Originally from Northern England, Alan Norsworthy has been a photographer since the late 1960's.

He moved to Canada in 1973 and has made Guelph Ontario his home for the last 24 years.

" I remember visiting the CN Tower in the early 70's and the guide said that as far as you could see in any direction is the best farmland in Canada. That comment echoes down the years as I watch subdivisions eat up the landscape."

The area around Guelph offers up a plethora of rural images which Alan captures with his artistic vision. His work covers everything from macro photographs of flowers, sweeping landscapes, historic buildings and old abandoned farms in both colour and Black and White.

"This is where I find my inspiration, I have a need to show people the beauty I see as I walk the woods and fields of Southern Ontario"

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My god it's full of stars - Cassiopeia rising

My god it's full of stars - Cassiopeia rising
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Another year over.

In a few days the wheel will have turned and we will welcome a new year, one with the promise of better times, well we can all hope.

Until then let me catch up with the old year...

Once again the Christmas period afforded the time to ‘get away’ or should I say the time to get back, back to the land. This time Algonquin Park was our destination although it never really matters where as long as it is devoid of people and traffic noise!

one of Canada’s jewels in a land of jewels.

in the winter, freezing temperatures, snow, dark mornings and early nights.

thousands of acres of wilderness, wildness, clear skies and silence….
Only the wind in the tree’s, the crunch of snow under foot, the twittering of hardy birds, how do they survive a Canadian winter? I digress..

So this week a story from my journal, a story of the Opeongo Road and a cold winters night...

"As darkness threatened we made our way back down to the car and dinner in Whitney.
After stuffing ourselves with pan fried pickerel and tea it was time for stargazing and Opeongo Road beckoned. The temperature had, once again, plummeted to –18c as we made our way to the chosen area, by the bridge.

As my eyes became accustomed to the night my first thought, apart from ‘damn its cold’ was ‘my god it’s full of stars’ a line from 2001 a Space Odyssey. Despite the full moon, Jupiter and several constellations were easily visible. We spent about an hour freezing our butts off and photographing the heavens.

Then it was back to the Inn and a warm bed"..

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs
And as silently steal away.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Day Is Done

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter Jewels II

Winter Jewels II
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Recently I was told I see things differently.

When I walk, sit or drive (yes, drive) my head is on a swivel, I am constantly observing the world around me looking for shapes, lines and textures in my surroundings.
I see wondrous things everywhere and take great pleasure in the seeing.

That’s why I am a photographer

A photographer sees things differently. No it’s not just me, every great photographer I know either has this ‘gift’ or has learned it by observing others and what we have in common is we all take delight in the seeing and we try to capture what we see so that others may see it also.

Many, many others never do, the world at large goes about their business with hooded eyes. They never really see, or worse they never try to and I find that sad.

This world of ours is a wondrous place, every child knows that, until they grow and unfortunately the magic disappears.
For some it never does, for some it comes back but for the vast majority, as they become adults. The child in them that used to see wonder all around is stifled.

Take the impending Christmas season for instance watch the children as they get more and more excited as the big day arrives. I know it’s supposed to be a religious holiday but try telling a kid that!

We should all see through the eyes of a child we should all be so lucky

To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Forest Floor

Forest Floor
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

It feels like weeks since I have been out for a relaxing walk in the woods.

This last weekend I visited Sliver Creek Conservation Area / Scotsdale Farm. I have been there once before on a very cold windy day almost a year ago. This trip was in response to a photograph by fellow photographer Patrick, a member of our local critique group.

The day started like any other photo trip with a stop at Tim’s for tea and breakfast. It was only when we hit the trails that time went into overdrive. I had my time/distance logger running on my cell phone and laughed when I realised that in the last hour we had covered 1/2 mile. Not exactly Olympic speeds.

I think the yardstick for measuring how a day out is going is measured this way, when time disappears and the distance covered is minimal.

Think about it, if you were told to stand in the same spot for 10 minutes I wager that boredom would set in pretty quickly. On the other hand stand in the same spot for 10 min while looking at the ground clutter of leaves and branches trying to understand and make sense of the myriad possibilities for a photograph and all the while thinking (and seeing) in black and white, well that 10 min goes by pretty fast.
Wash and repeat a few times and there goes an hour and you haven’t even realised that that amount of time has passed.

Three hours disappeared in the blink of an eye. Disturbing ? No, not really.
The realisation that so much time had gone by only proved just what a grand time I had been having, no cares, no worries, no thoughts of the work-a-day world crept in to disrupt my enjoyment of a perfect late fall day.

To me that is what makes for a perfect day out and I came home refreshed and revitalised with a couple of images that I can enjoy.

