Tag Archives: serenity

“End of the Day” -Sauble Beach, Ontario

“End of the Day” - Sauble Beach, Ontario

“A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its going. And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east.” 
― John Steinbeck

Today’s post will be simple and short, accompanied by one of my favourite Steinbeck quotes. The image above was made two weekends ago at the end of a beautiful, hot day at the beach. The crowds are gone and a few people remain to enjoy the last few moments of sunlight.

One mad stands at the shore , the waves lapping at his feet and in the distance, a paddle boarder enjoys the relatively calm waters beyond the sandbars, which extend out almost that far. A very nice way to end the day.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/750 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

“Dew Covered Oak Ferns”

“Dew Covered Oak Ferns”

“When one tunes in into nature’s frequency, life becomes change, change becomes hope!”
― Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel

The honest truth, over the past few weeks, it’s been difficult to photograph anything that is not either dew covered, or rain-soaked. As my previous few posts have indicated, it has been WET here. To the point where I finally had a chance this past Sunday to take a brief hike in the local forests.

Even at that, it was still a bit dull, with the occasional break of sunlight. The combination of the two made it possible to get some nice photos of wildflowers, which I will be sharing over the next few days. While the dull clouds allowed for deep, saturated colours, slight breezes also meant I had to shoot at a slightly higher ISO than I like, to compensate for the movement of the flowers, which, though negligible to the naked eye, is magnified in macro imagery.

Despite having to make some modifications, the images of wildflowers at this time of year are very nice and the dew drops give them a serene feeling. Something most of us can use more of.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/13 sec, f/16.0 ISO 800

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“Gentle Awakening” – Fraser Lake

“Gentle Awakening” - Fraser Lake

“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.”
― John Steinbeck

A sleepy, gentle start to the day, now two weeks ago. This day started a bit less foggy than others, yet the water was still as late migrating waterfowl lazed about in the chilly lake and the sky shifted from gray, to shades of pink, gold, and blue. There’s also still a hint of colour on the distant shore, dispersed among the conifers.

As I sit writing this post, soft jazz sooths me further, recalling this beautiful morning. We need to savour this serenity in our busy world whenever it offers its gifts to us. Though I was only on Fraser Lake for four days this fall, each morning dawned slightly differently. The first morning being quite raw and choppy progressing to the glass-like appearance above and remaining so the rest of my stay, offering many photo opportunities.

I’ve spent many summers, falls, and winters on the lake and its shores. One summer was spent paddling the entire shoreline enjoying the diversity of plants and wildlife and that same winter enjoying cross-country skiing on the ice covered lake.

Then I consider that this is a single lake among thousands that dot the Ontario and recognise that there are more memories to come as I explore the province in live in.

“Northern Serenity” – Hermon, Ontario

“Northern Serenity” - Hermon, Ontario.jpg

“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

I could have titled this “The Other End”, since it really is the opposite end of the beaver pond I shared last week, but the word ‘serenity’ and ‘peace’ kept echoing through my thoughts as I reviewed the image. The light on the glass-like water, the tall pines along the shores, and the soft light, just calms me and draws me back to the moment.

I stood on the beaver dam itself, for a long time, taking in the vista, after forcing my way through the tangle of balsams that line the shores of the pond. In fact, I have yet to experience an established beaver pond that is not surrounded by the moisture loving balsam firs, with their tangled branches, leaving barely any room to move around with any level of ease.

This natural ‘wall’ also offers protection to the wildlife that calls the pond and its environs home: the beavers, deer, moose, and waterfowl. Sitting inside this wall, separated me from the world of the forest and put me into the world of the beaver pond, which is a nice place to be.

And yes, it’s another iPhone photo 🙂

iPhone 5s back camera @ 4.2mm
1/1800 sec;   f/2.2;   ISO 32

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“Rock Garden Waterfall” – Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington

“Rock Garden Waterfall” - Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlingto

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.”
― Michael Pollan

A change of pace from all my recent flower and butterfly photos, though if you look closely, there are still flowers present. Can you find them?

I did set out to photograph flowers this day and have plenty to share at a later date, but I do like a good waterfall and the serenity small cascades like this create for me, even knowing it is man made. I used a slow shutter at 1/10 of a second to slightly blur the movement and had to go hand-held because I did not want to carry a tripod all day. That did pose a challenge because it was very bright and I had to shoot at f/32 to keep the water from being blown out.

This stepped cascade can be found at the rock gardens, which are part of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario. The rock garden is one of several gardens within this large complex of garden exhibits and is nestled in the base of a valley, forming a bit of a bowl. Much of the stone is native limestone and some material has been moved into place to create a garden with large limestone boulders and many stepped paths which run up and down the hillside. I enjoyed the inclusion of many native plant species, which those who are not hiking the backwoods trails would never experience otherwise. Including Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum), which are the small pink flowers visible near the base of the higher cascade. They are a native plant and are members of the geranium family. The crushed leaves can be used as a mosquito repellant, handy at this time of year).

