Tag Archives: Uxbridge

“Backlit in Golden Light”

“Backlit in Golden Light”

“Golden light beams forth from the hillsides behind the tall pines, competing with the sunshine at my side; a competition for my attention.”
– Ed Lehming 

This is a scene very typical of a local conservation area that I hike on a regular basis. Every visit I make offers some new scene of beauty that make me wonder if I had simply missed it on a prior passing.

There is something along this trail, which parallels a steep hillside that makes for some very unique scenes. I think it’s the layers of varied vegetation, that even in the summer, has more diverse textures and colours than surrounding forest. It’s also facing south, which provides nice lighting and contrast early in the day or late afternoon.

At this time of year, it’s quite spectacular when the distant birches and beeches light the hillside in golds and coppers, setting the background alight in strong contrast to the deep green pines along the trail.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 90 mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 400

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“Pause…” – North Walker Woods

“Pause...” - North Walker Woods

“There are time when we just need to ‘pause’, and in that time, we can be filled with the most beautiful of things.”
– Ed Lehming

As I took my own ‘pause’ at lunch today, I was greeted by this unexpectedly stunning scene as I rounded a corner. The real joy in this image is that this is likely to be the last day with mild weather for some time and the beech trees were in the midst of transitioning from their summer greens, through yellows, and finally, the lovely coppers that will remain through the winter.

The sunshine was magnificent and filled the forest with brilliant soft light, adding further  wonder to the scene.

I’ve said many times that I feel truly blessed to have these forest trails so close and accessible to me, especially after particularly stressful days, where even a brief walk in the woods helps me to relax. Today was no exception, so the title of the photo, “Pause…”, was pretty obvious for me. It really was a pause, and on hindsight, It seems the forest was taking a final, glorious breath, before it settles in for winter. As I headed home, clouds had rolled in and the air had more of a bite to it, as the temperatures dropped as well.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/250 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

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“Fairytale Forest” – Secord Forest, Uxbridge

“Fairytale Forest” - Secord Forest, Uxbridge

“The colours of Autumn turn the world into a wonderland of colour, sound, and scent. There are times when I feel that I have left reality and entered the land of fables.”
– Ed Lehming

As I beheld the scene before me I was filled with an absolute sense of awe. The mid-afternoon sunlight filled the forest with a soft and wondrous display of light and colour. I literally felt like I have stepped into a magical painting and the world fell away around me. Only this place existed.

Such is the nature of many autumn forest scenes. They seem unreal. Where only a few weeks ago the forest was lush and green, much of the canopy has fallen away revealing stunning colours, filled with light and energy. Those who spend time in the forests and on the trails will know the feelings this evokes.

It hit me even more this time, as I only had a short time to be in the woods. My day was filled largely with outdoors tasks that had to be done before the frost and snow come to my area, so I was able to carve out a little space in the day to drive to one of my favourite trails in hopes of a few photos before the wind and rain forecast would end the show for another season. As you can see, I was not disappointed, even within a very short hike, the forest offered up its gift to me, and I was a willing recipient.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/730 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

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“Spring Blanket”

“Spring Blanket”

“A blanket of white blossoms flowed across the forest floor in an endless sea of trilliums that filled my vision with it’s beauty.”
– Ed Lehming

This spring, I set out on a few occasions, hoping to get some spring wildflower images and after a few fairly disappointing visits the forest erupted with trilliums like I have never experienced before.

I think this is primarily due to the cool, wet weather conditions this year. Flower development was delayed or just slow but it seems that everything just ‘pooped’ at once. Where a few days ago the forest floor was simply a mat of dried leaves, thousands upon thousands of wildflowers pushed through and bloomed. It was quite a stunning transformation that reached as far as I could see. The woods were literally blanketed in wildflowers, with the trilliums brilliant white dominating.

In the image above, I got down low to depict the trilliums as a wave that flows  across the small rise and continues to the horizon. I tried numerous shots at various aperture settings to try to capture this stunning scene and finally settled on this one, though it still does not do justice to what I witnessed.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm

1/320 sec, f/7.1, ISO 400

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“Back to the Woods”

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” 
 William Blake

Today, a brief reprieve from my my Iceland series, which is not nearly complete. Yesterday, as the early snowfalls melted away, it took the the local forest for a moderate hike.

