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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Bagley Lakes and Trails Through Heather Meadows

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 at bagley lakes heather meadows

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.

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Mount Herman and Bagley Lakes (Purchase)

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   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!

blooming subalpine aster eurybia merita at heather meadows

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.

For more of my photography from Heather Meadows visit my Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest 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:

Fall at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody BC

Sunset lights up a Bigleaf Maple Tree (Acer macrophyllum) on a fall day at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada.

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Sunset at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody (Purchase)

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   One of my many stops this year to photograph the fall colours was Rocky Point Park (map) in Port Moody. I was very happy that Vancouver and the Fraser Valley had a great year for fall foliage! I had not visited Rocky Point Park (other than looking at it from the Murray/Moody Street overpass) since approximately 2001 when I walked from the main parking area over to Ioco Road. That is a walk I need to do again, but last week I mainly visited the area around the pier and walked up the trail a short distance. The first photograph above shows the pier as well as a Bigleaf Maple that was brilliantly lit by the setting sun.

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The Pier at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody (Purchase)

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   The second photograph here shows the pier in more detail, along with the houses and mountains in the background. It really is a nice view from Rocky Point. The main peaks in this photo are Mount Seymour and Mount Bishop. I walked to the end of the pier and there was a photographer there doing portraits. Twice last month I ran into photographers who were yelling encouraging (and over the top) words at their subjects. “OMG you are the most photogenic family I’ve ever seen!” etc. I don’t know if this is a normal thing for a portrait photographer to do publicly, but I know it decreases the enjoyment for others using the area. I’ve always thought those who think their photography is an excuse to unduly disturb others using a park are good candidates to ask about their photograph permit.

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View of Old Mill Site Park (from Rocky Point) in Port Moody (Purchase)

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   The above photograph here is the view of Old Mill Site Park across Burrard Inlet from Rocky Point. I’ve been there before, but it looks interesting from afar so I should photograph it soon (and walk from Rocky Point). You can see what I presume is a platform for viewing Burrard Inlet, and the fall foliage surrounding it is probably just past it’s peak for the year.

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The Seawall at Rocky Point Park in Port Moody (Purchase)

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   This last photograph is from the pier looking back at that same Bigleaf Maple from the first photograph. Our fall foliage can be spectacular (mostly due to a few Maple species) but it only reaches that level maybe once every 4-5 years. This year was very good, and this one maple tree is an example of why. The leaves have turned a bright yellow/orange, and very few of them have gone from green to a yellow/brown as occurs in poor fall foliage years.

For more of my photographs from this and other nearby areas visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.

North Vancouver Industry and Buildings

View of the buildings and industrial areas of North Vancouver, Burrard Inlet, and Mount Seymour from downtown Vancouver.

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View of North Vancouver and Mount Seymour from downtown Vancouver (Purchase)

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   I tend to associate North Vancouver with wilderness, mountains, waterfalls, and skiing. My usual destinations in North Van are usually areas such as Mount Seymour and Lynn Canyon Park. Looking at North Vancouver from Vancouver you can see the mountains and the forests, but there is a lot of industrial land along the waterfront as well. The first panorama shows cargo ships picking up grain from various grain terminals on the North Shore. Mount Seymour, as with many photographs of North Vancouver, makes for a good background and is home to one of 3 ski hills on the North Shore. North Shore industries such as shipyards, lumber and coal export, are also present along the edge of Burrard Inlet.

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View of North Vancouver Industrial Shoreline from Vancouver (Purchase)

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   The second panorama here shows the industrial waterfront a bit further west than the first. One of the more familiar industrial uses that people recognize are the large sulphur piles at the North Vancouver Sulphur Works. Here the “La Bamba” which is registered in the Marshall Islands is docked and loading Sulphur. There are also large piles of coal for export further east in North Vancouver. Crown and Grouse Mountains (which is home to Grouse Mountain Resort) form the background here.

For more photographs of North Vancouver visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.

Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park in Chilliwack BC

Bridal Veil Falls at Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

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View of Bridal Veil Falls (Purchase)

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   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.

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Small Waterfall on Bridal Creek (Purchase)

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   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.

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Small Waterfalls and Bridal Veil Falls (Purchase)

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   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.

You can view more of my photographs of the falls and Bridal Creek in my Bridal Falls Provincial Park Gallery.

Adult Barred Owl (Strix varia)

A Barred Owl (Strix varia) looks down from its perch in a backyard forest in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada.

