My Top 10 Photographs of 2018

Once again it is time to post my favourite images from the past year. Choosing these images is always a good mental exercise, and I get a bit of a head start when I design my yearly calendar sometime in late October. I like sharing these image every year, and viewing everyone else’s lists as well. I also make this post 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 not have seen before.

If you click on a photo you’ll be taken to 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. There are a few images here that will have blog posts for them soon, but they aren’t finished yet. These photos aren’t in any specific order though I think the first one of with fall foliage around the road in Québec is my favourite overall.

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

My Favourite Photos of 2018:

chemin cafferty in chelsea quebec
1. A closed road (Chemin Cafferty) disappears into the trees
(Chelsea, Québec)
Blog post: Meech Creek Valley in Gatineau Park

great blue heron at hogs back falls ottawa
2. Great Blue Heron at Hog’s Back Falls
(Ottawa, Ontario)
Blog post: Hogs Back Falls on Ottawa’s Rideau River

fall maple foliage colour at beaver pond in gatineau park
3. Vine Maples Over Lower Falls Trail
(Maple Ridge, British Columbia)
Blog post: Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park

farmhouse and apple tree at ruckle provincial park
4. William Norman Ruckle Farmhouse and Orchard

(Salt Spring Island, British Columbia)

fall maple foliage colour in gatineau park
5. Fall Maples at Lac Bourgeois in Gatineau Park
(Gatineau Park, Québec)
Blog post: Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau Park

mute swan at fulford harbour salt spring island
6. Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) in Fulford Harbour
(Salt Spring Island, British Columbia)
Blog post: Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island

dunlop falls in gatineau park
7. Dunlop Falls on Fortune Creek
(Gatineau Park, Québec)
Blog post: Dunlop Falls on Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park

almonte mississippi river ontario
8. Waterfall on the Mississippi River

(Almonte, Ontario)

lower falls on gold creek in golden ears park
9. Summer evening at Lower Falls on Gold Creek at Golden Ears Provincial Park
(Maple Ridge, British Columbia)
Blog post: Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park

pacific dogwood flower cornus nuttallii
10. Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) Flower

(Langley, British Columbia)

You can view my favourite photographs from 2017 here: My Top 10 Photos of 2017.

2019 Nature Calendar Now Available!

cover for 2019 nature calendar - lower falls golden ears park

2019 Nature Calendar Cover – Lower Falls in British Columbia’s Golden Ears Provincial Park


   My 2019 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, Québec, Ontario, and Washington State.

500px Now 100% Owned by Visual China Group

   Here I thought I had written my last blog post about 500px. I’ve written two in the past. First I outlined “9 Reasons I No Longer Use 500px” back in 2015 (would be 25 if I’d kept up with it) and then followed up with “500px Creates 500px.me – Hosts Photos in China” later that same year. Today it was announced that Visual China Group (VCG) bought 500px outright. People are now rightly concerned about their intellectual property. Honestly though – the warning signs were there years ago.

   This reminds of something important that I think more photographers and creatives should be doing. If you give a damn about your art, your intellectual property rights/copyright etc… then you should look before you leap. Yesterday the frenzy over a new (3 year old) social network really rose to a fever pitch and invitations, discussions, and complaints were flying around the internet – especially among photographers. I’ve asked a few times if anyone had read the Terms of Service (TOS). “No, who does that?” was the most frequent response. Well – YOU should. If you care about your work – then don’t place it in the hands of anyone until you know what they say they can do with it. I’ve read the TOS for G+, Flickr, Twitter, IG, Facebook, Ello, 500px, and every other social network I’ve ever joined. I did not enjoy reading them – slogging through that language is not fun. Why read it then? So I can have at least some idea (not being a lawyer) if it is a safe place to upload my work. I’m uncomfortable with the TOS on Twitter and FB so I don’t directly upload my work there (but do use the networks extensively). So if you’ve signed up for a new social network in the past few days and haven’t read the TOS – why not? Likewise have you re-read the terms on sites you’ve been on for a long time? Are you sure they aren’t acting like another 500px and have changed their TOS along the way?

