Tag Archives: trails

“Green Returns?”

“Green Returns”

“Going green doesn’t start with doing green acts — it starts with a shift in consciousness.  
― Ian Somerhalder

This image invokes two thoughts for me: First, I’m loving the fact that the dull greens of winter are becoming for vibrant, and secondly, I’m ever conscious of just how fragile these forests, that I enjoy so much, really are.

I am made even more aware of this as the snow melts and the heaps of garbage left by ‘hikers’ emerges from the snow drifts at several of the trail heads, taking away from the beauty of the forest. The term ‘hikers’, in this sense refers not to those of us who hold the forest trails as precious, rather, the weekend warriors who come and go, likely not returning, until they feel compelled to do something ‘green’ again.

This lack of respect for the natural environment really bothers me, as I would like to continue to enjoy and have my children and their children enjoy as well. Leaving garbage at trail heads or on trails is so unnecessary. “If you bring it in, take it out”, is my motto.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70mm
1/4 sec, f/10.0 ISO 250

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“Icy Trails”

“Icy Trails”

“There is always danger for those who are afraid.” 
― George Bernard Shaw

I could not resist the quote. I am told over and over, “Be careful on the trails, they are icy.” I get it from family and other who hike these trails in warmer days. I have never considered the trails dangerous, it’s just a matter of adjusting to the conditions. I avoid the slickest, uneven sections, particularly those on steep slopes. Even with cleats on, I am careful not to get over-confident. But, I am experienced on these trials and rely on common sense and acquired skills to see me safely through.

The amount of ice on the trails this year is pretty significant. The conditions have been just right to render the heavily trodden trails into ice rinks. Yet, I have a need to be out here, enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds me and documenting some part of that. Friends seem surprised that I am out in these conditions, yet most times I run into other hikers, so I am not alone in this venture. Except I am carrying a bunch of camera gear, which would not do well in a fall.

So, here you have it, a small moment on the icy trails, the forest gradually emerging from its winter rest, as life and colour begin to show themselves once more.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70mm
1/4 sec, f/20.0 ISO 250

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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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“Trillium Crest” – Uxbridge, Ontario

“Trillium Crest” - Uxbridge, Ontario

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
― Mark Twain

Spring fever, that must be it. I spent this past Sunday, hiking some 14 miles,  visiting all my favourite trails, seeking out the diversity of fresh wildflowers and foliage. It’s like the whole world around me suddenly bursting forth with life.

Each area is slightly varied, some low areas abound with life, ferns quite advanced in their growth, yet others, a bit higher in elevation, or in the shade, are delayed, with modest growth, still tucked under their blanket of dull brown leaves.

It was one of the warmer patches, along a hillside, bathed in sun, that produced this wonderful Ontario spring scene. A vast patch of mature trilliums, with their bright white faces and golden centres, shing to greet me. It felt like a wave of spring, flowing towards me. Thus the title, “Trillium Crest”.

Nikon D800
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 170 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

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“Winter’s End on Seaton Trail

“Winter’s End on Seaton Trail”

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
― Anne Bradstreet

After what started off as a gorgeous March, with above normal temperatures and bright sunshine, things changed mid-month, and we got into a cycle of cold days, snow flurries, and some freezing rain. This turned the nice dry trails back to a mix of mud and frozen puddles.

I’m happy to say, I think that phase is done, temperatures are returning to normal and the ice covered puddles are beginning to thaw and break up.

The photo above is of one such puddle, which caught my attention by how the angular ice pieces floated on the surface, while the water reflected the canopy of pine trees above. It seemed like a final goodbye to the winter of 2015 and a hello to the possibility of a nice summer of hiking these trails and enjoying the sights with dry feet.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 180 mm
1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250

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“Meadow Poplars” – Secord Forest Trail

“Meadow Poplars” - Secord Conservation Area

About mid-way through this trail are several groves of poplars, which I have photographed and shared in the past. This particular grove is in the middle of a meadow, which the trails grows around. Because of the nature of this area, it’s also difficult to get an unobscured view of these trees, without some branch interfering with the overall shot. That becomes a common issue for photographers, at least in my experience. You can envision a great composition, but the reality is it does not alway play out as planned, since that perfect angle and lighting is tough to achieve because of the surroundings.

Fortunately, I did find a narrow slot between the trees which provided the attached image. There are still a few stray branches in the foreground, but they don’t interfere with the image as a whole.

As I look at the photo, I once again see it as a painting, even without any manipulation. So, I pulled it into Photoshop and the following is the result.

“Meadow Poplars” - Secord Conservation Area

I’m not sure which I like more?

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm
1/200 sec, @ f/7.1 -0.33, ISO 250

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