Yep, a good day ..

Now is the time to unite the soul and the world. Now is the time to see the sunlight dancing as one with the shadows. ~Rumi

Footnote on today's saying:

I first became aware of Rumi in the book “War and Peace: A Photographer's Journey” by Reza Deghati


Monday, December 10, 2012

Along the Fence

Along the Fence
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

As winter approaches the landscape takes on a whole new look. Gone are the vibrant colours of the other seasons; no reds, yellows or green now just brown.
To many this time of year is depressing and they hide away until it passes and the wheel turns once again to Spring.
Not me, this is my time now, the landscape becomes a lithograph of textures, contrasts, lines, light and shadows.

'Tis the season for Black and White photography ! :-)

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Denver 1997 - 2012

Yesterday was one of the worst days of my life, yesterday I had to say goodbye to an old friend.
To many, just a dog, to us a beloved family member.
Denver died peacefully at noon at the Hwy 24 veterinary Clinic with his pack around him.

Now it is left for me to be the person he thought I was ....

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.

Monday, November 26, 2012

St Francis Chapel

St Francis Chapel
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

My blog ramblings this week are in no way related to the photograph chosen as my "Photo of the week" ...

It's a tip of the hat to my friend Bunny Safari who organised this event and, more importantly, found a spot for me at the last minute.

Yesterday I spent the day in the company of an eclectic bunch of people who gathered at Trina Koster's Studio here in Guelph to put on the 8th Annual "Go with the Flo" Show and Sale.


I must admit, it was quite unlike any other show I have attended or participated in.
For a start there were only two 'guys', myself and Eric the Purple. We took over the front entranceway and declared it 'the man cave'.
Unfortunately most of the male visitors were the one's whose wives had come to visit the "Estrogen cave" next door. The menfolk stood around jiggling strollers, keeping the young 'uns in line and keeping Eric and I company.

Well Eric is one of those people who knows everybody in Guelph so he had lots of visitors who came to do just that, visit. Sales were few and far between in the man cave. However there was a steady stream of people coming out of the other cave carrying paper bags and bundles.

And lets not forget the music and the dancing (when there was enough room). African / Jamaican dance rhythm's swirling out of the Estrogen Cave drowned out my little iPod, even Led Zeppelin couldn't compete...

Christmas Music ? Forget it...

And as for sales, lets call it a day for "networking" or better yet a party in the thin disguise of a 'show and sale'.

So, was the day a success?

Lets just say, I'm working on it.....

"That man is successful who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has gained the respect of the intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had." ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, November 19, 2012

Winter comes sneaking in - Rockwood

Winter comes sneaking in - Rockwood
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Why is it that we photographers travel many a mile in search of places and things to photograph and in so doing drive past some of the best places we have ever visited?

A case in point, last Saturday morning we decided that another visit to the Rockwood Conservation Area was warranted, for no other reason than "it had been awhile".
As usual the comments were along the lines of "why don't we come here more often"? "it's so close to home but we drive right by".

Yes it is and yes we do, but why?

Rockwood is one of the most beautiful places for miles around, so accessible and oh so scenic.
As Grant mentioned "it's like being somewhere around Georgian Bay" and it is.
However Georgian Bay is several hours drive away but we do not hesitate jumping into the car to make the trip but to drive 20 min down the road to Rockwood ... it doesn't happen.

I think it is because it is so close and accessible we tend to overlook it in favour of less accessible places. As Bill Mason once said "part of the attraction of a place is its difficulty in getting there".

Maybe I should start taking the long way round to get to Rockwood.

Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe. ~Anatole France

Monday, November 12, 2012

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

On the 11hr hour
of the 11th day
in the 11th month, we shall remember them and offer our thanks.

It's the least we could do ...

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae

Monday, November 5, 2012

Door Chimes

Door Chimes
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

No man's an Island ...

I'm still recovering from this damned cold/flu or whatever it is I have.
However this weekend was an absolute joy;

On Saturday I met up with Doug and spent an hour or so at "Tim's" drinking tea and catching up. Eventually we ventured out for a walk but Doug was ever conscious of my weakened state and thank goodness because I would have overdone it had he not been.
Yes he told me I had had enough and brought me home, I had taken 3 photographs that day.
Thank you my friend for taking the time out and giving up yours for a short walk and not much photography, I needed that.

Sunday Cathy and I were invited to visit Grant and Cathy in Milton. Grant had photographed my son David's wedding and he had all the proofs ready. So the gang descended on their house, Cathy and I and David and his new bride Siobhan.
We had a great afternoon laughing and talking, watching a slideshow and movie's of the wedding and gorging ourselves on Chinese food.
Not too much exercise but that meant I could stay longer :-)

All in all a wonderful weekend organised by wonderful friends, I thank each of you and hope you don't get sick ...

