Random Photos Volume III

Another quick round of random photos that I wanted to share but don’t quite fit into other blog posts.

Towering Cumulus from Steveston Harbour

towering cumulus clouds drift across the sky above Steveston harbour

Towering Cumulus clouds drift across the evening sky over fishing boats in Steveston Harbour (Purchase)

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Last fall when I visited a few parks in Richmond, BC I ended the day at Steveston Harbour and Garry Point Park. I liked the shapes these Towering Cumulus clouds were making in the background and I thought this phenomenon might have a specific name. It turns out, after asking on Twitter, that these are Towering Cumulus clouds which would normally be mostly vertical, but as there were stronger winds at lower elevations, the bottom sections were blown to the left. An interesting formation, and one I wouldn’t know about if a meteorologist hadn’t answered my question!

Ice on the Fraser River

ice along the fraser river in glen valley

Ice along the Fraser River in Glen Valley (Purchase)

This was not a particularly harsh winter in the Fraser Valley, but we did have a cold stretch that lasted long enough for some ice to come down the Fraser River from colder areas in the interior. Some ice formed along the shore of the river, but there were also chunks floating down from upstream. This spot is at Glen Valley in Abbotsford, BC, and shows the east end of Crescent Island and the ice buildup there. Not that common an occurrence so I do try to get out and photograph it when possible. The mountain showing through the clouds in the background made the photograph worthwhile IMO, or I might have gone for a longer lens and focused just on the ice.

Reflections at Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park

fall foliage reflections at deer lake in sasquatch provincial park

Alder trunks reflecting on the surface of Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park (Purchase)

I have photographed this location (The Point) at Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park (one of my favourite park names) on a few occasions. Strangely I’ve twice had some serious colour issues when processing images from this location. I wrestled with a few of the photos from this evening for a while, but ultimately sent two of them to my friend Alex Kunz who showed how he would develop/process them. Naturally, two photographers will probably never be in complete agreement on what to edit in a photo due to monitor calibration choices, how we individually see colour, choices that are simply a matter of taste, etc. Seeing how others would approach a problem is often useful though, and I did manage to see how Alex works with some of the tools in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)/LR which may influence how I process a few things in the future. ACR has more and more capabilities with recent updates and I need to investigate those more often to see how they rank against the methods I’ve been using in Photoshop. I’ve moved more and more processing to ACR recently including stitching panoramas, graduated neutral density filters, and some colour tweaks as ACR has better results, or is easier to use, than the Photoshop equivalent.

As for the photograph itself, I’m clearly a sucker for reflections. While these Red Alder (Alnus rubra) trees don’t show a lot of fall foliage character, their partially white trunks work well in a reflection. Some of the grasses and shoreline shrubs offer a bit of colour which still gives it an autumn feel.

Alder Trees at Katzie Marsh

sunlight on alder tree branches in pitt meadows

Sunlight touches the moss and lichen covered branches of Red Alder at Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

During a visit to Pitt Lake and the Katzie Marsh in Pitt Meadows, BC a few years ago I made this photograph of the sunlight lighting up a few branches on these Red Alder (A. rubra) trees. As the photograph above shows, Red Alder don’t really do anything interesting in the fall, and are a somewhat generic green deciduous tree during spring and summer. Their bark, however, does have some interesting patterns on it in the winter and in this location had a lot of moss and lichen that adds to the character of the branches.

More of my newer images can be found in my New Images Gallery.