Deleting your Work on 500px

   So rather than list another litany of 500px’s transgressions I’ll offer some suggestions to the photographers that have determined they don’t want their work any more. Deactivating your account won’t help you – your images will remain in the hands of… whoever. From my experience many years ago I would proceed to try to delete your work on 500px as follows:

  1. Determine the urls (direct to jpg) of a handful of photos you’ve uploaded on 500px. They likely start with “https://drscdn.500px.org/” or something similar.
  2. Manually, individually delete these images. I believe that is a 4 step process but I don’t have any images on there to test this for you.
  3. Check to see if that jpg is still on the site. Spoiler alert: it probably is (remember that part about allowing people to embed your image on websites around the world – the one in the TOS?).
  4. Contact support at 500px (which I’ve heard is just one employee at this point but hopefully there are more) and request your images be deleted for good. This might work, it might not. I’ve read it has for some, but not for others. In my case I know of four of my images still on their servers and no amount of requests, DMCA takedown notices (to their US based servers), and more emails/requests have removed those files. I do hope you have better luck.
  5. If the above works I’d do that for all of your photos on 500px. I realize now some of you are just now panicking about your photos going to China etc, but the process to remove your work from 500px may take some time. I encourage you to keep after them if that is what is required.

So what now?

   No matter what networks you share your work to – having your own website and making it the center of your activity is a good idea. It is only on your own website that you can truly control your content. Buy a domain name if you don’t already have one. I host mine with Dreamhost.com, though there are a lot of other great hosts out there. Research them before you sign up – and get the level of hosting you require. I also host my Image Library on a site called Photoshelter. If you just have a few photos online at this point you could start with a some basic WordPress galleries and get some experience with that platform.

Good luck!

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.

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)

-click to enlarge-

   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)

-click to enlarge-

   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.

2018 Nature Calendar Now Available!

cover for 2018 nature calendar - mount cheam fraser river fall

2018 Nature Calendar Cover – The Fraser River and Mount Cheam on a fall day in Agassiz


   My 2018 Nature Calendars are now available! I have put together some of my favourite recent photographs into a 11″x17″ (28cm x 43cm) calendar. Included are 12 photographs of landscape and nature scenes from British Columbia and Washington State.

15% OFF! Use the code LULU15 (case sensitive) for 15% OFF at checkout through December 18, 2017.

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

Canadian Forces Snowbirds Over White Rock

Canadian Forces Snowbirds in a Big Arrow formation above White Rock, British Columbia, Canada.

canadian forces snowbirds big arrow formation

The Snowbirds in the Big Arrow Formation (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Earlier this month I had the opportunity to photograph the Canadian Forces Snowbirds flying over White Rock, British Columbia. The 431 Air Demonstration Squadron have been performing in airshows with the Canadair CT-114 Tutor jet under the name Snowbirds since 1971. They fly around 60 air shows in North America per year. I’ve seen them before at the Abbotsford Air Show but as I haven’t attended that event in over 20 years I have not seen their performance in a long time. When I learned that they were performing in White Rock I decided to photograph them for the first time since probably the late 1980’s. This was going to be a lot different than shooting them on film when I was around 14!

canadian forces snowbirds loop in five line abreast formation

Snowbirds complete a in the Five Line Abreast Formation (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Armed with my new camera I picked out a good spot along the promenade in White Rock to watch the show. I chose a location that was slightly west of the pier, as I figured that would be the focal point. As the Snowbirds were going to perform around 6pm I decided I’d rather spend time looking south and east away from the sun than looking (and photographing) into it. This proved to work quite well, as I only had to stop tracking the jets through my camera to avoid the sun a few times.

