Tag Archives: trail

“December Trails”

“December Trails” - Durham Forest

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell

This image, made on the same day as yesterday’s post, this view of the beech lined trails of one of the East Duffins Headwaters trail system, near Uxbridge, Ontario, is a testament to the beauty that can still be experienced in the winter months. Cross country skiers, hikers, and dog walkers have all enjoyed this trail before me. The snow squalls from the previous week deposited about a foot of soft snow which stuck to everything and stayed there for several days, still the winds began to blow some of it off.

It really was a winter wonderland, hiking below the canopy of snow-covered branches, the temperatures just cool enough to remind me winter had arrived. But, what really dominated the scene for me was the warm glow of the beach trees, holding on to their leaves when all others have long since dropped.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 85 mm
1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

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

“Herb Robert” – Secord Forest

“Herb Robert Blossom” - Secord Forest

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
― Alice Walker

This diminutive member of the geranium family has been on my mind since I first encountered it a few weeks ago. I’m finding I’ve missed seeing so many of the smaller wildflowers in the past, then, suddenly, they are everywhere and in unexpected places.

The first time I saw the pale purple gem, was on a Secord Forest trail, where I photographed it, not knowing what it was, and then identified it by referencing my plant identifications books. The next time I saw it, was at the Royal Botanical Gardens, in Burlington, Ontario. I felt like such a botanist, being able to spot and identify this tiny purple flower among all the other plants on display. I’m not sure if they are deliberately included in the gardens or if they were placed there by nature.

On researching the plant I also discovered it has significant uses as a medicinal herb for the treatment of toothaches and nosebleeds and also to heal wounds. The crushed leaves smell like burning rubber, but make a good mosquito repellant. I tried this and it seemed to work, other than the fact that I smelled like burning rubber, which is not necessarily a desirable trait.

Nikon D800
Nikkor AF 28-70mm f/3.5~f/4.5D @ 45mm (28mm extension tube)
1/60 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

“White Spotted Butterfly” – Secord Forest

“White Spotted Butterfly” 0 Secord Forest

“Only when we pay attention and notice small moments, do we make the connections that lead to a change in our perspective.”
― Andrea Goeglein

It’s pretty amazing what you see over a 5km forest hike, especially in a forest as diverse as Secord Forest. Which, fortunately for me, is only a few kilometers from my home, which makes it a super convenient place to go, without a lot of preparation.

Back to the woods, as it were. I’ve gone there a few times over the past few weeks, constantly amazed at how fast the forest goes from its brown, dead, winter form, to a verdant explosion of life and ongoing cycle of growth, blooms, and thriving wildlife.

Lately, with all the blossoming flowers, butterflies have been bountiful. I must admit, that I had no idea just how many different species are native to these woods. I am familiar with the common varieties, like Monarchs, Mourning Cloaks, and the multitude of Coppers and Skippers. Yet, there are vast numbers of tiny butterflies that barely catch your attention, till you stand and watch for movement between the plants.

This specimen eluded my attempts at a photograph for quite some time, but I finally got a good image of its spectacular colours. It’s so small, about the size of a thumbnail, that I did not notice the bright yellow shoulder patches till I looked at the image on my computer. I did spend a bit of time looking up the actual name, but among thousands of butterfly species, I finally gave up and simply named it by its appearance. If there are  butterfly enthusiasts out there who can enlighten me on the species, that would be greatly appreciated.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200 mm
1/180 sec, f/4.5, 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

“Cherry Blossom Cluster” – Stouffville Reservoir

“Cherry Blossom Cluster”

“Oh, the wonder of it! The outrageous beauty! God didn’t have to give us cherry blossoms you know. He didn’t have to make apple trees and peach trees burst into flower and fragrance. But God just loves to splurge. He gives us all this magnificence and then, if that isn’t enough, He provides fruit from such extravagance.” – Lynn Austin

I was not expecting to see cherry blossoms this year. All indications were that this would not be a good year for them and I believed the time to see them in bloom was past. Thus, I was very pleased to find this lovely display along the way. I recall there being a cherry tree here but I have missed the bloom for the past few years and did not really consider looking for it. It certainly was nice to come around the trail and see the tree decked out in a resplendent coat of white.

