Tag Archives: Not So Silent Spring

Photographing Spring Dawning Hamilton

Photographing Spring Dawning Hamilton

Monday February 7 2011

Frozen in time

It was one of those early Spring days when you could smell the earth and feel the power of the wind that would blow you away, as you listened to Roxy Music’s “Avalon” on the clock-radio falling out of bed in the early dawn.After taking all my medications and reading the Camera equipment,  I e-biked to Hamilton Harbour Waterfront Trail with my legs feeling a bit ropey thanks to a hard ride home last night and the fact that I’m not warmed up yet. A rabbit burst into the bushes on a helter-skelter trail course as I pass, and I see a deer along Cootes Drive, the first in the morning, swinging its white-rump (tail) as it bounds through the trees of West Hamilton. The Spring frost is deeper here along the trail – the mud is frozen into corrugations that my e-bike tires scrunches over and the puddles have a coating of crackly ice. At the top of the trail, I pause and silence descends, and I recall the conservation magazine entitled ‘Not So Silent Spring.” As I stand there, my breath curls away in white-cloud -like circles that resemble gold coloured smoke, I realize silence is a misleading word to use in Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise landscapes. That is, because every bush rustles with foraging birds and bulrushes sway as Mute Swans are foraging at water’s edge; squirrels scramble up and down the tree trunks at Bayfront Park, gypsy moths gather nectar from a flower, a fly lands on a daisy flower, and from the distance comes the sound of a train horn at the C.P. Rail Yards. I punctuate this with two spring -loaded clacks as I clip back into the pedals of my e-bike and groan my way up the last of this particular trail.

October sunrise
Cootes Paradise

I think nature might be picking on me because of my invasion as the bushes whip painfully at my legs and arms, and more agonizingly is my cold ears, fingers and toes. Soon I am climbing a wide part of the trail and here I stop again. This time it is to use my camera – swollen fingers fumbling with the buttons as I attempt to photograph some bristle spikes that , to me, resemble swords sticking out of the ground. I’m not sure the pictures capture what I see, but I feel better for having tried – there is nothing more frustrating than going for a ride with a Nikon D90 in your backpack only to ignore everything because you feel that it would ruin the flow. Looking at the landscape before me, I was thinking Camera Raw and Adobe settings that I  had applied the night before.Using Photoshop cs5 and the Camera Raw made everything so much easier when manipulating a picture to the way I feel, or felt at that paticular moment in time . When shooting, align a horizon as in Cootes Paradise with the horizontal guidelines in the camera viewfinder which will help keep the scene level. As I stand on the shores of Hamilton Harbourfront spread before me illuminated by the rising sun, just emerged above a cloud – it is breathtakingly lovely. Mist lurks across the lake in front of me, in a strangely purple in the morning light. I happily snap photos for nearly an hour before realizing I was losing the sun, the time is pressing and I’ve not fulfilled the need for that perfect picture., yet.

Painful beauty
Invasive beauty

On my e-bike I even do the cheekiest of cheek trails and it is great – roots, corners that beg to be carved out in photographs. Along Cootes Drive again I see a lone deer sauntering across the highway. I get my camera out, just before the white-tailed female deer glides off silently again, out of the way of preying eyes. More photo stops occur on the route back home. Then I sit down in my chair, cup of fresh brewed Ginger tea in hand, looking down at my cat, then looking over downtown Hamilton just waking up. Frankly, I contemplate they’ve missed the best part of the day photographing Spring Dawning.

City Deer
Too may obstacles

Every morning I  rode my ebike From June 7 2010 until January 2011 drawn by Mother nature. I dream nightly of the Not so silent spring approaching, the need to be outdoors and Fulfilling the need to touch, feel,  and rebirth.


