Archive for the ‘Nature Photos’ Category

Autumn Scenes at Buntzen Lake

The boat house at Buntzen Lake just north of Port Moody and the Village of Anmore – British Columbia, Canada.

boat house at buntzen lake

The Boat House at Buntzen Lake (Purchase)

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   I was quite busy photographing last fall, and am only now catching up on some remaining blog post about those photographs. These photos were made at Buntzen Lake which is a BC Hydro recreation area situated just north of the Village of Anmore in Port Moody, BC. This was a great day of photography, with good results from my stops at Sasamat Lake, Rocky Point Park, Barnet Marine Park, and here at Buntzen Lake. The first photograph above shows about as “iconic” view of this lake as you can have – a shot of the boat house near the main beach. I had not been to Buntzen in many years so I don’t remember all the views from the loop trail around the lake, but I think the boat house is one of the more distinctly identifiable scenes.

fall foliage reflections at buntzen lake

Fall Foliage Reflections at Buntzen Lake (Purchase)

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   I did find some more interesting scenes at the south end of Buntzen Lake at the floating bridge that crosses the marshy area there. I always love good fall foliage reflections in lakes, and this was another opportunity to photograph that kind of scene. There is a variety of tree species in this photo but the colorful yellow leaves are most likely a Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera).

   As with the photographs I had made earlier in the afternoon at Sasamat Lake, there was some mist/fog around the south end of Buntzen Lake. This seemed to move around and change shape a lot, so I waited until it was in an orientation I liked the best and photographed this and a few other panoramas in order to try to get the nicest look to the scene I could. I shot a number of individual frames here but in the end I think the panorama (14 frames stitched together) show the area best.

mist over the marsh at the south end of buntzen lake

Mist at the South End of Buntzen Lake

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You can see more photographs like these in the Lakes & Rivers Gallery in my Image Library .

My Top 10 Photos of 2017

   It is once again time to post my 10 favourite photographs – this time from 2017. I do this every year as it is a very good exercise (and not always easy) but also so I can participate in Jim Goldstein’s annual Your Best Photos project. His collection of these posts is a great place to find new photographers you may have been unfamiliar with before.

   If you click on a photo you’ll be taken to a larger version in my Image Archive. I’ve also linked to corresponding blog posts that contain these images if you want more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. These photos aren’t in any specific order though I am still enjoying the first one a lot as I probably wouldn’t have attempted to make it in previous years. Sorting images for my calendar often gives me a head start on this list. While it did help this year for some reason the images I chose as my favourites are fairly different this time around. This is partly due to the variety I want to show in my calendar as well as I try not to include any human made elements in those photos.

I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites.

My Favourite Photos of 2017:

walking over the floating bridge at sasamat lake
1. Sasamat Lake

(Port Moody, British Columbia)
Blog post: Sasamat Lake on a Fall Day

fall foliage and mount shuksan from huntoon point in the north cascades
2. Mount Shuksan from Huntoon Point

(North Cascades, Washington State)

adult barred owl strix varia perched
3. Barred Owl (Strix varia

(Langley, British Columbia)
Blog post: Adult Barred Owl (Strix varia)

mount cheam fraser river fall leaves agassiz
4. Mount Cheam and the Fraser River

(Agassiz, British Columbia)
Blog post: Mount Cheam and the Fraser River in Agassiz

fall foliage reflection in rolley lake
5. Fall Reflections at Rolley Lake

(Mission, British Columbia)
Blog post: Fall Reflections at Rolley Lake Provincial Park

sailboat in burgoyne bay saltspring island
6. Sailboat in Burgoyne Bay

(Saltspring Island, British Columbia)
Blog post: Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park Farm Buildings

dogwood tree flowers eddies white wonder
7. Dogwood Flowers

(Langley, British Columbia)
Blog post: Dogwood Flowers – Eddie’s White Wonder

vancouver trade and convention center and coal harbour
8. Vancouver Convention Center & Vancouver’s Coal Harbour

(Vancouver, British Columbia)
Blog post: Vancouver Convention Centre

sunshine on mount webb in chilliwack lake provincial park
9. Spotlight on Mount Webb

(Chilliwack, British Columbia)
Blog post: Rainbow at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

sunset at the white rock pier
10. Sunset at the White Rock Pier

(White Rock, British Columbia)
Blog post: An Evening at the White Rock Pier

   Ooops – there is an eleventh photo below! I included this one as an extra photograph because I like it and it also represents something new. I haven’t tried to photograph an airshow since I had a rangefinder camera with film in it in the 80’s – so it was time to try again! Thanks, in part, to the autofocus on my Canon 5D Mark IV, this experiment turned out quite well.