A few Random Photos from Stanley Park in Vancouver

Fall foliage colors on Maple trees along the Stanley Park Seawall at the west end of Coal Harbour.

fall leaves on the stanley park seawall coal harbour vancouver

Fall Foliage along the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver (Purchase)

Last Fall I made several trips into Burnaby and Vancouver to photograph various areas – and twice I wound up at Vancouver’s Stanley Park as my late afternoon/evening destination. Fall foliage in 2020 was hit and miss, and in some areas just plain bad. In this part of Vancouver, however, it was pretty decent in many places. Stanley Park is always a good spot to look for fall foliage, and even if there isn’t any, I never dislike an evening spent there. Even in the rain! After a walk around Lost Lagoon and a few other park areas, I headed further towards downtown to Devonian Harbour Park and made this photograph of a few people walking along the Seawall with some good fall leaves as a backdrop. This location is next to the Vancouver Rowing Club building at the west end of Coal Harbour.

lights on canada place in vancouver

Colourful lights on the sails of Canada Place (Purchase)

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I have photographed Canada Place many times, but not always at a higher resolution, so I made the above photograph and a few others to change that. Zoomed in at 100% you can’t tell the title of a book someone on one of the benches is reading, but you can tell what colour the cover is! I was going to make some panoramas including Canada Place and the Trade and Convention Centre next door, but the pandemic thwarted those plans. Not only are there not conventions going on at the moment, but some floors of the newer Convention Centre space are still reserved for a makeshift hospital should the pandemic overwhelm local hospitals (which has not happened, luckily). As a consequence all the lights on many of its floors are off. It just doesn’t look great in the evening with the lights off, so I skipped it entirely. Canada Place is my favourite anyway, and I like this colour scheme of lights on the “sails”. Sometimes I don’t like the colours used here, and really do prefer the light projections they had back in 2012. Not sure how often these are changed, but I liked the 2020 version.

Lost Lagoon

sunset light trees along shoreline lost lagoon

Evening light on trees along the shore of Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Purchase)

I have visited Lost Lagoon many times in Stanley Park, but had never walked all the way around it. I fixed that in October and walked the entire loop. There was not much left in the way of fall leaves, but I did like the scene above in the way that the light lit up the edges of the trees (mostly Red Alder, here) even without their leaves. I didn’t photograph the waterfowl around the lagoon much at all, as I knew I had a lot of those kinds of photographs from my earlier trips to Burnaby Lake Regional Park. I did photograph the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) below on the walk though. This one seemed to be having a bit of a dispute with the passing Wood Ducks who swam really close on their way by. This Heron was opening up its beak and making a lot of squawking noises to tell them to keep their distance (I presume). Songbirds they are not!

great blue heron at lost lagoon at stanley park in vancouver

A Mildly Irked Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park (Purchase)

Brockton Point Lighthouse

sunset lights up sky behind the brockton point lighthouse

Sunset Lights Up The Sky Behind the Brockton Point Lighthouse (Purchase)

I enjoy sunset light and while I don’t often sit around and wait for it, I am always happy to use it when available. When I stopped at Brockton Point in Stanley Park to photograph the Brockton Point Lighthouse and various subjects in North Vancouver, I got lucky with some high cloud that turned a nice pink colour. The Brockton Point Lighthouse was built in 1914 and sits along the northeast part of the Stanley Park seawall. The area gives nice views of Burrard Inlet, North Vancouver, the Lions Gate Bridge, as well as downtown and the Port of Vancouver. A bit later in the evening I made this panorama of the view of North Vancouver with Mount Seymour behind it. There are a lot of new towers and construction since I last photographed North Van from across the inlet, but the shipping traffic is omnipresent. While I’d prefer they weren’t in the photograph, I included the large bulk carrier Federal Illinois on the right as that kind of ship is a very frequent presence on the water there. I plan on making this photograph again when I am able to get back to Stanley Park while there is some snow on the mountains.

north vancouver and mount seymour from brockton point in stanley park

North Vancouver and Mount Seymour from Brockton Point in Stanley Park (Purchase)

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Lumberman’s Arch

lumbermans arch at stanley park

Lumberman’s Arch and a path through a double row of London Plane Trees (Platanus x acerifolia) (Purchase)

Originally this area was a village site called Xwáýxway before the Federal Government “claimed it” as their own. The Lumberman’s Arch above was erected in 1952, replacing an older arch called the Bowie Arch which was dismantled in 1947. The gravel path in this photograph winds south through the Lumberman’s Arch picnic area, past the Aquarium (behind the green fence on the left) to the Japanese Canadian War Memorial and beyond. The trees lining this path are called London Plane Trees (Platanus x acerifolia) and this appears to be the only spot they are planted in Stanley Park.

