Tag Archives: serene

“April Oak and Moon”

“April Oak and Moon”

“The art of writing is not as solitary as one might think. When it finally dawns on us one day that our task as writers is to share what we know of the human spirit, we suddenly discover that we were never truly alone.”
― Hal Zina Bennett

I’m following up my Monochrome Mondays post with the colour version of the same image. While it looks lovely in mono, I prefer the true colours, that lovely pre-dusk glow of yellow, as the setting sun lights up the fine haze that floats just above the ground.

It’s the end of another spring day, the promise of warmer days ahead, under the “Pink Moon” of early April. I eagerly await some hint of green, as life returns to the hilltop oak.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 70 mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0 ISO 200



“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

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“Contemplation” – Marble Lake

"Contemplation"  - Marble Lake

Early one morning in late summer 2014, I went down to the lakefront with my daughter. It was one of those typical cool mornings on the lake where the mist from the warm water rises up and just hangs there for a few minutes before rising higher in the sky to become a cloud.

We spent some time on the dock, both making photos of the ethereal beauty of the mist as it moved in an intricate dance above the water’s surface. I was just about finished when I looked back and saw her standing on the dock and gazing across the lake. Only she can say what she might have been thinking at that moment, but she seemed transfixed by the mist, contemplating the scene in from of her. Given the slight halo around her head, she was probably reviewing her photos. It’s very serene and a moment I’m happy to have been able to capture and carry with me.

I was going for high depth of field to show some of the details in the swirling fog and a faster shutter to compensate for the brightness of the fog. It had a nice effect on the overall lighting.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ 24mm
1/640 sec, f/13.0, ISO 200

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“Trailside Carnival”

“Trailside Carnival”Generally, titles for my photos come fairly easily. Not so in this case. I looked at the photo over and over and nothing seemed appropriate. It’s also a fairly tall composition, which I have stayed away from, unless absolutely necessary. After a while of looking at the elements, I thought, “This looks like a carnival, with all the bright colours mixing together.”

This is a hillside along one of the Secord Conservation Area trails. There are a lot of tall maples, beeches, and oaks in the foreground and some younger beeches (orange leaves) in the background mixed with a few maples which, for some reason, had not changed to their fall colours yet. The way the oranges and greens mixed together was interesting to me, and thus, the photo above was made.

It was also one of those days of soft, warm light that lit up the forest floor in patches and brought out some of the finer details of the tree trunks in the foreground. For me, just another glimpse into this serene place that I like to visit frequently.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 80mm
1/125 sec @ f/5.6 -.33, ISO 250

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“Transformation” – Trailside Sumacs


Another image from last evening’s “Reservoir Walk”.

I could do a whole book on this beautiful place, just minutes from my doorstep, and often overlooked, even by me.

Just north of my home is a reservoir designed to control flooding in case of heavy rains. This reservoir is part of an entire conservation system install in the 50’s when hurricane Hazel caused tremendous damage in the area.

The result is a wonderful pond, bounded by woods and a nice trail system. The area was deliberately planted to encourage a natural look and reduce erosion. And, nature has a mind of its own that supersedes out human endeavours. Now the area is a mix of planted shrubs and nature’s own handiwork. It seems like a ‘nice’ place to walk, but I have had many awesome photographic moments in this humble location.

Yesterday, I went out in the evening because the light was so wonderful. The reservoir trails change appearance by the hour, as the light warms and cools, and the sunlight changes direction. Last night the sun was just beginning to set and did a marvellous job at lighting up the sumac leaves, many of which have begun to change colour to their bright oranges and reds. This particular cluster caught me eye and I was able to capture it nicely, without too many obstructions by doing a long zoom to 300 mm. The combination of the golden sun backlight and fall colours really made this ‘pop’. I hope you enjoy it.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300mm @300 mm 
1/60 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 500

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“Alder Creek Cascade” – Yosemite National Park

Alder Creek Cascade

This remains one of my favourite photos. Partially because it was just a chance, unplanned, opportunity and secondly due to the sense of serenity it instills in me.

The unplanned aspect of this photo was that I was travelling to the Yosemite Valley proper, with the intention of photographing some of Yosemite’s grand waterfalls. On the trip in, I happened to glance over my shoulder into one of the many steep ravines that the road crosses. I noticed a small cascade and pulled the car over to have a closer look.

As I descended into the gully, I was greeted by this gorgeous scene of Alder Creek flowing over and around the moss-covered boulders. I was especially drawn to the water flowing lightly across the round boulder in the foreground.

I find myself going back to this image time and again when I need to wind down. As a photographer, I’m finding more often, that these chance encounters, with my natural surroundings, provide more satisfying and unique images than some of the grand vistas.

I hope you enjoy it too.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm @ 70mm
0.4sec @ f/6.3, ISO 200

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