Archive for the ‘British Columbia’ Category

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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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.

Ruckle Farm Buildings at Ruckle Provincial Park

Panorama of Ruckle Farm and the Daniel Henry Ruckle house in Ruckle Provincial Park on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.

panorama of the ruckle active farm and buildings in ruckle provincial park on salt spring island

Ruckle Farmland and Daniel Henry Ruckle House in Ruckle Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   Last weekend I made my first photography trip to British Columbia’s Salt Spring Island. Salt Spring is the most populated of the Gulf Islands, and I’ll have the chance to explore it more often as some of my friends have moved there. Despite some rain I managed to get enough breaks in the weather to photograph these scenes at Ruckle Provincial Park. Salt Spring is new to me, and so photographing an entirely new place can be a bit more of a challenge as you don’t know where things are or what might be right around the corner (which is also a bit more exciting). I was mostly doing some exploration and scouting on this trip, but the stop at Ruckle Provincial Park was probably the highlight – and I came away with a few photographs too. The panorama above shows some of the still active farmland within the park as well as the farmhouse built by Daniel Henry Ruckle (Henry Ruckle’s son) starting in 1907. The Ruckle Farm has been in continuous use as farmland since Henry Ruckle began farming it in 1872. Ruckle Provincial Park itself was purchased from the Ruckle family in 1973 and established as a park in 1974. For a lot more information about Ruckle Park you can read the following file which I used as one of my sources for the dates and building names in this post: Ruckle Provincial Park Master Plan.

ruckle farm house daniel henry ruckle house ruckle provincial park on salt spring island

Daniel Henry Ruckle Farmhouse at Ruckle Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   Henry Ruckle first started to clear this land for farming in the early 1870’s – and much of it remains the way it was then (though a bit weathered). The first noteworthy building you pass near the entrance to the park is the Alfred Ruckle House built in 1906. Much of this part of the park is lined with no parking signs, so I stopped further down the road near the park headquarters building (a house built by William Norman Ruckle in the 1930’s) – parking by the farm stand. Walking back up the road I made these two photographs of the Alfred Ruckle house. While standing on the side of the road photographing I tried to wave down a passing minivan which had a rather flat rear tire, but he just stared at me as he went by. More about that guy later.

alfred ruckles farmhouse in Ruckle provincial park on salt spring island

Alfred Ruckle House at Ruckle Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   Alfred Ruckle house was built in the Queen Anne style which is certainly a little more stylish than the other wood frame homes (that I’ve seen so far) on Ruckle Farm. I’d like to have been closer to it for photography but it is not in the public area. The one farmhouse I did not photograph and that was the original home built by Henry Ruckle in the 1870’s which is still standing. I would have, and you can get close to it, but I simply didn’t know it was there at the time – despite being only a few hundred feet away. Next time I am on Salt Spring Island I intend to fix that oversight! The second photo of the Queen Anne house here also shows some of the split rail fencing that is common throughout the farm and on Salt Spring Island.

alfred ruckles queen ann style house farmhouse in Ruckle provincial park on salt spring island

Alfred Ruckle’s Farmhouse at Ruckle Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   This building *below) is known as “The Forge”. It is the oldest building at the Ruckle farm and was constructed in 1878. This location is only about 200 feet from Henry Ruckle’s original farmhouse, but for some reason I never looked in that direction and never saw it. While I was photographing the Forge (amidst some chickens scratching around in the grass) a man walked through on one of the trails with his dog. The dog, to it’s credit wasn’t at all excited about chickens and didn’t react much when he saw them so this wasn’t an issue. A park employee immediately came out of the nearby building and told him that he wasn’t allowed dogs in the area. I think this guy must have passed 20 signs in the park saying the same thing. I take it they have had a lot of problems with people’s dogs scaring and chasing the farm animals.

the forge the oldest farm building at ruckle provincial park farm on salt spring island

The Forge at Ruckle Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   After photographing the farm area I drove the short distance to Beaver Point and went for a short walk to a few viewpoints. Rain drove me back to my car but I noticed the minivan I mentioned earlier that had a flat. I put a note about it in a sandwich bag and walked over to the van but I heard a whirring noise as I got there. The owner was using a small pump to fill up his tire. I said he could probably get that repaired in Ganges but he said it was okay, he’d been doing this frequently since he left Quebec! I wouldn’t have the patience to pull over and pump up a tire all the way across Canada! That along with the dog thing makes me wonder about this guy’s decision making skills, if they exist at all!

For all of my photos of Ruckle Provincial Park please visit my Ruckle Provincial Park Gallery.

Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) Singing

A male Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) singing in a flowering Kanzan (or Kwanzan) Cherry tree during a spring day.

male spotted towhee in cherry blossoms tree

Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) Singing in a Flowering Cherry Tree (Purchase)

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   One of the more elusive bird species found in my backyard is the Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus). They are easy to find, and are around frequently, but are also rather shy and tend to forage on the ground, scratching beneath shrubs, trees, and vines. It seems that they are easier to photograph in the spring – perhaps building nests and finding mates requires a bit more boldness than usual. Both of these male Spotted Towhees were fairly easy to photograph as they sat higher up in the trees than they would normally be found. The first photo here shows a male singing (in the rain) up in a flowering cherry tree in full bloom (Kanzan or Kwanzan variety). The second Towhee is a bit more cautious and seems to be feeling a bit vulnerable in a relatively open area of the forest.

male spotted towhee

Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) looking cautious (Purchase)

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   When I was learning about local birds many years ago this Spotted Towhee species was referred to as the “Rufous sided Towhee”. The Spotted Towhee and the similar Eastern Towhee were once considered the same species (and probably were, long ago), but now are known to be separate. One male Spotted Towhee in my neighborhood seems to love to stand on window ledges and jump up and attack his reflection. This results in noise that causes the dog to bark, and the smearing of bird poop all over the windows. He has since expanded this behaviour to my car’s side view mirrors with similar, messy results. It could be worse though, my neighbor reports that one attacks their bedroom window at dawn (likely the same bird). At least he is letting me sleep!