When I was in this same area a week later I photographed the Lions Gate Bridge from the Stanley Park Seawall. I’ve always liked this bridge at night with the reflection off the water of Burrard Inlet and the lights of West Vancouver beyond. This is a scene that I often shoot as a panorama as it fits the shape of the bridge well, and it eliminates a distracting, lighter coloured sky above that can happen during sunsets. There is no sky in the photograph below. The Lions Gate Bridge was opened in 1938 and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2005. The official name of the bridge is actually the First Narrow Bridge, though I rarely hear it actually called that.

lions gate bridge at night from stanley park

Lights illuminate the Lions Gate Bridge and the waters of Burrard Inlet at night (Purchase)

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Painter’s Circle

fall foliage and benches at painters circle in stanley park

Fall Foliage at Painter’s Circle in Stanley Park (Purchase)

Painter’s Circle is one of the areas in Stanley Park where artists (but not photographers) can sell their work with a permit. I liked these 3 park benches in Painter’s Circle lined up with the fall leaves behind them and made this photograph. I am not sure what species of trees these are, and normally that would really bother me but since so many different, non-native species are planted in Stanley Park this isn’t unusual. In some cases I can find mention of them such as the London Plane trees near the Lumbermans’ Arch above, but this is a bit more of an obscure location. These look to be much younger trees and perhaps do not have as well a documented history. I should have tried the app Seek by iNaturalist on them but I didn’t remember to do so at the time. Sometimes I’ll take a closeup of leaves on a plant I can’t identify and that app will ID right off the computer screen too. Even if it doesn’t know the species it quite often points me in the right direction. Really useful app!

More photos from Stanley Park can be found in my Stanley Park Gallery.

Devon Falls at Bassani Park in Abbotsford British Columbia

Devon Falls on the slopes of Sumas Mountain at Bassani Park in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.

Updated: I revisited Devon Falls twice since I originally made this post and have an update below.

devon falls in bassani park, abbotsford british columbia

Devon Falls in Abbotsford, British Columbia (Purchase)

Despite going to University for 3 years in Abbotsford, and driving past this location many times, I had no idea until earlier this year that Devon Falls existed. Upon learning this interesting waterfall was there, I went out and photographed the falls a few weeks ago on my way to a few other locations. It seems to be a waterfall that always has a relatively low level of water in it, but the surrounding erosion created by the different kinds of rock in the area (mostly comprised of feldspar, quartz, and sandstone) make it an interesting location. The soft sandstone has eroded and created the multiple tiers of this waterfall and the almost cave like areas behind it.

This waterfall on the slopes of Sumas Mountain was named Devon Falls in 2010 after the death of Devon Clifford. Devon was a 30 year old Abbotsford musician who died during a performance in Vancouver earlier that year. The falls were a favourite spot of his to visit.

Update: Since the fall are so easy to see, I’ve been there twice since I first wrote the above post. The next visit was in late October where I was hoping for a bit of fall foliage at the falls. There was just a small amount of foliage, but it was accompanied by a very small volume of water flowing down the falls. If I’d added a garden hose or two I probably could have doubled the flow! The water doesn’t really even show in the photographs, so it seems unless the fall has already been wet, this might not be a good viewing time!

devon falls in winter at bassani park, abbotsford british columbia

Devon Falls with high water flow (Purchase)

The next time I visited Devon Falls was in mid-December after a series of rain storms. There was much much more water flowing this time, and it made for an even more striking waterfall photo than the first photograph here. It was a dark and dreary day, which was perfect for a waterfall photograph! I’m not sure if this is a near peak flow for this falls, but I’ll probably check it out again later in the winter to find out. I did notice the addition of the large tree trunk that has fallen down into the ravine. I’m not sure if this was the natural result of gravity, or was helped by teenage shenanigans, but I can’t say it is a welcome addition to the scene!

