Vancouver’s Canada Place and the Trade and Convention Center building in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Downtown Vancouver – Canada Place and the Trade and Convention Center
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Last fall I was again in Vancouver and made this and a few other photographs of downtown Vancouver from Stanley Park. This panorama features the “Sails” of Canada Place, Harbour Center, the Vancouver Trade and Convention Center and other downtown buildings. I think my “Blue Hour” photographs of Vancouver are still my favourites, but these conditions are a close second.
Earth’s shadow (the Belt of Venus) behind downtown Vancouver’s Canada Place and the Trade and Convention Center building in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver’s Canada Place and the Belt of Venus (Purchase)
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A few weeks ago I was in Stanly Park again photographing downtown Vancouver near sunset. There wasn’t great light for sunset, and the blue hour photos I made that night were okay, but didn’t surpass my previous photos of downtown Vancouver in those conditions. I was able to photograph what I had only previously seen over mountains much further East – the Belt of Venus (aka the Earth’s Shadow) over downtown Vancouver. I enjoy this photograph because it is not quite like other photographs I’ve seen of Vancouver, and I like the soft colours in the sky.
About an hour earlier I was watching the float planes land in Coal Harbour and decided to switch up from a wide angle lens to my 70-200 to try to catch one landing. As Canada Place seems to be well represented in a panoramic format, I stitched two exposures together to make the photograph below. This is a Whistler Air floatplane landing in Coal Harbour on its way to the Vancouver Harbour Water Airport (Vancouver Coal Harbour Seaplane Base).
A Whistler Air floatplane lands in the water of Coal Harbour next to Canada Place in Vancouver (Purchase)
I have not posted a large panorama in a while. This is a 14 exposure panorama of the iconic view of downtown Vancouver from Stanley Park. Canada Place is the building on the right and is used for convention center space. The next building is the new Convention Center. Next to the Convention Center is the 2010 Olympics torch (you can just see the top of it) and then we have the Seaplane Terminal. I was in the park looking for fall colors, and was initially attracted to this scene due to the great leaf color on the right hand side near the seaplane terminal. I made another row of photos to catch more of the buildings but the light had changed in the 3-4 minutes from the first exposure and the result was not pretty. So I only included the lower row. I’m going to have to get better with my timing or just work faster next time!
I’ve always enjoyed the shape of the Canada Place building in downtown Vancouver. I remember it being one of the few distinctly shaped buildings in the 80’s (in addition to Harbour Center, Science World and BC Place). While Vancouver’s skyline has many new additions – Canada Place is still one of my favourites. Recently they replaced the covering on the 5 sails and projected images on them during the Olympics. Photographing them from Stanley Park I recently made this image of one of the various projected images currently on the sails. These change every few minutes or so – and sometimes this can cause some unwanted effects in a 30 second exposure! I was careful to make this image within just one variation in the lights. I like the various colour versions but this one is probably my favourite – the lights are relatively subtle.
Downtown Vancouver Panorama photographed during Blue Hour
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I have photographed downtown Vancouver from Stanley Park a few times in the past – with fair but not spectacular results. When my first DSLR was new I would try to photograph the skyline well after sunset. At that time of day there isn’t much contrast between the dark buildings and the sky, so these photographs did not turn out very well. I learned that if you photograph during “Blue Hour” there will be much better contrast between the dark buildings and the sky – with much better results! Blue Hour is the period of time between total darkness in the sky and sunrise or sunset. Just like the “Golden Hour” this may not actually last an hour. In Vancouver at this time of year I think the blue hour lasted about 20 minutes facing southeast though there was still good blue light facing west for about another 10 minutes after that.
This Panorama, taken during the blue hour after sunset, shows a dark sky but you can still see the profile of all the buildings. Much better than a photo taken when the sky is really dark!
FYI – if you ever photograph downtown from Stanley Park near the Nine O’Clock Gun is the location I made this photograph. I was still there at 9 o’clock… with a few others who had gathered to hear its blast. Well, this isn’t a cap gun, the shockwave was dramatic even though I was standing 50 feet away. There were some tourists and teenagers who were standing right next to the wire cage that houses the gun, and one passerby tried to get them to plug their ears or step away from the thing as it was almost 9. This sage advice was ignored and when the gun went off there was a lot of screaming and even some tears due to the noise. If you are out there photographing near 9 o’clock and the red flashing lights go off – plug your ears!