Random Photos Volume I

I thought I’d begin sharing more of my photos here that don’t have enough of a story to warrant a blog post all their own.

Fallen Leaves at Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park

When I stopped to photograph a roadside scene of some fall foliage along Dunlop Road in Québec’s Gatineau Park last fall I heard a small creek nearby. I walked down and made the photograph below of some fallen leaves and Fortune Creek. Still one of my favourite “small scenes” I photographed on that trip. You can see the rest of my photos from the park in the Gatineau Park Gallery.

fall fall leaves along fortune creek in gatineau park

Fallen Leaves along Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

Love in the Rain

Love in the Rain is a sculpture created by Bruce Voyce and is currently located at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The sculpture is for the attachment of “love locks” which couples can attach and then dispose of the keys in a nearby receptacle. Previously the locks were becoming a problem on fences and other structures in the city. When I first set up to photograph this composition there was someone sitting along on the bench, which I liked in contrast to the two “lovers” in the foreground. Then they got up and left. I wasn’t willing to sit on the bench myself for this as being 20 feet away with my back to my equipment was a bit risky in a reasonably busy park, so I didn’t. Maybe having the bench empty is a happier photograph anyway? More of my Vancouver photographs can be found in the Vancouver gallery.

love in the rain sculpture in Queen Elizabeth Park

Love in the Rain Sculpture in Queen Elizabeth Park (Purchase)

Mount Blandshard – “The Golden Ears”

At this point I have a lot of photographs of the Golden Ears (Mount Blandshard) from various locations. This is one I made from the banks of the Pitt River (in the Pitt Addington/Smohk’wa Marsh) during a cool stretch of weather in February.

golden ears from pitt meadows

The Golden Ears from Pitt Meadows (Purchase)

Grass Seed Head in the Snow.

There are occasions in winter where I am essentially snowed in – more than a foot of snow or so on the road can make it tough for me to get my car out of the driveway. This year with balding all season tires and that much snow, I didn’t even attempt this. So what to do? I went in the backyard and instead of photographing my usual Chickadee photos from the rose bushes, I went for this grass seed head poking up through the snow. A bit more minimal than subjects I usually photograph.

grass seed stalk poking up through snow

Grass Seed Head in the Snow (Purchase)

More photos like these can be found within the New Images Gallery in my Image Library.

A Tale of Two Great Egrets (Ardea alba)

A Great Egret (Ardea alba) catching a small fish in a marsh along St. Lawrence Lake in Ontario, Canada.

great egret ardea alba fishing in lake st. lawrence

Great Egret Hunting at Lake St. Lawrence in South Eastern Ontario (Purchase)

When I visited Ontario in October of last year I photographed this Great Egret (Ardea alba) searching for fish in a shallow area of Lake St. Lawrence. This area had a large number of Great Egrets foraging along the shores. They are very easy to spot in comparison to the other Heron species I am familiar with in British Columbia – the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). Great Egrets mainly eat fish, but will also ingest amphibians, small birds, small mammals, invertebrates, and insects. The Lake St. Lawrence area appears to be a migratory location for the Egrets – they do not commonly breed in that area.

This particular Great Egret has a small fish in its bill which is hard to see in the image above. I photographed this with a fairly fast shutter speed, and made a burst of photographs just as the Egret appeared to be about to strike at something in the water. The image above was the result, but I also pieced together a “video” of the sequence of images that you can find on Vimeo: A Great Egret (Ardea alba) Catching Fish.

great egret ardea alba hunting for earthworms in the fraser valley of british columbia

Great Egret Hunting for Earthworms in a Fraser Valley Field (Purchase)

The second photograph here also shows a Great Egret – but in a location far from Ontario. This is a field in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. The birding community was excited about this particular Egret. While not unheard of in this area, it is not a usual migration route or breeding area (especially in January). I drove by after buying some groceries to see what kind of circus it might be. Nobody was there, and the Egret was hunting in the field fairly close to the road. I stopped to take a look, and it was unbothered by my presence. So I drove home, got the camera and my longest lens and returned. Luckily the Egret was still there after coming back – how often does that happen?

A few people stopped to take a look at this Egret, but 2/3 stopped to ask me why myself and a lot of other people they’d seen (a bit of a circus on the weekend, apparently) were stopping. I’m not a birder really, and I tend to avoid the rare birds that people, uhm, flock to view. I avoided another species of rare bird in Abbotsford at around the same time to avoid adding to the stress it might potentially face with a lot of visitors in an area where it had little food available. This Egret was eating a lot of large earthworms in this field, in contrast, and so I suspect it was in a fairly good situation. It certainly seemed unbothered that I was photographing it only 16 meters (52 feet) away.

More of my Bird photos can be found in my Bird Photos Gallery.

Mount Cheam and Agassiz Farmland

A flowering Cherry or Plum tree along a dike next to the Fraser River in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada. Mount Cheam, Mount Archibald (right), and Hopyard Hill are in the background.

agassiz farmland and dike road near the fraser river with mount cheam

Mount Cheam and a Flowering Cherry Tree (or Plum) along a Fraser River Dike (Purchase)

A few years ago I found a new spot to photograph Mount Cheam in the farmland near Agassiz, BC. In the spring of 2018 I revisited the spot during the spring, in the hopes of photographing a different look to the surroundings and maybe more snow on Mount Cheam. The first photograph shows the view along a dike road next to the Fraser River to the west of Agassiz, with a flowering cherry or plum tree next to the farmland with Mount Cheam in the background.