Canadian forces snowbirds in formation over white rock
Canadian Forces Snowbirds

(White Rock, British Columbia)
Blog post: Canadian Forces Snowbirds Over White Rock

My top 10 photos from last year can be found here: My Top 10 Photos of 2016.

Fall Reflections at Rolley Lake Provincial Park

Fall foliage reflecting on Rolley Lake at Rolley Lake Provincial Park, Mission, British Columbia, Canada.

fall foliage reflected in rolley lake

Fall foliage at Rolley Lake Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   I enjoy walking around Rolley Lake in Rolley Lake Provincial Park at any time of year. Fall is my favourite time though, and this is one of my favourite lake views from the loop trail around the lake. I have photographed this view before, but this year the fall foliage was a big nicer and the reflection on the lake was a bit clearer. The light from the sky was a bit dimmer as well, as this was not long before the sunset. Some of you will recognize this first photograph from my 2018 Calendar but you’ll have to wait to see if it appears in my “top 10” of 2017.

red vine maple in forest at rolley lake

Lone Red Vine Maple (Purchase)

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   I also liked this view of a lone, red, Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) in the forest along the lake. I watched for good Vine Maple colours during my walk around the loop and noticed this tree, but it was surrounded by shrubs and trees and off the trail. The lake also wouldn’t have provided a decent background to photograph it anyway. From this perspective though (from the beach), the red leaves show up nicely against the darker colours of the surrounding forest. A bit of a reflection is always nice too.

Visit my Rolley Lake Provincial Park gallery in my Image Library for more photos from this park.

Maple Leaves in Full Fall Foliage Colors

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) leaves showing fall foliage colours on a white background.

red orange and yellow maple leaves on a white background

Sugar Maple Leaves in Full Fall Colors (Purchase)

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   Fall is one of my favourite times of the year, and certainly my favourite to photograph. I know I’ve previously expressed dismay at having a year where the fall foliage was dull or almost nonexistent. I’d say that 1/5 years is a good fall foliage year here, at least for native species. Mostly that is Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum) and Vine Maples (Acer circinatum) in the Vancouver area and Fraser valley. The leaves above are from a backyard Sugar Maple – a tree that can be counted on for decent leaf color almost every year (even in the rain). In mid-October I started to think about the fall foliage – a point in the season where one doesn’t know if it will be good color at all. Even if it is, often rain will fall constantly until the leaves are on the ground. As I’ve had experience with this before – I photographed these leaves on a white background one rainy day just so that I could say for sure that I’d photographed some decent color.

red maple leaf on a white background

Red Maple Leaf Fall Foliage (Purchase)

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   Luckily for me and everyone else around here who enjoys such things, this was a rather good year for fall foliage. I was able to photograph much of it without any interference from the rain (see a number of my recent posts) which was an added bonus.

For more photos of fall foliage visit my Fall Gallery.

Bagley Lakes and Trails Through Heather Meadows

Two hikers make their way up the Chain Lakes Trail to the Heather Meadows parking lot in the Bagley Lakes/Heather Meadows area of Washington State, USA.

two hikers on the chain lakes trail at bagley lakes heather meadows

Two Hikers on the Chain Lakes Trail by Bagley Lakes (Purchase)

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   Almost every year I make a trip to the Mount Baker area to photograph during the fall season. At this time of year almost all of the snow has melted, the summer heat is gone as have the bugs that often come with it. Heather Meadows is one of the areas I always walk through and photograph. I stop and look at the wonderful view from Picture Lake, but I rarely photograph there. In recent years the behaviour of other photographers has helped me move on quickly

   The first photograph above shows two hikers heading up to the parking lot on the Chain Lakes Trail. The section of the Chain Lakes Trail by Bagley Lakes is one of the trails I frequent with many great views of the lakes and surrounding mountains. One of the difficulties of completing the Chain Lakes Trail in its entirety is where to park your vehicle. If you part at Artist Point, when you get the the area photographed here you still have a 250 meter (820 feet) elevation climb to the parking lot. If you park here at Heather Meadows, you start with that climb. Wishing to avoid that, many park at Artist Point but ask for a ride from those visiting the lower parking lot. I gave the first gentleman in this photograph a ride to his truck so he could drive back down and pick up his hiking companion at Heather Meadows. There was a small lineup of families and individual hikers wanting the same. I’m sure some were out of luck and had to make the climb back to the car.

