear the sounds of crickets chirping. As I stood by the roadside making this image I could smell the grain in the air and even though the grand scene spread before me, I was still drawn to the wildflowers in the foreground, delicate white Queen Anne’s Lace and the bright purple Ontario Thistle.
Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm 1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 200
“Writing is something you do alone. Its a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.” ― John Green
This must be the most photographed tree in Markham, a community just south of my home. This oak stands at the top of a convenient mound, nicely isolating the tree from any distracting background. It’s not a true ‘solitaire’ by my definition, as there is a companion tree not to far from it, but it neighbour is not nearly as nicely shaped as this one is.
The tree stand on this hill, in the middle of a local farm field and the road runs next to it, offering many opportunities to pull over and make a photograph. Many times, while driving past, I’ve witness a photographer or two capturing their own image of this beauty.
I made this image a few days ago, on a warm early summer morning. The sun was just high enough to light it well, without being overly bright and still casting some warm hues on the leaves and the freshly harvested field. All that’s missing, in my opinion, is s few puffy summer clouds and I would be happy to stare at it for hours, almost feeling the warm sun and hearing the insects buzzing.
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 220 mm 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200
“Until a seed falls to the ground and dies, it does not become a tree that later yields many fruits and multitude of seeds. We must embrace the thought of death for us to have greater lives.” ― Sunday Adelaja
We used to call these ‘giant dandelions’ as kids. Why not, they certainly look like dandelions, even the blossoms look like overgrown dandelions. The Goat’s Beard seed head, looks like a gigantic dandelion. This image is not even a macro, it was made with my 70-300 zoom at a high aperture to show all the detail. I looked at it in amazement. It’s almost perfect, not a single seed has departed. It’s beautifully full and round, I can see right to the centre.
The wonder here was that this was not an isolated specimen. There were three or four to chose from, the sun was bright and clear, making for ideal conditions for this shot, along the roadside near Slabtown, on Boulter Road.
This is another image from my day trip through Bancroft’s back-country.
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 240 mm 1/60 sec, f/16.0, ISO 500
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” ― Henry David Thoreau
Simple beauty, oft passed by. This little cascade is right next to the highway outside of Gravenhurst, a small town in Ontario, Canada. I noticed it on my way to the cranberry marshes in Bala and decided to stop there on my way home. How many people speed by this place without even seeing it? Friends have asked where the photo was made and are surprised that it even exists, having passed it many times.
By the time I came back to check it out, the weather had turned to a steady rain. The rain actually enhanced the images, as it brought out the colours from the rock and leaves and allowed me to do a longer exposure to blur the flowing water. The cascade is fairly simple and accessible. It’s the kind of place I could sit and relax for hours on a more pleasant day. So, in a way, I’m happy that other people don’t notice it.
Nikon D300 Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 100mm 1 sec, f/32, ISO 1,000