A pair of Stream Violet (Viola gabella) flowers at Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.
Stream Violet Flowers (Viola gabella) at Golden Ears Park (Purchase)
I haven’t shared any wildflower photographs here in a while so I thought I’d post these Stream Violet flowers (Viola gabella) I came across a few weeks ago. Now that the spring rains are here I’ve not been out walking as much, so I took the opportunity on this day to get out and walk about 10km in Golden Ears Provincial Park. Along one of the trails near Gold Creek I saw these Stream Violets blooming but for some reason didn’t photograph them until I passed them again on the way back. I was mainly out for the exercise and to scout one location but I had my camera with me of course.
Stream Violet Flowers (Viola gabella) at Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)
Stream Violets and a few other species of yellow flowered Viola here in BC are a bit difficult to ID, but I think these are the correct species. The Stream Violets go by other names as well – Yellow Wood Violet and Pioneer Violet. These Violets tend to grow along streams or in moist areas in forests, which were the conditions I found them in along Gold Creek.
View of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and beyond – from Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
View of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Burnaby (Purchase)
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As with many of my better images these photos of a view of Vancouver were not really planned. I had a plan, but when that fell through (as they often do) I had to adjust (more on that later). This is the view of Vancouver from the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area near Simon Fraser University. I’ve been surprised both times I’ve photographed here that I have not seen other photographers (beyond those with cell phones) as the view is quite popular. When I went to school at SFU this was a busy area at sunset as people parked their cars to watch (and do other things) – and this was much the same last week when I was on Burnaby Mountain. Two separate people were even brought by their drivers, and had their own security. Why this area is popular is understandable as the view is spectacular on a nice day!
The panorama above shows many notable buildings and locations in and around Vancouver (best viewed in the larger “lightbox” version if you click on the smaller version above). On the left the blue lights are from BC Place and above the stadium you can see Mount Arrowsmith on Vancouver Island. Then we have the towers of the downtown area of the City of Vancouver and the Port of Vancouver structures next to Burrard Inlet. Beyond Vancouver you can see other areas of Vancouver Island (including the light of Nanaimo), and ships waiting to load/unload in English Bay. The darker area before you get to the Lions Gate Bridge is Stanley Park, and then you have the bridge itself, and the lights of the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver. In the foreground you have Capitol Hill in north Burnaby (I can see the house I lived in for a few years in this photo), and then the Burnaby Refinery (Parkland) next to Burrard Inlet.
View of Vancouver from Burnaby Mountain after sunset. (Purchase)
I had initially planned to photograph a few scenes in Port Moody (which I was able to do) and then photograph some blue hour photos of snow on the mountains to the north (Mount Seymour, etc). I didn’t expect a sunset due to cloud cover and I have had a few ideas for those photos for a few years. It became immediately clear that there was not a lot of snow on the mountains (visible) and that plan was going to have to be abandoned.
When I was editing these photos I was reflecting whether these images would have been possible for me to make maybe even 5 years ago. My camera at the time would have done a good job, but I’m not sure I’d have been able to get in the right position and more importantly, the right frame of mind, to make these photos. I used to over plan my photography days, and if I’d shown up here to make blue hour photos of mountains covered in snow (and not found those scenes) I might have still been stewing on this and unable to make the transition to shooting something else. You just can only shoot what is actually there, and even if that thing isn’t what you initially wanted or expected, there is almost always something else to photograph. Knowing more about what locations are nearby and what potential they have also helps! Even if you photograph nothing at a location, seeing what might be possible there in the future can help a lot.
For more of my photographs of Vancouver visit my Vancouver Gallery.
I photographed these lights on the White Rock Pier reflecting off the water of Boundary Bay back in October 2018. I had no idea this would be the last time I would photograph the pier while it was whole. On December 20th, 2018 this part of British Columbia had a historic (in terms of damage) windstorm that damaged the current pier so badly it will eventually be replaced. 300,000 customers lost power (my lights didn’t come on for 30 hours, and I was relatively lucky) and many areas had winds stronger than 100 km/hr (62 mph). The estimated cost of entirely replacing pier is around $16.2 million. The City of White Rock looks to be planning a $5 million fix to get the pier open later this year before replacing the structure entirely.
