Archive for the ‘Vancouver, Coast & Mountains’ Category

Dark-eyed Junco Nest With Eggs

Dark-eyed Junco nest (Junco hyemalis) with eggs in a ground level nest in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada

dark eyed junco nest - junco hyemalis - eggs in a ground level nest

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) Eggs (Purchase)

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   In late April I was mowing the grass growing between the raised vegetable garden beds and discovered this Dark-eyed Junco nest, complete with eggs, on the ground underneath a small overhang. This is a common place for Juncos to place their nests, I’ve come across a few others on the ground in tall grass in previous years. I try not to disturb these junco nests when mowing, but I did flush out the female that was sitting on the it at the time. She did sit on the nest again about 5 minutes later, however. A week later I did take a look at the nest (from afar, at first) and the eggs were gone. We have a lot of Black Squirrels (invasive species) that love to snack on bird eggs, so that might have been the fate of this particular clutch. Crows are another likely candidate, though they are not the only other bird species that would look at these as lunch.

For more photographs of birds visit my Bird Photos Gallery.

My Top 10 Photos of 2016

   Once again it is time to post my 10 favourite photographs from the past year. I do this yearly as it is a worthwhile exercise, and to take part in Jim Goldstein’s annual Your Best Photos project. His collection of these posts is a great place to view photographs and find some new photographers to follow.

   I hope you enjoy my selections here and am curious to hear if you have a favourite. If you click on each photograph you’ll be taken to my Image Archive. Many of these photographs have corresponding blog posts that I’ve linked to underneath the thumbnails here. These aren’t in any specific order, but I did place the photograph “Rainbow over Hatzic Lake” at the beginning as I think this is the first time I’ve photographed a rainbow (successfully at least) outside of my backyard. I was also shielding the camera from a rainstorm with my body, so the photo deserves extra points for that. 😉

Here are my top 10 photos of 2016:

rainbow over hatzic lake in the fall
Rainbow over Hatzic Lake

(Mission, British Columbia)
Blog post: Rainbow over Hatzic Lake

top 10 photos - sailboat in the salish sea in british columbia
Sailboat in the Salish Sea

(Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver, British Columbia)
Blog post: Sunset at Juniper Point in Lighthouse Park
(more…)

2017 Nature Calendar Now Available!

cover for 2017 nature calendar - hatzic lake rainbow

2017 Calendar Cover – Rainbow over Hatzic Lake and Hatzic Island

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   My 2017 Nature Calendars are now available! I have put together some of my favourite recent photographs into a 11″x17″ (28cm x 43cm) calendar. Included are 12 photographs of landscape and nature scenes from British Columbia and Washington State. Most of these photographs were made in 2016, though a few are from earlier years but previously unpublished in my calendars.

30% OFF! Use the code 10THDAY20 (case sensitive) for 30% OFF at checkout through Dec 16, 2016.

You can view a full preview and purchase this calendar through the button below:

Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park

The Coquihalla River and the Othello Tunnels at Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park in Hope, British Columbia, Canada.

bridge over the coquihalla river and othello tunnels at coquihalla canyon provincial park

Bridge over the Coquihalla River at Othello Tunnels (Purchase)

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   Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park sits in the Coquihalla Gorge very near to Hope, British Columbia, Canada. I hadn’t visited this park since 2012, which might have been the most recent year of truly great fall colour in this part of BC. During that visit I didn’t walk all the way to the Othello Tunnels and instead headed to Silver Lake (which, considering the fall foliage there was a good choice). In early October I was at Coquihalla Canyon again and decided to photograph the tunnels, bridges and the river. There wasn’t much in the way of fall foliage this time around, but many of the compositions available for the river, bridges and tunnels don’t have much fall foliage potential anyway.

othello tunnels in coquihalla canyon

The Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon (Purchase)

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   Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park’s main trail follows the old CPR Kettle Valley Railway route through the Coquihalla Gorge which earlier linked Hope to the Thompson Okanagan as far as Midway, BC. The 5 tunnels in the park are collectively known as the Othello Tunnels (or the Othello-Quintette Tunnels) and were constructed in 1914. It seems the engineer for these bridges and tunnels was a Shakespeare fan – other stations in the area had names such as Portia, Iago, and Romeo & Juliet.

smooth rocks in the coquihalla river in coquihalla canyon

Smooth Rocks in the Coquihalla River (Purchase)

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   I always bring a flashlight to navigate these tunnels. One especially is fairly long and has a point where you can’t see much light from either end. It is easy enough to navigate without one, but I prefer to avoid the water filled potholes that form from the groundwater dripping through the tunnel ceilings. Falling down with my camera equipment in the dark isn’t usually high on my todo list. This time I ticked off some other visitors as they thought a flashlight was rude. I guess they wanted to fall down in the dark?

othello tunnels in coquihalla canyon

The Othello/Quinette Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon (Purchase)

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   The bridges and tunnels aren’t the only attractions here, the Coquihalla River and the gorge walls are visible much of the time while walking through the park. There are interesting shapes in rocks worn smooth by the flow of the river and the canyon walls themselves are interesting. The panorama below shows one of these spots just before one of the tunnels. The canyon walls can be as much as 300 feet high, so there are always interesting rock formations to look at.

coquihalla river in coquihalla canyon

The Coquihalla River in Coquihalla Canyon (Purchase)

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For more of my photographs from British Columbia’s Provincial parks please visit my BC Provincial Parks Collection.

