The backyard vines had a particularly vigorous crop of Concord Grapes (Vitis labrusca) this year and I made a few photographs of them. The Concord Grape is mostly known for juice, and not a grape that one hears about often in conversations about wines. It can be used for wine, but is much more often used for juice and grape jellies. The Concord Grape was first produced in 1849 by Ephraim Wales Bull in Concord, Massachusetts, which gives a good idea where the name came from. This particular photogenic bunch was growing in the backyard, and hadn’t yet been harassed by hungry wildlife or grazing humans. Normally I just eat a few fresh off the vine when outside, but this year I decided to harvest some.
I left the majority of the grapes on the vine, and picked what looked to be the ones in the best shape. I had a sizeable bucket by the time I was done, and put about 3/4 of them in the freezer where they are still waiting. My intent is to juice them and then make some jelly, but I’ve done neither before, so we shall see how that goes. The process of using the steam juicer here doesn’t seem difficult. There may be some potential errors to be made in making the jelly though. I’d imagine that not quite getting things right could result in something syrupy instead of jelly-like but we will see.
Ambleside Beach, Ambleside Pier, and the newer retail and residential buildings in the Ambleside neighborhood of West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Ambleside Beach and Pier in West Vancouver (Purchase)
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I’ve been meaning to spend a bit more time in West Vancouver and in early November I spent an afternoon there looking for scenes to photograph. I started at Horseshoe Bay, but I had not heard the shoreline/beach park was closed, so I headed over to Whytecliff Park instead. They were filming a movie there, so it was a challenge to find parking. I had a look around and then left for various spots along English Bay. Ultimately I wound up at Ambleside Park next to the beach, and photographed this first panorama above just after the peak of sunset. This area has changed a lot in the past few years since I last visited. A lot of the retail/condo buildings around the Ambleside Pier were still being built or weren’t around yet last time I visited.
Highrise apartments and condos in the Dundarave neighborhood of West Vancouver (Purchase)
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My first stop after leaving Whytecliff was near the Dundarave Pier at 25th street. I was unaware that the January 2022 storm that destroyed the Jericho Pier across English Bay in Vancouver had also caused so many problems in West Vancouver. The Dundarave Pier remains closed for repairs. The West Vancouver Centennial Seawalk had been repaired from the storm and can be seen along the edge of English Bay in the photo above. It was quite busy with people walking its 1.7 km length near various condo and apartment towers. I made a few photographs here and headed east along the water.
John Lawson Park in West Vancouver BC’s Ambleside neighborhood (Purchase)
My next stop was in the Ambleside neighborhood of West Vancouver at John Lawson Park. John Lawson Park does have its own pier, aptly named “John Lawson Pier”, and it had been repaired and was open. The path here is just past the end of the West Vancouver Centennial Seawalk, but continues on all the way to Ambleside Park to the east. John Lawson Park has some nice views of English Bay, Stanley Park, and the Lions Gate Bridge.
Sunset at Ambleside Beach and Pier in West Vancouver (Purchase)
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From John Lawson Park I went to Ambleside Park for sunset. The sunset wasn’t very interesting itself, but I don’t use it as a subject very often. I usually prefer to see what that warmer light is going to with other subjects, and in this case it warmed up the look of the buildings in Ambleside quite a bit. Compare to the first photograph here that was made 20 minutes later. Still a bit of glow on the windows from the horizon but not on much else. I also made this photograph (Link) kind of in between the two.
Likewise you can see some glow in the windows of Ambleside and Dundarave but not on much else in this last photograph. Some of the buildings here are the same as in the second photograph here but from around the corner. The pier here is the John Lawson Pier and you can see the seawalk heading west from the park.
Sunset light falls on the Ambleside and Dundarave neighborhoods of West Vancouver (Purchase)
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For more photographs of West Vancouver visit my West Vancouver Gallery.
It is again time to look back and see what my favourite images are from what I’ve published this year. With a long and wet spring, a long hot drought summer, and an almost non-existent fall before the cold came… it has been an “interesting” year to work with!
