Peace Arch Provincial Park Monument and Gardens

The Peace Arch as photographed from Peace Arch State Park in Blaine, Washington State, USA looking towards Peace Arch Provincial Park in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

peace arch state park looking towards canada

Peace Arch State Park Looking Towards Canada (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   One of the first outings I made with my new camera was to the White Rock Pier but earlier that day I visited Peace Arch Provincial Park and Peace Arch State Park in British Columbia and Washington State. Parking in the provincial park lot, I walked across the road to photograph the Peace Arch monument and gardens. I’d tried this before a few years ago but there was so much of that orange snow fencing everywhere (lawn was under repair) that working around it for good photographs was not something I ended up attempting. Now there is a perfect lawn and no fencing in sight so it was a great time to revisit this location.

peace aprovincial park looking towards the united states

Peace Arch Provincial Park Looking Towards USA (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   The Peace Arch is a monument completed in 1921 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Treaty of Ghent. This treaty ended the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain. The Canadian and American flags fly on top, with the Canadian side (second photo above ) reading “Brethren Dwelling Together In Unity” and the American side (first photo above) reading “Children Of A Common Mother”. When walking through the arch you can read the words “1814 Open One Hundred Years 1914” and “May These Gates Never Be Closed” on the interior sides. The monument straddles the United States and Canadian border which feels a bit strange as you can just walk all around it. I tend to take my passport with me here, but apparently that isn’t really necessary. Both Peace Arch Provincial Park and Peace Arch State Park are situated between their respective border checkpoints, so you haven’t really crossed the border in an official sense by entering the parks.

gardens at peace arch provincial park

Gardens at Peace Arch Provincial Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Both parks have some gardens planted for visitors, though I’ve found much of the time some of these are empty of plants for some reason. The photograph above shows the pond and gazebo (made from many different species of BC wood) on the Canadian side in Peace Arch Provincial Park.

   The last photograph here is from last year when I made a trip down the Washington coast towards Anacortes. On the way I stopped at Blaine Marine Park in Blaine to see the view of White Rock and photographed the arch from that perspective. You can see the Canadian border crossing (officially the Douglas Border Crossing) beyond the arch.

gardens at peace arch provincial park

Peace Arch Border Crossing from Blaine (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

For more photographs of this park visit my Peace Arch Provincial Park Gallery.

Rainbow at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

A Rainbow over Chilliwack Lake with Mount Redoubt in the background. Photographed from the beach at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.

rainbow over chilliwack lake and mount redoubt

Rainbow at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   A few years ago I would have categorized this photograph of a rainbow at Chilliwack Lake as “lucky”. The day I made this photo I had slowly worked my way towards Chilliwack Lake while exploring and photographing various points along the way in the Chilliwack River Valley. I’d run into the odd patch of rain, and that was okay as this was supposed to be a day of photographing rivers and those “in the forest” photographs that benefit from a lack of direct sunshine. When I pulled into the day use parking lot near the boat launch at Chilliwack Lake I was hungry – I really wanted to just sit and eat my soup for dinner. The sky had dark clouds and it was raining lightly. My soup beckoned from the thermos in my car’s trunk. Instead, I got my tripod and gear together and walked down to the shore of the lake just to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I jogged at the end of that walk. The way these things used to go is I’d sit in my car and enjoy some soup or whatever I was eating for dinner. I’d get my gear, head down to the water and I’d run into a few people walking back up asking if I’d witnessed the rainbow. I hadn’t – I’d only witnessed soup. So this photograph exists because I’ve learned soup can wait but meteorological phenomena won’t. It also helps curtail the sting of people asking if I’d seen that Bald Eagle fishing, one cloud lighting up way after sunset, the double rainbow – all things I’ve missed in the past by not just getting out of my car and having a quick look around.

   Now I categorize photographs like this one as a success due to learning to look around and make sure there isn’t something I might be missing when I would rather be eating instead. There were actually 3 rainbows here when I came within sight of the lake. A double rainbow so the south (the one I photographed, but it had faded by then) and another to the east. It was quite a sight – but I had to decide quickly what to photograph. I made one wider shot of the lake trying to get both rainbows in the same photo. That might have succeeded, but it wouldn’t have been a good photo, so I switched to a longer lens and made this photo which had the most important subjects. The lake, the rainbow, and one of my favourite mountains. With the dark clouds the rest of the scene was somewhat gloomy, but the rainbow helps balance that I think.

sun shining spotlight on forest at chilliwack lake

Spotlight on the Forest at Chilliwack Lake (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   The second photograph here was made 2 minutes after the rainbow photograph. The rainbows had all completely faded but this one spotlight of sunshine lit up the forest and dead snags on the hillside below Mount Webb, but only for a minute or so. If I hadn’t had the longer lens on my camera for the first photo here I might have missed this. I think this part was a a bit of luck.

