Posts Tagged ‘chilliwack lake provincial park’

Rainbow at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

A Rainbow over Chilliwack Lake with Mount Redoubt in the background. Photographed from the beach at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.

rainbow over chilliwack lake and mount redoubt

Rainbow at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   A few years ago I would have categorized this photograph of a rainbow at Chilliwack Lake as “lucky”. The day I made this photo I had slowly worked my way towards Chilliwack Lake while exploring and photographing various points along the way in the Chilliwack River Valley. I’d run into the odd patch of rain, and that was okay as this was supposed to be a day of photographing rivers and those “in the forest” photographs that benefit from a lack of direct sunshine. When I pulled into the day use parking lot near the boat launch at Chilliwack Lake I was hungry – I really wanted to just sit and eat my soup for dinner. The sky had dark clouds and it was raining lightly. My soup beckoned from the thermos in my car’s trunk. Instead, I got my tripod and gear together and walked down to the shore of the lake just to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I jogged at the end of that walk. The way these things used to go is I’d sit in my car and enjoy some soup or whatever I was eating for dinner. I’d get my gear, head down to the water and I’d run into a few people walking back up asking if I’d witnessed the rainbow. I hadn’t – I’d only witnessed soup. So this photograph exists because I’ve learned soup can wait but meteorological phenomena won’t. It also helps curtail the sting of people asking if I’d seen that Bald Eagle fishing, one cloud lighting up way after sunset, the double rainbow – all things I’ve missed in the past by not just getting out of my car and having a quick look around.

   Now I categorize photographs like this one as a success due to learning to look around and make sure there isn’t something I might be missing when I would rather be eating instead. There were actually 3 rainbows here when I came within sight of the lake. A double rainbow so the south (the one I photographed, but it had faded by then) and another to the east. It was quite a sight – but I had to decide quickly what to photograph. I made one wider shot of the lake trying to get both rainbows in the same photo. That might have succeeded, but it wouldn’t have been a good photo, so I switched to a longer lens and made this photo which had the most important subjects. The lake, the rainbow, and one of my favourite mountains. With the dark clouds the rest of the scene was somewhat gloomy, but the rainbow helps balance that I think.

sun shining spotlight on forest at chilliwack lake

Spotlight on the Forest at Chilliwack Lake (Purchase)

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   The second photograph here was made 2 minutes after the rainbow photograph. The rainbows had all completely faded but this one spotlight of sunshine lit up the forest and dead snags on the hillside below Mount Webb, but only for a minute or so. If I hadn’t had the longer lens on my camera for the first photo here I might have missed this. I think this part was a a bit of luck.

   This photograph (as well as the first) bring to mind another piece of advice I often hear for photographers – if it is suddenly stormy, that is when to go out and photograph. This isn’t bad advice, but I do believe some of the accuracy is predicated by where one lives. I’ve always lived in this corner of British Columbia, so weather patterns elsewhere are a bit of a mystery. Here, however, once it starts raining you can wait days (or weeks) until it stops or a spot of sunlight makes its way through the clouds. I imagine in other places storms come and go quickly, so getting out when a storm starts is perfect timing. Here, rushing out to photograph when it starts raining here may just get you wet. If I were to make a BC rainforest amendment to that “rule” I’d say the perfect time to go out is on a day when there are expected intermittent showers and maybe some sunny breaks. That is the kind of day where the above photographs were created, and when I’ve seen most of these kinds of scenes. So there.

For more photographs of Mount Redoubt and Chilliwack Lake visit my Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park Gallery.

Mount Redoubt in Black and White

Mount Redoubt and Nodoubt Peak in North Cascades National Park in Washington State (photographed from British Columbia’s Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park).

snow blowing off of mount redoubt in the north cascades national park

Mount Redoubt and Nodoubt Peak in the North Cascades

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   In early December I was at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park looking for some good sunset light on Mount Redoubt. The colour materialized, but not for a long period of time and in a different way than I was expecting. I had previously photographed this mountain in January and February, and at a time when the good light would simultaneously hit Mount Redoubt and Nodoubt Peak (the peak on the right). This being December, I suspect the difference in the sun’s position is the reason the light was not on Nodoubt Peak at the same time as the main peak of Redoubt. I made some panorama exposures before sunset and thought this would be a good opportunity to convert some of my photographs to black and white.

