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!

Barnet Marine Park in the Evening

A small lighthouse at Barnet Marine Park on Burrard Inlet in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

barnet marine park in burnaby

View from Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby (Purchase)

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    Barnet Marine Park is situated along Burrard Inlet along the north end of Burnaby Mountain in Burnaby, BC. This was my final stop of the day back in October, where I’d previously visited Sasamat Lake and Rocky Point Park hunting fall foliage. The cement structure between the lighthouse and the shore is the remains of an old scrap burner that was used for a lumber mill that was on this site until 1958. This spot is one I have visited for over 20 years, and I always enjoy the walk along the shoreline even if the light isn’t photo worthy. This is a great place to view wildlife (seals, crabs, herons etc.) as well as a wide variety of passing boats.

lighthouse at barnet marine park in burnaby

Lighthouse at Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby (Purchase)

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You can view more of my photography from this area in my City of Burnaby Gallery.

Mount Baker from Huntoon Point

Sunset light in the clouds above Mount Baker – photographed from Huntoon Point, Washington State.

mount baker fall foliage sunset from huntoon point washington

Mount Baker and Fall Foliage at Huntoon Point (Purchase)

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   As I have indicated in other posts, fall is the time of year I usually visit the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State. I usually photograph Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and the other North Cascade peaks and ranges in the area. Sometimes I am there along with some great fall foliage as well, though it has a much different look than near sea level. Where I live this leaf color is usually dominated by Bigleaf Maples, Vine Maples, and a few other species. Up in the mountains near Mount Baker, much of the color comes from smaller trees and shrubs such as the Vaccinium species (Blueberries / Huckleberries etc) and Sitka Mountain Ash (Sorbus sitchensis) as shown in the first photograph here. There is always a lot to photograph in the area between Picture Lake, the Chain Lakes, and Huntoon Point on Kulshan Ridge, even if there isn’t a nice sunset. One of my favourite spots and I always find new compositions when I am there.

mount baker sunset from huntoon point washington

Sunset at Mount Baker (Purchase)

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   When there is a nice sunset sometimes it can be difficult to photograph Mount Baker in that light. From this area you are looking southwest towards Mt. Baker. This can be problematic if the clouds aren’t cooperating in lessening the bright to dark one finds in looking from west to east across that view. Luckily there was some thin cloud cover in most of the sky, but not far to the west where the sun was free to shine through. These were near perfect conditions for sunset there, which I have not seen before myself. There was even some great light over the mountains to the north (the Border Peaks, for example) as well as above Mount Shuksan to the east.

mount baker after sunset from huntoon point washington

Mount Baker after the sunset (Purchase)

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Visit my Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest gallery for more photographs from this evening as well as the surrounding area.

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.

Mount Cheam and the Fraser River in Agassiz

Mount Cheam, fall foliage, and the Fraser River in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada.

mount cheam and the fraser river from agassiz bc

Mount Cheam and the Fraser River in Agassiz (Purchase)

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   Mount Cheam is a familiar sight to anyone who drives through almost any part of the Fraser Valley and looks towards the east. Once you reach the eastern sections of Chilliwack Cheam really starts to command your attention in the sky. I’ve photographed Mount Cheam and the Cheam Range from a number of locations but I always thought there just had to be some way to get the Fraser River, or any river really, in the foreground. During one of my trips deeper into the valley this fall I decided to turn onto a side road I’d passed on many occasions heading towards Agassiz. Turns out, this was pretty much the sort of location I was looking for. The photograph above (also the cover photo of my 2018 Calendar) has all the elements I was looking for: Mount Cheam, the Fraser River, and some good fall foliage colors! Most of the trees providing fall foliage along the banks of the Fraser River here are Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa). The colorful trees on the hill in the middle of the photo are predominantly Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum).

mount cheam agassiz farmland

Mount Cheam and Agassiz Farmland (Purchase)

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   The area I found with new (to me) views of Mount Cheam in Agassiz is mostly farmland. I’m sure on a return visit there are some good views with a barn in the foreground, though the more southern part of Chilliwack has many of those opportunities as well. I had been heading to Harrison Hot Springs after photographing the first location, but saw the fall foliage provided by these two Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) trees and had to pull over again for a few more photographs. I am looking forward to visiting this spot in other seasons to see what it has to offer in different conditions.

mount cheam peak with fresh fall snowfall

Mount Cheam Peak with Fresh Snowfall (Purchase)

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Visit my Fraser Valley gallery for more photographs from this area and more.

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.

Sasamat Lake on a Fall Day

Two hikers walking over the floating bridge at Sasamat Lake in Belcarra Regional Park – Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada.

two hikers on the sasamat lake floating bridge

Two Hikers on the Sasamat Lake Floating Bridge (Purchase)

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   One of my destinations for fall foliage this year was the Buntzen Lake and Belcarra Regional Park areas of Port Moody, BC. I hadn’t originally intended to stop at Sasamat Lake, but when I saw the sign at the turnoff I headed that way as it wasn’t very far to drive. Sasamat Lake has had a few names over the years, but was renamed Sasamat in 1941 as it was rumored to be the local aboriginal word for the nearby North Arm of Burrard Inlet. I stopped by the roadside at one end of the floating bridge and walked down to the water to see if there was any fall leaves to photograph. Most of the color was in this one large Bigleaf Maple tree, but there were some other smaller ones around as well. This first photograph shows the view from the boardwalk (along the Sasamat Lake Loop Trail) on the east side of the lake looking towards the floating bridge. There was a lot of mist and moisture in the air and this created some interesting views looking into the sun. I made this photograph with one of my longer lenses of two hikers crossing the floating bridge with their small dog. I am not sure if the lines formed by the sunlight are from the tree tops or the power lines above, but I enjoyed the effect regardless.

two hikers view fall maple leaves at sasamat lake

Viewing Fall Maple Foliage at Sasamat Lake (Purchase)

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   The second photograph here was shot from the west side of the floating bridge. The fall foliage colour on this particular Bigleaf Maple was so bright you could watch almost every person walking by stop and enjoy it. This couple stood there for probably 5 minutes, which made it easy to get a photo I liked of them viewing the leaves.

   During my university days at SFU I went on an optional field trip in my Limnology class to this floating bridge. We were taking various temperature readings, Secchi depths and other measurements. I had ventured down the bridge a distance from the main group when a bus load of Japanese tourists walked onto the eastern side of the bridge. Once it was discovered that I was engaged in some scientific activity they all insisted on taking individual photos with me. Selfies – long before they were called such a thing (and with film cameras). This puzzled the rest of my biology group but it would probably allow me to put “internationally famous scientist” into my bio if I were into that sort of thing.

   Sasamat Lake’s main attraction is White Pine Beach, which is situated at the northeast end of the lake. Sasamat is one of the Metro Vancouver areas warmest lakes, so that probably explains some of this beaches popularity. The nearby Buntzen Lake is very cold even on a hot summer day! I didn’t walk all the way to the beach along the Sasamat Lake Loop Trail, but did go as far as this wooden boardwalk next to that one Bigleaf Maple tree.

fall maple leaves at sasamat lake

Fall Maple Leaves at Sasamat Lake (Purchase)

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   This day was relatively calm and this gave the opportunity for this reflection photo of the floating bridge over Sasamat. One of the few times that afternoon there were no people walking across it.

floating bridge at sasamat lake

Floating Bridge at Sasamat Lake (Purchase)

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For more photographs of the Port Moody area visit my City of Port Moody Gallery.