Tag Archives: Whitevale

“European Butterbur”

“Northern Sweet Coltsfoot”

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
― Marcel Proust

I found this interesting plant last year, growing in an isolated patch. There are no other instances of this plant in the area, so I’m wondering if it hitchhiked to its current location. It’s a beautiful but strange-looking plant. Like the common yellow coltsfoot which grows in the same area, it blooms before putting out leaves, though the one I photographed is showing a full leaf, just developed and another emerging from the ground.

The biggest joy for me, when exploring the paths and riverways around my home is discovering these little gems and getting to understand the incredible diversity of plants and wildlife in an area that many would consider mundane, even boring, from a photographer’s point of view.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/8 sec, f/32.0 ISO 100

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“First Trout Lily of the Season”

“First Trout Lily of the Season”

“Life is a first impression. You get one shot at it. Make it everlasting.”
― J.R. Rim

Another ‘first’ flower. This one was completely unexpected, which makes it all the more special. I had set out to make some more photos of the newly emerged bloodroot, which went quite well, despite wind gusts that interfered in my making the exposures as long as I prefer.

As I finished photographing a nice cluster of bloodroot, I noticed a small flash of yellow in my periphery. It turned out to be an early blooming Trout Lily. In fact, a very early trout lily. I was not expecting to see them for at least another week or so and this one is far more advanced than any of its neighbouring plants, which have just started to leaf out. Why it’s so far ahead will remain a mystery. Perhaps all the condition were just right and that small plot of soil got a bit more heat from the sun than the rest of the forest?

There was one more plant just starting to bud a few feet away but these two were the exception. I have a real fondness for trout lily, with their mottled leaves and delicate nodding yellow flowers.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/80 sec, f/20.0 ISO 320

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TUESDAYS OF TEXTURE | WEEK 16 OF 2017

“Under the Fall”

“Under the Fall”

Here is my entry for Del Monte Y Mar’s Tuesdays of Texture Challenge Week 16 of 2017.

The ‘texture’ of water. The rolling structure and varying colour is what caused me to make this photo of teh churning water below a local dam. I wasn’t sure if i’d use it for a Tuesday Texture submission, by the more I looked at it the more I was compelled to do so.

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

1/1250 sec, f/3.5, ISO 100

“First Coltsfoot of the Season”

“First Coltsfoot of the Season”

“When you know that something’s going to happen, you’ll start trying to see signs of its approach in just about everything. Always try to remember that most of the things that happen in this world aren’t signs. They happen because they happen, and their only real significance lies in normal cause and effect. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you start trying to pry the meaning out of every gust of wind or rain squall. I’m not denying that there might actually be a few signs that you won’t want to miss. Knowing the difference is the tricky part.”
― David Eddings

I was not planning a second post for today, but decided to share an important plant for me. The Coltsfoot, is always the first native plant to bloom in my area. It’s blossoms signal the beginning of many natural cycles. Once I see them, I can begin looking for other emerging plants like wild leeks (ramps), blue cohosh, and spring beauties. They also signal, and I’m not sure how this works, other than probably something to do with ambient temperatures, the beginning of the annual rainbow trout spawn.

So, when I saw the first little splash of yellow (yes, yellow has returned), and knowing these are not dandelions, though they are often mistaken for them, I grabbed my camera gear and hit the trails around Duffins Creek to see how the trout were doing.

Though they were not numerous and the water was still a bit murky from the runoff, I did see a few dark shapes beneath the water. The spawn is on! I’m looking forward to watching this spectacle once more, and hopefully, making some nice images to share here over the next few weeks.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/640sec, f/10.0, ISO 800

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Monochrome Mondays

“Spring Thaw on Duffins Creek” - Whitevale

“Spring Thaw on Duffins Creek” – Whitevale

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it.”
― Margaret Atwood

I have a love for water, especially moving water, and there is plenty of that this time of year. The snow and ice are finally gone and the remaining frost is slowly melting underground, raising the water tables and making streams swell.

So, I decided to make this image black and white. It makes the image a bit ‘crunchier’ than I like but still shows the movement nicely.

Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1.0sec, f/40.0, ISO 200

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“White Asters”

“White Asters”

“Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”
― Susan Sontag

Likely Heath Asters, but I did not send a lot of time trying to differentiate between the multitude of white asters. This is another image made outdoors with my portable setup. In fact, you will see these asters in the post where I show the setup itself. Fall asters are, like many native plants, are finding their way into my conscious world. I find myself surprised at just how much went unobserved to me for too many years. Many beautiful flowers were just passed by as background clutter and I’m not sure why. So, I’m grateful for this shift in my vision. Where I notice more than ever before, in much finer detail and am able to document it so that I can look even closer and share those observations with others.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200mm
3 sec, f/16.0, ISO 200

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“Along Came a Spider”

“Along Came a Spider”

“No living thing is ugly in this world. Even a tarantula considers itself beautiful”
― Munia Khan

Yes, I know, very original title, but I could not get it out of my head.

I was out for a few hours with my son last weekend, playing with a new Nikon 60mm macro lens, making photos of wildflowers with my portable setup, shown a few days ago. As we were hiking back out, I noticed this spider sunning itself on a milkweed pod next to the trail. The light was wonderful and the composition was pretty much automatic. Since, I had the macro lens with me I figured I’d add this one to my collection. It turned out quite well, I think. Not being a ‘spider person’, I have no idea of the species.

Nikon D800
Nikor AFS Micro 60mm f/2.8 US @ 60 mm

1/125 sec, f/20.0, ISO 400

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“Sow Thistle”

I think I like wildflowers best,” I explain. “They just grow wherever they want. No one has to plant them. And then their seeds blow in the wind and they find a new place to grow.” 

– Rebecca Donovan

This image was made a few days ago with my portable background. A few have asked what that setup looks like. Here’s a typical shot, using the sow thistle above as an example:



Nikon D800
Nikor AFS Micro 60mm f/2.8 US @ 60 mm

1/15 sec, f/20.0, ISO 400

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

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“Looking for Home” – Whitevale Dam

“Looking for Home” - Whitevale Dam

“Love should not cause suffocation and death if it is truly love. Don’t bundle someone into an uncomfortable cage just because you want to ensure their safety in your life. The bird knows where it belongs, and will never fly to a wrong nest.”
― Michael Bassey Johnson

As I stood at the base of the Whitevale Dam, watching the trout spawn, I noticed this little bird, perched atop a broken tree limb sticking from the water. It sat there, surveying its world for quite some time. Was it simply pausing for a moment from the busy task of nest building. I’m certain it was not lost, though it was looking all around, perhaps for a suitable place to start, for as the quote above states, the bird knows where it belongs.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/1600 sec, f/6.3 ISO 200

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“Northern Sweet Coltsfoot” – Whitevale, Ontario

“Northern Sweet Coltsfoot” - Whitevale, Ontario

“The most fulfilling adventures happen when you start your journey without knowing where you’re going, because only then are you free to experience the unexpected detours you’re meant to take.” 
― A.J. Darkholme

Ah, yes, the unexpected, one of my greatest delights. I set out to make photos of fish spawning in a local creek and come across a large, beautiful cluster of spring flowers I have never encountered before. They looked a lot like the familiar Coltsfoot that I see daily now along the creek-bed and in ditches on the roadside. This plant seemed to have the forming leaves of the familiar coltsfoot and the stem of a coltsfoot, but the flower-head looked like an immature Milkweed. This struck me as odd, as I am familiar with most of the native plant species I encounter. Could this be some species that was planted in someone garden and escaped?

I also have a ‘thing’ for wildflowers and local plants, so tend to switch from traditional landscapes to the miniature landscapes that I find on the forest floor, along river basins, and on hillsides, as I travel the countryside.

I made this photograph and looked it up when I got home, a practice I have been following for some years to educate myself on the plants I come across throughout the year. This one surprised me, as I did not know there was such a thing as Sweet Coltsfoot. It all makes sense now and an unexpected encounter became a learning moment for me.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 122 mm
1/1250 sec, f/2.8 ISO 200

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