   The first image above (best viewed large) was made almost 20 minutes before the one below. I did not include Nodoubt Peak in the lower photograph as all the light had gone, and it just doesn’t have the same impact that way. This second photo is one that works in colour too I think, as there was nice light on the main peak of Mount Redoubt (click the link for the colour version). The first image has light on both peaks, but it was without the colours you see in the photo linked above.

snow blowing off of mount redoubt in the north cascades national park

Mount Redoubt in North Cascades National Park

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    I think my favourite feature of the top photograph, and to a lesser extent the lower one, is the snow blowing off of the peaks. This is called spindrift which was a new term to me.

Mount Redoubt from Chilliwack Lake

This was supposed to be a post about Bald Eagles at the Harrison River but it isn’t…

snow blowing off mount redoubt in the north cascades

Snow blowing off Mount Redoubt and Nodoubt Peak in the North Cascades

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   Last weekend I headed out to the Harrison River area to look for Bald Eagles with Steve Cole. As was the case last year, it was very cold by our standards and I had to break out my “big” jacket and a down vest to keep warm (it was -10°C at Chilliwack Lake). This year the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival was a few weeks in the past but reports were indicating there were a lot of Bald Eagles still out on the flats near the Harrison River. Reality turned out to be a bit different as we hardly saw any when driving on Highway 7 and up Morris Valley Road through to the Chehalis River. We saw a lot of eagles in 2012 and last year there were still quite a few eagles though the frozen water made it tough for them to get at the salmon. This year, there wasn’t even a few random ones sitting up in the trees. I suspect the roughly 150mm (6″) of rain earlier in the week that flooded the Harrison River’s banks flushed out all the salmon and the eagles moved on. Last year we decided on Silver Lake Provincial Park as a landscape photography backup plan (which taught me a good lesson at the same time). This year I was still hoping to find where the Eagles might have picked as a secondary location and therefore opted for the Chilliwack River Valley through to Chilliwack Lake.

snow on trees over the chilliwack river

Trees along the Chilliwack River

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   Unfortunately, I think we saw a total of 2 Bald Eagles at the Chilliwack River Valley and Chilliwack Lake (adding to our grand total of 4 earlier in the day), so clearly they had not congregated there. The water levels in the river were quite high, as were those in the lake. My hopes of recreating some of my earlier photographs of the shoreline patterns at Chilliwack Lake didn’t quite work out as the water level in the lake was several feet higher than it was last fall. Walking down to the bridge over the Chilliwack River did present this scene with some snow on the light coloured branches of these trees (likely Red Alder) overhanging the Chilliwack River. I made a few photographs from the bridge before we headed back to the flooded boat launch area to photograph the sunset on Mount Redoubt. I always enjoy being at Chilliwack Lake and even if the sunset doesn’t do everything one would hope there is usually a nice view of Mount Redoubt and the North Cascades peaks in the area.

For more of my photographs from this area check out my Chilliwack Provincial Park Gallery in my Image Archive.

Mount Webb from Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

Fresh snow on Mount Webb in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

mount webb black and white chilliwack lake british columbia

Fresh snow on Mount Webb at Chilliwack Lake in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

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   I mostly make my photographs in colour. I think that is just the way I am better able to see most landscape scenes. I am trying to see a bit better in black and white, and recognize which scenes and light may be appropriate for that type of conversion. Sometimes colour just isn’t the best option. During my trip to Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park back in October, I made this photograph of Mount Webb with black and white conversion in mind. The sun, if it showed up, was going to set behind this mountain, and from this angle I was not going to see any sort of nice alpenglow or sunset light anyway. I was early for any potential sunset display, so I photographed this mountain when I arrived as the light I had at that point was appropriate for my intentions.

   The reason I decided this scene would be better in black and white was due to the light at the time, and the textures on the mountain. I still tried to process it in colour, but the results were not satisfying. I like the textures in this photograph from the rocks and the fresh snow, and even the small glacier at the bottom of the rock face that I had never noticed before on previous trips to Chilliwack Lake. The textures just didn’t show themselves in colour as well as they did with black and white.

You can view other photos from the same day in my image library: Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park.