Rainbow over Hatzic Lake

A rainbow over Hatzic Lake and Hatzic Island near Mission, British Columbia, Canada. Photographed from Neilson Regional Park in Mission.

rainbow over hatzic lake in the fraser valley of british columbia

Rainbow over Hatzic Lake and Hatzic Island (Purchase)

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   This fall has been really wet. This October we’ve had 28 days with rain (26 was the old record) – the dreariest on record. While it is “only” the 12th wettest by volume, the frequency has made it difficult to photograph what fall foliage colours there are out there right now. This year doesn’t appear to have been an overall great year for color in the Fraser Valley anyway. Just as with photographing wildflowers, however, it just takes one good spot – you don’t need a whole forest. So even when the conditions aren’t great or the fall foliage is more of a rotten brown colour, it is always worth it to get out and look for individual trees/shrubs with a better display.

   On Tuesday I drove through the farmland in the northern part of Abbotsford to see if I could find some new farm scenes with fall foliage. I found a few new locations, but one I had been planning to shoot was a movie set on that day. This blocked me from trying to shoot there – the movie set people don’t exactly like people hanging around with a camera and tripod! I eventually crossed over the Abbotsford-Mission Bridge and found my way to Neilson Regional Park in Mission. I haven’t been to this park in probably 25 years, so I was curious if anything would feel familiar about it. I recalled walking down to the shoreline with my parents and seeing schools of carp (or a similar species) near the shore. On Tuesday I found only a brief rainstorm (and no fish), but some direct sunlight gave me the opportunity to photograph this rainbow in rather scenic surroundings. Hatzic Lake is in the foreground here, and some of the fall foliage on Hatzic Island provided some nice colours. The mountain in the background is Mcnab Peak (I believe). I think this is the first rainbow I have photographed while not standing in my backyard. I’ve seen many, but often not in a photogenic location. Happy to have been at Hatzic Lake for the 10 or so minutes this one was in view!

For more of my photographs of this area visit my Fraser Valley Gallery.

View of Downtown Vancouver from North Van

Downtown Vancouver’s buildings at sunset as photographed from the Burrard Dry Dock Pier (near Londsdale Quay) in North Vancouver, British Columbia Canada.

downtown vancouver at sunset photographed from North Vancouver

Sunset Behind Downtown Vancouver (Purchase)

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   While I consider myself a landscape and nature photographer I do enjoy photographing almost anything – including cityscapes. I have photographed several panoramas of downtown Vancouver in the past, though most of these have been from various vantage points in Stanley Park and some from Kits Beach. I have been wanting to do the same from North Vancouver’s perspective and had the opportunity to do so a few weeks ago.

   I had spent the day photographing around North Vancouver in areas such as Maple Flats, Cates Park, and Deep Cove. When the light was running out at Deep Cove I determined that this would be a good chance to shoot the sunset and downtown Vancouver from somewhere in North Van. I had previously tried this at the dog park near the automall, but there always seems to be a large amount of barges and boats blocking the view from there. I’d heard that near Londsdale Quay would be a better spot, so I headed there from Deep Cove. There has been a lot of changes in that area since I was last there, so I had to find my way to various viewpoints in new ways. I wound up on the Burrard Dry Dock Pier (just east of Londsdale Quay) which offers a great view of downtown Vancouver. I was able to make some good photographs here including the one above. While I had to dodge the Seabus and a few other boats moving through the foreground (and their wakes) this turned out to be a great location to view Vancouver.

For more photographs of downtown Vancouver visit my Cities and Buildings Gallery.

Hope Mountain Sunset from Silver Lake Park

The last direct sunset light reflects off of Hope Mountain at Silver Lake Provincial Park in Hope, British Columbia, Canada.

hope mountain from silver lake at sunset

Sunset on Hope Mountain from Silver Lake (Purchase)

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   Silver Lake Provincial Park is one of my favourite provincial parks in British Columbia. Whenever I drive through Hope, BC I usually stop here even if I don’t plan to photograph anything. A few weeks ago I was checking out some other locations near Hope and ended the day at Silver Lake. I have photographed Silver Lake quite often, so much so that “new” takes on the subjects there are somewhat hard to come by.