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. ~Jane Howard

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tranquility Base I

Tranquility Base I
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

A couple of weeks ago I was part of the Guelph Studio Tour.
The photographers Guild of Guelph had a show and sale in the Dublin St United Church. I spoke with many people that weekend but there is one that stands out.
A lady commented to me about the number of iPads that were scrolling through a smorgasbord of images from several photographers. This was in addition to the prints that were displayed.
Her comment was on the fleeting images and how they did not allow time for a person to truly appreciate (or not) a given image.

"I know", she said "that I could have asked for the owner to scroll back through the images to the one I wanted to see, but I shouldn't have too. If people made prints then I could hold and look at the photograph for as long as I wanted and not have to worry about it disappearing".

Yes I'm paraphrasing but hopefully you get the point.

The world has turned away from the final, all important, step in the photographic process, producing a print.

A printed image is tangible, it's real, you can touch it, smell it, gaze upon it for as long as you like, put it down and come back to it and it will still be there.

In Quantum Mechanics there is a theory that nothing is real until you name it, in that instant it becomes what it is.
In photography a photograph is not real, it is just a collection of data of bits and bytes on a hard drive.

The moment you print it, it becomes real.

Of course I am referring to digital photography. But the digital vs film debate is for another place and time.

Back to her story...
Her comments brought to mind a story of what one person did after the tsunami hit Japan.

After the aid workers took care of the injured she went in to help recover that most precious of items, the family photo album. She was drawn to this simply by the numbers of people who had rescued that one thing.
In fact ask anyone, "if you had to get out of the house and could only pick up one thing, what would it be"?

The Family Album, that treasure chest of long dead relatives, moments in time captured forever, memories beyond value, priceless, irreplaceable they all reside in the family album.

How many of us today have a family album? I mean one that you have started.

How many of us have a Family Hard Drive ?
Photo's on an iPad?

It's not the same is it? So, my challenge to you is:

Start collecting prints in a shoe box, your Children and Grandchildren will thank you for it
and your reward? You will become immortal ....

To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die.

~Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Whispering Moon

Whispering Moon
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

It has been several weeks since I have had the time to think about all that has gone on since late September.

In the last few weeks I have been to Killarney and the La Cloche Mountains where I met a group of like minded people many of whom share my love of the land.

I have been to my son's wedding which was so much more than a 'wedding' it was a joyous celebration of friendship and love shared my a lucky few.

I spent a whole weekend talking to strangers about photography, what it means to me and the journey it has taken me on. Hopefully showing them some of the wonders on their doorstep and opening their eyes to what we have.

However, this weekend has been a time of playing catch up not photographically but on the home front.

Being away for so many weekends has caught up and the chores were piling up to the point that they could not be ignored.

So this weekend was one for home. I did manage some time to work on images and capture a few more.
Stolen moments to satisfy the creative urge.

I have spent quite a bit of time thinking and having re-watched Bill Masons epic "Waterwalker" my thoughts turned again to Northern Ontario.

More than once I have heard people say this of my photographic work

"Your love for this land is quite evident in your photographs".

Well I may not be able to adequately put it in words but I guess I can put in photographs.

As I write this my thoughts expand and I look wider, I realise it's not just "the North". It's all the wild places, be they Northern Ontario, British Columbia or Newfoundland.

It's this country, this Canada.

The wild places are my places..and this country abounds with wild places. We are so lucky to have them, we must keep them safe for our children and their children.

We can do this by making others aware.

We can do this by taking photographs !

Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume. ~Jean de Boufflers

Link to Waterwalker.. http://www.nfb.ca/film/waterwalker/

Monday, October 8, 2012

First Dance

First Dance
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

It's been a hectic couple of weeks.
None more so than this Thanksgiving Weekend.

For this weekend my son David was married, his bride Siobhan,
one of the sweetest, bubbliest, loving people I have ever met.

It wasn't your typical wedding, more of a three day celebration with friends and family.
I managed two out of three ... LOL

To be serious for a moment I turn to George Eliot...

What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life -
to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories. ~George Eliot

Love and laughter to you both, now and always.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Elora Gorge Waterfall

Elora Gorge Waterfall
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Sometimes you have to push yourself
It enables you to find your boundaries, your limits.
I doubted myself.
In the face of an upcoming challenge I had doubts ...
Could I ?
Would I ?
What if ?
As it turns out the challenge was / is far less than I imagined.
The thought of failure is harder to face than the failure itself.
Still I had to prove to myself that I was/am up for the challenge.
Oh I am tired and sore but I have banished those demons that haunted these last few days.
Some will laugh and call me silly or daft, stupid even but once those niggling doubts are allowed to take root they are worse than weeds.
I gave myself the strength to face them and in the facing they withered away.

