The backyard vines had a particularly vigorous crop of Concord Grapes (Vitis labrusca) this year and I made a few photographs of them. The Concord Grape is mostly known for juice, and not a grape that one hears about often in conversations about wines. It can be used for wine, but is much more often used for juice and grape jellies. The Concord Grape was first produced in 1849 by Ephraim Wales Bull in Concord, Massachusetts, which gives a good idea where the name came from. This particular photogenic bunch was growing in the backyard, and hadn’t yet been harassed by hungry wildlife or grazing humans. Normally I just eat a few fresh off the vine when outside, but this year I decided to harvest some.
I left the majority of the grapes on the vine, and picked what looked to be the ones in the best shape. I had a sizeable bucket by the time I was done, and put about 3/4 of them in the freezer where they are still waiting. My intent is to juice them and then make some jelly, but I’ve done neither before, so we shall see how that goes. The process of using the steam juicer here doesn’t seem difficult. There may be some potential errors to be made in making the jelly though. I’d imagine that not quite getting things right could result in something syrupy instead of jelly-like but we will see.
Ambleside Beach, Ambleside Pier, and the newer retail and residential buildings in the Ambleside neighborhood of West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Ambleside Beach and Pier in West Vancouver (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
I’ve been meaning to spend a bit more time in West Vancouver and in early November I spent an afternoon there looking for scenes to photograph. I started at Horseshoe Bay, but I had not heard the shoreline/beach park was closed, so I headed over to Whytecliff Park instead. They were filming a movie there, so it was a challenge to find parking. I had a look around and then left for various spots along English Bay. Ultimately I wound up at Ambleside Park next to the beach, and photographed this first panorama above just after the peak of sunset. This area has changed a lot in the past few years since I last visited. A lot of the retail/condo buildings around the Ambleside Pier were still being built or weren’t around yet last time I visited.
Highrise apartments and condos in the Dundarave neighborhood of West Vancouver (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
My first stop after leaving Whytecliff was near the Dundarave Pier at 25th street. I was unaware that the January 2022 storm that destroyed the Jericho Pier across English Bay in Vancouver had also caused so many problems in West Vancouver. The Dundarave Pier remains closed for repairs. The West Vancouver Centennial Seawalk had been repaired from the storm and can be seen along the edge of English Bay in the photo above. It was quite busy with people walking its 1.7 km length near various condo and apartment towers. I made a few photographs here and headed east along the water.
John Lawson Park in West Vancouver BC’s Ambleside neighborhood (Purchase)
My next stop was in the Ambleside neighborhood of West Vancouver at John Lawson Park. John Lawson Park does have its own pier, aptly named “John Lawson Pier”, and it had been repaired and was open. The path here is just past the end of the West Vancouver Centennial Seawalk, but continues on all the way to Ambleside Park to the east. John Lawson Park has some nice views of English Bay, Stanley Park, and the Lions Gate Bridge.
Sunset at Ambleside Beach and Pier in West Vancouver (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
From John Lawson Park I went to Ambleside Park for sunset. The sunset wasn’t very interesting itself, but I don’t use it as a subject very often. I usually prefer to see what that warmer light is going to with other subjects, and in this case it warmed up the look of the buildings in Ambleside quite a bit. Compare to the first photograph here that was made 20 minutes later. Still a bit of glow on the windows from the horizon but not on much else. I also made this photograph (Link) kind of in between the two.
Likewise you can see some glow in the windows of Ambleside and Dundarave but not on much else in this last photograph. Some of the buildings here are the same as in the second photograph here but from around the corner. The pier here is the John Lawson Pier and you can see the seawalk heading west from the park.
Sunset light falls on the Ambleside and Dundarave neighborhoods of West Vancouver (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
For more photographs of West Vancouver visit my West Vancouver Gallery.
It is again time to look back and see what my favourite images are from what I’ve published this year. With a long and wet spring, a long hot drought summer, and an almost non-existent fall before the cold came… it has been an “interesting” year to work with!
