Fall Foliage on Salt Spring Island

Reflections of autumn foliage and Mount Maxwell on a rainy day along the shore of Blackburn Lake on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.

reflections on blackburn lake on salt spring island in the fall

Mount Maxwell reflected in Blackburn Lake on Salt Spring Island (Purchase)

I recently made a return trip to Salt Spring Island in British Columbia to visit friends and photograph some fall foliage on the island. I’d not been to Salt Spring in the fall before, and I was hopeful about the fall leaves I might find there. The leaf colour in the Fraser Valley had been decent this year, and I’d found previously that even when it was quite bad here, it was very nice on Vancouver Island. I was hoping for the same on Salt Spring and it turned out it was very nice there as well, but it did come with a healthy dose of rain.

Like many rainy days here though, I was able to find gaps in the showers and photograph scenes like the reflection on Blackburn Lake above. The main fall foliage around the lake was the one pictured Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) tree that provided a nice yellow/orange color along the shoreline. The clouds often hid Mount Maxwell in the background but alternated often enough I could make this photograph while it was mostly visible. The dock I was photographing from is often a “clothing optional” area but there was nobody there this time as it was about +5°C!

sunlight on fall foliage at st mary lake salt spring island

The sun emerges at Saint Mary Lake on Salt Spring Island (Purchase)

During my second day on Salt Spring Island I went for a 6km hike to a small lake in Ruckle Provincial Park. I mostly wanted to scout the lake and this route also provided more shelter during a hike in the rain than the ocean side trails. This turned out to be a long trudge to a lake surrounded by dead trees and zero inspirational scenery at the time. It was also a chance to give a failing grade to my new rain jacket which didn’t measure up to the task. After lunch, however, the weather started clearing and I spotted the above scene at Saint Mary Lake. The sun only found its way through the clouds for a few minutes but while it did – this stand of Black Cottonwood (P. balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa) trees lit up rather nicely. There are some subject I tend to prefer to photograph in the shade (waterfalls/streams creeks), others in direct sun, but for fall foliage it really depends on the scene. Some fall subjects like these trees look great lit by direct sunlight, while others can look a bit washed out in full sun.

Driving further south from St. Mary Lake I visited Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park. Burgoyne Bay lies just south of Mount Maxwell and often has good views of the mountain. When I arrived, however, there were still a lot of clouds, spotty showers, and I couldn’t see the mountain. As I was interested in checking out a few subjects that did not require a friendly sky, I hiked out into the retired farm fields anyway. There are a lot of old rows of trees and shrubs on the edge of the trails I wanted to potentially photograph. It wasn’t 10 minutes after I left the car that the majority of the cloud had disappeared, and there were again great views of Mount Maxwell from the park trails. It is rare I see conditions change on me so quickly but I welcomed it this time! The photograph below is from one of the Burgoyne Bay trails looking towards Mount Maxwell (complete with a dog walker further down the path). Most of the fall foliage color in this photograph comes from the numerous Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) trees in the area.

fall foliage and mount maxwell from burgoyne bay provincial park

Mount Maxwell from Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park (Purchase)

From Burgoyne Bay I headed further down the road to the Fulford Harbour area and the Saint Paul’s Catholic Church. In a previous post I’ve written a bit about the history of St. Paul’s Catholic Church (1885) so I won’t get into that again here. The blue sky and the fall leaves (mostly Bigleaf Maples again) combine in the photograph below to make my favourite shot so far of this particular spot.

st pauls church and cemetery at fulford harbour on salt spring island

St. Paul’s Church and Cemetery at Fulford Harbour (Purchase)

Duck Creek Park is a small park in the northern part of Salt Spring where many people seem to enjoy walking their dogs. There is a small stream, Duck Creek, which winds through one end of the park which has yielded a few photographs for me in the past. In the area of the park with open fields, I concentrated on one large Bigleaf Maple tree with my longer telephoto zoom lens. The idea here was to show what these trees generally offer in the fall – yellow foliage colour with their characteristic mossy trunks. Fall leaves on the Bigleaf Maples can be tricky – some years they go mostly brown and others they can be spectacular. This particular tree showed a lot of variation – in this photo you can still see some green on some leaves and orange, yellow, and brown colours on others.

fall foliage of bigleaf maple on salt spring island

Bigleaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) in Duck Creek Park (Purchase)

For more of my photographs of this trip to the island visit my Salt Spring Island Gallery.

Whatcom Falls Fall Foliage Colors

Whatcom Falls in Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham, Washington State, USA

whatcom falls at whatcom falls park in bellingham washington usa

Fall Foliage at Whatcom Falls (Purchase)

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 Whatcom Falls park in Bellingham is one of the few US based places I remember going to as a kid from British Columbia. I remember going down and spending the afternoon fishing and having lunch or dinner on one of the park benches. When I visited it again probably 20 years later I remembered the name, but not the waterfalls or what I was about to find to photograph. I made this image way back in 2009, but it remains one of my favourites of the main falls in Whatcom Falls Park. I occasionally “complain” about the fall foliage colours in this part of the world, but it looks like 2009 was a great year! Most of the fall foliage we get around here are from the Bigleaf Maple trees (Acer macrophyllum), or sometimes from the smaller Vine Maples (Acer circinatum). When they get the right conditions they can really give some great colors. The above photograph is the view at Whatcom Falls park of the main waterfall from the Limestone Bridge that crosses Whatcom Creek. Most of the fall foliage colours in this first photograph are from Bigleaf Maple trees.

whatcom falls at whatcom falls park in bellingham washington usa

Fall Foliage along Whatcom Creek (Purchase)

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 This second photograph is the view looking downstream on the other side of that same Limestone Bridge. There are a few larger Bigleaf Maple leaves in this photo but most of the colour here comes from the smaller leaved Vine Maples.

