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)
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.
The historic Annand/Rowlatt Farmhouse (1888) at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, BC.
Farmhouse on the Annand/Rowlatt farmstead (built in 1888) (Purchase)
I recently returned to the Annand/Rowlatt farmstead in Campbell Valley Park and made some photographs. I’ve photographed this location a few times over the years, but had not published the results until recently. The farmhouse pictured above was built by Sarah Ann and Joseph Annand in 1888. This makes the farmhouse one of the oldest existing residences in the Township of Langley. The Annands sold the farm in 1905 and then Len Rowlatt first leased, then purchased the property and lived there for almost 60 years. The farmhouse and the surrounding farm buildings are now part of Campbell Valley Park in south Langley. This photograph of the farmhouse was made in 2019 at the same time as the first photograph of the barns below.
Gable Roof Barn (1898) and on the right the Gambrel Roof Barn (1939) on the Annand/Rowlatt Farmstead (Purchase)
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There are two barns on the Annand/Rowlatt farmstead. The Gable Roof Barn is older and has a bit more historical character, and was built in 1898. The Gable Roof Barn was restored in 1986, and is a timber-frame barn held together with wooden pegs. The siding is made from cedar planks that were split on the farm itself. The lean-to on the north side of the bard was where cows were fed, but now houses old farm equipment.
The Two Barns on the Annand/Rowlatt Farmstead (Purchase)
The larger, red, Gambrel Roof Barn (right) was built in 1939 by Len Rowlatt in order to house and milk his dairy herd. The complex Gambrel Roof design allows space in the hayloft without the obstruction of vertical timbers. This barn was restored to its original condition in 2001. The second photograph of the two barns (and the outbuilding photo below) was made in spring of 2017.
Two chairs under an Apple tree in the gardens surrounding the Annand/Rowlatt Farmhouse (Purchase)
There are a number of split rail fences around the farmstead. One encircles the farmhouse (which is currently rented and is a private area) and the garden/orchard surrounding the house. These two chairs look like an inviting place to relax under an apple tree.
One of the smaller farm buildings on the Annand Rowlatt Farmstead (Purchase)
The farmhouse and 2 barns are not the only older structures on the farmstead property. This small building is located behind the farmhouse and beyond the gardens. Originally there was a garage, workshop, chicken house, storehouse and a pigpen on the property. I am not sure what this building originally was built for, but most of the buildings have been repurposed over time for different needs.
For more of my photographs of the Annand/Rowlatt Farmstead, including some close ups of farm equipment and the barn windows/doors visit my Campbell Valley Park Gallery.
View of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and beyond – from Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
View of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Burnaby (Purchase)
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As with many of my better images these photos of a view of Vancouver were not really planned. I had a plan, but when that fell through (as they often do) I had to adjust (more on that later). This is the view of Vancouver from the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area near Simon Fraser University. I’ve been surprised both times I’ve photographed here that I have not seen other photographers (beyond those with cell phones) as the view is quite popular. When I went to school at SFU this was a busy area at sunset as people parked their cars to watch (and do other things) – and this was much the same last week when I was on Burnaby Mountain. Two separate people were even brought by their drivers, and had their own security. Why this area is popular is understandable as the view is spectacular on a nice day!
The panorama above shows many notable buildings and locations in and around Vancouver (best viewed in the larger “lightbox” version if you click on the smaller version above). On the left the blue lights are from BC Place and above the stadium you can see Mount Arrowsmith on Vancouver Island. Then we have the towers of the downtown area of the City of Vancouver and the Port of Vancouver structures next to Burrard Inlet. Beyond Vancouver you can see other areas of Vancouver Island (including the light of Nanaimo), and ships waiting to load/unload in English Bay. The darker area before you get to the Lions Gate Bridge is Stanley Park, and then you have the bridge itself, and the lights of the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver. In the foreground you have Capitol Hill in north Burnaby (I can see the house I lived in for a few years in this photo), and then the Burnaby Refinery (Parkland) next to Burrard Inlet.
View of Vancouver from Burnaby Mountain after sunset. (Purchase)
I had initially planned to photograph a few scenes in Port Moody (which I was able to do) and then photograph some blue hour photos of snow on the mountains to the north (Mount Seymour, etc). I didn’t expect a sunset due to cloud cover and I have had a few ideas for those photos for a few years. It became immediately clear that there was not a lot of snow on the mountains (visible) and that plan was going to have to be abandoned.
When I was editing these photos I was reflecting whether these images would have been possible for me to make maybe even 5 years ago. My camera at the time would have done a good job, but I’m not sure I’d have been able to get in the right position and more importantly, the right frame of mind, to make these photos. I used to over plan my photography days, and if I’d shown up here to make blue hour photos of mountains covered in snow (and not found those scenes) I might have still been stewing on this and unable to make the transition to shooting something else. You just can only shoot what is actually there, and even if that thing isn’t what you initially wanted or expected, there is almost always something else to photograph. Knowing more about what locations are nearby and what potential they have also helps! Even if you photograph nothing at a location, seeing what might be possible there in the future can help a lot.
