Posts Tagged ‘chilliwack river’

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.

My 10 Best Photos of 2011

reflection of mount shuksan in the silhouette of picture lake
Mount Shuksan Alpenglow

   It is always tough to narrow down a years worth of images into a list of the “best”. I did this last year and I think it is a valuable exercise. Jim Goldstein of JMG Galleries creates a list of everyone’s top 10 images each year. I made my first top 10 last year. This years list has fewer landscape and more wildlife photos. This is partly due to my not getting out to shoot as many landscapes as last year, and partly due to my backlog in image editing.

   You can click on each of the following images to go to the blog post that may tell a bit more about the location and how I made the photograph.

In no particular order my “Best of 2011″…

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Chilliwack River Winter Panorama

winter panorama of the chilliwack river near chilliwack lake provincial park
The Chilliwack River
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3 exposures stitched, Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM @ 17mm

Now that I have written a post about getting away from solely using wide angle lenses for landscapes and to look for the details I thought I would post a wide angle panorama!

This is the Chilliwack River near Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park taken at the same time as some of my other Chilliwack River shots.

One thing I keep noticing with this shot is that the majority of longer exposure river shots I see are looking upstream while this is looking across/downstream. Does this make it look unnatural or different in a negative way?

Focus on the Details

the chilliwack river in winter
The Chilliwack River in Winter

   When I first started getting serious with a “real” film camera I had a 28-90mm kit lens. Eventually I wished to move on from just taking random snapshots and actually gain more skills and take better photos. I read a bit on the internet about lenses and bought a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4. The “nifty fifty”. It was at this point that I realized the difference lens quality can make. I couldn’t believe how sharp and clear the shots with the 50mm were.

   A few years after buying the 50mm I upgraded to a DSLR – A Canon 30D. Wow not only could I take 100’s of shots at one time, I was not paying for film and developing so I could actually afford to experiment and try new things. The 28-90mm kit lens was a bit better on the DSLR (cropped out some of the edge anomalies) but still had nothing on the 50mm. On the APS-C sensor of the 30D (1.6x) the 50mm was more like an 80mm lens. I really wanted to go wider so that I could get more into a shot. I saved up and bought a Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5. Good quality and really wide compared to the 50mm. I shot with the 10-22mm and the 50mm (the kit lens now relegated to a drawer for bad behaviour) for quite a while. I wanted to determine what I was missing the most before I went in that direction with a new lens.

nodoubt peak - part of Mount Redoubt - alpenglow
Alpenglow on Nodoubt Peak in North Cascades National Park

   A year or so after I bought the 10-22mm I filled in the gap between my lenses with the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM. At that point I had opted for crop sensors over full frame (largely due to price of both long lenses and the FF cameras) so the 17-40mm was not on my list. From there I went to a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM to get a bit more reach for wildlife. What I had not really anticipated is that I would be using this lens so often for landscapes.

the chilliwack river in winter
Abstract Chilliwack River

   Often as a beginning photographer I read about wide angle lenses as the be all and end all of landscape photography. Walking in to a camera shop and being asked what I like to shoot – the answer of landscapes would push wide angle lenses in my direction. I was rather surprised to learn what I had been missing in a longer telephoto lens for landscapes. In some scenes I have found it difficult to use the wider focal lengths in that they actually get too much into the frame. Ironic considering this is why I earlier had thought I needed a wide lens. The details of the scene are there, but are drowned out by distracting elements that take the viewer’s eye away from what is important. So my initial impression that I would always want to be at a wide angle all the time has actually changed to looking at the details and what is more essential.

eureka falls in spring
Eureka Falls

   I never would have predicted this sort of outcome when I started. I see many posts and articles devoted to gear and purchasing wide lenses for landscapes. I wonder how many of the beginners reading these thing will eventually start to favour longer lenses for their landscape photography? Would they be better off getting a telephoto lens before a really wide angle one? Maybe this is just a normal evolution for a photographer. Regardless, I am happy I have moved away from all wide angle all the time – the variety of shots possible at longer focal lengths is liberating.

Chilliwack River Up Close

water flows over rocks in the chilliwack river

   Not my usual sort of shot I realize – but I think I like it.

   I recently revisited some logging roads in the Chilliwack River Valley I had explored for the first time in in february. The Fraser Valley had seen some fresh snow, and I had several spots along the Chilliwack River that I had marked with the GPS as good potential photo spots for the future. While I was waiting for a snowfall with decent post-storm weather, I had not really thought this all the way through. There was a LOT of snow on the logging road, and thankfully some trucks had flattened a lot of it down so I could drive my Nissan Sentra up the road a ways. I stopped short of hitting a lot of the marked spots as the road was still fairly dicey in such a small car – even with my snow tires. I am starting to think there might be a better off-roading vehicle than a Nissan Sentra. When I came to the river I parked myself there for about an hour. It was about -10°C (14°F) with a windchill estimated at about -20°C (-4°F) – much colder conditions that I usually shoot in.

   After I had exhausted the possibilities at that location – I headed back to Chilliwack lake to see what the conditions might be there. My previous post shows the great alpenglow on the mountains that evening.

Chilliwack River Valley – October 2008

Chilliwack River Valley trip from last October. More Fall colour stuff.

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