This reminded me of a poem ...

.. by Ruyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son

Sunday, September 16, 2012

When the fields turn to gold

When the fields turn to gold
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Those who know me know only too well how I relish the first hint of Autumn.
The cool nights and warm days of September are, to me, so much better than the oppressive heat and humidity of July and August.
Sleeping with the windows open is a pleasure especially when you have a down filled duvet.

Ah yes, Autumn not only is the weather better but the harvest of squash, root vegetables and fruits make for splendid dinners, "comfort food". Those hearty stews and soups forgotten during the heat now tantalise the thoughts.

Who could not love this time of year....

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot

Monday, September 3, 2012

Singing Sands-moonscape

Singing Sands-moonscape
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

I think I have used today's quotation before but it pretty well sums up how I feel when I am "out there".

A recent trip up the Bruce peninsula found me at Singing Sands.
A place of such incredible diversity and breathtaking beauty.
A place that will call me back time and time again I am sure.
From flora and fauna, to the windswept wide open shoreline the almost alien landscape of the Alvars* and the majestic Lake Huron sunsets.

* "These areas of grooved and scraped stone are a globally rare habitat known as an alvar. Only select areas within the Great Lakes basin (including Ohio's Kelley Island), Sweden and Estonia have alvars. Created thousands of years ago when the mighty weight of the glaciers passed over the area, you can still see grooves and markingsfrom where they scraped over the bedrock"

Quote from


We really are blessed with some of the most interesting, complex, rare and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes here in Canada.
I am glad that these places are relatively devoid of people,
maybe.... :-)

I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets. It has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of our modern day. It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful. Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me - I am happy. ~Hamlin Garland, McClure's, February 1899

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Noisy neighbours

Noisy neighbours
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

This weekend was my wife's birthday. A grand family get together somehow materialised as the stars and planets aligned and busy people all ended up in the same place to spend some of that ever so precious commodity, "time" together.

This got me thinking, to a lot of people a family gathering should be, more aptly named, 'family feud' but to me, my inherited family and the get-togethers are something to look forward to and enjoy.
I remember a few years ago talking with my Mother-in-Law about the grand family dinners we had as the children grew, good times all.
Somehow they slipped away as families grew and the need to provide for them pulled everyone to different parts of the continent and the world gobbling up chunks of "time".
No one meant it to happen, it just did.

Now though the children are grown, starting lives of their own and the pressures are easing.
Saturday evening was a testament to this as almost all the family were able to gather to celebrate my wife's birthday.....

Happy Birthday Sweetheart

Family, where good times go hand in hand

Two quotes to consider this week:

What greater blessing to give thanks for at a family gathering than the family and the gathering. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable. ~Mark V. Olsen and Will Sheffer, Big Love, "Easter"

p.s.Next time Gary, next time.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Still beautiful

Still beautiful
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

This last week my wife and I took a mini vacation.
Just the two of us and no particular destination in mind apart from a couple of reservations in small towns north of us.
Long leisurely drives, early dinners and stopping whenever something caught our eye or sparked our imagination.
I really enjoy these times alone with my wife, we get a chance to catch up and to some degree reconnect.
Life can be so hectic and there are so many demands on our time that days like these become more and more important.

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. ~Simone Signoret

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Now that a kn-oy-fe ....

Now that a kn-oy-fe ....
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Lets talk about people,
people who you can rely on,
people you can rely on in a pinch.
Don Corby is one of those people...
let me explain ...
Late on Friday evening I was given the opportunity to show some of my photographs in Fergus. The trouble was I had no images in frames and no frames to put them in.
Hence the panic call to Don ...
Don, I need 6 frames by Monday !! I whined ( if you can whine in an e-mail).
I now, I know, said I, busy weekend, last minute panic etc. etc.
Don replied "what time do you want to pick them up on Monday morning".
This is not the first time he has bailed me out and it probably won't be the last!

You know Don deserves to be put on a pedestal for customer service and an excellent product.

So Don here is your moment in the sun, a heartfelt "thank you" from your pain-in-the-butt customer :-)


We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ~Winston Churchill

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Golden Hour Glow

Golden Hour Glow
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

It seems that the only time that I want to be outside during these inferno like months is early in the morning. The earth has had a chance to cool before the fireball rises above the horizon yet again to scorch the fields, man and beast once more, to torture us for another long day.
So my photography fix has to be had in that few hours before the sun climbs too high because the rest of the day is spent hiding in the air conditioning.

