Tag Archives: Secord Forest

“Pink Hepaticas”

“Pink Hepaticas”

“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

I am happy to be returning to the forest, which I’m never really away from for long. However, weather and work, have teamed up to make my brief forays into the local forest quite difficult. So, it was so pleasant to see life returning to the woods I so dearly love, this past weekend.

As I said in yesterday’s post, the forest seemed pretty much bereft of new life, as the carpet of dull brown detritus dominated the scene. And then, a small splash of pink, literally opened my eyes and I became ‘tuned’ into the subtle changes around me.

I was so pleased to see the Spring Beauties and then a few hearty Blue Cohosh along the trail. Then, I spotted what I thought, at first, were more spring beauties, which turned out to be Hepatica, also known, locally as Mayflowers. The same effect happened again. As I looked up from the first small clump that I saw, I noticed that the hillside was covered with many more, larger clusters, in wonderful bright whites and soft pinks. I chose the pinks for today’s image, since they are not quite as common.

It would seem spring has finally sprung here in Southern Ontario!

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm

1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100

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

“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.

 

“Red Cap”

“Red Cap”

“It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit.”
– Antoine Rivarol

I came across this mystery mushroom a few days ago, while hiking during our recent partial eclipse. I’m unsure of the species, but the red cap and ivory stem would indicate it to be a member of the Amanita family of mushrooms. The shape of the cap is not typical of this species though, so I’m stumped.

The image quality is not my best, as it was hastily made while trying to avoid the hoards of mosquitoes which were particularly active that day and were particularly voracious, despite my insect repellent, which is usually very effective. Despite the obstacles, at least I have an image I can review and figure out what this is called.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/15 sec; f/1.8; ISO 40

 

“Early April Polypore”

“Early April Polypore”

“It is strange how new and unexpected conditions bring out unguessed ability to meet them.”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs

Many-coloured Polypore, to be more precise.

Finally, after several weeks, waiting for the ice to come off the trails and for some of the muck to dry up, I hit the trails today. My goal was to find some sign of new life. I was let down on that front, much of the forest floor was littered with a solid mat of compressed leaves.

Let me explain that statement. Due to the nature of our snowfalls, here in southern Ontario, the leaves, which, in recent years, have been exposed to the air by mid-March, were completely flattened and compressed, something I have not seen in a few years. Also, many of the taller, stiffer stemmed weeds, like goldenrod, had also been flattened down by the snow load, with only a few singular stems remaining erect.

The landscape reminded me the land has been dormant and is slowly awakening from its long rest. It is taking its time. Yet, through the gray landscape, some surprising finds revealed themselves, such as this fungus, growing on a trailside log. Unlike much of the bleached, winter-worn trees and plants, this polypore showed signs of live and colour, despite pockets of ice within the fungus itself. Look into the ‘cups’ of the fungus, especially just right of centre, and you will see a small pocket of frozen water. The polypore’s ability to weather the winter and look fresh today really surprised me.

The colour is what caught me attention. Everything else was weather-worn and bleached, even the beech trees, which held onto many of their leaves through the winter in bright golds and oranges, had eventually faded to dull, ghostly yellows (more on that in my next post).

So, I was not disappointed, I did find signs of new life, just not in ways I expected.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/50 sec, f/16.0, ISO 200

Hi 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

 

Thursday Doors – December 29, 2016

“Alternate Entrance”

This week’s submission to Norm 2.0‘s Thursday Doors.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world.

A simple final submission for 2016, made today as I enjoyed the outdoors and much freshly fallen snow on the trail system near my home. This door is the side entrance to an old barn that sits near the trailhead at Secord Forest. The property was at one time an active farm but has been absorbed into the conservation area.

I’ve walked past this door many times, surprised that it has not been more significantly vandalized.

Happy New Year Door lovers, see you in 2017!

“Trailside Birch”

“Trailside Birch”

“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.”
― Tom Hiddleston

Ah, the weekend again and a nice time to get out and enjoy what autumn has to offer. As I went for a hike with my son we both noted that fall is a sensory banquet, filled with sights, sounds, smells and texture. We left taste to another time, though pumpkin pie did enter the conversation as a possibility.

I’ve hiked this train more times than I can remember, yet every time, it offers something new. At this point in the trail there is a small but wonderful grove of birch trees. Larger birches are spare in this area and usually not in well established groves. This one is right on the trail and grows on a gentle hillside, allowing ample sunlight to warm the roots. The rest of the forest in this section is largely maple and beech. It’s the beech leaves littering the forest floor that give it that beautiful coppery glow.

Something I have not tried here was a vertical pan, which I have been enjoying a lot lately. I made three images and chose this one as my favourite. There is a nice contrast between the greens and oranges against the bright blue sky, broken up by the white lines of the birches. To see another of this grove, please check my other image made here last year. Last year’s image offered a bit more leaf cover and more undergrowth.

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

High resolution image can be viewed 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

“Hawkweed Blossom” – Secord Forest

“Hawkweed Blossom” - Secord Forest

“Spring turns to summer and delicate pinks and whites, give way to bright reds, oranges, and yellows, as nature shifts her palette to match the temperature” – Ed Lehming

Today’s photo is another attempt to understand and enjoy the world of macro photography. The bright Orange Hawkweed (Pilosella aurantiaca) is a smallish meadow flower that is common in this area through June and July. It blooms a few weeks later than it’s yellow relative, Mouse Eared Hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella).