Working on my 2023 Nature Calendar every year helps get this list started, though there are usually a few differences as I have a more limited scope of themes for the calendar. If you click on a photo below you’ll be taken to my Image Library. I’ve also linked to corresponding blog posts that contain these images (if available) to provide more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. As usual, choosing 10 images is rather difficult (and I cheated this year), even though these should be considered my favourites and not the “best” necessarily. These aren’t in any order really as that would be just too hard!
I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites!
For many years Jim Goldstein maintained a list of photographer’s top 10 posts but he seems to have given that up. For the past few years Tracy Schultze has created his own list which you can ask to be part of. You can find his list here: https://tmschultze.com/pages/photography/best-of-2022-blog-posts/. I always discover some interesting photographers on these lists.
My 2023 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.
Another post with a mix of recent photographs of various subjects:
Red Langley Barn
I’ve driven past this restored “hip roofed” barn in Langley, BC for years. I decided to photograph it this spring when there was a nice bloom of Buttercups in the field nearby. Naturally we had a few immediate downpours and windy days but happily the Buttercups were still intact and upright when I drove here one evening. A nice scene in the snow as well, which is also on my list.
Buttercups blooming in front of a Langley Barn (Purchase)
A Dragonfly at Golden Ears Provincial Park
Dragonflies aren’t my usual subject when I visit Golden Ears Provincial Park! I had not visited the park in a while, and so I did my usual hike up to Lower Falls, and then out to North Beach. I had never really visited on a warm summer day before, and the amount of people at North Beach was significant. I did find a quiet place to relax for a while, but didn’t make any photos of note at either location. This was my first trip during the need for parking reservations, which I’d made for the lower falls parking lot. Imagine my surprise when there was nowhere to park, as they don’t actually check this stuff! This was early in the summer, so hopefully they worked out a better system (like actually checking passes on the way in) as the summer progressed. On the way out of the park I visited the Spirea Nature Trail which is one of those really short trails around something educationally interesting (a bog/marsh area in this case) with informative signs. A number of different Dragonfly species caught my eye near the ponds, and I photographed this one resting on a Cedar branch. I’ll (very) tentatively identify it as a Spiny Baskettail (Epitheca spinigera) but I am not certain of that. Any Dragonfly experts wish to correct my ID?
A Dragonfly on a cedar branch in Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) Fledgling
I photographed this fledgling American Robin in the backyard in between feedings from its parents. Some bird babies look rather cute. Robin babies tend to look like this one, a bit angry, a bit confused, a bit sullen teenager. I might feel the same if someone kept stuffing worms into my mouth all day, actually.
We don’t often think of Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum) as having flowers in the spring, but that is what these are, hanging just below some emerging leaves. Early in the spring these look like young leaves from a distance and aren’t bright and colourful like some flowering trees (Magnolias, for example). I made a photograph earlier this year on Salt Spring Island that also showed the Maple flowers which were the only foliage visible on any of the large deciduous trees in the area. While the Maple flowers aren’t colourful, I have seen the bees enjoying them quite often. I photographed the flowers below at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, BC.
Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) Flowering in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)
I photographed this Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) flower in bloom in my Mom’s backyard. This flower is a bit atypical as the majority of Soapwort flowers are found in large clusters at the top of the stalk, though this one is by itself, part way down. Soapwort is a perennial herb grown in many herb gardens and is used to make detergent and soaps, as well as an ornamental plant. The saponins in the roots and leaves of Soapwort create bubbles when agitated in water. Soapwort is also known as common soapwort, bouncing-bet, crow soap, wild sweet William, and Soapweed.
Another in a series of blog posts where I publish a small group of photos that don’t quite fit into the regular posts. Most of these were made this year but the Coyote photograph was made in the summer of 2021.
Canada Geese Goslings Under Mother’s Wing
Canada Goose Goslings Taking Shelter Under Mom’s Wing (Purchase)
Earlier this spring I visited Rolley Lake Provincial Park primarily for a quick lap on the perimeter trail. Having completed the loop, I saw this family of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) walking towards the beach area. There were a few human families sitting on the edge of the water fishing, but the geese didn’t seem to care. They pretty much just “elbowed” their way through the group, and at one point an adult just hopped through a lunch box and kept going. I guess we know who owns that beach! After poking around the shoreline for a bit the goslings crowded under Mom’s wing for some shelter. With the size they were getting to at that point, it looks a bit crowded in there!