This is one mad dog Englishman who does NOT go out in the mid-day sun!!

Still there is hope ....

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. ~Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gentle Nudge - Mom and young 'un

Gentle Nudge - Mom and young 'un
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

"Without the animals man would die from loneliness of the spirit" ~ Chief Seattle

Today I'm starting my blog post with a quote.

Why? Because maybe it helps explain why everyday I pass by this field and smile. because everyday I see, just for a moment, the interaction of mother and child.

Seeing them, just for that moment, lifts my spirits and I smile to myself.

Chief Seattle was right ....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunlit Hill

Sunlit Hill
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Seeing and photography ...

How many times do you hear it, "since I took up photography I see things differently"
Is this 'seeing' a bi-product of being a photographer or is it that we already see things differently that makes us a photographer?

How many times have you stood and looked at a scene before you and have others look over your shoulder and ask what you are looking at?

So what then is a photograph?

A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety. ~Ansel Adams

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lord of all he surveys

Lord of all he surveys
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

While driving around the countryside yesterday the discussion turned to friendship.
In particular how we happy band of brothers (you know who you are) takes the time to make sure that each one of us in turn is not allowed to sink too far into that darkness that is "depression". Not that anyone was depressed on a fine summers morning like yesterday ...

We have each had our moments and the others have used the velvet glove to drag the sufferer out for a day of photography and camaraderie. Which is usually more than enough to reverse the downward spiral.

My friends, may I never be without them, nor you without me.

This is Bob, one of those people who lives simply and laughs long, and one I am fortunate enough to call a friend.

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. 
 ~Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Doug meets Joe

Doug meets Joe
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Yesterday, a few friends and I spent the day in Toronto. We attended the Joe McNally One Light Two Light Seminar Tour.

There are those who say 'you should never meet your heroes' all I can say to them is "you're wrong" !

Joe McNally has to be one of the best speakers in the world. His down to earth, easy going banter even in the face of great adversity (accidentally launching a flash off a pole and hitting a member of the audience, right Grant ?) he hardly skipped a beat.
It was a learning seminar filled with laughter and more information than a person could ever hope to assimilate.

Then again I am biased, Joe McNally is one of my heroes and I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet him.

Our pictures are our footprints. It’s the best way to tell people we were here. - Joe McNally

Monday, July 2, 2012

Stonework by the river

Stonework by the river
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Traveling - In the past month I have traveled thousands of kilometers.

When I am away I try to become a "traveler" instead of merely a "tourist". I seek adventure, I cannot sit on a beach reading a book or 'soaking up the sun' I have to be on the move, exploring the less traveled highways and byways in search of something interesting some new knowledge.
I search for learning and for images of course ;-)

A solo back roads trip this weekend got me thinking, even though I am only a few miles from home, am I still traveling ?
I like to think so, let me explain..

I explored never before driven (by me) side roads
I explored local oft visited places with a new eye, a photographers eye.
I met new people and had interesting conversations
I learned of places and things and gained more knowledge
are these not the requirements of a traveler?

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land. ~G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Baddeck Light

Baddeck Light
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

I am slowly working through my Nova Scotia images.
This one in particular has caused quite a stir on a forum I frequent.

Some agree with the choices I have made, some like it, some do not.

I respect all of their opinions because they are all fine photographers

but what it really comes down too, for me and for them is this simple credo ..

I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them. ~Pablo Picasso

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Pilot

The Pilot
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Atlantic Canada, it has to rate as one of my favourite places in the whole world.
Up there with The English Lakes, Scotland and Vancouver Island.

I have traveled here many times over the years on business but only a few as a tourist.
Nothing changes, as soon as I smell the salt air and watch the tide come and go old memories and ways start to surface (pardon the pun).
I am from a small sea town where people made their living from, and a few lost there lives to, the sea.

If you are not one of these people it is hard to explain maybe John Masefield says it best in Sea Fever...

So, to those who make their living, to those who never came back and especially to those who who died trying to save "those in peril on the sea", the men and women of the lifeboat service, I dedicate today blog.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

~ John Masefield - Sea Fever ~

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Up to the falls

Up to the falls
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

A walk in the woods, always does me good.
A walk in the woods with a stream and a waterfall now that is special.

The sounds of running water seems to wash away all other sounds along with worldly cares.
For a few minutes I am at peace.
That's why I always want to sit forever watching and listening and smiling both inward and outward.

Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more.
~William Cowper

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Red Brick cafe - Guelph

Red Brick cafe - Guelph
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

To really see a place you have to walk and leave the i-pod at home too.

We are too distracted, our lives have become one of hustle and bustle, rushing from on place or one meeting to the next.
Cell phones have become the electronic leash, the electronic interrupter of thought. Remember the time when you left the house and NO-ONE could reach you until you returned?

Remember the peace and quiet ?

We need to force ourselves to step back and " smell the roses".

We need time to unwind, to reflect, to enjoy the company of like minded friends.
To spend a few hours doing nothing in particular or something in particular, like wandering around the streets of your home town and seeing it for the first time.

That is what I did this weekend and boy does it feel good :)

So the thought for the day (or week) ..

There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast. ~Paul Scott Mowrer, The House of Europe

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Upstream - Elora Gorge

Upstream - Elora Gorge
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Elora, it's one of those places that can be visited over and over and still there is something new to see, experience and to photograph.
This weekend a friend and I decided it was about time we got back into our old ways of heading out early, before sunrise.
Our destination was Elora Gorge, we had decided to try to capture the dawn as it played across and down the Gorge sides.

The amazing thing is how quickly scenes change and how quickly they are gone forever.

However, they are replaced by new scenes :-)

Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again. ~Henri Cartier-Bresson

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Springtime came back this weekend.
Actually it is more like early summer.
Highs in the mid 20's, brilliant sunshine and barely any clouds.

I know most people yearn for this after a Canadian winter but I'm so thankful that the evening still brings cooler temperatures and If only for a little while sleep will come easy.

Soon the evenings will be as hot as the days and restlessness is the result.

The wheel turns once more ...

You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming. ~Pablo Neruda

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunrise in the woods

Sunrise in the woods
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

I have always been a morning person, well when I grew out of being a teenager..

Even so, as a child my Grandfather, when he was "ashore", would wake me at about 5:30am and we would go for a walk, a long walk.

They are happy memories and that is probably why I enjoy the dawn and long walks now.

What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn! 
~ Logan Pearsall Smith

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sundown - Algonquin Park

Sundown - Algonquin Park
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Sundown, the low sun streams across the beaver damn lakes and strikes the other side.

The effect only lasts a few minutes but the memory lasts forever.
Anyone who has ever visited Algonquin Park knows what I am talking about.

This weekend saw our annual Spring visit to Algonquin Park.
Unfortunately one of our merry band could not make it and was sorely missed. I myself found a place to stay at the last minute and was able to go.

Next year we will have to plan earlier because the more hectic or lives become the more crucial our leisure time becomes.
We all need to recharge our batteries, I recharge mine in places like this ..

We all need empty hours in our lives or we will have no time to create or dream. ~Robert Coles

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring Colour

Spring Colour
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

As much as I enjoy the Fall and Winter months there is something about the Spring.
An awakening, that quickens the pulse and lifts the spirit .
I wonder at how the most fragile of creatures and plants survive the achingly cold, dark months, slumbering in the frozen ground.
Then as the warmth of the strengthening sun percolates down into the soil they stir, and force their way upwards, in celebration of life.

..... rebirth!

Of course not everything that awakens is benign .... mosquitoes, blackflies they are coming too, but not yet, not yet.

This is my springtime in the woods, the time to be enjoyed before the blood thirsty hoards arrive and drive me out.

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "The Sensitive Plant"

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Sometimes photography leads one into unseen, forgotten, worlds.

A complete departure from the norm.

I mean how many people, well apart from children, do you see on their hands and knee's staring almost myopically at "something".

If you did stop would you wonder what was so fascinating and join them or would you smile to yourself and walk on?

If you are a photographer and the person doing the kneeling and staring had a camera in hand you would probably stop and enquire.

You could almost say that photography opens your mind to what you saw as a child, before you became an adult, before you forgot what an incredible place this world can be.

…the transformative photographer embarks upon an intuitive, insightful path which opens into an innate understanding of how marvellously grand everything is…
whether small or big, micro- or macrocosmic, minute or immense…it is all blow-your-mind incredible, in the sense that the «all of it» is simply awesome.
~ Simhananda ~ "Towards a Transformative Photography"

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
~William Blake~

This image was of an area less than 3" across

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunlit Lane

Sunlit Lane
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

It's Spring, life is returning to our half of the world as the sun gets stronger and there are colours everywhere.
So why am I still shooting Black and White?

My friend Doug and I took a walk in the Arboretum this weekend.
We stood literally side-by-side and captured the scene before us.

He saw the vibrant green of the newly sprouted grass, the way the sunlight picked out the rock and lit the area around it

I saw the tonal range, the textures, the shadows, all in shades of gray.

