Devon Falls on the slopes of Sumas Mountain at Bassani Park in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
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.
For more waterfall photographs visit my Waterfall Gallery.
The Golden Ears (Mount Blanshard) and Derby Reach Regional Park at Meunch Bar in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 on the rock and trees Alouette Mountain’s Blanshard Peak (Purchase)
A Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) at Silver Lake Provincial Park in Hope, British Columbia, Canada.
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!
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.
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!
Cotton-grass and Pine trees on Whonnock Lake shoreline (Purchase)
2020 Nature Calendar Cover – Silver Lake Provincial Park
My 2020 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.
15% OFF! Use the code ONEFIVE (case sensitive) for 15% OFF at checkout through December 19.
You can view a full preview and purchase this calendar through the button below:
Fall foliage along the edge of Katzie Marsh Loop Trail in the Pitt-Addington Wildlife Management Area – Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada.
Fall Foliage along the Katzie Marsh Loop Trail (Purchase)
The Pitt-Addington Wildlife Management Area is a 2,972 hectare nature reserve in the northern part of Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. Much of the reserve used to be known as Grant Narrows Regional Park, but that was dissolved in 2011 when the Katzie First Nation were given control of the area – now called the Pitt-Addington Recreation Area. I have photographed near Pitt Lake many times, but mostly from the easy to access roadside spots. There are great views of the Pitt River, Pitt Lake, and the surrounding mountains readily available without straying too far from the car. A few weeks ago, however, I wanted to see what views could be found on the trails along the various dikes that head from the roads out into the marsh. Despite the presumption that most of the fall foliage would be gone, and the fact the midday light was filtered through a lot of smoke, I wanted to see what the area had to offer regardless.
I decided to start with the Katzie Marsh Loop. From the main parking lot, past the boat launch, there is a gravel road called the Swan Dike Trail that heads straight towards the Golden Ears Mountains. The main view on this stretch of the trail is not of the Golden Ears, however, but of Pitt Lake, the mountains to the north, and the Katzie Marsh to the south. I expect I’ll be back to photograph these mountain views again when the snow blankets them in a month or so. Along this trail I saw a number of Great Blue Herons (as one would expect) but also had a few passing Osprey, Bald Eagles, and various duck and waterfowl species. Approximately 500 meters from the parking lot there is an observation tower to climb for a better view. I also photographed the marsh plants below (likely sedges or reeds – I was unable to accurately identify them from my photograph) in this stretch of the loop trail.
Wetland plants (reeds or sedges) growing in Katzie Marsh (Purchase)
On the eastern edge of this part of the Katzie Marsh Loop the road continues to a (private) boat launch and dock. The loop trail itself turns south at this point, away from Pitt Lake (approximately 2.4km from the parking lot). While the trail is no longer a well maintained gravel road, the dike is easy to walk on, and quite flat. Heading south there is a long stretch of water on the left hand side, with Katzie Marsh area on the right. There are a lot of interesting trees and patterns in the rocks along this stretch, and I think it gave a better view of the waterfowl using the marsh as well. The first photograph above shows some remaining fall foliage in the Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) trees at the base of the mountains to the east. Looking backwards to the north along this section of the loop trail also gives good views of the mountains to the north and some nice reflections.
After walking an additional 1.6km from Pitt Lake the trail turns a bit more to the southwest. This is where I found the pond below with a nice reflection of the trees behind it. There was a lot of waterfowl in this area, but many of them left as I approached (I hadn’t seen them until they flew away). There were a few cautious herons who remained, however. From this pond the trail turns even more westward and you come to another observation tower that gave a great view north towards the mountains, Pitt Lake, and gave a good overview of the Katzie Marsh itself. There were two large Kingfishers making a lot of noise in the area. They did not perch close enough to me to photograph, but they were continually on the move and if I’d had the time I likely could have made some good photographs from the cover of the tower.
Fall foliage reflected in a Pitt Marsh Pond (Purchase)
Near the observation tower the trail narrows and is no longer a wide dike trail. The trail for the remainder of the Katzie Loop not only was narrow with blackberries reaching out to grab all my clothing, but offered very little in terms of views of much of anything. This section of the trail is also right next to the water, and eroded in a few spots, so I had to pay attention to avoid a wet mishap. This made for a relatively uninteresting 2km trudge back to the parking lot.