The waterfall pictured here, feeds into some smaller stepped cascades and eventually winds through the lower gardens as a meandering creek which flows beneath bridges and around some wonderful large trees.

At this time of year, the garden also features some exquisite blooming dogwoods, which I have a real attraction to (more photos of those to come).

If you happen to be in the Burlington area and like plants, I would highly recommend this as a destination, but plan on a day, since it is a large complex that spreads over several properties.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 70 mm
1/10 sec, f/32.0, ISO 500

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“Creekbed Ripples”

“Creekbed Ripples”

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.” ― Norman Maclean

The above, is one of my favourite quotes. it simply resonates with me on a very profound level and I’m pleased to be able to start articulating those feelings through my images.

How often have you sat by a stream, calmed by the gently flowing water and the dance of light below the surface? I find myself taking these simple moments for granted. As I walk through the woods through the forest, I cross many streams, each unique in their character. Some are deep, dark and cool, others shallow and fast moving over stoney bottoms.

Yesterday, I sat by this small creek and simply watched and listened as the cool water flowed over a sparkling sand bottom. The shimmer of light on the ripples inspired me to make more of this that simply a photograph. I was trying to capture that subtle energy of the water, the play of light, and the many textures created by the flow.

The photo above is an abstraction on that initial image. For me, it ‘adequately’ captures that moment, shows the light, texture, and movement. I tried several other treatments, but none worked for me. I’m pleased with this one.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 2000

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“Flatiron Building” – New York

“Flatiron Building” - New York

“Everything in New York is a photograph. All the things that are supposed to be dirty or rough or unrefined are the most beautiful things. Garbage cans at the ends of alleyways look like they’ve been up all night talking with each other. Doorways with peeling paint look like the wise lines around an old feller’s eyes.” ― Ann-Marie MacDonald

Yes, it’s my second photo this week of this awesome building, but a slightly different perspective than the typical front-view. The way the light shone off this building was stunning, there are no sufficient words to describe it.

Mid-morning, the warm sunlight just “glowed” from the walls of the Flatiron building. The experience of standing here, in this place, having seen so many beautiful images made by other photographers over the years, nothing prepared me for the light. It’s indescribable and completely unexpected, in this busy, bustling, modern city, filled with treasures from her past. That light, is soft, beautiful, out of place, somehow. But I love it and the effect it has on my soul.

In the photo above, people pass through the frame, unaware of the profound effect this scene is having on me. I’m locked in the moment, and reliving that experience as I view the image, and reflect back on that all too brief moment in time when I stood at this  intersection of light, and time, and history, drinking in the essence.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 22 mm
1/640 sec, f/13.0, ISO 400

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“Alight in Golds”

“Alight in Golds”

One of my favourite abstracts from this past autumn. This photo was made while hiking the Secord Conservation Area trails a few weeks ago. As noted on earlier posts, this year produced beautiful gold tones in the beech trees along the trail and the autumn sunlight filtered down to the forest floor, producing a beautiful soft, warm light.

I used my vertical pan technique to produce the abstract blur effect which has become a bit of my brand. Since it’s done handheld, the results are often surprising and a bit variable. I have a pretty good idea how it will look and carefully select a composition which will yield favourable results.

In this particular composition, the golden beech leaves are in the foreground with maples and pines in the background. There are beech leaves mixed with maple on the ground and some low greenery at the base of the maples. The overall result is a somewhat serene image with soft splashes of gold against a darker background. It’s an image I am often drawn to on busy days and reminds me of the quiet times on the hiking trails.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm
1/4 sec @ f/20.0, ISO 250

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“Raft at Dawn” Marble Lake, Bancroft

Raft at Dawn - Marble Lake

I have reflected on this photo many times. It was made one foggy morning in late September 2014. It was a cool morning and the air hung thick with fog and the feeling of change that comes at this time of year. I decided to go for a walk down to the lake shore. Through the fog, you could see the blue sky emerging, revealing shreds of clouds not typical of this time of year. On the lake, the swimming raft seemed to float in mid-air, the fog obscuring the line between water and air and a faint outline of the distant shore was barely discernible in the distance. The photo feels dream-like; somewhat haunting, yet peaceful. It represents transition, between the water and the sky, as well as the transition from summer to fall. It’s one of those photos that draws me in and causes me to see that there is more to it than first impressions would reveal.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @17 mm
1/500 @ f/9.0, ISO 800