Is my image better than his? Most certainly not, it's a great image.

Then why did I not see it the way my fellow photographer saw it?

Well I guess that is what makes this hobby / passion so intriguing....

Maybe I'm different, not right, nor wrong, just different....

or may be I heard the instructions differently....

I never question what to do, it tells me what to do. The photographs make themselves with my help. ~Ruth Bernhard

You can see Doug's image here 

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

We see many, many places that are simply 'abandoned' the land purchased for it's future value, the house left empty but this one, this one is different.
I have never seen such a sight, everywhere we looked; garbage, the detritus of lives unknown. The scar's of fire, of decay, of total neglect. 

These places usually fill me with a sadness for what they were.
An empty house soon becomes a shell, a house needs people to live, once they are gone the house dies, the home dies. 

But this is far beyond that. 
This house has been abused, then cast aside and now it sits in its misery waiting for that final blow from the wreckers to end it all.

der·e·lict adj \'der-a-likt,
 Empty of people and unused, not maintained by the owner or inhabitants

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

This last week we went from winter to summer and eventually got spring.

The crocus and miniature iris are up in the garden, the tree's are alive with bird song, the earth or at least the Northern hemisphere is awakening.

I'm a fall and winter person, I enjoy the cold so why am I so hapy at this time of year?

It's the change I enjoy, seeing all that looked lifeless, magically spring back to life is inspiring and refreshing.
Unfortunately flowers are not the only things that springs back to life, so do the bugs.

Here come the blackfly and the mosquitoes!

But before they do there is the delicious in-between when walking the fields feels like walking on soggy shredded wheat (Robert Bateman said that) and the smell of spring is in the air, the birds are singing all these give promise of better days to come.

Yesterday we spent the day in a greenhouse of exotic plants and even more exotic smells from the flowers.

I think everyone should visit a greenhouse at least once during the winter it is sure to cheer you up.

I dedicate this weeks blog to the flowers ....

The flower offered of itself
And eloquently spoke
Of Gods
In languages of rainbows,
And secret silence...
~Phillip Pulfrey, from Love, Abstraction and other Speculations,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Looking Back

Looking Back
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

I am most at home in the wilderness, but sometimes an area that has been 'tamed' can affect me in a very similar way to that which I feel when I am "out there".

There is something about a cool, foggy morning that makes you think. Well maybe I should rephrase that; a long walk on a cool, foggy morning makes you think.

Walking the soon to be bulldozed lanes, barns and buildings of what was once Winfields Farm in Oshawa, Ontario, leaves you with mixed emotions; primary sadness. 

Yes it may only be a "Farm", a man made place, but it's shear size makes it special. 6000 hectares and once home to 600 horses, a magnificent equestrian past, all gone, to be gobbled up by 'development'.

There are graves here, not of people, but of horses.

Will the sounds of these magnificent creatures be heard above the din of the subdivisions that will, all too soon, sprawl across this space?

Will people talk in whispers about what they have seen galloping down their tarmaced streets on a moonless night?

I doubt it, but they are there....

So bleak is the picture... that the bulldozer and not the atomic bomb may turn out to be the most destructive invention of the 20th century. ~Philip Shabecoff, New York Times Magazine, 4 June 1978

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Grandma's Window

Grandma's Window
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Every time I visit an abandoned house I wonder.
I wonder about the families who lived there,
I wonder about what happened to them.

Some of these places are old and decrepit others still show signs of the lives that were lived there and I look upon the remnants which look back like silent ghosts.

And I think, where are they now, all those that lived, loved, laughed, cried in this place that was once a home?
And how quickly a home can disappear to be replaced by an empty shell
Well almost empty, except for Grandma's curtains in the window.....

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
~William Shakespeare

Monday, March 5, 2012

Standing Tall - The Old Oak - Scotsdale Farm

Standing Tall - The Old Oak - Scotsdale Farm
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

How many winters has this old oak seen? Alas I think she has seen her last but she still stands defiant in the face of one more icy blast...

We could learn a lot from tree's if only we would listen ...

The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what "the story of the trees" would be to us if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand. ~Author Unknown, quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren, 1938

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Old Faithful

Old Faithful
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Today was a great day, not only was it warm (comparatively speaking) but it was a day filled with old friends and idle banter.
Or was that idle friends and .. no .. old friends and idle banter I was right the first time.

We visited McLeans Auto Wreckers. Now that might seem to be a strange place to actually want to go to but we are photographers and an Auto Wreckers, especially one with 40 acres of old cars is a photographers paradise even more so when the owners are accommodating and friendly.