   This photograph (as well as the first) bring to mind another piece of advice I often hear for photographers – if it is suddenly stormy, that is when to go out and photograph. This isn’t bad advice, but I do believe some of the accuracy is predicated by where one lives. I’ve always lived in this corner of British Columbia, so weather patterns elsewhere are a bit of a mystery. Here, however, once it starts raining you can wait days (or weeks) until it stops or a spot of sunlight makes its way through the clouds. I imagine in other places storms come and go quickly, so getting out when a storm starts is perfect timing. Here, rushing out to photograph when it starts raining here may just get you wet. If I were to make a BC rainforest amendment to that “rule” I’d say the perfect time to go out is on a day when there are expected intermittent showers and maybe some sunny breaks. That is the kind of day where the above photographs were created, and when I’ve seen most of these kinds of scenes. So there.

For more photographs of Mount Redoubt and Chilliwack Lake visit my Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park Gallery.

An Evening at the White Rock Pier

Tourists watching the sunset at the White Rock Pier in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada. Photographed from White Rock Beach looking west across Boundary Bay towards the mountains on Vancouver Island.

people watching the sunset from white rock pier

Watching the Sunset at White Rock Pier (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   The first outing I made with my new camera was to photograph a few different locations in South Surrey and White Rock. I’ve walked along the White Rock Pier several times in the past, but I haven’t tried to photograph there in any serious way in almost 10 years so it was clearly time to change that. The White Rock Pier is one of the focal points of tourist (and local) activity for the City of White Rock. Officially opened in 1914, it was constructed to create a deep water wharf and as a tourist attraction. The first photograph here shows 3 young people enjoying the sunset (or the birds you can see in the larger version) from the pier. Beyond the pier you can see Boundary Bay and the mountains on Vancouver Island to the west.

view of white rock pier from marine drive in the evening

White Rock Pier and Semiamhoo Bay (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Just above the entrance from Marine Drive you can see this view of the pier, Boundary Bay, and Semiamhoo Bay in Washington State. The San Juan Islands (also in Washington State) are visible in the distance. This is one of the busiest spots along Marine Drive as it is the entrance to the pier but also where many of the more popular restaurants and ice cream shops are located.

walking along the white rock pier

Walking along the White Rock Pier (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   The pier remains busy even after sunset during warmer evenings – it took some waiting to have just a few people in the photographs like this one as the pier was busy. I also noticed that people walking by made the planks bounce, so I had to photograph mostly when people weren’t nearby. The above photograph is the view along the pier looking south towards the United States.

boats in the marina at white rock pier

Boats Anchored at the White Rock Pier Marina (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   At the south end of the White Rock Pier there is a small marina which usually has about 15-20 small sailboats moored there. I am not sure if it has an official name or not, but I have seen it referred to generically as the “White Rock Pier Marina” which may merely be descriptive rather than an actual designation.

view from end of white rock pier looking back towards city at night

Looking back at City of White Rock from the end of the pier (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   This is the view from the end of the pier looking back towards the City of White Rock.

For more photographs of White Rock and other nearby areas please visit my Vancouver Coast and Mountains Gallery.

Dogwood Flowers – Eddie’s White Wonder

Eddie’s White Wonder Dogwood flowers (a hybrid between Cornus nuttallii x Cornus florida) in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada.

dogwood flowers in the fraser valley of british columbia

Dogwood Flowers – Eddie’s White Wonder (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Last year I photographed both this Dogwood tree and a few others that were flowering in the backyard. This year I photographed the tree again, but tried to do something a bit different than I had before. This photograph was made on one of my first tests of my new camera. I’ve been quite happy with the files from the camera and this Dogwood flower is the first published “keeper” from that camera. Since this photograph was made I’ve got out on a few trips as well as photographed various flower species, baby rabbits, and other foliage in the backyard. Those photos are coming soon!

I Bought A New Camera – the Canon 5D Mark IV

The Canon 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS (and a RRS L-bracket).