For my other photographs of Whatcom Falls Park please visit my Washington State Misc. Photos Gallery in my Image Library.

Englishman River Fall Colors

Fall Color and Englishman River Falls in Englishman River Falls Provincial Park near Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.

fall color englishman river falls in the englishman river falls provincial park in the nanaimo regional district british columbia canada

Englishman River Falls (Purchase)

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   My trip to Vancouver Island was successful in many ways. I not only discovered some great Provincial Parks to explore, I managed some photos of these places that I quite like. I was also pretty lucky with the weather. The 3 photos here are all from Englishman River Falls Provincial Park. I should point out this park differs quite a bit from Englishman River Regional Park if someone uhm, confused the signs on the way in. Not that I would do this of course.

fall color englishman river falls in the englishman river falls provincial park in the nanaimo regional district british columbia canada

Lower Englishman
River Falls

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   The first photo here shows the main Englishman River Falls. This is a much different sort of waterfall from what I am used to seeing. The drop from top to bottom is approximately 100 feet (31 meters) but this is pretty hard to tell from the bridge vantage point. The Falls flows into the side of a slot canyon (only about 10 feet wide), not directly in the end of it. The sideways slant to this falls makes it a bit difficult to photograph as well as determine exactly how deep the canyon is.

   The second photo here shows the Lower Englishman River Falls. Not quite what I was expecting, but there were some nice fall leaves above the falls and some interesting swirling patterns made by the bubbles in the water. During higher water levels the lower falls flows over top of the rock you see here which probably makes it a big more exciting, and look a bit more like a waterfall from this perspective.

symmetrical grove of trees at englishman river falls provincial park in the nanaimo regional district british columbia canada

Symmetrical Grove

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   The last photo here is one just outside of the parking lot. I would be surprised if these were a natural occurrence, but I still liked the symmetry of these tree trunks. Not sure what species of tree this is, however.

   I hope to go back to photograph this park in the Spring!

For more photographs of this park vist my Englishman River Falls Provincial Park Gallery.

Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park Fall Colour

Little Qualicum Falls at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park near Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada.

little qualicum falls at little qualicum falls provincial park near qualicum beach parksville british columbia

Little Qualicum Falls (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I made a weekend trip to Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. One of the parks on my list to visit was Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park – and it did not disappoint. The main falls (top photo) – officially named Little Qualicum Falls is certainly much more spectacular than the Lower Falls (bottom) but both are nice.

fall colours and the little qualicum river below the lower falls in little qualicum falls provincial near qualicum beach parksville

Little Qualicum River below Lower Little Qualicum Falls (Purchase)

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    I had initially thought that the best Fall colours might have already faded on Vancouver Island – at least judging from what I’d been seeing around Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. The colours turned out to be perfect. There wasn’t much in the way of Vine Maple colour, but the Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum) had great colour – yellow and even some orange. It didn’t look like any of them had turned slightly then gone straight to brown which was common this year in some places.

   I was also extremely fortunate with the weather. The entire weekend was forecast for rain, at times heavy. In the three Provincial Parks that I visited there was absolutely no rain. All the plastic bags and camera/lens coverings I had prepared were not necessary. While I’d intended on photographing mostly rivers and waterfalls – great subjects in the rain, I was still happy to not have to deal with the possibility of wet equipment and clothing.

fall colours little qualicum falls at little qualicum falls provincial park near qualicum beach parksville british columbia

Lower Little Qualicum Falls (Purchase)

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More photos from this area can be found in my Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park Gallery

Silver Lake Fall Colours Panorama

Panorama of Vine and Bigleaf Maples showing some fall foliage colours along Silver Lake in Silver Lake Provincial Park near Hope, British Columbia, Canada.

panorama of fall colours reflecting in silver lake in silver lake provincial park

Silver Lake Provincial Park Panorama (Purchase)

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   In late September I went to Silver Lake Provincial Park in the Skagit Valley near Hope, British Columbia. The Fall colours had just started to appear. A few weeks later, however, they were almost in full swing. The above panorama was made about 3 weeks after my previous shot – how quickly things change! Again I was very lucky to have a near perfect reflection on Silver Lake – I’ve been there a few times when there were almost waves due to the wind. The majority of the Fall colours here are provided by Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum) and Vine Maples (Acer circinatum).

Fall Colours at Silver Lake

Vine and Bigleaf Maples start to change into their Fall colours along the edge of Silver Lake in Silver Lake Provincial Park near Hope, British Columbia, Canada.

maple trees reflecting in silver lake in silver lake provincial park

Fall at Silver Lake Provincial Park

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   Last night I was in the Eastern Fraser Valley near Hope, British Columbia. My destination was Silver Lake Provincial Park. Years ago I stopped here after a storm had rolled through and managed to photograph a great reflection on the lake. Last night I was hoping that conditions would let me try this again, with a bit more exploration of the area. I was not disappointed, though there weren’t many clouds to make the sky a bit more interesting. The reflections were great, though the amount of fish jumping occasionally messed up the stillness of the water! The trees reflected in Silver Lake are Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum) and Vine Maples (Acer circinatum). It is a bit early for such Fall colours, but with the amount of dry weather this area has had for the last few months, it seems some of the trees are packing it in early.

More of my photos from this park can be found in my Silver Lake Provincial Park Gallery.