Archive for the ‘Vancouver, Coast & Mountains’ Category

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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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)

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   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!

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.

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.