Working on my 2023 Nature Calendar every year helps get this list started, though there are usually a few differences as I have a more limited scope of themes for the calendar. If you click on a photo below you’ll be taken to my Image Library. I’ve also linked to corresponding blog posts that contain these images (if available) to provide more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. As usual, choosing 10 images is rather difficult (and I cheated this year), even though these should be considered my favourites and not the “best” necessarily. These aren’t in any order really as that would be just too hard!
I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites!
For many years Jim Goldstein maintained a list of photographer’s top 10 posts but he seems to have given that up. For the past few years Tracy Schultze has created his own list which you can ask to be part of. You can find his list here: https://tmschultze.com/pages/photography/best-of-2022-blog-posts/. I always discover some interesting photographers on these lists.
My 2023 calendars are now available! I have put together some of my favourite recent photographs into a 11″x17″ (28cm x 43cm) calendar. Included are 12 photographs of landscape, wildlife, and nature scenes from British Columbia. As the purchase website no longer has a preview available, take a look at the index below for a small preview of the images contained in the calendar.
Lynn Canyon Park is a popular area in North Vancouver for tourists and locals alike. I had visited briefly a few years ago but hadn’t got onto the trails to walk around since 2013 when I photographed Twin Falls. I intend to go back soon, and visit trails I’ve never seen before, a few other bridges, and likely Rice Lake. Hopefully this will be part I of a pair of posts soon.
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and Lynn Canyon Falls (Purchase)
The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is the main attraction in Lynn Canyon Park which opened to the public in 1912. The bridge is in a very scenic canyon, next to a waterfall, nearby parking, and is free (compared to the nearby Capilano Suspension Bridge). The suspension bridge hangs about 50 meters (160 feet) over Lynn Creek, and offers a nice view of Lynn Canyon Falls. The bridge was recently closed for a period of time so the “deck” could be replaced, and you can tell the difference between 1) an older photograph I made in 2013 and 2) the current surface of the bridge. The new surface is very “grippy” on ones feet and doesn’t feel like you are in danger of sliding on it which is comforting in this location. The bridge doesn’t bounce very much either, though those uneasy with looking down that great of a distance to a rocky canyon below may not wish to linger and complete the crossing quickly.
As you can see from the first photograph here showing the bridge and Lynn Canyon Falls (photo), this isn’t an easy spot to photograph a waterfall! Even though the park wasn’t busy, the bridge vibrates a bit after someone walks on it, so finding a steady perch for a longer exposure wasn’t going to happen. I combined two exposures to get this wide of a view, and you can see some effects of that in the poor overlap in the walking surface tiles. Someday I may be able to do a long exposure of the waterfall on this bridge, but that wasn’t possible on my last visit.
After photographing the suspension bridge I hiked down a number of stairs on the trail to Twin Falls. Like the bridge above, I’d photographed Twin Falls before. I had somewhat forgotten the rather precarious position one has to get in to shoot over the fence there. I remembered the fence, I didn’t remember the yoga position required! Most of the foliage here is provided by evergreens, but I appreciate that one small Vine Maple that is hanging onto the rock on the left and has turned a nice yellow. You can barely make it out in this photo, but there is a bridge just above the falls that crosses Lynn Creek. I saw a few photographs and videos online that showed this location less than 24 hours after this photograph was taken, and after an atmospheric river had passed through. Southwestern BC had a drought this summer and fall, and apparently the new rain couldn’t soak into the ground as easily as it might usually. As a consequence, the water coming over Twin Falls the next day looked more like a canyon wide fire hose! This version is certainly more photogenic.
The Baden Powell Trail was opened in 1971 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of British Columbia’s entry into Canada. The Baden Powell Trail is a 48km (30 mile) trail that runs from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Deep Cove in North Vancouver. Along the way, it cuts through Lynn Canyon Park, and I made a few photographs along the trail within the park.
