One of the first (interesting) spring flowers that come up in the backyard garden are these Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris – formerly Anemone pulsatilla). I’ve photographed this plant a few times in the past, but it often flowers when we have a lot of rain and the flowers aren’t always this photogenic. I first became familiar with Pasque flowers by photographing the White Pasqueflower in Mount Rainer National Park. Pulsatilla vulgaris (native to Europe) are much smaller with similar seed heads but not nearly as tall as those seen in the mountains.
Sunset light on Mount Shuksan reflected in the tarn at Huntoon Point in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie Forest, Washington State, USA.
Reflection of Mount Shuksan in a Huntoon Point Tarn (Purchase)
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I’ve written and posted about this iconic location many times, as it is one of my favourites to visit in the early fall – the Mount Shuksan/Mount Baker area in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest of Washington State. The location in this first photograph is often photographed, but not nearly to the extent of the Picture Lake area nearby. There isn’t really a lot of things I can say about my trip here in the fall of 2017. I had good conditions, great light, and was planning on going back 4 days later. Unfortunately, there was about 30cm of new snow 4 days later, and the road to Artist Point was closed, so those ideas will have to wait until later in 2018. I am happy with my photos from the one day I had, but they don’t lend themselves to discussion as well as some of the bad photographer behaviour I witnessed while up there. So lets get into some of that – I feel I need to purge these stories from my brain from time to time for my own health. I’m sure these won’t surprise you much, especially if you’ve photographed at popular, iconic locations before.
Most photographers reading this have probably seen others behave poorly while photographing the same locations. A few of these, I’m sure, are just awful people no matter what activity they are doing. I suspect others are just putting way too much pressure on themselves to copy exactly what they saw online or in a magazine. Generally I’ve seen most of the bad behaviour at an “iconic” location, or near one. Most of these locations can deliver a wide variety of weather conditions, seasonal changes and other variable that can making matching that magazine photo you have in your pocket… difficult. If that trophy is all you are there for, then you are probably going to have far less fun that I would. Some of the people having a bad time of it feel generous enough to make sure everyone around them feels the same way.
One example of poor behaviour I witnessed was at the location of the first photograph here – the tarn at Huntoon Point. This is a relatively common spot to photograph, though I’ve never seen lineups here like I have at Picture Lake. When I was here a few years ago, there was a man standing further up on the hill occasionally tossing pebbles into the tarn in order to ruin the reflection for others. He seemed much more pleased about this than the other’s photographing there at the time. I can only guess he had his photo and was thinking that his work would some how be more unique if nobody else could shoot there the rest of the evening. If I’d been trying to actually get a shot there I’d just have wandered away rather than engage with him verbally. This is a location with great 360° views, so it isn’t as though there is a shortage of subjects in the area. Actually, to avoid a photographer like that I might have wandered to a nearby spot and shot the second photograph in this post – a view of Mount Shuksan with some great sunset clouds above it, and hints of fall foliage below. Last fall I photographed both of these scenes within 5 minutes of each other, and without a pebble tosser to move me on.
Sunset over Shuksan Arm and Mount Sefrit (Purchase)
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Anyone who has been to Artist Point and looked towards Mount Shuksan from there has likely seen the tarn just to the east of the parking lot. The trail along the ridge runs right past it. Last fall this was the scene of one of the worst bad photographer behaviour spectacles I’ve ever seen – mostly because it went on for over an hour. Initially I didn’t know a photographer was involved. There was a family walking through (and playing in) the tarn near Artist Point with loud music blaring from a stereo. Beach balls and other props (I presume) were floating around in the tarn. A number of people stopped, jaws open, and stared at these people. Most did not say anything, but some went over and there were raised voices and wild pointing at the various transgressions. None of this made any difference. Then it became clear that the individual who was addressing the concerns of passing hikers was a photographer, there to do some sort of family photo shoot.
When she started shooting she got the family into one spot, then was yelling at the top of her lungs things like “wow this is the worlds most photogenic family”, “that is just adorbs”, “yeah baby!” and other antics that would have embarrassed even Austin Powers. I suspect some of the over the top vocalizations were to mock those who had dared suggest this was bad behaviour, or at least that is the only “excuse” I can see for it. After this debacle really ramped up a few more people then went over and asked her to turn the music off, as well as get back on a trail (I’d have been fine with them just sticking to the rocks). One old man, who looked like he wasn’t one to swear yelled, in apparent exasperation – “What the **** are you doing!?” loudly at her. People were stopped in groups and clearly talking about them. None of this changed the behaviour. The family itself didn’t seem to act like anything weird was going on. One woman I talked to said she was going to say something (I hadn’t, having witnessed the futility of others who had tried). I suggested she go and get a business card under the guise of wanting portraits of her family. This was an idea I couldn’t easily pull off with a backpack and tripod of my own. Not sure if she did that, but I almost wish I’d tried so I could mention her here, possibly. All that aside, I went further up the trail and had a wonderful time once I was out of earshot.
Sunset at Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake (Purchase)
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The above photo is the iconic spot where Mount Shuksan can give a great reflection in Picture Lake. I have stopped photographing here for the most part, but always stop and take a look, as it is a very nice view. I also enjoy the occasional shock and surprise when asked why I’m not taking my gear out of the bag. One of the reasons I don’t linger in this location tends to be the behaviour of other people, though most of those seem to be photographers. The tourists walk on the boardwalk, enjoy the view, and don’t seem to do much inappropriate for the most part. If you look at the photo above you can see on the far left the road is right next to the lake. Remember that the next time someone describes the arduous hike to this location!
The crappy behaviour I’ve seen at Picture Lake includes:
• Yelling at people parking along the roadside I mentioned above. One photographer abandoned his equipment entirely and ran towards some tourists screaming about where they had parked. The poor tourists got back in their car and fled the area. Yes, cars can kind of get in the way here, but it is also easy to change the composition slightly so they aren’t an issue.
• Photographers standing in a clearly marked “meadow under repair” off the boardwalk area – harassing others because they shoot the wrong brand of camera. “That’s how I know your photos are going to be garbage”. Like an internet conversation but in person, which is much, much worse. I wouldn’t say I appreciate this kind of “Gear Preaching” when I see it online, but at least I have something worse to compare it to now.
• In a different people and a different year entirely – but the pebble tossers have visited at this location too. Photographers throwing rocks periodically into the water in order to keep the reflection messed up, which is a pretty messed up thing to do.
• Photographer holding up a magazine with a photo of Shuksan and Picture Lake trying to match the shot. Again, in the closed “don’t step here” area.
• This last one was someone who was trying to be nice, but it is still a silly thing to do. I guess they thought I didn’t know what I was doing so they tried to stop me from shooting in a vertical orientation. “Oh no no wait… (comes jogging over to me)… this is a horizontal shot”. Had I been in a more surly mood I probably wouldn’t have just pointed out that I always tend to shoot both orientations. The vertical shot from that day is only one of two photos of Picture Lake I have ever sold. It didn’t work nearly as well in a wider format, actually.
Glad I got all that off my chest. We now continue our regular programming…
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 (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.
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.
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.
Fall foliage reflecting on Rolley Lake at Rolley Lake Provincial Park, Mission, British Columbia, Canada.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.