It is pretty rare in this area to find a single tree not surrounded by other trees or bush so I made a photograph of this Maple in the farm field. When they aren’t challenged by other tree species in their immediate vicinity they seem to grow to be quite symmetrical. This does not appear to be a Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) but could be a Douglas Maple (Acer glabrum).

maple tree farm field agassiz

A Solitary Maple Tree in a Farm Field in Agassiz (Purchase)

After the afternoon photos above I scouted for some more photography locations in the area, and made a few photographs near the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge next to the Fraser River. I returned to my original location in the hopes of some good evening light on the mountains but it didn’t materialize. This photograph was made after the sun had fully set. When I was making this last photograph a small airplane flew overhead, but very low, probably only 150′ or so. It turned above my head, flew over the farmland to the north, then came back and flew very close to Hopyard Hill before it banked sharply and again followed the Fraser River heading upstream. I’d have a photograph, but this is not the sort of situation where I was able to change lenses and settings in the 30 seconds of availability of the subject! I’m mostly just happy it didn’t run into the hill, which from my perspective certainly looked possible!

fraser river and mount cheam agassiz evening

Mount Cheam and the Fraser River in Agassiz (Purchase)

For more photographs of the Agassiz area visit my Agassiz – District of Kent Gallery.

Crescent Beach Pier at Sunset

Tourists and locals watching the sunset (and mountains on Vancouver Island) from the pier at Crescent Beach in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

sunset at crescent beach pier

Taking in the Sunset at Crescent Beach Pier (Purchase)

I recently made an evening trip to Crescent Beach for some photography. I was already in the area and hadn’t photographed the Crescent Beach or Blackie Spit area in several years, and thought I’d check it out again to see what has changed and make a few photos if I could. Places like Crescent Beach are locations I tend to prefer in the “off season” – there is less of a crowd and it feels more like being out in nature than it does otherwise. On this evening, a rare, warm evening in early April, it was much more crowded than I’d anticipated but everything still went well (only a few “yahoos”). I rarely photograph a sunset directly, preferring how that light reflects off of other things, but this sunset worked fairly well with the pier. Crescent Beach’s pier is much smaller than the White Rock Pier but still gives a nice view of Boundary Bay, the North Shore Mountains, and even the mountains on Vancouver Island (which you can see in the background on the above photograph). I think this is the first time I’ve photographed the Crescent Beach Pier itself, though I do have a photo of reflected light underneath it from a few years ago.

learning to sail at crescent beach

Learning to Sail at Crescent Beach (Purchase)

I’ve often photographed the view of Burnaby’s Metrotown area towers from Blackie Spit. They tend to provide a nice background with the North Shore Mountains’ Lions just above. While I was standing under the pier a number of small sailboats from the Surrey Sailing Club passed by with what looked like sailing class. The people in this particular sailboat seemed to be practicing leaning on one side which I think is called “hiking”. This had their sail at a near 45° angle to the water, which was would have seemed strange in this photograph I think. It took them several minutes before they were mostly upright and I made this image.

blackie spit and the golden ears mountains

The Golden Ears and Boundary Bay from Blackie Spit (Purchase)

These last two photographs show my other favourite landscape subject from the Blackie Spit area – the Golden Ears Mountains (Mount Blandshard). The Belt of Venus/Earth’s Shadow was not overly strong on this particular evening, but provides enough color in the northeast sky to make things interesting. The photo above shows a low tide at Blackie Spit. While not evident in this photograph at many times of the year once can see a lot of shorebirds running around in the area. The photograph below shows the Golden Ears as seen from underneath the pier looking northeast after sunset.

sunset golden ears at crescent beach blackie spit

The Golden Ears from Crescent Beach at Sunset (Purchase)

For more photographs of Crescent Beach and other areas in Surrey, BC visit my City of Surrey Gallery.

Stream Violet (Viola gabella) Flowers in Golden Ears Park

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

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 flower viola gabella at golden ears park

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.

You can see more wildflower photographs in my Wildflower Gallery.

View of Vancouver and North Vancouver from Burnaby Mountain

View of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and beyond – from Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

view of the city of vancouver after sunset from above

View of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Burnaby (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

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 after sunset

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.

Iconic White Rock Pier Destroyed by Windstorm

Lights on the White Rock Pier reflected in the water of Boundary Bay in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada.

lights on the white rock pier at night

Lights on the White Rock Pier (Purchase)

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.

view of mount baker from white rock pier

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 white rock pier

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.

evening view of the white rock pier

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 white rock of white rock

The White Rock at White Rock Beach (Purchase)

For more photographs of the White Rock Pier and other scenes from the area visit my White Rock Gallery.

Fall Foliage at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park

The fall foliage of a Star Magnolia Tree (Magnolia stellata) at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

fall magnolia tree leaves at queen elizabeth park in vancouver

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!

yellow gingko leaves at queen elizabeth park in vancouver

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 magnolia foliage at queen elizabeth park in vancouver

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!

bloedel conservatory at queen elizabeth park

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.