For more photographs of the area visit my Abbotsford Gallery.

Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park Part 1

Burnaby’s skyline of apartment, commercial, and condo towers above Deer Lake Park on an early fall day.

burnaby skyline above deer lake park

Burnaby’s Skyline above Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

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A few months ago I came across an online photograph of Deer Lake Park and realized it looked like a good destination for photographs. Despite living in Burnaby (north Burnaby) years ago I’d not visited there recreationally. I did visit on a cold fall Saturday morning when I was in University for a field trip of sorts learning to use various underwater instruments from canoes. I mostly remember that day for the moment where I threatened the grad student TA with an oar if he wasn’t going to keep his butt in the center of our canoe after multiple suggestions/warnings. He complied.

On three occasions this past October I visited Deer Lake Park in Burnaby to see what photographs I could make. I planned out a few things on the various maps of the many trails in the area, but ultimately Covid-19 restrictions chose my route for me – the majority of the trails are now one way. So I started at the boat launch area parking lot, and walked clockwise around the lake, with one added loop at the west end. The trail starts along a small street passing a few lakeside houses (including the Baldwin House shown below) before moving to a smaller gravel trail heading west. This was a nice walk, and ultimately I completed about 7km of trails including the main loop. I enjoyed exploring around the lake and eventually stopped at the area where Deer Lake Brook flows out of the northeast corner of Deer Lake where it continues on into Burnaby Lake. The area I photographed below is fenced off as it is a recovering ecological area – I’m sure people trample the stream bank otherwise.

deer lake brook in deer lake park burnaby

Deer Lake Brook in Deer Lake Park (Purchase)

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The photograph below shows the “Baldwin House” on the south shore of the lake. The Baldwin House was built in 1965 for Dr. William and Ruth Baldwin and was designed by renowned architect Arthur Erickson. Most around Vancouver will know Arthur Erickson as the designer (along with Geoff Massey) of Simon Fraser University. The Baldwin House is valued as an example of Burnaby’s post WWII modern heritage, progressive architectural style, and was added to the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Arthur Ericksons Baldwin house on the shore of deer lake park

Baldwin House (designed by Arthur Erickson) on the shore of Deer Lake in Burnaby (Purchase)

On my third October visit to the park I photographed this scene looking down towards Deer Lake. I was photographing the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (photo below), the Burnaby Art Gallery (Ceperly House) and the Century Gardens – and liked the sunny and colourful view down the path towards the lake. When the surrounding Maples really light up in a good year for fall foliage I’ll hopefully be visiting and be able to make more photographs of the area.

autumn leaves over a path down to the lake at deer lake park

Fall Leaves over a path down to Deer Lake (Purchase)

The last photograph here shows the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts at Deer Lake Park. The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts is a popular venue for live performances, art programs, community events, and festivals.

shadbolt centre for the arts at burnabys deer lake park

The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts at Deer Lake Park in Burnaby (Purchase)

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Part II of my blog posts from Deer Lake can be found here: Burnaby’s Deer Lake Park Part 2 – Ceperley House and Century Gardens.

2021 Nature Calendar Now Available!

My 2021 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, wildlife, and nature scenes from British Columbia. As the purchase website no longer has a preview available, take a look at the index below for a small preview of the images contained in the calendar.

30% OFF! Use the code BFCM30 (case sensitive) for 30% OFF at checkout through November 30th.

cover for 2021 british columbia nature calendar

2021 Nature Calendar Cover – Juvenile Barred Owls

index for 2021 british columbia nature calendar

2021 Calendar Index

Golden Ears (Mount Blanshard) From Maple Ridge and Langley

The Golden Ears (Mount Blanshard) and Derby Reach Regional Park at Meunch Bar in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

sunset at derby reach park with the golden ears mountains

Golden Ears and sunset light at Derby Reach Regional Park (Purchase)

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This spring hasn’t been a time where I’ve managed to make a lot of photographs. Due to the pandemic situation I’ve been staying home, and the few times I’ve gone to a local park it has been without my camera. Earlier in the year, however, I did manage to get a few of my desired locations/subjects photographed (it’s a very long list). The three most interesting visits were to Golden Ears Provincial Park, Pitt Lake, Derby Reach Regional Park. One thing all 3 locations have in common is they have great views of different angles of the Golden Ears Mountains (Mount Blanshard). The Golden Ears are one of my favourite mountains – and one I grew up looking at outside my bedroom window. So I thought I’d make a post here with a number of Golden Ears photographs made recently.