Stairs and boardwalk along the Baden Powell Trail in Fall (Purchase)
While the trail itself is many kilometers long, this small section between the suspension bridge and “30 foot pool” is familiar to many who venture here with less ambitious hiking goals. The first of these photographs above comes from a spot on the trail just north of the suspension bridge. The drought and other challenges have made fall foliage a bit scarce this year, but I did find some nice displays from the Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) trees along the way. These were creating a nice canopy while overhanging the boardwalk and stairs along the trail.
Moss Covered Trees on Baden Powell Trail (Purchase)
These conifer trees are heavily covered in moss which is relatively common here in the temperate rainforest of North Vancouver. Some nearby Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) trees have shed their leaves and created this orange and brown carpet amoung the rocks along the trail. The ferns on much of the forest floor are mostly Sword Ferns (Polystichum munitum) in this location.
On the way out to 30 foot pool I noticed this Vine Maple with some of the more unusual fall foliage colors in this part of the world – deeper reds. On my way back I photographed it with Lynn Creek providing a nice foreground.
I’ve managed to keep this Goji Berry plant alive through several bad winters but have never really managed to get much in the way of fruit from it. This year some regular watering (and a hot summer) seemed to make a difference and most of the branches were covered in berries. I had never tried them fresh, and they are quite different tasting than anything I’ve had before. Good, but different.
Goji’s other English names are Wolfberry, Matrimony Vine, and Box Thorn. While considered a “Superfood” and often accompanying exaggerated health claims, they nonetheless have high levels of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamin B and C. The berries are used in a wide variety of food products, teas, juices, or eaten fresh. Dried Goji Berries are eaten as snacks. Native to Asia, they are an important commercial crop in China where they are know as Ningxia gǒuqi.
Another post with a mix of recent photographs of various subjects:
Red Langley Barn
I’ve driven past this restored “hip roofed” barn in Langley, BC for years. I decided to photograph it this spring when there was a nice bloom of Buttercups in the field nearby. Naturally we had a few immediate downpours and windy days but happily the Buttercups were still intact and upright when I drove here one evening. A nice scene in the snow as well, which is also on my list.
Buttercups blooming in front of a Langley Barn (Purchase)
A Dragonfly at Golden Ears Provincial Park
Dragonflies aren’t my usual subject when I visit Golden Ears Provincial Park! I had not visited the park in a while, and so I did my usual hike up to Lower Falls, and then out to North Beach. I had never really visited on a warm summer day before, and the amount of people at North Beach was significant. I did find a quiet place to relax for a while, but didn’t make any photos of note at either location. This was my first trip during the need for parking reservations, which I’d made for the lower falls parking lot. Imagine my surprise when there was nowhere to park, as they don’t actually check this stuff! This was early in the summer, so hopefully they worked out a better system (like actually checking passes on the way in) as the summer progressed. On the way out of the park I visited the Spirea Nature Trail which is one of those really short trails around something educationally interesting (a bog/marsh area in this case) with informative signs. A number of different Dragonfly species caught my eye near the ponds, and I photographed this one resting on a Cedar branch. I’ll (very) tentatively identify it as a Spiny Baskettail (Epitheca spinigera) but I am not certain of that. Any Dragonfly experts wish to correct my ID?
A Dragonfly on a cedar branch in Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Fledgling
I photographed this fledgling American Robin in the backyard in between feedings from its parents. Some bird babies look rather cute. Robin babies tend to look like this one, a bit angry, a bit confused, a bit sullen teenager. I might feel the same if someone kept stuffing worms into my mouth all day, actually.
We don’t often think of Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum) as having flowers in the spring, but that is what these are, hanging just below some emerging leaves. Early in the spring these look like young leaves from a distance and aren’t bright and colourful like some flowering trees (Magnolias, for example). I made a photograph earlier this year on Salt Spring Island that also showed the Maple flowers which were the only foliage visible on any of the large deciduous trees in the area. While the Maple flowers aren’t colourful, I have seen the bees enjoying them quite often. I photographed the flowers below at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, BC.
Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) Flowering in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)
I photographed this Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) flower in bloom in my Mom’s backyard. This flower is a bit atypical as the majority of Soapwort flowers are found in large clusters at the top of the stalk, though this one is by itself, part way down. Soapwort is a perennial herb grown in many herb gardens and is used to make detergent and soaps, as well as an ornamental plant. The saponins in the roots and leaves of Soapwort create bubbles when agitated in water. Soapwort is also known as common soapwort, bouncing-bet, crow soap, wild sweet William, and Soapweed.
Another in a series of blog posts where I publish a small group of photos that don’t quite fit into the regular posts. Most of these were made this year but the Coyote photograph was made in the summer of 2021.
Canada Geese Goslings Under Mother’s Wing
Canada Goose Goslings Taking Shelter Under Mom’s Wing (Purchase)
Earlier this spring I visited Rolley Lake Provincial Park primarily for a quick lap on the perimeter trail. Having completed the loop, I saw this family of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) walking towards the beach area. There were a few human families sitting on the edge of the water fishing, but the geese didn’t seem to care. They pretty much just “elbowed” their way through the group, and at one point an adult just hopped through a lunch box and kept going. I guess we know who owns that beach! After poking around the shoreline for a bit the goslings crowded under Mom’s wing for some shelter. With the size they were getting to at that point, it looks a bit crowded in there!
These two buildings are part of the Finn Slough community in Richmond, British Columbia. Finn Slough was founded by Finnish settlers in the 1880’s and became the hub for fishing in the area. The buildings in Finn Slough were built between the late 1800’s and the 1950’s. The short bridge to the community had some warnings posted on it. I’ve heard a lot about some current residents being annoyed with the actions of photographers and visitors, so I kept to the road for this photograph. I have no doubt people who live there have had their privacy invaded more than once, it is a popular photo location.
Golden Ears (Mount Blanshard) Panorama
A band of cloud lingering over the Golden Ears (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
I have quite a few photographs of the Golden Ears in Maple Ridge, BC. Many of those are panoramas like this one, but not many have clouds in them. I’ve sold a number of really large canvas prints of these images, so I made this photograph with the idea of having a few more options to present when a client is making their choice. Someday I’d like to get one with a colourful sky above the peaks, but as it lies directly north of here that is going to have to rely on some higher clouds picking up that light. One more thing for my long list of photos I hope to make in the future!
Red-Breasted Sapsucker at Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park
Red-Breasted Sapsucker on Maple Tree Trunk (Purchase)
During a trip to Salt Spring Island in April of this year, I made a photograph of some ferns growing along a trail in Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park. Ultimately that photo didn’t work out, but as I walked further I noticed this Red-Breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) perched on a Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) trunk. I approached carefully, making a few photographs as I moved forward. As this was right next to the trail, I couldn’t give the bird all that much space, but it seems I needn’t have been concerned. As we passed it stayed still and didn’t seem to concerned about our presence. Note in this photograph some of the small holes drilled into the bark where the Sapsucker, a species of Woodpecker, feeds on the trees sap. I made this second photograph while directly behind the Red-Breasted Sapsucker as it kept an eye on me.
(Canis latrans) Hunting in Sumas Prairie (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
Almost exactly a year ago (before the Sumas Prairie flooded from the Atmospheric Rivers) I was driving through the Fraser Valley and passed this Coyote (Canis latrans) trotting through a freshly cut hay field on Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford. I turned around and pulled over on the rural road and made this photo from the car. Clearly my car was spotted by the Coyote as it stopped and looked at me briefly, then continued on. Occasionally it would grab something from the grass, and I presume it was hunting small rodents that were disturbed by the hay cutting. After a while it turned around and disappeared in the corn field in the background.
You can see more of my newly published images in the New Images and other galleries in my Image Library.