I’m blessed to live in an area with lots of forest and lots of easily accessible trails. There are favourites which I return to regularly, one being North Walkers Woods, which has a good network of interconnecting trails. The one I chose is what I refer to as the ‘ outer loop’ which follows the forest perimeter and is six kilometres long.

The day stared out dull and overcast, but sitting inside was not an appealing option for me. After a particularly horrible workweek, many of my co-workers were let go, in the ever present world of downsizing, I ended my week family ‘numb’ and simply needed to get out and recharge.

When I’m out hiking and making photos, the outside world fades away and I am simply present in the forest. I hear lots of people talking about this state of being present. I suppose I have always had the ability to do that, without having a formal name for it.

So, here I was, enjoying a good late autumn walk and seeing the dull day turn ever brighter. The sun never fully emerged from the clouds but the light was soft and warm enough to make a few simple forest images, including the one above.

I played with my Prisma app to get the slightly graphic effect, which is quite subtle, and you have to look closely to see the effects.

iPhone 7

“First Trillium of 2018”

“First Trillium of 2018”

“Living in the present moment is the recurring baptism of the soul, forever purifying every new day with a new you.” 
― Alaric Hutchinson

And there it was , white, pure, radiant, and completely unexpected. The first trillium  the season completely surprised me. From all my time spend in the forest, the steady rhythms of nature have become my own rhythms, a steady progression through time and season.

As I entered the forest yesterday, I was simply wanting to be there, with no specific goal, other than simply enjoying the day. I was expecting to see the clumps of hepatica beginning to slowly fade and the foliage leafed out and I was wondering if I might see a few Wake-Robins (Red Trilliums). What I found instead was a highly accelerated carnival of spring wildflowers a full week ahead of my expectations.

The forest floor and hardwood ridges were filled with Trout Lily in full bloom, white trilliums, soon to emerge, and this one, single blossom, fully open and tilting toward the sun.

Somewhere in the background a grouse drummed, looking for a mate, a pheasant cawed over the ridge, and ravens hovered high above me. The sights and sounds of the forest at this time of year are so uplifting, as the earth yawns and stretches after its long rest. Life has returned to the world once more, including a few black-flies that floated in a stupor in the warm spring air. Reminding me, that the season of biting insects was also returning, but not just yet.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm

1/640 sec, f/13.0, ISO 400

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“Unexpected Colours of Late Winter”

“Unexpected Colours of Late Winter”

“Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.” 
― Flannery O’Connor

Well, back to reality. I live in a land of four seasons, often extreme and more often, surprising, offering unexpected gifts.

I got out on the trails again. The trails, at this time of the year, are downright treacherous, not only icy, but uneven and icy. So, a good set of ice cleats or ‘icers’ is an essential, unless you enjoy spending your time on your backside, sprawled across the trail. For me it’s also about protecting my camera gear. There’s not much more painful than watching a $1,600 lens bounce off the ice.

That’s the preface to today’s post. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, but still quite crisp and the trails were ice-covered, snow strewn in patches in the darker recesses of the forest. Late winter is like that around here. We get a few warm days, the snow melts and the resulting slush freezes overnight, only to repeat the cycle, especially on the packed down trails.

I have posted several photos earlier this year of my forest hikes, all are a bit dull, in this icy world of muted shades. In fact, that alone has kept me from bringing my camera with me on the past few hikes, nothing inspires.

Last week I purchased a new camera pack , a Tenba Solstice 24L, for those interested, which I am hoping to use in a few future expeditions, and today I decided to carry the pack with most of my gear to try it out. It is perhaps the best camera pack I have owned yet and opened up the option of having a large selection of lenses, filters, and accessories with me.

This ‘test’ hike brought me through familiar territory and I made a few images along the way. Then, I came across this beautiful scene. The late morning sun flashed from bright green spruce sapling and lit up the golden leaves of a small beech tree. I was determined to capture this bit of magic. After a few trials, I believe I have something close to what I saw. I am now re-inspired, despite what largely appears as a dull and tired landscape. Nature always seems to have a few tricks up her sleeve to keep me coming back.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 90mm
1/4 sec, f/11.0 ISO 250

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