For more of my photographs of Vancouver visit my Vancouver Gallery.
The Parliament Buildings (Centre Block) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Centre Block contained the House of Commons, the Senate chambers, offices of some MP’s (Members of Parliament), and administration offices.
I first saw the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa when I was 18. In the Vancouver area we don’t really have as much in the way of impressive, historically significant buildings, so I still remember the first time I saw the Centre Block building. During my trip to Ottawa last fall I was happy to see these buildings again, and to have a chance to photograph them. I also found a historical architecture equivalent of a bad sunset or clouds hiding the mountain thats we get with landscapes sometimes: construction.
The first session of the Parliament of Canada was held on Parliament Hill in in November 6, 1867, before the buildings were completely finished construction (which had begun in 1859). Parliament Hill has 3 main buildings – East Block (opened in 1866), West Block (opened in 1906), and Centre Block (which held the “House of Commons” and Senate Chambers). Most of the Centre Block standing today is not the original, a fire in 1916 burned down the original building. Only the Library of Parliament survived the fire intact. It seems the library clerk at the time had the presence of mind to close the large iron main doors before the fire reached the library. It is also for this reason that there is a different architectural style in the newer Centre Block compared to the Library of Parliament or the East and West Block buildings.
Construction on the current Centre Block building began in 1917 after the fire, and was completed in 1927. The original buildings were constructed in a “Victorian High Gothic” style while the newer Centre Block is a “Modern Gothic Revival” style. The original Centre Block also had a large clock tower in the middle, though that tower was called the Victoria Tower. During the fire the original Victoria Tower Bell fell to the ground, and is still displayed on the Parliament Hill grounds. After the fire and reconstruction, the new tower was called the Peace Tower. The Peace Tower is 92.2m (302 ft) in height and flies a new Canadian flag each weekday. Canadians can request this flag but as this is quite a popular idea – the current waiting time is 99 years!
If you look at the lower right corner of the Peace Tower (in the two photographs) you can see some scaffolding covered in similar coloured tarps. The Parliament Buildings are all undergoing rehabilitation. The West Block building had its repair begin in 2011 and recently finished – and now contains the interim House of Commons as the Centre Block is just beginning its 10 years of rehabilitation. The Senate chamber has been temporarily relocated to the Senate of Canada Building (formerly the Government Conference Centre) near Parliament Hill. So while my photograph above contains some construction equipment and scaffolding, I probably did actually come at a fairly good time as the place is going to be closed for the next 10 years. A previously overcast day giving way to blue sky helped a lot too!
For more photographs from the Ottawa area visit my Ottawa Gallery.
I photographed these lights on the White Rock Pier reflecting off the water of Boundary Bay back in October 2018. I had no idea this would be the last time I would photograph the pier while it was whole. On December 20th, 2018 this part of British Columbia had a historic (in terms of damage) windstorm that damaged the current pier so badly it will eventually be replaced. 300,000 customers lost power (my lights didn’t come on for 30 hours, and I was relatively lucky) and many areas had winds stronger than 100 km/hr (62 mph). The estimated cost of entirely replacing pier is around $16.2 million. The City of White Rock looks to be planning a $5 million fix to get the pier open later this year before replacing the structure entirely.
The White Rock Pier was opened on November 14, 1914. Since then it has become a tourist attraction and one of the main draws to the Marine Drive area of White Rock. I tend to avoid the very busy summer months but this first photograph here was on a quieter evening in the fall where the crowds weren’t an issue, though the pier was still busy. Unfortunately the photograph below shows what it looks like now. There is a large section in the middle of the pier that is completely gone, and there is a lot of damage to the rest of the 104 year old structure. A post I made in 2017 shows a bit more of the pier when it was still intact. Note the marina in the second to last photo on that post and specifically the dock with sailboats that broke free and repeatedly was driven into the pier which caused much of the damage. Some of those sailboats broke apart and sank, the rest washed up on the beach with varying levels of damage.
Destroyed section of the White Rock Pier
The photograph below shows one of the reasons the pier was popular, it offered not only a nice walk, but great views of the surrounding scenery such as Mount Baker. I photographed this scene in October 2018 during a poor sunset, but with good light to the east.
View of Mount Baker from the White Rock Pier (Purchase)
This next photograph is from early 2017 and shows the pier in better days just after a nice sunset. Photographed from the East Beach side of the Promenade looking west.
View of the White Rock Pier after sunset (Purchase)
This is the White Rock at White Rock Beach that gave the city its name. The White Rock is a 486-ton granite boulder that was left by a retreating glacier (glacial erratic). The rock was once used as a navigational aide for boats as it was a frequent target for seabird guano. Now it is covered in white paint and is a frequent target of graffiti instead.