A Row of tree on the edge of Katzie Marsh (Purchase)
I think if I had the time and were to walk the Katzie Loop Trail again soon, I’d turn back at the southern observation tower and go back up to Pitt Lake and then to the parking lot rather than do the whole loop. The last stretch is not interesting, maybe slightly dangerous if you aren’t paying attention, and doesn’t have much in the way of any opportunity for photography or views. All in all I walked 6.8km in completing the loop. Skipping the last stretch to the parking lot would make the “loop” a bit longer at around 9km total distance. This is likely what I will do next time I visit when the snow has arrived. Some of the trip back will be facing the mountains too which will be a great view.
For more photographs of the Pitt River and Pitt Lake area visit my Pitt Meadows Gallery.
Reflections of autumn foliage and Mount Maxwell on a rainy day along the shore of Blackburn Lake on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Mount Maxwell reflected in Blackburn Lake on Salt Spring Island (Purchase)
I recently made a return trip to Salt Spring Island in British Columbia to visit friends and photograph some fall foliage on the island. I’d not been to Salt Spring in the fall before, and I was hopeful about the fall leaves I might find there. The leaf colour in the Fraser Valley had been decent this year, and I’d found previously that even when it was quite bad here, it was very nice on Vancouver Island. I was hoping for the same on Salt Spring and it turned out it was very nice there as well, but it did come with a healthy dose of rain.
Like many rainy days here though, I was able to find gaps in the showers and photograph scenes like the reflection on Blackburn Lake above. The main fall foliage around the lake was the one pictured Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) tree that provided a nice yellow/orange color along the shoreline. The clouds often hid Mount Maxwell in the background but alternated often enough I could make this photograph while it was mostly visible. The dock I was photographing from is often a “clothing optional” area but there was nobody there this time as it was about +5°C!
The sun emerges at Saint Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island (Purchase)
During my second day on Salt Spring Island I went for a 6km hike to a small lake in Ruckle Provincial Park. I mostly wanted to scout the lake and this route also provided more shelter during a hike in the rain than the ocean side trails. This turned out to be a long trudge to a lake surrounded by dead trees and zero inspirational scenery at the time. It was also a chance to give a failing grade to my new rain jacket which didn’t measure up to the task. After lunch, however, the weather started clearing and I spotted the above scene at Saint Mary Lake. The sun only found its way through the clouds for a few minutes but while it did – this stand of Black Cottonwood (P. balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) trees lit up rather nicely. There are some subject I tend to prefer to photograph in the shade (waterfalls/streams creeks), others in direct sun, but for fall foliage it really depends on the scene. Some fall subjects like these trees look great lit by direct sunlight, while others can look a bit washed out in full sun.
Driving further south from St. Mary Lake I visited Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park. Burgoyne Bay lies just south of Mount Maxwell and often has good views of the mountain. When I arrived, however, there were still a lot of clouds, spotty showers, and I couldn’t see the mountain. As I was interested in checking out a few subjects that did not require a friendly sky, I hiked out into the retired farm fields anyway. There are a lot of old rows of trees and shrubs on the edge of the trails I wanted to potentially photograph. It wasn’t 10 minutes after I left the car that the majority of the cloud had disappeared, and there were again great views of Mount Maxwell from the park trails. It is rare I see conditions change on me so quickly but I welcomed it this time! The photograph below is from one of the Burgoyne Bay trails looking towards Mount Maxwell (complete with a dog walker further down the path). Most of the fall foliage color in this photograph comes from the numerous Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) trees in the area.
Mount Maxwell from Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park (Purchase)
From Burgoyne Bay I headed further down the road to the Fulford Harbour area and the Saint Paul’s Catholic Church. In a previous post I’ve written a bit about the history of St. Paul’s Catholic Church (1885) so I won’t get into that again here. The blue sky and the fall leaves (mostly Bigleaf Maples again) combine in the photograph below to make my favourite shot so far of this particular spot.