   The first idea I had for something different was to explore the view looking west towards the lake from Silver Skagit Road. From that perspective, Mount Stoneman and Silver Peak both make a nice backdrop to the lake. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of logging between the borders of Silver Lake Provincial Park and Mount Stoneman, and that angle is no longer all that photogenic. The view towards Silver Peak is clear of logging, but the light conditions I had at the time were not conducive to photography. This was still useful information though, I know what conditions I’ll want before I drive up that side of the lake again. So that option for “new” photography exhausted I headed toward the day use area parking lot at Silver Lake, but hoped to hike down a new trail to get a new angle on things.

   The photograph above shows the view of Hope Mountain from the south end of Silver Lake. There were near perfect reflections on the lake (as usual) but I opted for this composition as I wanted to show some of the foliage around the shoreline. Many of the trees at this end of the lake are Red Alder (Alnus rubra) but these foreground horsetails are more interesting. There are many patches of these Swamp (aka Water) Horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) in Silver Lake – especially near the boat launch and the south end of the lake. While most of my previous photographs have been made between the day use area and the boat launch, this area is about 500 meters (1640 feet) south of there along the lakeside trail. The trail continues off into the bush from there, but I was running out of light and had no idea where the trail ended up so I will have to explore that another day.

large rock and forest reflected in silver lake

Forest Reflections in Silver Lake (Purchase)

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   The second photograph here shows the usual reflections you can see at Silver Lake. This time it isn’t Hope Mountain I’ve chosen, but the forest at the northern end of the lake and a large boulder on the shoreline. I photographed this from the Silver Skagit Road near the outflow of Silverhope creek from Silver Lake. You can see some more of that Swamp Horsetail at the right of the boulder.

For more photos from this location please visit my Silver Lake Provincial Park gallery.

Winter at Crescent Beach and Blackie Spit

The tidal marsh at Crescent Beach (Blackie Spit) with the skyline of Burnaby and the North Shore Mountains in the background.

skyline of burnaby behind blackie spit and boundary bay from crescent beach

Burnaby Skyline in Winter from Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   New Years Day 2016 was rather chilly at about 1°C, but was a clear and sunny day so I thought it was a good opportunity to photograph Crescent Beach in a different season than I had before. I also assumed that since it was rather cold there would not be many people out on the trails and the paths near the beach. I was very wrong, it was more crowded than I’d normally seen it. I couldn’t argue with the conditions though, I had some nice light at sunset and earlier when I was photographing the shorebirds at Crescent Beach along with this skyline photograph of Burnaby from Blackie Spit. I’ve photographed this view of Burnaby, BC before, but it takes on an extra dimension at sunset with some snow on the mountains. I would like to photograph the tide marsh at Blackie Spit during high tide as well, but found during an earlier day that my favourite vantage point is not accessible at high tide! I do like how the foreground works here without water, and again with the photo of Mount Blandshard below. In the first photo above the mountains are (L to R) Mount Strachan, Unnecessary Mountain, The Lions, Brunswick Mountain, Cobug Peak, Beauty Peak, Dam Mountain, Goat Mountain and Mount Fromme. The ski area on the right is Grouse Mountain.

boulders in the green waters of gold creek at golden ears provincial park

Silhouetted Tree Branches at Blackie Spit (Purchase)

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   One of my favourite spots at Crescent Beach is the Blackie Spit Wildlife Refuge Area. At the entrance to this area there is a sign asking people to keep their dogs out and away from the wildlife. I find that there are often a lot less people in this part of the park. While I was photographing there on New Years Day my main landscape lens died and I started looking for scenes suitable for other lenses. This silhouette from a maze of tree branches stood out, and I made this photograph with my longer 70-200mm lens. Photographs are often stronger when they isolate the most interesting part of a scene, but in this case everything was so chaotic I made a photograph illustrating that apparent disorder. I’ve actually made a number of photographs purposefully of seemingly chaotic scenes, I should make those into a series one day after a shoot some more of them.

belt of venus golden ears from crescent beach

The Golden Ears after sunset at Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   This photograph looks northeast from Blackie Spit over the tidal flats, the mouth of the Nicomekl River, and towards Mount Blandshard (the Golden Ears Mountains) and Mount Robbie Reid. I have usually seen the most pronounced Belt of Venus (Earth’s Shadow) effect while up in the mountains, but on this evening the blue to purple band was quite distinct at sea level. I had to make this photograph a number of times to avoid all the flying Canada Geese flocks taking off in the evening. I made another photograph with these Canada Geese in the photograph later on, though I had to experiment with shutter speeds to get the right amount of blur (while keeping them discernible as birds).

waves at crescent beach sunset

Waves at Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   As I was walking back to my car I noticed the waves from a passing boat created these fairly evenly space waves on the shore at Blackie Spit. The pilings here are the remains of the Crescent Oyster Company buildings which were built on pilings above the water. The Crescent Oyster Company was bought by a competitor in 1957 after which the buildings were removed, but these pilings remain.

For more photographs of Crescent Beach visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.