Hog’s Back Falls, the Rideau River and the Hog’s Back Bridge in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Photographed from Hog’s Back Park.
Hogs Back Falls from Ottawa’s Hogs Back Park (Purchase)
During my trip to Ontario and Québec I visited a waterfall in Ottawa, along the Rideau River, called Hogs Back Falls (or Prince of Wales Falls, officially). Hogs Back Falls are not actually a natural waterfall, and are the result of construction of a waste water channel during the building of the Rideau Canal. Originally this section of the river was a 2000 meter long rapids, some of which is still visible below Hogs Back Falls.
Hog’s Back Falls and Hog’s Back Bridge in Ottawa (Purchase)
The first two photographs here are from the first viewpoint we found in Hogs Back Park. It has a nice view up the Rideau River and looks directly towards Hogs Back Falls. I made this initial composition to try to portray what a visitor would see here. I often start with a “big picture” photograph of an area and then try to work on more detailed compositions of individual elements that make a scene interesting. At this viewpoint we noticed a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) hunting for prey next to a small waterfall below. Another photographer at that spot offered me the use of his 100-400 lens. I declined, but he insisted, so I put the lens on and made a few photographs which did not turn out. This lens was interesting to try, but I also knew this was the wrong angle to photograph the Heron and I could probably do pretty well at a better spot. The 100-400 is a nice lens, and there are times when I’d want to use one, but not enough to buy one. Rather expensive for the amount of use I would get out of it and also quite heavy and large for my already near capacity camera bag (and back). If I was a serious wildlife photographer I’d likely own one already, but until that happens I’ll stick with my 70-200 and the 1.4x extender that I usually have attached (since I moved to a full frame camera).
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) fishing in the Rideau River (Purchase)
After I changed locations to a spot closer to the bridge, I was able to view and photograph the heron much easier than at the first viewpoint. The photograph above is the result. A number of people have picked it as their favourite out of my “top 10” favourite images from 2018 post. I like Herons. Not only do they “pose” nicely and sit still quite often which makes a photograph easier, they seem to have an air of elegance or something about them. Except when they don’t. Years ago I photographed one strutting around near the Capilano Fish Hatchery in North Vancouver (Great Blue Heron at Capilano River). I still quite like that photograph, but I most remember that heron as appearing young and inexperience by trying to eat some discarded gills (from the hatchery) that were laying about. It seems gills are quite rough and hard to swallow, as the heron appeared to choke for about 10 minutes before expectorating the gills back up onto the rocks. I chalked this up to an inexperience Heron, but perhaps they just aren’t that bright?
A Great Blue Heron bites off more than it can chew
The Heron at Hogs Back Falls also had an embarrassing moment in public. At one point it snagged what looked like a Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) and then tried to swallow it whole, as Herons do. It appears that no matter how willing the Heron, its esophagus was not up to the diameter required for the task, After several inelegant minutes attempting to choke down this Bass, it too was spit back onto the rocks, only to fall into the river. The Heron then returned to fishing for something a bit more manageable. After photographing the Heron we worked our way over the Hogs Back Bridge and photographed the Rideau River and many smaller water falls on the rocks below.
Fall Foliage above the Rideau River and Hogs Back Falls in Ottawa (Purchase)
For more photographs from the Ottawa area visit my Ontario Gallery.
West Vancouver and the Ambleside Pier in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Evening at the Ambleside Pier in West Vancouver (Purchase)
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A few weeks ago I headed into Vancouver to see what fall foliage I could find. This was not a stellar year for foliage around Vancouver or in the Fraser Valley, at least not in the areas where I ventured. I found some good colour in Queen Elizabeth Park, but I have photographed there a lot before. I decided to go to areas that I hadn’t really visited often after that. After going through downtown I went to Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. I had only photographed this location once, and there were promises of a decent sunset and a few subjects I wanted to photograph again with my newer, higher resolution, camera.
I had seen photographs of the pier before, but didn’t realize how close it was to Ambleside Park – probably less than a 10 minute walk from where I’d parked. On the way to the pier I photographed a few things along the beach, ships in English Bay, and the Lions Gate Bridge. When arriving at the Ambleside Fishing Pier, much of the sunset was gone but it was perfect timing for a blue hour photograph of the pier and parts of West Vancouver to the north. I had to compose around a construction crane but otherwise things went as planned. Ambleside Pier itself is a nice spot to view the surrounding area, and is set up with a table and hose to cut bait for fishing or crab traps, and to clean one’s catch.
This second photograph of Ambleside Pier is from Ambleside Beach looking west. When I visited the pier there were several groups there fishing and crabbing. One of the crabbers was waiting to pull up their trap as there was a seal hanging out in the area and apparently it is adept at raiding the traps as they come to the surface!
For more photographs of this area visit my Gallery.