St. Paul’s Church and Cemetery at Fulford Harbour (Purchase)
Duck Creek Park is a small park in the northern part of Salt Spring where many people seem to enjoy walking their dogs. There is a small stream, Duck Creek, which winds through one end of the park which has yielded a few photographs for me in the past. In the area of the park with open fields, I concentrated on one large Bigleaf Maple tree with my longer telephoto zoom lens. The idea here was to show what these trees generally offer in the fall – yellow foliage colour with their characteristic mossy trunks. Fall leaves on the Bigleaf Maples can be tricky – some years they go mostly brown and others they can be spectacular. This particular tree showed a lot of variation – in this photo you can still see some green on some leaves and orange, yellow, and brown colours on others.
Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) in Duck Creek Park (Purchase)
For more of my photographs of this trip to the island visit my Salt Spring Island Gallery.
The Point Atkinson Lighthouse after sunset at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The Point Atkinson Lighthouse (1912) in Lighthouse Park at Sunset (Purchase)
Recently I posted a photograph of the Point Atkinson Lighthouse in Lighthouse Park to Twitter and realized it had been probably 8 years since I’d been there. A few days later I drove out to the park on an initially clear day that was later infiltrated by a lot of high cloud. The glare from this kind of light is one of my least favourite light conditions, but I decided I was going to explore a number of trails I was unfamiliar with in the park regardless.
First I went to Juniper Point. From there I followed the Shore Pine Trail to Shore Pine Point. The Beacon Lane Trail is a direct route to Lighthouse from the parking lot but it is wide and easy to walk compared to some other trails in the park. Those familiar only with the Beacon Lane Trail would be well advised to pick better footwear and clothing for the Juniper Point and Shore Pine trails as they often resemble walking down a steep creek bed. Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. It isn’t difficult, but it isn’t something to attempt in sandals either. Both Juniper Point and Shore Pine Point offer nice views to the south and west of Lighthouse Park. Views of Bowen Island, the Salish Sea, and even to Vancouver Island can be found here. The trails on this side of the park can be narrow, but also offer nice views of old grown Douglas Fir trees, and there are plenty of Salal (Gaultheria shallon) and various fern species to give the location that temperate rain forest feeling.
Point Atkinson Lighthouse (1912) in Lighthouse Park after sunset (Purchase)
From Shore Pine Point I went down to the main viewpoint for the Point Atkinson Lighthouse – which is rather overgrown now and shows mostly the top of the Lighthouse. This wasn’t the view I was looking for so I went to West Beach via the West Beach Trail. This is one of the classic views of the lighthouse, but it also gives good views of passing boats and any sunset that may occur. I was fortunate that the high cloud I disliked earlier in the day stuck around, but the sky opened up a bit to the west creating a nice sunset. I tend to photograph most sunsets while facing east as I prefer the subtle colors in the eastern sky to the bombast of the sunset to the west. The light from the sunset itself is great for objects found to the east – with a nice warm glow often contrasting with a more purple/blue tint to the clouds in that direction. The first photograph in this post shows a nice glow on the rocks and a still orange light in the clouds to the east. The second photograph above shows the light as it was only 12 minutes later. A much more subtle glow on the rocks and the lighthouse with a very blue/purple tint to the clouds. A third version of this lighthouse at sunset shows both the warm glow on the rocks and purple hues in the sky.
Queen of Oak Bay (1981) on the Salish Sea (Purchase)
As with my last trip to Lighthouse Park where I visited Juniper Point, I had a goal of what to photograph but my favourite from the day is probably not one of the expected subjects. At Juniper Point I photographed this sailboat while waiting for the right light for other subjects. On this latest trip to Lighthouse Park I liked the shape of the clouds with some not overly brash sunset colours but likely wouldn’t have made the image without the ferry being present. The Queen of Oak Bay (built in 1981) was kind enough to sail into the scene returning to West Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. While these are interesting clouds – without the ferry (or something else) present this wouldn’t be a photo that I’d share.
For more of my photographs of Lighthouse Park visit my West Vancouver Gallery in the Image Library.