The first panorama of the Golden Ears above shows some sunset light shining on the trees in the foreground at Derby Reach Regional Park. I’d walked these trails for the first time the previous year and thought this might be a good location to photograph the mountain with some snow on it. I had been hoping for some sunset glow on the mountain followed by blue hour. I didn’t get that glow, but the sunset did light up the trees in the foreground quite nicely at an area of the park called Meunch Bar. The photograph below shows the same location after sunset. The nesting boxes in the foreground are mostly utilized by swallows I believe, but I haven’t confirmed that yet this spring.

golden ears and derby reach regional park in early evening

Early Evening light at Derby Reach Regional Park (Purchase)

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The next photograph below shows a perspective on the Golden Ears that I have photographed in the past. Actually, I made this photograph as an alternative to another panorama I shot in the same spot – one that I sold a rather large canvas of in early March. The client and I had gone through a few potential images before deciding and I wanted to throw a few more possibilities (at higher resolution too) for the next client. The is the view of the mountain from the farmland areas on the way north to Pitt Lake.

golden ears blanshard peak blue hour panorama

The Golden Ears Mountains – Mount Blanshard, Edge Peak, Blanshard Peak, and Alouette Mountain (Purchase)

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Anyone who has visited Pitt Lake will be familiar with the view below of Mount Blanshard from the west. This is McPhaden Peak (part of the Mount Blanshard Massif) with a lot of fresh snow and some sunset light. I made this photograph from the edge of the Pitt River near Pitt Lake in Pitt Meadows, BC.

golden ears mountains mcphaden peak sunset fresh snow

Sunset lights up fresh snow on Mount Blanshard (the Golden Ears) (Purchase)

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In mid-February I visited Golden Ears Provincial Park and walked along Gold Creek to Lower Falls and then to North Beach. The photograph below shows a familiar site to all who have stopped and looked at Alouette Mountain’s Blanshard Peak which is part of the Mount Blanshard Massif. Gold Creek winds its way through the foreground on many photographs from this area, but I wanted to photograph just the mountains and snow for this panorama.

evans peak mount blanshard massif golden ears provincial park

Evans Peak and Alouette Mountain (Blanshard Peak), Edge Peak of the Mount Blanshard Massif with some fresh snow in Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)

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As with the photograph above I wanted to concentrate on the mountain peaks and the snow in the photo below. This is Alouette Mountain’s Blanshard Peak with fresh snow on it and a fringe of sunlight along the southern edge.

fresh snow alouette mountain blanshard peak

Fresh snow on the rock and trees Alouette Mountain’s Blanshard Peak (Purchase)

For more photographs of the Golden Ears Mountains please visit my Maple Ridge, Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Golden Ears Provincial Park Galleries.

Benefits of Returning to Familiar Photo Locations

A Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) at Silver Lake Provincial Park in Hope, British Columbia, Canada.

bonsai tree at silver lake provincial park reflection fall

Black Cottonwood (P. balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) at Silver Lake Provincial Park (Purchase)

Someone asked me recently why I would go back to a location where I have already made a lot of photographs. I’m not quite sure why this is a question I see asked on occasion, but perhaps it is related to the “trophy hunting” mentality of some photographers. They’ve got “the shot” at that location so it is done now? Just because you have visited and photographed a location a few times, doesn’t meant that it won’t yield new ideas and photographs on subsequent visits. Looking for the compositions that are beyond the obvious or “iconic” is much of the point. Subjects look different at different times, though personally it can just be the mood I’m in that likely makes some of the difference in spotting what I’ve missed before. I’ll use the above photograph as an example.