Chilliwack Lake Fall Colour

Fresh snow on Mount Webb and some fall foliage colours at Chilliwack Lake in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

fall colour at chilliwack lake and mount webb

Fresh snow on Mount Webb and fall colours at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I was in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park looking for some fall colour and hoping to catch some fresh snow on Mount Redoubt. I found both of those, but the clouds preferred to keep most of Redoubt to themselves. This is Mount Webb, also with some fresh snow, and is part of what is likely a more interesting composition than is possible with Mount Redoubt itself. Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park’s gate is closed for the winter, but I’ll be back in there when there is some winter snow on the ground. Hopefully the mountains choose to make an appearance on that day as well.

fall foliage along shore of chilliwack lake in chilliwack lake provincial park

Fall foliage along the shoreline of Chilliwack Lake (Purchase)

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   I also liked this composition that doesn’t include as much of the surrounding mountains. This one focuses on the contours of the water’s edge and shows the fall foliage colours just a bit better than the photograph above. The spot on the beach here is not that far from the outflow of the Chilliwack River, where there were a great many salmon congregating to spawn. While making the above exposures I had some difficulty conveying the smooth surface of the water because it would occasionally be interrupted by a jumping salmon. Always an interesting event to witness, if not particularly convenient at that time.

Chilliwack Lake Winter Panorama

panorama of chilliwack lake in winter
Winter at Chilliwack Lake (click for larger version)

   Wide angle shot from Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park back in January. Glad I had a few shots I like from this trip as I nearly froze my toes off! I have posted a few shots previously of this location concentrating more on Mount Redoubt and Nodoubt Peaks.

Image Post-Procesing Objectivity

panorama of mount redoubt and nodoubt peak from chilliwack lake provincial park

Alpenglow on Mount Redoubt and Nodoubt Peak from Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park
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6 exposures stitched, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM @ 144mm

   When I spend time shooting I will normally take a quick overview of the days results immediately. There are often a few shots that will stand out – and those are often processed and sometimes show up here on the blog right away. I have learned that taking a long step back from a series of new photos can be beneficial to me in terms of my objectivity in culling the weaker shots. If I were to go through all the shots immediately I still carry my mental image of what I had planned for a photo. Not everything I try works out of course, and sometimes my initial expectations turn out to be too high. Sorting and processing images a month or two later gives me a lot better perspective of what is a “good” shot or a bad one – as many of my initial expectations have settled down. This has generally worked out so far – and I think I am better at choosing strong images than I used to be in part because of it.

However…

   I recently had an experience where the month+ delay in processing a panorama didn’t really seem to help. I processed and stitched this panorama 3-4 times – never quite happy with the colour of the sky. Things got to the point where I was no long able to view the photo at all objectively.

   For this particular panorama I stood in the snow next to Chilliwack Lake for over an hour, freezing, taking the odd shot but waiting for the right light. When it came – I shot about 3 panoramas (and many single shots) with a few different compositions. I like the composition of this one the best. The colour of the sky seemed quite purple compared to what my brain was telling me looked “natural”. This could be a case of over analysis – but I try to process images such that they are faithful to what I saw at the time. So I processed the 6 shots that make up this image again in Camera Raw with some PS adjustments to account for the colour. Then I did this again. Still not happy I put the image away for a few more weeks. I should note the purple color is present in the raw file – not as a result of some other colour processing I have done.

   Now that I have picked up this panorama again, I am still not sure if this looks natural. I like the colour on the mountain peaks, this is how it looked when I was there – but the sky still bothers me. I have stared at it so long I no longer remember what it looked like in person – perhaps that is the downside in waiting to do post processing? Maybe I just have to drop an image for longer or toss it entirely? I again processed an alternate panorama – taken about 7 minutes before the one posted above – and the sky looks bland and the clouds undefined – the whole image is uninspiring.

So what is the good thing about all this?

   During this process I learned a few more Photoshop techniques that I otherwise would not have. Tweaking sky colours using Selective Color in Photoshop, for example. Next time I have a sky colour problem as a result of changing colour temperature etc – I know how to fix it. I have also learned that sometimes I might need to move on from processing an image that just isn’t right – or leave it behind entirely.

Nodoubt Peak Alpenglow

nodoubt peak - part of Mount Redoubt - alpenglow

   Recently the mountains of the Fraser Valley had a good snowfall so I headed out there to see what I could photograph. I parked myself next to the Chilliwack River for an hour or so and having failed to entirely freeze at that location I moved once again on towards Chilliwack Lake.

   I had to park outside of the gates again as Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park is closed this time of year. The walk in was much uglier than last time – no tire treads to walk in on. I followed some tracks left by a (much smarter and prepared) person with snowshoes. As I took each uneven, slippery step I vowed to never do this again wearing only trail running shoes and jeans in a cold -10°C (14°F) with a windchill estimated at about -20°C (-4°F). A good parka and toque don’t really make up for freezing the lower half of ones body. So despite freezing and stumbling I did manage to get there in time to catch some of the last light on Mount Redoubt/Nodoubt Peak. A more interesting shot than last time – with clouds swirling around the peaks and a great alpenglow.