Tag Archives: storm

“No Volleyball Today” – Sauble Beach

“No Volleyball Today” - Sauble Beach

“All human plans [are] subject to ruthless revision by Nature, or Fate, or whatever one preferred to call the powers behind the Universe.” 
― Arthur C. Clarke 

I made this image almost immediately upon my arrival at Ontario’s Sauble Beach. The forecast was for a mostly rainy weekend and our group had resigned itself that it might not be ideal for playing our favourite beach sport, volleyball.

As we drove towards the lake we were shocked by the immense waves, the like of which we had never experienced here, even during storms. After unpacking, several of us headed towards the dunes to check out the beach, which no longer existed. This is what we saw.

The combination of extremely high water levels in the Great Lakes this year coupled with steady winds directly from the west caused the water to literally stack up on the beach. You can sort of see the ‘stacking’ nearer the horizon, as the water from the deep lake hits the shallower waters of the wide beach about two hundred meters from shore. The wide, shallow sand bar acts as a buffer but the water still has to go somewhere and inevitably rolls over the sand bar and washes out the beach.

On a typical day, the beach front is about where the second row of waves is in the photo and the volleyball courts are about two meters above the lake level. On this day, expecting to miss out on volleyball due to rain, we found the courts under several centimeters of water.

The image does not effectively convey the force of the wind or the water, as the height of the waves is limited by the shallow waters, it became a high wild chop. Needless to say, it was a ‘wild’ day. So, between gale force winds and high water, there was no volleyball to be had.

By the next day, the winds had died off, the waters had receded, and as the sun warmed the ground, the beach was drying out, leaving us with pristine, flat surfaces for the rest of the weekend. A total change for this scene which greeted us on arrival.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0, ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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Wordless Wednesday

“After the Rains” - San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

“After the Rains” – San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 112 mm
1/100 sec, f/4.8, ISO 200

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

“Stressed?”

“My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.”
― Steve Goodier

I made this image this past weekend and tucked it away, not sure when I would post it. Then this past Tuesday evening, a fairly extensive ice storm passed through, bringing back memories of previous ice storms, a phenomenon quite common to this part of the country. The Tuesday storm was tame compared to other storms we’ve experienced, especially the one that occurred in the winter of 2015.

The 2015 storm was unique in several aspects: it lasted a long time, covering everything in about  50 millimeters of ice, breaking large limbs from trees, damaging power lines, and creating a thick, impenetrable glaze of ice that was impossible to walk on. Then, something unusual happened. Freezing rain generally melts off mere hours after it falls, that’s the nature of these storms. In this case, the temperatures plummeted, making the ice harder and locking our world in a frozen wonderland. Many people lost power for days, as power lines snapped under the weight of the ice and vast patched of trees were completely obliterated as the ice literally tore them apart. We also experienced a unique phenomenon that became known as ‘frost quakes’. As the ground, laden with water from the freezing rain, froze rapidly, it contracted, booming and banging as it continued to cool. This was especially noticeable on roof tops, covered in close to thirty centimeters of wet snow and encased in ice. It would make the whole house shake.

Such was the dynamic of the 2015 storm and the cause of the damage to this tree, which, despite the extensive damage to its trunk, still lives. I recall the first time I saw it, a few days after the storm. The sheer weight of ice in its limbs and some fairly intense winds had created enough force to twist and split the tree almost all the way from the ground to the lowest branches. Frankly, given the damage, I would have thought it was going to die.

It still will die in the next few years, as the wood, now unprotected by the bark, is open to water damage, rot, and insects. Despite this, I am still amazed at it resilience.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Hydrangea on Ice”

“Hydrangeas on Ice”

“What is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?”
― Kahlil Gibran

This year, I left a few dried hydrangea blooms in my garden. My usual ritual is to trim them all down in the fall. I’m glad I left them, they added some interest in this past, dull, nearly snowless winter, and created a nice franewirk for our recent freezing rain event.

For those who have never experienced freezing rain, I’ll include a brief description here:
Freezing rain occurs when the ground temperature is below freezing while the air layers above are warmer. The precipitation falls as rain and freezes on contact with the ground. The end effect is that everything is coated with an ever increasing layer of clear ice. If conditions are right, this accumulation can be over an inch thick and cause major damage to trees and powerlines. Because it is a gradual accumulation, delicate plants, which would collapse in snow, are held rigid by the ice that encases them.

This was the case with the hydrangeas pictured above. A thin coating of clear ice built up over a period of a few hours, making them look like the are coated in clear glass.

It’s a beautiful effect, unless you are driving and have to chisel the ice from your car, or try to walk, since the ice is usually covered in a thin layer of semi-frozen water, making it extremely slippery. This is not a good feature when you are trying to walk around with your camera. The other thing with freezing rain is that it tends to be a very brief, beautiful event, which generally melts away within a few hours, as the temperatures rise.

I find it to be a challenging time photographically, since everything is beautiful and it’s difficult to isolate a particular composition within all that beauty.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 130 mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0 -0.33, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Conflict” – Point Clarke

“Conflict” - Point Clarke, Ontario

I could not think of a better title for this photo. To me, it speaks conflict in so many forms. This day in late December was the transition from an extended mild fall to a bitter, biting winter. The crepuscular rays (yes, that’s what they are actually called), offer a sense of peace in contrast to the tumult of the icy waters below. Crepuscular rays are colloquially known as a Jacob’s Ladder, Gateways to Heaven, Buddha’s Fingers, Jesus Beams, God’s Rays, sunbeams, cloud breaks and many other names. It is not surprising that many of the names have religious connotations as crepuscular rays seem to be a message from the gods. What message is being expressed here? “Winter is coming?”

The very waters are churning in conflict, rising in sharp peaks and churning over each other, urgent for the shore.

The temperatures had dropped from a wondrous 13 degrees celsius mere days ago to a blustery minus 6 with a 60km/h wind that literally sucked the breath from my lungs and froze my fingers numb in minutes. While I love being outdoors whenever possible, this instance may be an exception, as it was truly unpleasant, except for the scene unfolding in front to me. From the comfort of a warm car or house, this may have been a vista I could have revelled at for hours.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 82mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Tree Line” – Fraser Lake, Ontario

"Tree Line" - Fraser Lake (abstract)

In November 2014, I was walking along a ridge on the Fraser Lake Camp property, near Bancroft, Ontario and became fascinated with this line of leafless trees on the top of an adjacent ridge. They stood silloetted against the slate-gray November skies, as a narrow beam of bright sunlight lit up the yellow hay stubble just in front of them. The result was a layering of cold blues in stark contrast to the warm yellows with small patches of brown-green grass and a thin dusting of snow.

As a photo, it did not appeal much to me. But, when I manipulated it with Photoshop, to look like a painting, I was very pleased with the results and the ‘feel’ it had. I think the slight sense of obscurity in this image makes it more powerful than the photo, with it’s clean lines and sharp edges. The  Photoshopped version seems to allow for better separation of colours and what was fine details now show through in the splashes of red among the tree branches, which was not the case in the photo.

As I’ve said a few times before, I wish I could paint, but since I can’t, I can paint with light within my photos and editing software and I can turn what is an average photo into something I can really enjoy looking at.

Nikon D200
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 127 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website
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