canadian forces snowbirds begin canada burst from diamond formation

The Snowbirds begin a Canada Burst (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Normally I photograph relatively still objects – mountains, trees, waterfalls etc. They don’t move around, and so the focus tracking capabilities of my various camera bodies have rarely mattered. Photographing the Snowbirds is quite a different thing than I usually work with, so I was curious how the auto focus on my new camera would work out. At the end of the evening I had roughly 300 photos of the performance and none of them were out of focus. Normally I’m used to having to delete some photographs with subjects like this as they are blurry but this was not the case this time. Picking the images I wanted to process took a bit longer as I didn’t have unfocused shots to throw out, but I’m not complaining at all!

canadian forces snowbirds big diamond formation with smoke

The Snowbirds starting a loop in the Big Diamond Formation (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   The website for the Canadian Forces Snowbirds shows the various formations they use for their performances. It took me a while but I think I’ve correctly named all the formations and looping/burst maneuvers I photographed. If I had this to do again I’d probably record audio of the broadcast that accompanied the performance to more easily determine all the formation names after the fact.

canadian forces snowbirds arrow formation begin a loop

The Snowbirds in Arrow Formation Begin a Loop (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

For the 23 additional photographs I made of the Snowbirds visit my Transportation Gallery.

I Bought A New Camera – the Canon 5D Mark IV

The Canon 5D Mark IV with Canon EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS (and a RRS L-bracket).

Canon 5D Mark IV with Canon ef 24-70mm f/4 IS lens and RRS L bracket

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (with Canon 24-70mm f/4 L IS)

-click to enlarge-

   I don’t write about equipment here often as I prefer talking about locations and photographs. Too many photographers concentrate on the equipment over the experiences and results, and I think that often hurts the photography. I tend to only research and read (and write) about equipment when I need it. I was happy to not have bought a new lens since 2011, and only did so recently due to the camera upgrade. Since 2011 I’ve been shooting with a Canon 7D, an improvement at the time from the Canon 30D I’d been using since 2007. The 7D was a big upgrade from the 30D and I was able to use the same lenses (EF-S and EF) I’d invested in already. One of those lenses, the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS started to break down on occasion just over two years ago. A lens that just refuses to work at exactly the wrong time isn’t a good one to keep around. I put up with this as it still worked for the most part, and would make occasional bad noises before it crapped out on me again earlier this year. I had always imagined moving to a full frame camera at some point, and this lens was part of what got me to do it. If I had upgraded the 30D in 2012 instead of 2011, I might have bought a Canon 6D which is full frame. I’d probably still be happy with that camera and continue to use it as many of my photographer friends still do. At his point the 6D is getting old(er) and I had waited long enough for the much rumored 6D Mark II to be released. It may be released later this year, or not at all. The 7D was made in 2009, and while it is still a good camera (that I will continue to use) it lacks a number of things more modern cameras offer. Higher dynamic range, much less noise at higher ISO, etc. Even the increase in megapixels (a wildly over hyped feature in general) will be handy as the 5D Mark IV yields 30 megapixel files while the 7D was around 18.

   So after months of research I had decided my new camera body had to be a 5D Mark IV but this required upgrading some lenses as well. The 7D has a APS-C crop sensor (1.6x) which worked well with my two EF-S lenses, the 17-55 f/2.8 IS and the Canon 10-22mm. Neither of these will work on a full frame DSLR body, so it was also time to move up in the world of lenses. The 17-55 was a good lens, but after using it’s replacement, the Canon 24-70mm f/4 L IS (which comes with the same price tag), I’m very happy with the quality of the images from it. I replaced the 10-22mm with a Canon 17-40mm f/4 L which is a pretty ubiquitous landscape lens among Canon landscape photographers. I haven’t used the 17-40mm much yet, but I expect it to be a step up from the 10-22.

   I’ve spent a few weeks learning all the features on the new 5D Mark IV and do love the results so far. I’ve only been out for one “real” evening of shooting (in White Rock) but have made quite a few images in the backyard of baby rabbits, birds, and various spring flowers. It has been very nice to shoot at ISO 3200 and get the same level of noise I was used to at around 800! You’ll see those results, as well as the photos of other trips I have planned… soon!