Tag Archives: TRCA

Thursday Doors | September 28, 2017

“Blacksmith Shop” Black Creek Pioneer Village

This week’s submission to Norm 2.0‘s Thursday Doors.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world.

“Blacksmith Shop” Black Creek Pioneer Village

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on Thursday Doors. Getting ready for a local Studio Tour has taken much of my time, as well as an expanded work role. In fact my blog posts in general have dropped off, so I find myself with a little time to go through my accumulated images, of which doors are always an element.

This image was made a full two weeks ago, at Toronto’s Black Creek Pioneer Village, where I volunteer every year for the annual Pioneer Fest. Unlike the past few years of rain and cold, this year was hot and bright, yet leaves had started turning, which made for some interesting images.

I’ve always admired this blacksmith shop, with its large inviting doors. They are also functional in helping with ventilation, as this place gets pretty hot and smokey. I made this composition by deliberately positioning the tree in the foreground, to hide a junk pile along the side of the building. It also creates a nice ‘frame’ as the branches drape across the roof.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/370 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

“Forest Floor Companions”

“Forest Floor Companions”

“I am learning my way toward something that will make sense of my life, and I learn by going where I have to go, with whatever companions I am graced.” 
― Dean Koontz

At the base of a dead beech tree, these companions add brightness and life, among the dead and decomposing elements surrounding them.

For some unknown reason, the large beech trees in this local forest all died a few years ago. Many of them are very large and old, so it may just be a cycle, as there are many younger trees thriving in the same area. The die-off started a few years back and most of the elders are gone now, the bark peeling off their massive trunks,  branches falling to the ground with every passing winter. I also suspect a new housing development nearby may have altered the water table, ever so slightly, as to affect the older trees. The forest seems a bit ‘wetter’ than usual.

Yet, among all this death, spring offers her bounty of fresh life, in the form of wildflowers, growing in abundance at the base of these dead trees. There are Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica), also known by some as May Flowers or Fairy Spuds (the roots and flowers are edible), with their bright pink faces and delicate stems. Then there are also Trout Lilies with their mottled leaves and bright yellow flowers. Mixed in among them, though not pictured here are red and white trilliums, to name the most predominant in my area. It seems every year there are more, which is wonderful to see.

To think a few short years ago I would walk these same trails and never notice anything but the white trilliums. There is something to be said for slowing down and just looking. It’s amazing what we can see, if we take the time.

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

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“Cracked Ice” – Secord Pond

“Cracked Ice” - Secord Pond

If you should go skating
On the thin ice of modern life
Dragging behind you the silent reproach
Of a million tear stained eyes
Don’t be surprised, when a crack in the ice
Appears under your feet
You slip out of your depth and out of your mind
With your fear flowing out behind you
As you claw the thin ice – Pink Floyd

This image is the second in a series of photographs I made a few weeks ago, observing the gradual melting of the ice on a local pond. The patterns and various structures interested me and I wanted to spend more time looking them over, from the comfort of my office.

Above is a small section of the pond, close to shore. The snow has melted, leaving just the ice below exposed to the sun. The surface is uneven, caused by the melting and refreezing of snow to different depths. The white ‘cracks’ are the result of the ice cracking open and snow filling the cracks, only to refreeze. As I noted in other recent posts, the snow this year was particularly pure and white, which only enhances this effect.

Over my many years of hiking the same trails, I’m still seeing new things every time and I take that as a gift.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 125 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“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:
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“Undercut” – Duffins Creek at Whitevale

“Undercut” - Duffins Creek at Whitevale

“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.”
― Laura Gilpin

A few mere weeks ago, this entire scene was filled with ice and snow. A handful of mild days, and it’s all a memory, preserved and recalled in thoughts and photos.

Since I don’t live in an area with high mountains and grand vistas, I take great pleasure in long hikes along the local creeks and through forest paths. Moving water, especially in the form of creeks, cascades, and rapids, holds a special fascination to me. I love the way it moves, how the light plays in the currents and eddies. The water courses themselves are alive and always a bit different every time I visit. There’s a new log on the banks, winter ice has rearranged the rocks on the bottom, sediment has accumulated and changed the course, ever so slightly.

The scene above, would be typical of an April day along the creek, as the spring runoff concludes and the sediment levels decrease, the creek becomes clearer and the rainbow trout begin their annual run to spawn. But, this is March and the trout are not quite ready, but the water awaits, cold and clear. The coltsfoot and bloodroot will begin to bloom, signalling the start of the run. I imagine, if the air stays mild, that will be within the next few days and I look forward to seeing life returning to this magical place.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 95 mm
1/10 sec, f/22, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Reaching for Spring”

“Reaaching for Spring”

“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    “Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne

My favourite, for now, patch of Elecampane. Lit by the warm afternoon sun along the Seaton Trail. There is something appealing in the orange remnants of the blossom in contrast to the gray, dried steps. The vestiges of the former blossoms glow brightly in the sun while the dry steps remind me that it’s still winter. But, as they tilt to the east, locked in time, they remind me, through their glow, that the sun always rises and spring will come, in its time. It’s just a matter of waiting for it.

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

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website (some images available for purchase)

“Reflected Cat-tails” – Secord Pond, Uxbridge

“Reflected Cat-tails” - Secord Pond, Uxbridge

The words “Seeing the extraordinary in everyday places.” has become a mantra for me. It resonates through my entire being. I’ve said before that I can’t seem to turn it off and would not want to.


As I walk the streets or hike the forest trails, I am able to see beauty almost everywhere. So, why would I want to turn that off. It becomes my connection with my Creator, a reminder of the marvelous detail that I miss when hurried. I revel in the quiet times, where it’s just me. Those solitary times are energizing for me, as I look around and notice a play of light, the soft motion of water, or plants in the breeze. Learning to effectively capture and sharing those moments bring me joy. As I sit and review my photos and try to put into words what that experience was like, I’m constantly reminded, that moment was in front of me to enjoy, a very brief part of an ongoing story in light, motion, and colour.

The inner creative in me likes to push boundaries and experiment with different ways of seeing things. I view other’s works, get inspired by images and words, to push my own boundaries and beliefs. As I share these experiments, I’m also sharing part of my journey, and opening an intimate part of my essence. Perhaps that journey resonates with others and brings them to the same place.

The image above is just such an experiment. I used an old Takumar 500mm f/5 lens that belonged to my father. For years I had considered selling it since it did not work with any of my cameras. Last week I acquired an adaptor that allowed me to use this lens for the first time in nearly thirty years. I had forgotten what a monster it is. Weighing in at nearly seven pounds and close to two feet long, this glass is not for the faint of heart and certainly not something I care to carry around on a regular basis.

I took it with me, along with a sturdy tripod, to Secord Pond, a small lake at a local conservation area.  While it was nice to make long telephoto images, I really enjoyed the effects it had when photographing the shoreline plants reflected in the water. Above, are cat-tails, reflected in the gently rippling water.

Nikon D200
Takumar 500 mm f/5 @ 500mm
1/60 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200

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