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Barred Owl (Strix varia) (Purchase)

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   I have described myself before here as a “wildlife opportunist” in that I seldom seek out animals to photograph, but happily do so when they are nearby – as was the case with this Barred Owl a few days ago. I came home from some grocery shopping and decided to check out why the Northwestern Crows (Corvus caurinus) and Steller’s Jays (Perisoreus canadensis) were going a bit nuts in the forest next to my house, and found they were harassing a Barred Owl. I immediately went inside and grabbed my camera. As with any wildlife encounter, my camera had the widest angle lens on it at the time, so I had to switch to my 70-200, replace the battery, and put in a new memory card. Luckily the Barred Owl was still in the trees when I returned. The crows and jays seemed more worried about my presence than they were motivated to harass the owl, so they moved on pretty quickly. I made a few photographs of the owl but as usual with the owls I see, there were plenty of branches and leaves in the way. I did what I could, but then another bird species actually helped me out – an Annas Hummingbird (Calypte anna).

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Adult Barred Owl (Strix varia) (Purchase)

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   Hummingbirds can be quite aggressive and territorial, and this one was living up to that reputation. A group of hummingbirds is called a “troubling” which makes sense in this context. Another name – a “charm” of hummingbirds doesn’t seem quite as relevant. This summer I saw a Bald Eagle fly over the house – without the usual assortment of crows etc harassing it. What was after the eagle was a small swarm of Hummingbirds orbiting it like angry wasps. The Hummingbird in this case would strafe the owl, hover, move off, and then repeat. Occasionally it would perch nearby before continuing the harassment campaign. What worked out in my favor was that the Hummingbird actually ran into the back of the owls head at one point, and so the owl moved to a different location about 20 feet away. Also lucky for me was that this actually put the Barred Owl in a better position for me to photograph it without (as many) distracting branches and leaves in the frame.

   When I photograph wildlife I try to make sure I am not disturbing their normal behaviour as much as possible. This owl seemed much more interested in what was happening on the ground below it with the occasional glance at me or to track the latest strafe from the Hummingbird. This was maybe an hour before sunset so perhaps it was starting to think about hunting. I’ve found a few owl pellets on the ground near here this fall, and found a number last winter, so there is a chance I’ll see this individual again.

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Barred Owl (Strix varia) in the Fraser Valley (Purchase)

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For more photographs of owls and other birds visit my Bird Gallery.

A Summer Evening at Steelhead Falls

Salmonberries and Ferns surround Steelhead Falls at the Hayward Lake Recreational Area in Mission, British Columbia, Canada

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Steelhead Falls on a Summer Evening (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I returned to Steelhead Falls in Mission’s Hayward Lake Recreational Area to make some photographs. The first time I photographed Steelhead Falls was an overcast day in late spring – quite different conditions than I found on this sunny day in mid August. To get to the falls you must first find the parking lot at the top of the hill (just to the east of the Stave Lake Dam). From there the falls can be found after a short hike along the Reservoir Trail heading south. There is a short trail down to the viewing platform and the falls after you cross the bridge over Steelhead Creek – which is the second creek you’ll cross.

   This first photograph here is the main view of the falls you see from the viewing platform. You can see some direct sunlight in the upper right corner. I usually photograph waterfalls on an overcast day as direct sunlight can be pretty difficult to deal with. An alternative to this is waiting until the sun starts to set and the direct sunlight is no longer falling on the falls. The effectiveness of this will depend on the location. This worked out quite well at Steelhead Falls though I had to wait until those spots of sunlight made their way up the hill and were no longer shining on the water.

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Upper Half of Steelhead Falls (Purchase)

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   You can see quite a difference between my photographs of Steelhead Falls a few years ago and these ones even though some of the locations and compositions are similar. The overcast days tend to lead to more saturated colors while the conditions I had a few weeks ago cast a warmer glow over everything – and I quite like that effect (best seen in the last three photographs here). You may also see a bit of a difference in the amount of foliage around some of the spots I photographed. It seems in the few years since I was last there Steelhead Falls has become a bit of an Instagram place to be seen and has attracted a lot of people who could learn a bit about “leave no trace”. “The shot” people are after seems to be from the bottom of the falls, so there is a “trail” down there now and a lot of the foliage (mostly Salmonberry and various fern species) are trampled or have died. When I was there clearly someone had used a machete or something similar to hack a trail along the edge of the creek towards an upstream area. The area isn’t totally defoliated like I’ve seen at some sites, but if the popularity here remains, I’m sure that will be the eventual outcome.

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Uppermost Falls at Steelhead Falls on Steelhead Creek (Purchase)

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   This last photograph shows the very top of Steelhead Falls that you can’t see from the angle of the viewing platform. There are a lot of different tiers to this series of falls and together they make a good photography subject as there is no shortage of composition possibilities. Trampling foliage off the trail to get the Instagram shot from the bottom of the falls just isn’t necessary.

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Upper Half of Steelhead Falls (Purchase)

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For more photographs of this location visit my Waterfall Gallery.