Canon 5D Mark IV with Canon ef 24-70mm f/4 IS lens and RRS L bracket

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (with Canon 24-70mm f/4 L IS)

-click to enlarge-

   I don’t write about equipment here often as I prefer talking about locations and photographs. Too many photographers concentrate on the equipment over the experiences and results, and I think that often hurts the photography. I tend to only research and read (and write) about equipment when I need it. I was happy to not have bought a new lens since 2011, and only did so recently due to the camera upgrade. Since 2011 I’ve been shooting with a Canon 7D, an improvement at the time from the Canon 30D I’d been using since 2007. The 7D was a big upgrade from the 30D and I was able to use the same lenses (EF-S and EF) I’d invested in already. One of those lenses, the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS started to break down on occasion just over two years ago. A lens that just refuses to work at exactly the wrong time isn’t a good one to keep around. I put up with this as it still worked for the most part, and would make occasional bad noises before it crapped out on me again earlier this year. I had always imagined moving to a full frame camera at some point, and this lens was part of what got me to do it. If I had upgraded the 30D in 2012 instead of 2011, I might have bought a Canon 6D which is full frame. I’d probably still be happy with that camera and continue to use it as many of my photographer friends still do. At his point the 6D is getting old(er) and I had waited long enough for the much rumored 6D Mark II to be released. It may be released later this year, or not at all. The 7D was made in 2009, and while it is still a good camera (that I will continue to use) it lacks a number of things more modern cameras offer. Higher dynamic range, much less noise at higher ISO, etc. Even the increase in megapixels (a wildly over hyped feature in general) will be handy as the 5D Mark IV yields 30 megapixel files while the 7D was around 18.

   So after months of research I had decided my new camera body had to be a 5D Mark IV but this required upgrading some lenses as well. The 7D has a APS-C crop sensor (1.6x) which worked well with my two EF-S lenses, the 17-55 f/2.8 IS and the Canon 10-22mm. Neither of these will work on a full frame DSLR body, so it was also time to move up in the world of lenses. The 17-55 was a good lens, but after using it’s replacement, the Canon 24-70mm f/4 L IS (which comes with the same price tag), I’m very happy with the quality of the images from it. I replaced the 10-22mm with a Canon 17-40mm f/4 L which is a pretty ubiquitous landscape lens among Canon landscape photographers. I haven’t used the 17-40mm much yet, but I expect it to be a step up from the 10-22.

   I’ve spent a few weeks learning all the features on the new 5D Mark IV and do love the results so far. I’ve only been out for one “real” evening of shooting (in White Rock) but have made quite a few images in the backyard of baby rabbits, birds, and various spring flowers. It has been very nice to shoot at ISO 3200 and get the same level of noise I was used to at around 800! You’ll see those results, as well as the photos of other trips I have planned… soon!

Vancouver Convention Centre

The Vancouver Convention Centre and the North Shore Mountains in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

vancouver convention center and the northshore mountains in british columbia canada

Vancouver Convention Center and the Northshore Mountains (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Last week I traveled to Vancouver to photograph some of the downtown area as well as any potentially lingering cherry blossoms in Stanley Park. Stanley Park is often a relatively quick trip for me, even coming from the Fraser Valley, but this time it took me about 65 minutes to get from the Cambie Bridge into the park. Gridlock isn’t nearly as much fun as photography! When I finally got into Stanley Park I stopped at the first parking spot I came to, paid my exorbitant $13 for a few hours of parking, and went looking for blossoms. I didn’t find many, though the daffodils and some tulips looked great. After walking around Stanley Park for an hour (time never wasted) I went along the seawall to photograph Canada Place, the Vancouver Convention Centre, and anything else I found. Normally I have photographed those two buildings from Stanley Park but it was time for new perspectives.

   The first photograph here shows the view looking north from the sidewalk between the east side of the Vancouver Convention Centre and Canada Place. I liked this angle as it not only showed some of the form of the centre and placed it well in the usual backdrop familiar to those who have visited Vancouver – the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet. The two main mountains you can see here in the background are Crown Mountain and Mount Fromme. Grouse Mountain is the one with the ski hill lights on it. The blue, teardrop shaped sculpture seen at the end of the building is another familiar thing to those visiting Vancouver – the raindrop!

vancouver convention center in the early evening as seen from canada place

Vancouver Convention Center and Coal Harbour (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   The Vancouver Convention Centre (formerly the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre) opened in 2009. I have often referred to Canada Place as the Trade and Convention Center but after 2009 it is also known as the Vancouver Convention Centre East Building. During the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics the East Building was the press building for the games. A wide variety of events and conferences are held at the main building – when I was there last week the Vancouver Ted Talks were about to start.