The White Rock Pier was opened on November 14, 1914. Since then it has become a tourist attraction and one of the main draws to the Marine Drive area of White Rock. I tend to avoid the very busy summer months but this first photograph here was on a quieter evening in the fall where the crowds weren’t an issue, though the pier was still busy. Unfortunately the photograph below shows what it looks like now. There is a large section in the middle of the pier that is completely gone, and there is a lot of damage to the rest of the 104 year old structure. A post I made in 2017 shows a bit more of the pier when it was still intact. Note the marina in the second to last photo on that post and specifically the dock with sailboats that broke free and repeatedly was driven into the pier which caused much of the damage. Some of those sailboats broke apart and sank, the rest washed up on the beach with varying levels of damage.
Destroyed section of the White Rock Pier
The photograph below shows one of the reasons the pier was popular, it offered not only a nice walk, but great views of the surrounding scenery such as Mount Baker. I photographed this scene in October 2018 during a poor sunset, but with good light to the east.
View of Mount Baker from the White Rock Pier (Purchase)
This next photograph is from early 2017 and shows the pier in better days just after a nice sunset. Photographed from the East Beach side of the Promenade looking west.
View of the White Rock Pier after sunset (Purchase)
This is the White Rock at White Rock Beach that gave the city its name. The White Rock is a 486-ton granite boulder that was left by a retreating glacier (glacial erratic). The rock was once used as a navigational aide for boats as it was a frequent target for seabird guano. Now it is covered in white paint and is a frequent target of graffiti instead.
The fall foliage of a Star Magnolia Tree (Magnolia stellata) at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Star Magnolia Tree (Magnolia stellata) at Queen Elizabeth Park (Purchase)
During many trips to the “big city” I make a stop at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver. QE Park is located not far outside the downtown core and is a great spot for fall leaves in the gardens. On this stop I was particularly interested in some of the Japanese Maples, the Gingko tree (Gingko biloba), and a specific Star Magnolia Tree. Queen Elizabeth Park is one of many locations where I had decreased how frequently I make a photograph while visiting as I’ve photographed many of the scenes before here. Now that I have a higher resolution camera, however, I do find myself re-shooting some of my favourite scenes just so I’ll have a few extra pixels should a print or licensing order need them. Plus, there is always room for improvement or slight changes to a composition.
The Star Magnolia tree above is one of my favourite things to photograph in Queen Elizabeth Park, and I was not disappointed with the fall foliage I found here in October. I’ve previously photographed the same tree, with similar compositions in early spring (flowering) and in the early fall. I’ve a few alternate compositions of the first photo in my Garden Plants gallery as well. Getting a winter photo with snow on the branches is going to be the tough one!
Fall leaves of a Gingko tree (Gingko biloba) at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver (Purchase)
The Star Magnolia was great but the Gingko tree was spectacular with the dark yellow leaves in the sunshine. There were very few people around the Magnolia as it isn’t quite in the main area of the quarry gardens, but the Gingko is well known, next to a waterfall, and is in the main loop around the gardens. This means some patience was required to photograph the waterfall below, and to a certain extent the photos of Bloedel Conservatory as well. As I was waiting for around 10 people to move on from underneath the Ginkgo, I backed up and made this composition looking up at the leaves. It kind of reminds me of the paintings people do by dabbing sponges into a canvas.
Fall foliage of a Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver (Purchase)
This photograph of the Bloedel Conservatory is a “iconic” view from one of the viewpoints at the west side of the quarry garden. I’ve photographed this scene on many occasions. My most popular photo of it is actually on a typical Vancouver day – grey and dreary. It was nice to finally photograph this location with blue skies and sunshine lighting up the fall leaves. Only the Maple trees denied me their full cooperation. Maybe next year!
The Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver (Purchase)
I’ve photographed this “waterfall” before (water is circulated by a pump) but it always looks best with some fall foliage around it. The Gingko provided some colour for this composition.
For more photographs of Queen Elizabeth Park and other garden scenes please visit my Garden gallery.
Once again it is time to post my favourite images from the past year. Choosing these images is always a good mental exercise, and I get a bit of a head start when I design my yearly calendar sometime in late October. I like sharing these image every year, and viewing everyone else’s lists as well. I also make this post so I can participate in Jim Goldstein’s annual Your Best Photos project. His collection of these posts is a great place to find new photographers you may not have seen before.
If you click on a photo you’ll be taken to my Image Archive. I’ve also linked to corresponding blog posts that contain these images if you want more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. There are a few images here that will have blog posts for them soon, but they aren’t finished yet. These photos aren’t in any specific order though I think the first one of with fall foliage around the road in Québec is my favourite overall.
I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites.