Even sitting here writing this post, I can smell the sweet fragrance of the blossoms filling the warm air as I notice all the fine details and rich colours that are often missed in the broader view. That is the reason I decided to isolate this single cluster, to allow me to look at it, undistracted by the larger show the tree had to offer me.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/125 sec, f/13.0, 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

 

“Maple Emerging” – Walkers Woods, Uxbridge

“Maple Emerging” - Walkers Woods, Uxbridge

“The world is exploding in emerald, sage, and lusty chartreuse – neon green with so much yellow in it. It is an explosive green that, if one could watch it moment by moment throughout the day, would grow in every dimension.”
― Amy Seidl

Another image from this past weekend. The trees are a yellow-green with fresh leaves bursting from buds and pollen laden flowers. It’s not the best time of years for allergy sufferers but wonderful for the unafflicted.

I walked for hours, every bend in teh trail alive with new growth and bright morning sunshine providing soft backlighting. The leaves will only remain in this state for a few more days and will be full grown in short measure, fulfilling their role of drinking in sunshine and moisture from the air, providing nourishment to their host. For me , this is like an extended time-lapse. The expansion is so rapid, you can almost see it happening before your eyes.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, 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

 

“First of the Season” – Stouffville Reservoir Trail

“First of the Season” - Stouffville Reservoir Trail

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…” 
― Frances Hodgson Burnett

Interestingly enough, despite the cold April we experienced in my neck of the woods, the first white trillium blossom I found, appeared exactly to the date of last year’s. I though for certain that it would be a full week behind, but this beauty, and her companions, waiting to open up in the next day or two, are right on time. There’s no stopping the natural cycle.

In fact, I think this may even be the same plant that bloomed first, last year. The conditions must be just right in this particular patch, as the whole group of them is slightly advanced.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6, 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

“Wake Robins” – Stouffville Reservoir Trail

“Wake-Robins” - Stouffville Reservoir Trail

“I can still bring into my body the joy I felt at seeing the first trillium of spring, which seemed to be telling me, “Never give up hope, spring will come.” 
— Jessica Stern

The entrance of spring continues. After a day of cutting grass and getting gardens ready, I ventured out to a trail literally in my backyard. My hope was to see a few wildflowers emerging from their winter slumber, especially after this prolonged, cool, spring.

The regular patches I visit had a few sparse blossoms showing; they seemed thin and delayed, which did not come as a surprise. Given that, I followed the trail into the marshy woods and was greeted by an abundance of early bloomers. Among them, these beautiful Wake Robins or Red Trilliums, as some call them.

I love seeing these bright plants with their brilliant fresh leaves and red faces against the brown-gray background of the spring forest floor. It’s such a stack contrast between new life and the decay of the past. Needless to say, I spent quite a bit of time just drinking it in and making photos of the other species, which I will post over the next few days.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/25 sec, f/11.0, 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

“A Walk Among the Cedars” – Seaton Trail

Walk Among the Cedars - Secord Forest

“Solitude is the soil in which genius is planted, creativity grows, and legends bloom; faith in oneself is the rain that cultivates a hero to endure the storm, and bare the genesis of a new world, a new forest.”
― Mike Norton

Solitude, sweet solitude, the place where I flourish, dream, recharge. I crave the quiet places, the forest trails, the meadows, and riverbanks. Each experience is such a part of me, and I a part of them. As I walk, stand, or sit, the majesty of nature, even the simple things, fill my eyes and mind with wonder. I am in creation, not merely a visitor, but a part of it. It fills me with joy and peace. Time ceases and I merely ‘am’.

For all the time I have spent walking the trails and photographing my surroundings, this one image fully expresses how it “feels” to me. I get emotional looking at it, since it puts me in that place I love so much. Not this particular location, so much, but how I feel when I’m in nature, overall.

The image has all the elements I experience on a regular basis when hiking near my home, the leaf covered path, the flowing forms of branches and leaves, sun shining brightly above and through openings in the canopy, and the dark spaces as well.

This photo was made a few short weeks ago along the Seaton Train, near Whitevale. The ice had just come of the trails and it was a beautiful, mild, late winter day.

iPhone 5s back camera 4.15mm f/2.2
1/40 sec;   f/2.2;   ISO 32

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