mount herman and bagley lakes at heather meadows

Mount Herman and Bagley Lakes (Purchase)

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   The second photo was made from the Fire and Ice Trail which has a nice lookout over Bagley Lakes. This was the spot I made one of my favourite panorama photographs and this time made a few photographs of the colour in the water, fall foliage on the side of Mount Herman, and the peak near Herman Saddle. I’ve made the hike to the saddle before, and hope to do it again in the coming years when I have time. The view from up there is pretty awesome!

blooming subalpine aster eurybia merita at heather meadows

Late blooming Subalpine Aster (Eurybia merita) (Purchase)

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   One of the things I was not expecting along the various trails were some late blooming Subalpine Aster (Eurybia merita) flowers. This was fairly late in the fall season (at this elevation) and I had figured that any wildflowers would have been long gone. Perhaps this spot had much more snow to melt during the summer and consequently the flowers here were a bit behind the others in the area. I had planned on heading back to Artist Point and Heather Meadows the next week. Seasons change quickly in the mountains and this area had so much snow just a few days after my visit they closed to road to Artist point. I’m lucky I made it up there when I did, but I guess other opportunities for hiking there will have to wait until next July/August at the earliest.

For more of my photography from Heather Meadows visit my Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Gallery.

Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park in Chilliwack BC

Bridal Veil Falls at Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

bridal veil falls provincial park

View of Bridal Veil Falls (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I went back to Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park (in the Popkum area of Chilliwack, BC) for the first time in many years. I had last visited the falls in 2011 and it was time to go back and see how things had changed and make a few new photographs. Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park is one of those spots I avoid all summer as it is often very busy with tourists as many tour buses stop there. I prefer to walk/hike/photograph without crowds so my last trip there in mid September was good timing as there were only two cars there when I arrived. I always laugh a bit at the sign on the way up there that suggests the “hike” to the top takes about 15 minutes when 5 minutes is more accurate. I guess it depends on your fitness level, but I don’t exactly run up that hill. I was also wondering if there would be enough water in the falls to get a good photograph as we’d had many months of almost no precipitation this summer. It turned out the water level was just about perfect.

waterfall on bridal creek in bridal veil falls provincial park

Small Waterfall on Bridal Creek (Purchase)

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   There are several small waterfalls on Bridal Creek just downstream from Bridal Veil Falls – and this one (second photo, above) was my favourite with lots of foliage around it to make it interesting. The breeze was quite strong at this point and you can see the trees and shrubs in the forest were blowing around while I made this photo.

bridal veil falls and small waterfalls downstream

Small Waterfalls and Bridal Veil Falls (Purchase)

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   Just downstream from the main falls there is a rocky area with lots of fallen trees. I wanted to get a photo from this spot as the creek flows through this area in a random sort of way with small falls forming over tree trunks, rocks, and other temporary topography. Downstream from this point Bridal Creek does form back into a more organized creek before heading down towards the parking lot.

You can view more of my photographs of the falls and Bridal Creek in my Bridal Falls Provincial Park Gallery.

Adult Barred Owl (Strix varia)

A Barred Owl (Strix varia) looks down from its perch in a backyard forest in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada.

barred owl strix varia fraser valley

Barred Owl (Strix varia) (Purchase)

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   I have described myself before here as a “wildlife opportunist” in that I seldom seek out animals to photograph, but happily do so when they are nearby – as was the case with this Barred Owl a few days ago. I came home from some grocery shopping and decided to check out why the Northwestern Crows (Corvus caurinus) and Steller’s Jays (Perisoreus canadensis) were going a bit nuts in the forest next to my house, and found they were harassing a Barred Owl. I immediately went inside and grabbed my camera. As with any wildlife encounter, my camera had the widest angle lens on it at the time, so I had to switch to my 70-200, replace the battery, and put in a new memory card. Luckily the Barred Owl was still in the trees when I returned. The crows and jays seemed more worried about my presence than they were motivated to harass the owl, so they moved on pretty quickly. I made a few photographs of the owl but as usual with the owls I see, there were plenty of branches and leaves in the way. I did what I could, but then another bird species actually helped me out – an Annas Hummingbird (Calypte anna).