These two buildings are part of the Finn Slough community in Richmond, British Columbia. Finn Slough was founded by Finnish settlers in the 1880’s and became the hub for fishing in the area. The buildings in Finn Slough were built between the late 1800’s and the 1950’s. The short bridge to the community had some warnings posted on it. I’ve heard a lot about some current residents being annoyed with the actions of photographers and visitors, so I kept to the road for this photograph. I have no doubt people who live there have had their privacy invaded more than once, it is a popular photo location.
Golden Ears (Mount Blanshard) Panorama
A band of cloud lingering over the Golden Ears (Purchase)
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I have quite a few photographs of the Golden Ears in Maple Ridge, BC. Many of those are panoramas like this one, but not many have clouds in them. I’ve sold a number of really large canvas prints of these images, so I made this photograph with the idea of having a few more options to present when a client is making their choice. Someday I’d like to get one with a colourful sky above the peaks, but as it lies directly north of here that is going to have to rely on some higher clouds picking up that light. One more thing for my long list of photos I hope to make in the future!
Red-Breasted Sapsucker at Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park
Red-Breasted Sapsucker on Maple Tree Trunk (Purchase)
During a trip to Salt Spring Island in April of this year, I made a photograph of some ferns growing along a trail in Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park. Ultimately that photo didn’t work out, but as I walked further I noticed this Red-Breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) perched on a Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) trunk. I approached carefully, making a few photographs as I moved forward. As this was right next to the trail, I couldn’t give the bird all that much space, but it seems I needn’t have been concerned. As we passed it stayed still and didn’t seem to concerned about our presence. Note in this photograph some of the small holes drilled into the bark where the Sapsucker, a species of Woodpecker, feeds on the trees sap. I made this second photograph while directly behind the Red-Breasted Sapsucker as it kept an eye on me.
(Canis latrans) Hunting in Sumas Prairie (Purchase)
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Almost exactly a year ago (before the Sumas Prairie flooded from the Atmospheric Rivers) I was driving through the Fraser Valley and passed this Coyote (Canis latrans) trotting through a freshly cut hay field on Sumas Prairie in Abbotsford. I turned around and pulled over on the rural road and made this photo from the car. Clearly my car was spotted by the Coyote as it stopped and looked at me briefly, then continued on. Occasionally it would grab something from the grass, and I presume it was hunting small rodents that were disturbed by the hay cutting. After a while it turned around and disappeared in the corn field in the background.
You can see more of my newly published images in the New Images and other galleries in my Image Library.
Does this cloud look like a Baby Chick Begging for Food to you? (Purchase)
Summer is not always a time for a high level of photography activity for me. These past two summers the parks and public areas have been crowded as people limited travel due to Covid. Summer of 2021 was exceptionally hot and started with a record breaking heat dome which many will not forget anytime soon. So I didn’t get out and photograph all that this summer, but I did do some in the backyard. In the evening after working in the garden I occasionally noticed some flowers that needed some camera attention, and during one of those evenings I happened to look up and see a lot of great cloud shapes and formations in the evening sky.
There isn’t a lot one can say about these sorts of photographs, but I included this first one at the top because it is my favourite. The main shape here reminds me of a baby chick in a nest with its wings stretched out and its mouth wide open hoping for dinner from Mom or Dad. Hopefully I’m not the only one that can see this! The others I photographed that evening were either shapes or striations in the sky that I found interesting.
December brings the time of year where we look back on the previous year and reflect on what occurred. I was hoping 2021 would be less eventful than the situation in 2020. While it was different, and much improved in many ways, the weather decided to be a big force where I live and not in a fun way. On the plus side, I did get out a lot more this year (locally) for photography, and I think I improved on some things from the previous year, which is all one can ask for really. 2021 also brought some really good fall foliage which I was able to both enjoy and photograph.
As usual, I started working on this list when I collected images for my 2022 Nature Calendar. I’ve published new images since then, and had many others to consider as well. 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 available) to provide more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. As usual, choosing 10 images is rather difficult, even though these should be considered my favourites and not the “best” necessarily. These aren’t in any order really as that would be just too hard!
I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites. What do you see in photo #5?