West Vancouver and the Ambleside Pier in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Evening at the Ambleside Pier in West Vancouver (Purchase)
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A few weeks ago I headed into Vancouver to see what fall foliage I could find. This was not a stellar year for foliage around Vancouver or in the Fraser Valley, at least not in the areas where I ventured. I found some good colour in Queen Elizabeth Park, but I have photographed there a lot before. I decided to go to areas that I hadn’t really visited often after that. After going through downtown I went to Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. I had only photographed this location once, and there were promises of a decent sunset and a few subjects I wanted to photograph again with my newer, higher resolution, camera.
I had seen photographs of the pier before, but didn’t realize how close it was to Ambleside Park – probably less than a 10 minute walk from where I’d parked. On the way to the pier I photographed a few things along the beach, ships in English Bay, and the Lions Gate Bridge. When arriving at the Ambleside Fishing Pier, much of the sunset was gone but it was perfect timing for a blue hour photograph of the pier and parts of West Vancouver to the north. I had to compose around a construction crane but otherwise things went as planned. Ambleside Pier itself is a nice spot to view the surrounding area, and is set up with a table and hose to cut bait for fishing or crab traps, and to clean one’s catch.
This second photograph of Ambleside Pier is from Ambleside Beach looking west. When I visited the pier there were several groups there fishing and crabbing. One of the crabbers was waiting to pull up their trap as there was a seal hanging out in the area and apparently it is adept at raiding the traps as they come to the surface!
For more photographs of this area visit my Gallery.
I have photographed the scenes I’ve found along the Lower Falls Trail on many occasions. The trail winds through the rainforest in Maple Ridge’s Golden Ears Provincial Park on the way to Lower Falls which I have also photographed many times. Lower Falls is the most popular photography spot along the Lower Falls Trail, but I think the view of the Golden Ears and Gold Creek near a bend in the creek is a close second. This first photograph here might show the third most popular spot – the “Dragon” log next to the trail. This log looks a bit like a dragon’s head, and I’ve heard many people refer to it as such. Normally there are also various rocks (like the pointed on in this photo on the end of the nose) that add to this look. There was a rock in the log for its eye when I passed the first time but it was gone when I came back and photographed it.
Vine Maples (Acer circinatum) along the Lower Falls Trail (Purchase)
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These overhanging Vine Maple trees (Acer circinatum) are a nice photography opportunity as well, and are the same Vine Maples you see in the first photo above of the dragon log. I did prefer the Lower Falls Trail more in the past when there was a natural trail here, and not crushed gravel, but at least the bears/cougars can hear you coming with the constant crunch crunch sound that walking makes!
Red Alders (Alnus rubra) along Gold Creek (Purchase)
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These last two scenes – Red Alders (Alnus rubra) and a view of Gold Creek with Mount Nutt in the background, are near the bend in the trail/creek I mentioned earlier. When I see scenes like this one with the Alder trees I do wish they would turn a nice color in the fall. Alder leaves, sadly, just sort of go brown and fall to the ground which doesn’t really lend itself to nice fall foliage photographs. I photographed these trees at the unnamed beach that is quite popular in the summer for swimming in (the probably cold) Gold Creek.
Gold Creek and Mount Nutt along Lower Falls Trail (Purchase)
The treehouse at Redwood Park in Surrey, BC was one of the spots I liked to visit with my parents when I was a kid. After a short walk through the woods the treehouse would appear and I always found it interesting to look at. The original treehouse (built in 1878) was constructed by Peter and David Brown, twin brothers who were given the land by their father. They planted many trees on the property instead of farming on it, and lived in the treehouse until their deaths in 1949 and 1958.
This, unfortunately, is not the same treehouse. The Surrey Parks page says this is a replica of the original treehouse that once stood here, but the sign next to it says it is a different design. Why they would erect a new treehouse that didn’t match the old one, if the old one was too rotten to repair, is not a decision I understand. However, this is still a nice park to walk through, and I still like the new treehouse. I’m sure that kids who are as old now as I was back when I first saw this are just as interested.
While the treehouse is the main attraction, there is also a grove of mature Sierra Redwoods (Sequoiadendron giganteum which is also known as the Giant sequoia) at Redwood Park. The Brown brothers filled the area with their favourite trees from around the world. Many of the trees here are labelled with signs bearing their common and latin names. There are a few of these species I plan on photographing this fall as well as many native Maples that look like they’ll be spectacular if the weather is right.
You can view more of my photos from the City of Surrey in my Surrey Gallery.