barred owl strix varia fraser valley

Adult Barred Owl (Strix varia) (Purchase)

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   Hummingbirds can be quite aggressive and territorial, and this one was living up to that reputation. A group of hummingbirds is called a “troubling” which makes sense in this context. Another name – a “charm” of hummingbirds doesn’t seem quite as relevant. This summer I saw a Bald Eagle fly over the house – without the usual assortment of crows etc harassing it. What was after the eagle was a small swarm of Hummingbirds orbiting it like angry wasps. The Hummingbird in this case would strafe the owl, hover, move off, and then repeat. Occasionally it would perch nearby before continuing the harassment campaign. What worked out in my favor was that the Hummingbird actually ran into the back of the owls head at one point, and so the owl moved to a different location about 20 feet away. Also lucky for me was that this actually put the Barred Owl in a better position for me to photograph it without (as many) distracting branches and leaves in the frame.

   When I photograph wildlife I try to make sure I am not disturbing their normal behaviour as much as possible. This owl seemed much more interested in what was happening on the ground below it with the occasional glance at me or to track the latest strafe from the Hummingbird. This was maybe an hour before sunset so perhaps it was starting to think about hunting. I’ve found a few owl pellets on the ground near here this fall, and found a number last winter, so there is a chance I’ll see this individual again.

barred owl strix varia fraser valley

Barred Owl (Strix varia) in the Fraser Valley (Purchase)

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For more photographs of owls and other birds visit my Bird Gallery.

A Summer Evening at Steelhead Falls

Salmonberries and Ferns surround Steelhead Falls at the Hayward Lake Recreational Area in Mission, British Columbia, Canada

steelhead falls in missions hayward lake recreation area

Steelhead Falls on a Summer Evening (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I returned to Steelhead Falls in Mission’s Hayward Lake Recreational Area to make some photographs. The first time I photographed Steelhead Falls was an overcast day in late spring – quite different conditions than I found on this sunny day in mid August. To get to the falls you must first find the parking lot at the top of the hill (just to the east of the Stave Lake Dam). From there the falls can be found after a short hike along the Reservoir Trail heading south. There is a short trail down to the viewing platform and the falls after you cross the bridge over Steelhead Creek – which is the second creek you’ll cross.

   This first photograph here is the main view of the falls you see from the viewing platform. You can see some direct sunlight in the upper right corner. I usually photograph waterfalls on an overcast day as direct sunlight can be pretty difficult to deal with. An alternative to this is waiting until the sun starts to set and the direct sunlight is no longer falling on the falls. The effectiveness of this will depend on the location. This worked out quite well at Steelhead Falls though I had to wait until those spots of sunlight made their way up the hill and were no longer shining on the water.

upper steelhead falls in missions hayward lake recreation area

Upper Half of Steelhead Falls (Purchase)

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   You can see quite a difference between my photographs of Steelhead Falls a few years ago and these ones even though some of the locations and compositions are similar. The overcast days tend to lead to more saturated colors while the conditions I had a few weeks ago cast a warmer glow over everything – and I quite like that effect (best seen in the last three photographs here). You may also see a bit of a difference in the amount of foliage around some of the spots I photographed. It seems in the few years since I was last there Steelhead Falls has become a bit of an Instagram place to be seen and has attracted a lot of people who could learn a bit about “leave no trace”. “The shot” people are after seems to be from the bottom of the falls, so there is a “trail” down there now and a lot of the foliage (mostly Salmonberry and various fern species) are trampled or have died. When I was there clearly someone had used a machete or something similar to hack a trail along the edge of the creek towards an upstream area. The area isn’t totally defoliated like I’ve seen at some sites, but if the popularity here remains, I’m sure that will be the eventual outcome.

steelhead falls in missions hayward lake recreation area

Uppermost Falls at Steelhead Falls on Steelhead Creek (Purchase)

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   This last photograph shows the very top of Steelhead Falls that you can’t see from the angle of the viewing platform. There are a lot of different tiers to this series of falls and together they make a good photography subject as there is no shortage of composition possibilities. Trampling foliage off the trail to get the Instagram shot from the bottom of the falls just isn’t necessary.

steelhead falls in missions hayward lake recreation area

Upper Half of Steelhead Falls (Purchase)

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For more photographs of this location visit my Waterfall Gallery.