Seeing the Forest in Spite of the Trees – Terry Thormin
A couple of days ago I did a short walk into Nymph Falls on the Puntledge River. There are many waterfalls on Vancouver Island, including Della Falls, one of the tallest falls in Canada at 440 metres. Nymph Falls however is nowhere as impressive height-wise and is really a series of very minor drops, the tallest being perhaps four or five feet. It is the volume of water and the number of drops that makes this falls attractive.
My purpose in going to the falls was to get photographs of the falls and with a bit of luck perhaps a shot or two of the Dippers that I had been told frequent the place. Although I did see the Dipper, a small, dark gray bird that frequents fast flowing mountain streams and rivers, I was not able to get any good shots of it.
Even when my primary target for photography fails me there is often something else that is worth photographing. In this case I turned to the mosses, lichens and fungi that were everywhere in the forest. This is the rainy season on Vancouver Island and everything is verdant. The mosses and lichens are at their best at this time of year and although the larger mushrooms are for the most part finished, there are still many smaller varieties that will be displaying their fruiting bodies all winter long.
I spent quite a bit of time trying to get the right shot that showed the subject well with a nice clean background. Most of the shots I took with a flash, but I also did some time exposures to allow for a lighter background.
During this time a number of people passed me by and some were curious enough to ask what I was photographing. None however took the time to actually look at what I was photographing, but just continued on their way.
It always amazes me how often I see people going for a walk in the woods without ever taking the time to look at their surroundings. Some of the lichens, mosses and fungi are truly spectacular if one just takes the time to look. I will often go out for a morning walk and in a couple of hours cover the same distance that other people will cover in a fraction of the time, but somehow feel that I have seen a lot more than they have. It is truly an amazing world we live in but most people just don’t see it.