This image proved a bit challenging as I’m shooting with manual macro extension tubes and it was a bit windy, which made good focus at such a narrow depth of field very difficult and I’m still trying to get a ‘feel’ for this technique which is very new to me.

Despite the challenges, I’m still quite pleased with the results and am looking forward to other opportunities as they present themselves. I’m seeing great beauty in common things.

Nikon D800
Nikkor AF 28-70mm f/3.5~F/4.5D
@ 70mm (28mm extension)
1/500 sec, f/5.0, 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

“Maidenhair Fern” – Secord Forest

“Northern Maidenhair Fern” - Secord Forest

“… the world can give you these glimpses as well as fairy tales can–the smell of rain, the dazzle of sun on white clapboard with the shadows of ferns and wash on the line, the wildness of a winter storm when in the house the flame of a candle doesn’t even flicker.”
― Frederick Buechner

Yes, I know, I have lot of photos from Secord Forest, but why not. This little slice of heaven has so much to offer. Photographing and learning about the plants and animals that inhabit this beautiful conservation area give me great pleasure. The 4.7km trail leads through meadows, rolling woodlands, wetlands (home to orchids), and farm fields, contains an incredibly diverse selection of plants, including many ferns, which I am just starting to recognize as being very different species.

The fern pictured above is the Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum) and is fairly easily distinguished from other native ferns by the thin dark stems and scalloped leaves. It’s also a paler shade of green than other local species. I can now identify 5 different varieties and working on more.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200 mm
1/160 sec, f/9.0, ISO 2500

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

“Daisy and the Darkness”- Secord Forest

“Daisy and the Darkness” - Secord Forest

“Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety, after all it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly.”
― Hazrat Ali Ibn Abu-Talib A.S

Hmm, this sounds like the title for a love story involving some damsel and some adversary.

This single daisy shone like a beacon in the distance, against the dark forest, as I turned a bend in the trail a few days ago. It was so singularly bright that nothing else registered to me. As I neared, a few background details started to emerge in my vision, but it was still that single, brilliant daisy that dominated.

I was hoping to capture that brilliance and singularity in this photo and I believe I have. My camera allows me to set ‘center-weighted exposure’ to an 8mm diameter, though it’s not a go-to setting for me. I do, however, have it set in my camera menu for the odd time I use it, as in this image. This allowed me to set exposure correctly for the bright white petals, while keeping the background near black, still showing some of the green stem.

In reflecting back on the image, it looks like a rend in the forest’s cloth of darkness.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0, 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

“Showy Lady’s Slipper” – Secord Forest

"Showy Lady's Slipper" - Secord Forest

“Many collectors died in the process of searching for new species, and despite persistent reports that the men died from drowning, gunshot and knife wounds, snakebite, trampling by cattle, or blows in the head with blunt instruments, it is generally accepted that in each case the primary cause of death was orchid fever.”
― Eric Hansen

Perhaps I got a touch of the aforementioned ‘orchid fever’. I have to admit, I’ve been waiting for this shot for a few weeks now and was thrilled when I came across this beautiful flower, next to a rotting log, in a swampy forest, at Secord Forest this week. Not a new species, but new to me.

Through most seasons, I’ve hiked these trails, enjoyed the wonderfully diverse flora and fauna, and even came across a bear last fall. Along this 4.7km forest trail, there is a section with a wooden sign, designating it as the “Orchid Trail”. This has intrigued me for some time, since I tend to favour these trails in the ‘no-mosquito’ seasons and really had no idea what to look for and when to look for them.

This year has been an exception, I began on the trails just as the snow was melting, hoping to document the natural cycle of this forest through my photos. I was determined that orchids would be on my photographic bucket list and set out learning about them and identifying them. The unfortunate thing with my research was that most books listed blooming season from April to August. That was not much help. So, as I set out each week, I started to look deliberately for plant leaves that fit the description of orchids. I did not even know what species are native to this particular forest and there are several possibilities.

Eventually, a few weeks ago, a few banded leaves emerged from the moist forest floor. Perhaps these were the elusive orchids I sought? Steadily, they grew taller and taller to rise some sixty centimeters (two feet) above the mossy ground. They sure looked like orchids, but they seemed taller than I expected. Back to the books, to find that yes, several species fit the description. More days of just foliage followed, till last week, small green buds formed, offering the promise of flowers. What colour would they be? How long would they last? So many questions, few firm facts.

My weekend plans prevented me from checking back on the buds. What if somebody saw the open flowers on the weekend? The trails are filled with people who may not realize how delicate these plants could be, damage them, and deprive me of my prize.

So, I ventured into the forest at lunch, wondering what state this group of five or six plants would be in. I slowed as I approached, looking for a sign of flower. Then, WOW!, the delicate green plants were topped by the most beautiful pink and white slippers. The mystery plant turned out to be a Showy Lady’s Slipper (cypripedium reginae). I had no idea how large they would be, the blossoms were about 5-8 centimeters (2 inches) long, and perfect. Nobody had disturbed them. I sat on a nearby log for some fifteen minutes just revelling in this wonderful creation, then set out to capture this in photographs, hoping to do them justice, checking and double checking my camera settings, not knowing how long these gems will last or when my next visit might be.

The photo above is the culmination of this quest for orchids. Now I know what to look for, where, and when. During this quest, I also found another interesting orchid, which I am currently researching.

Nikon D800
Nikkor AF 28-70mm f/3.5~F/4.5D
@ 45mm
1/60 sec, f/4.0, ISO 450

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