I made this photo at one of my favourite Fraser Valley locations – Silver Lake Provincial Park near Hope, BC. I’ve been here many times, and am usually treated to a nice reflection of Hope Mountain in the water of Silver Lake, even when photography conditions are otherwise poor. I wasn’t really expecting to see something completely new at this park considering how many times I’ve visited it – but I was looking anyway. Then I noticed this small tree growing out of a stump/deadhead in Silver Lake. I’ve been by this spot many times, but just never noticed it – and this subject isn’t exactly hidden or hard to find!

I think one of the reasons that repeated returns to a location are worthwhile is, at least for me, first visits are a bit more “big picture” than later ones. Silver Lake, for example, has an immediate appeal due to the reflections in the lake and the surrounding mountains. So these are the sort of subjects I pick up on initially. In some locations this might be the “iconic” location or simply the easiest to get to. I try to look for everything but that isn’t always possible. Repeated visits to any location are going to yield new ideas if nothing else because you may be there at a different time of day, during a different season, or simply while in a different mood. Time constraints often limit what I can explore in a single visit as well, even for relatively small parks like Silver Lake. I often have a mental checklist of things I notice at a location (which I’ve started to write down) and I’m hoping to find them in better light/conditions when I return. So it isn’t always about seeing new things, but photographing the ones you have already spotted in conditions that have of more appeal.

It isn’t always changes to a location or attempting to spot new subjects that are reasons for my return visits either. I have some older photographs that I like, but could use some improvements. Sometimes I am overcoming limitations of older equipment (sensors in 2007 weren’t quite up to 2020 standards). My level of experience in 2007 could be categorized as an equipment limitation as well! As we evolve as photographers, or buy a wider/long lens, the possibilities at a location change. I know my newer 100-400 lens has added to the possibilities of what I can photograph almost anywhere. I also occasionally update a photo (or just add it to my library) if I can now make a photograph with a higher resolution than before. Having to point out a file that someone is interested in for a wall mural (or a larger paper print) isn’t quite up to the task is something I’ve had to do, and that is always disappointing!

You can view more of my many trips to Silver Lake in my Silver Lake Provincial Park Gallery.

Whonnock Lake Park on a Fall Day

The dock at Whonnock Lake Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

whonnock lake maple ridge swimming dock

Whonnock Lake Swimming Dock (Purchase)

Whonnock Lake Park in Maple Ridge is a location I haven’t visited all that much, especially considering how many times I’ve gone to the nearby Rolley Lake Provincial Park. There is a photo of me in the water at the beach of Whonnock Lake in the late 70’s, but I’m not sure I visited again until maybe 12 years ago or so. I pulled into the parking lot while doing a delivery almost next door and had a look. Compared to some locations I’ve photographed there isn’t much there – it is a lake surrounded by mostly trees and private property. So it wasn’t high on my photo list over the years. This year I did decide to stop by again during a fall foliage trip, and intended to make the above photograph of the swimming dock, if anything. My expectations were relatively low.

whonnock lake trees shoreline

Tall Snags around the shoreline of Whonnock Lake (Purchase)

Unlike Rolley lake, Whonnock doesn’t have a trail that allows travel around the lake. Much of the surrounding property is private, so the only point of view (without a boat) is from the beach which gives about 220 m (722 ft) of shoreline to walk. That said, I did find these dead snags (wildlife trees) on the north side of the lake interesting, and the wind was in the mood to allow for a good reflection. I’ve tried to find cotton-grass before in Pitt Meadows with limited success. I liked the view below of the shoreline, some cotton-grass, and the small Pines. The park is very busy during warmer days in the summer when the beach is full of people swimming and picnicking along the lake edge. On this fall day, however, I had the place to myself!

whonnock lake shoreline trees cotton grass

Cotton-grass and Pine trees on Whonnock Lake shoreline (Purchase)

You can view more photographs of Maple Ridge in my Maple Ridge Gallery.