Tag Archives: weather

Iceland Journal – “Clouds Roll in at Kleifarvatn” – Iceland

“The clouds roll in, but don’t persist, they bring a welcome contrast and make us more aware of how lovely the sunshine is.”
– Ed Lehming

I really can’t imagine Iceland without its marvelous clouds. During our ten-day trip, every day had some cloud. Often, there are multiple layers, each slightly different and moving in different directions, creating a magical yet fleeting, play of light.

As a photographer, the quality of light is very important and I did not have to wait long for lighting conditions to shift. The clouds would tease and taunt me as they danced among the mountains, often hinting at what lay within their shroud and revealing glimpses of high mountain tops. Sometimes shafts of sunlight would pierce them, creating brilliant patches of illumination.

I’ve seen the photos made by other photographers, of places I visited, in bright sunshine, but some of the character is missing. It seems to me, that Icelandic landscapes require some quantity of cloud to show their true essence. This is, after all, a wild and rugged country and the ever-changing weather is part of that.

In the photo above, one of the last ones I made as we departed Reykjavik and headed toward the airport, by yet another ‘indirect’ route. The lake is Kleifarvatn and is a moderately sized lake about 15 kilometers south of Reykjavik. Our destination on our final day was the geothermal hot springs at Krysuvik, just south of the lake. The road followed the shore of the lake for some time and gave the opportunity for several final images of this enchanted land.

The water was just smooth enough to give a soft reflection of the flattened Vatnshliðarhorn mountain to the north, the sun brightly illuminating the yellow grasses along its base.

It’s this wonderful mix of sun and cloud that has provided the beautiful mood for many of my photos; ever-changing and creating new vistas by the moment. I look back on these photos fondly as I near the end of this series and close out the year feeling blessed to have experienced this majesty with my son.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 70 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 400

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“Waves” Autumn Clouds near Fort Stewart

“Waves” - Autumn Clouds near Fort Stewart, Ontario

This photo seems appropriate for today. The weather here is dull and overcast, once more. It reminded me of this time last November, as I walked through a farm field at Fraser Lake Camp. It was also a gloomy day, and much cooler than this mild December. This was around 10:00am and the clouds, which had been just a flat sheet of gray, transformed themselves into this wonderful wave pattern, for about five minutes and then settled back to their previous state.

I wonder what atmospheric forces were at play to create this temporary ripple in the sky. I’ve seen it before, but not as wide or pronounced. It’s also important to note that it was a bit windy that day, so maybe there was some resonance in the gsts that set up this pattern. I’m open to opinions.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70 mm
1/160 sec, @ f/6.3, ISO 200

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“Another Bend in the Path”

“Another Bend in the Path”

This photo is pretty much a summary of how autumn has played out for me. We have had an extended season, with mild weather, sunny skies, and leaves that seemed to cling to the trees for weeks, despite frosty nights, rain, and wind.

Unlike a typical fall, where I’m looking out the window, anxious to get out and make photos before the conditions fade, this year yielded day after glorious day of great light, incredible colour, and beautiful weather to just ‘be’ in nature.

The photo above was made on one of our abundant local trails at the Secord Conservation area. This trail system is incredibly variable and switches from cedar swamp, to meadow, to hardwood forest in the span of a few kilometers. There are a few patches of large birch trees, which is the case above. Here the bright white of the bark of the birches contrasts nicely against the oranges of the beech and oak trees againsts the dark backdrop of pine forest.

I titled it “Another Bend in the Path” because that is exactly what it is. Every bend, every rise in the path, yields wonderful new view.

There have been some interesting conversations lately about my subject matter. People seem shocked when I tell them these photos are local and not in some far off, remote, location. I hold to the notion that great images are everywhere, but you have to get out and move around to find them and be there when the light is right. Those who spend time in nature frequently will know what I mean. A frequently viewed grove of trees will suddenly glow with light, for a brief moment, the light will hit a patch of forest floor and reveal details you never noticed before, and then, the moment is gone, other than the memory . This awareness of the beauty, variability, and complexity of nature is my sanctuary. It’s a place and time where I can recharge, renew, and just ‘be’. The added bonus is that I can capture some of these moments and be able to share them with others, who may not be able to get out and experience it for themselves.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm
1/125 sec @ f/5.6 -.33, ISO 250

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“Summer Skies over Ancaster”

“Summer Skies over Ancaster”

This is a VERY recent photo I made this past weekend during a family event near Ancaster, Ontario.

As usual, I had my camera along to capture those family moments, but I found my kids had that pretty much covered off. Yes, my children like photography too. I had visited this location many times before and had photographed it many times, and so, was having a hard time figuring out what I might photograph that had not already been done. Photographer’s block?

After dinner, I walked out into the nearby corn field looking for opportunities. Last Sunday was a hot, somewhat humid day, typical of southern Ontario this time of year. The forecast called for a chance of showers, but as the day progressed,  the showers never materialized. But, some beautiful clouds formed. As I walked the field I was struck by the appearance of this particular cloud in the distance. It had the making of a potential rain storm. It was big, billowy, and white, with the appearance of cotton balls. What set this cloud apart was the contrast of dark portions in the foreground against and white clouds within the same structure, against a deep blue blue sky. All this floating over fields of corn and a few trees.

I made the photo and when I got to my iMac to process the image I found it required very little work. I boosted the contrast a touch to get the ‘look’ of the cloud as I remembered it. Then, I just desaturated the whole thing and sharpened it a touch. The result is the attached image. For me, it really portrays the scene as I saw it, with a bit of extra drama for the black and white treatment. Overall, I am very pleased with this photo and hope you enjoy it too.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300mm @ 70mm
1/400 sec @ f/10, ISO 250

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