   As I walked along the seawall at Coal Harbour I took note of some other angles that looked interesting. You’ll see more photographs from this area soon, but I wanted to concentrate on the main Convention Centre for this particular post. The second photograph here was made from the side of Canada Place, which offers good views in most directions and is a great vantage point to view the newer building.

For more photos of Vancouver buildings visit my Cities and Buildings Gallery.

Little Qualicum River Fall Colors

Fall colours and fog along the Little Qualicum River in Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

fall colours and fog at the little qualicum river in little qualicum falls provincial park

Fall Colors at the Little Qualicum River (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   I made this photograph of the Little Qualicum River in 2012 during a trip to Vancouver Island near Qualicum Beach, British Columbia. It is always interesting to make a number of photographs from one location, pick a few for a blog post or to highlight on social media, and then find out that the public is drawn to an entirely different image. In the case of Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park – the above photo is the winner and the others I chose for my blog post about the area haven’t gained the same traction. I’ve sold this image multiple times and even the copyright infringers seem to love it over the other selections. At the time I made this photo I was drawn to the rocks around the river and the fall foliage (mostly Bigleaf Maples) together with the low cloud in the upper background. This scene is next to the bridge just above Upper Little Qualicum Falls, though I do believe there is now a fence that prevents exploring the area along the river.

For all of my photographs from this provincial Park take a look at my Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park Gallery.

Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park Farm Buildings

The fieldstone Root Cellar (built in 1901) – one of the historic farm buildings in Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.

root cellar built by richard maxwell at burgoyne bay provincial park on salt spring island

Richard Maxwell’s Root Cellar at Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Two weeks ago I arrived on British Columbia’s Salt Spring Island to visit friends and do a bit of photography. I had a few hours to spare before meeting anyone so I headed from Ganges towards Fulford Harbour with no specific destination in mind. I saw the sign for Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park and drove in to see what I would find. I had only done a small amount of research as to what I’d find on Salt Spring so this was really a random exploration kind of trip. Just as with Ruckle Provincial Park that I would explore the following day, much of Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park was used for farming before being turned into park land.

   Burgoyne Bay was named by a British Royal Navy surveyor after Commander Hugh Talbot Burgoyne who was an officer on the HMS Ganges, another name familiar to those who know Salt Spring Island. Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park is adjacent to Mount Maxwell Provincial Park, which was named after John Maxwell. Maxwell registered a claim in 1861 to a parcel of land near Burgoyne Bay and together with partner James Lunney established a cattle ranch in the area. The first photograph here shows a root cellar build by John Maxwell’s son, Richard, in 1901.

barrel-roof storage shed built by richard maxwell at burgoyne bay provincial park on salt spring island

Richard Maxwell’s Barrel-Roof Shed at Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Just down Burgoyne Bay Road (photo of both buildings) from the “Richard Maxwell Root Cellar” is the Barrel-Roof Shed which was also built by Richard Maxwell (between 1900 and 1910). A fieldstone and wood structure, this shed was used for storing larger farm equipment which explain the two large access doors at the front. This building and the root cellar are two of the only remaining buildings from the Maxwell era, the other buildings were built by subsequent owners of the farm area, most notably the Larsons who purchased it in the 1940’s. Much of the history of the park and Burgoyne area are outlined on the park page on the BC Parks website – click on the Burgoyne Bay Park Management Plan pdf link for that information.

sailboat in burgoyne bay at burgoyne bay provincial park on salt spring island

Sailboat at Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   With a name like Burgoyne Bay the photo above shows a bit more of what I was expecting when heading into the park. There were a number of boats moored at the dock at the end of the bay, with this sailboat being the only one in use at the time. The “Makai” sailed into the bay and I made this photograph as it left. The cliffs and forest you see in the background are on Vancouver Island near Duncan, BC.

fallen garry oak tree at burgoyne bay provincial park on salt spring island

Fallen Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) at Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   There are a number of trails that head through the farm fields and up Mount Maxwell that I plan to explore in the future. I am sure there are a number of features of the park that will be great photo subjects on a subsequent visit. One landmark of note that I did visit was the spot where two Garry Oaks (Quercus garryana) had previously grown together in a field next to Burgoyne Bay Road. In early 2016 these two trees fell over in opposite directions – and the trunks and branches have been left. As Salt Spring is not a particularly large island I figured these trees falling might be noteworthy enough to have made the local paper. Sure enough there was a mention of the demise of these trees in the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper.

For more photographs of the trees and farm buildings in the Burgoyne Valley visit my Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park Gallery.