My photographs from today are in colour, unusual for me but a glorious sunrise and blue skies deserved to be captured in colour

Apart from everything else it was a good walk ....

Better to hunt in fields, for health unbought,
Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught,
The wise, for cure, on exercise depend;
God never made his work for man to mend.
~John Dryden

Sunday, February 19, 2012

These Poor Hands

These Poor Hands
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Old age - it comes to us all eventually.

I saw this lady bending over the baskets of fruit, nimble fingers searching for the best pieces.

By the look of her hands you wouldn't think them capable of such a task.

It was her hands that caused me to stop. However, looks can be deceiving ...

Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow's hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life. ~Charles Dickens

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hands of the craftsman

Hands of the craftsman
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

This weekend I was at Thak Ironworks in Floradale, Ontario and met Robb aka Thak.

He described his teen years as a time of discovery.
When he realised that all he needed was iron, a hammer and a forge he was well on his way to becoming what he is today.

Is it trite to call him an 'artist' ?
a 'smith' ?
A 'worker in iron'?

For he is all these things and more. What he does with iron is beyond Art, beyond 'smithing' , beyond just a 'worker in iron'.
He is all of these and the end result is far greater than the parts.

Above all he is a happy man, one of those rare people who have found a way to make a living by doing what he loves to do.

He is the envy of us all.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

It was good to get out again after several weeks of 'downtime'.

We walked or should I say strolled along a new to us trail in Cambridge and ended up in Riverside Park. The sun coming up casting those long, winter shadows. Great stuff. This is why I love this time of year and why I have missed my walks so much. It's good to be back :-)

How can you explain that you need to know that the trees are still there, and the hills and the sky? Anyone knows they are. How can you say it is time your pulse responded to another rhythm, the rhythm of the day and the season instead of the hour and the minute? No, you cannot explain. So you walk. ~Author unknown, from New York Times editorial, "The Walk," 25 October 1967.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fence Line

Fence Line
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Now as my strength starts to return I had to get out for a walk so I headed out for one of my favorite haunts, the Arboretum in the University of Guelph.
Just a short drive but a world away, more so today as the snow made it even more quiet, a cold, white, blanket that hushed the distant traffic so you could hear the soft crunching of your footsteps, the chickadee's and squirrels.

An invigorating walk that tired the body but refreshed the spirit.

I understand what John Masefield was saying when he penned "Sea Fever" ..


I gave in to the pull of that which I love..

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. ~Rumi

Sunday, January 22, 2012

First Light - Gordon Street Bridge

First Light - Gordon Street Bridge
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Another weekend has gone by without me picking up a camera let alone taking a photograph. So I spent some time revisiting images I took on New Years day.

I hate being sick!

But I am on the mend the antibiotics are doing there job and nature is taking its course with the flu symptoms.

No more sneezing and coughing!

However I did not take this advice ....

You have a cough? Go home tonight, eat a whole box of Ex-Lax - tomorrow you'll be afraid to cough. ~Pearl Williams

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Storm Watch

Storm Watch
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Well no photographs, not a single frame taken this weekend.
Last week I came down with the "Man Flu" which is way worse than your everyday normal flu because it seeks out only men as it's victims.
Coughing and hacking does not make for a steady camera, besides I was in bed most of the time.

However, this morning I began to think I might make it and am slowly recovering from the dreaded malady, during my ordeal, my wife did keep me going by texting me "Poor Little Bunny" texts to keep my spirits up

So I went back to the images from my recent Tobermory trip and worked on this one "Storm Watch".

In case you are curious, this is what it's like ...

Caution terrible images not for children, especially boys.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Winter Glow

Winter Glow
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

Winter requires a certain attitude.

Do not regret the passing of Autumn, you have to look forward to it's passing and
find your sweaters,jackets and boots.

Think of that magical, first frost that will soon cover the meadows with silver.

Think not of the falling temperatures but of the cool, crisp, air and the walks to be enjoyed.

Then get out there and savour the peace, as the snow falls, blanketing the earth in silence.

It's a time to be young again.

Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.
~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Old Mill - Redux - Nikon P7100

The Old Mill - Redux - Nikon P7100
Originally uploaded by Alan Norsworthy

There is nothing that stir's the creative juices more than a new toy ... err a new piece of equipment.
On our recent Annual trip up to Tobermory I took along my new Nikon P7100 to put it through its paces.
This image was taken on the way home after the freezing fog and snow had transformed the world into a winter wonderland. Add in a spotlight of sunlight illuminating the frozen tree's it was pure magic.

My quote today is not really a part of this image but the timing is close enough. A thought, a wish, for the New Year..

A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.
~Edgar Guest