For more of my bird photographs visit my Bird Photos Gallery.

Frozen Fraser River and the Golden Ears

Ice on the Fraser River with the Golden Ears Mountains in the background – photographed from Brae Island Regional Park in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

frozen ice fraser river winter golden ears langley british columbia

Ice on the Fraser River with the Golden Ears Mountains in the background (Purchase)

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   Winter is usually a fleeting concept for much of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. We get the odd snowfall, a few cold spells below zero, and it doesn’t always have a lot of impact (easy for me to say, usually working at home). Sometimes we have extended cold snaps with snow that lead to interesting conditions we don’t see all the time. In late December and early January we had almost a foot of snow on the ground and temperatures were getting down to -12°C at night, which is more winter than we are used to! I headed to the Fraser River in early January to see if I could get some good photographs of the ice on the river and the snow on the mountains – not conditions I get to see all that often.

   Brae Island Regional Park is a location I have photographed before for its good views of the Fraser and the mountains to the north. The best view is often from Tavistock Point though there are other northern facing spots as well. Unfortunately, most of those had fallen trees and brush from the winter storms blocking them. In the few spots I could get down to the water without going off the trail the river ice had ridden up the bank making venturing further a bit too risky not knowing if there was sand or water below. The above photograph was made at Tavistock Point after sunset. As this was facing north, there was only a slight “Belt of Venus” effect in the sky which isn’t really noticeable here. The approximately 2.5 km of trails to get to this point normally takes me about 25 minutes to walk, but as there was snow this trip took me about 50 minutes. Many people had walked the trails in the previous days since the last snowfall, and we had one above zero day in between, so the trail was sheer ice or very slippery. The frozen river conditions made this well worthwhile but if you have similar conditions and aren’t up to falling on your butt a number of times on the way I’d skip it for warmer days!

frozen ice fraser river winter golden ears langley british columbia

Golden Ears Reflections (Purchase)

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   The photograph above was made slightly earlier in the evening than the panorama. This was photographed near one of the spots I mentioned with fallen trees, but I was able to get near the water enough to make this photo, though I had to edit out a small tree branch I just couldn’t get out of the way. The frozen Fraser River was enough of a subject to keep me busy, though I do wish that I had been able to find more spots with mountain reflections in the water. The Golden Ears Mountains (Mount Blandshard) themselves are a great subject, and consist of McPhaden Peak, Edge Peak and Blandshard Peak. The mountain that is reflected in the Fraser on the right hand side (in the first photograph) is Mount Robbie Reid.

For more of my Panoramas please visit my Panoramas Gallery.

View of Glen Valley Farmland and the Fraser River

View of Glen Valley farmland, the Fraser River, and Coquitlam/Burnaby Mountain from Bradner Road in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.

panorama of glen valley farmland and the fraser river in langley abbotsford

View of Glen Valley Farmland in Langley and Abbotsford (Purchase)

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   This view of Glen Valley’s farmland is one that I had forgotten about for many years. I remember looking out the car window and seeing this view as a kid from the backseat of my parents’ car. On a rare, non rainy day last fall I remembered the viewpoint when I was nearby, and decided to drive up to Bradner Road to see if it was still there. I was happy to find it hadn’t been overgrown by trees and still offered good views of Glen Valley below. It wasn’t the clearest day but I think I will be back there in the spring to see if sunset offers any interesting light from this vantage point.

view of glen valley farms in abbotsford and langley

View of Glen Valley (Purchase)

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   One of the common crops farmed in Glen Valley are cranberries and blueberries. The bottom left of the above photograph shows one of the many partially flooded cranberry field after harvest. The fields are flooded in the fall so that the berries float to the surface (after a bit of a beating) for easy collection.

glen valley farmland and the fraser river

Glen Valley Farmland and the Fraser River (Purchase)

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   The third photo here shows Glen Valley, The Fraser River, Macmillan Island, Coquitlam, and Burnaby Mountain beyond. I was a bit surprised how far I could see from this elevation. The top of the Port Mann Bridge and many taller buildings in Surrey were also visible.

For more photos of Glen Valley and the surrounding region please visit my Fraser Valley Gallery.

Langley Bog in Derby Reach Regional Park

Langley Bog from the new viewing platform at Derby Reach Regional Park (Houston Trail) in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

langley bog viewing platform and the coast mountains from derby reach regional park

Langley Bog from Derby Reach Park Viewing Platform (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I went to the Langley Bog for the first time as there was a new viewing platform off of the Houston Trail in Derby Reach Regional Park. I had never walked on the Houston Trail but was aware of it and the bog (which is generally closed to the public) on my many drives past the trailhead. While the Langley Bog is a very interesting place biologically, I didn’t find all that much insight into that via the viewing platform (built by the Derby Reach Brae Island Parks Association). Granted, everything was frozen solid at the time and spring/summer may yield more wildlife viewing and other interesting things. This may be a good spot for birding in the future. I also hope that this is not the end of construction. Burns Bog has a lot of trails and boardwalks (via the Delta Nature Reserve) where you can walk, with relatively low disturbance of the bog itself. It would be nice if this kind of thing could be incorporated into Langley Bog in the future.

For more photos of the Langley area visit my Fraser Valley Gallery.