Source: adapted from Dawn by Dom Perry

By Jacqueline and Doug Worrall

Disappear Into Nature Hamilton

Disappear Into Nature Hamilton

Saturday January 30 2011

Early summer paradise

Within the solitude of nature, disappearing seems an obvious act. Nature will only disappear if we don’t have places where those natural interactions can develop and grow. Nature is everything not made by modern man. The word nature is derived from the Latin word natura. Many authors use nature to create images in the reader’s head. And that is true for photographic images, as well. If we look back on the history of science (understood in the modern sense as the disciplined study of nature), what we call science to a way of thinking originated in ancient Greece in the sixth and seventh centuries B.C. Modern science did not begin until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Looking at the fish species in regards to disappearing, Catfish, despite being colour blind, blend or disappear into their backgrounds. Humans also attempt to disappear into the background, as they travel through untamed wooded areas attempting to get in tune with nature, as Peter Darling points out in his article “To Disappear Into The Woods.” The key thing about nature is there are places where species are interacting in an ecosystem that was not mostly engineered by humans as these are the “wild places.” There is a new paradigm for nature, especially the wilderness aspect of nature, and the climate on which nature depends, is a moving target. For example, the American Museum of Natural History recently had a symposium determining there is the likelihood that animal diseases will cross the species barrier and begin infecting humans faster than ever in recorded history. And, the Journal of Conservation Biology stated one-quarter of the world’s plant and vertebrate animal species could be extinct by 2,050. This would be a huge biodiversity loss is these plants and vertebrate animals would disappear from nature. A book entitled “Not So Silent Spring” by Dawn Stover gives vivid examples of blackbirds, orioles and other birds being affected by acoustic loud noises from humans, and therefore have changed their songbird patterns, .Some bird change the song, others remain silent during the day, when they would normally sing, and, now only sing during nighttime, This behavioural change shows bird adaptations to disappear into Nature.

Natures delight

Lauren Nurse, a Visual Artist is very insightful..He speaks of a Victorian greenhouse and how the architectural environment shaped many of the theories he has formed about the way people think about nature, or more specifically, their ideas of how nature should behave and appear. The relationship between greenhouses and the incarnation of human desire has more to do with austerity, than it does with similarity. In this separation there exists a connection – nature is subsumed and contained, a representation emptied of its actual meaning – A SHADOW OF WILDNESS. Plants inside the greenhouse exists in the murky twilight of a space that distill them into shadows. These shadows are a disguise that allows them to disappear, to be absorbed into the space that encapsulates them, which is at once an architectural construction and a cultural creation. “Disappear Here” in reference to this space, and the simultaneous adsorption (disappearance) and reinterpretation of the natural form that occurs within this space.

Canoeing paradise
Mute swans Cootes

Moki is a German photorealism painter, who also does comics and animations. How to disappear is a constant concern in artist Moki’s work. Moki’s photo-realism paintings find inspiration in comic book themes and natural and human mysteries. Her images feature lonely northern landscapes, a sub- arctic frozen lake continent, untouched caves and moss meadows, and mountains sculptured into anatomical shapes by wind and water. Animals and humans emerge and dissolve, or disappear into their environments The question remains – How to disappear completely, is it possible to slip the net of today’s surveillance society ? This question can be answered by the fact wherever you look around in nature you find things often straightened out. In Discover Wildlife an interesting essay is entitled ‘Phantom.’ The scene is a city park with many old trees. The author tells us he notices a Beech Tree with feathers on the ground. These feathers catch your eye because some are still stirring in the faintest breeze. They are not wet and stuck to the grass. Fresh ! There is a trail of feathers, and he notices the feathers as some are still airborne. The source of the feathers as he looks up an Oak Tree is a hooded crow. The beautifully feathered Canadian Blue Jay is a relative of the crow. He looks up, and ten feet above his head is the crow in the grip of a juvenile female goshawk. Disappear into Nature ? Yes, even in our electronically-minded, noisy environment, it is still possible to disappear into nature at Conservation Areas, Waterfalls, trails in woods, untamed areas as in Northern Ontario as nature is a shadow of wildness. Our role as environmentalist is to volunteer our services to assist ecological groups attempting to diminish biodiversity loss, so nature itself will not disappear for future generations.

Beauty in flight
October weather

Source: American Museum of Natural History, Journal of Conservation Biology, Not So Silent Spring, Discovery Wildlife, Moki, Lauren Nurse.

Pen mute swan

Signet three weeks

By Jacqueline

Photographer Doug Worrall