Harrison Hot Springs and the Mount Cheam Range

Late evening light on the Mount Cheam Range and the beachfront condominiums at Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada

harrison hot springs beachfront condos with mount cheam in the background

Mount Cheam Range and the beachfront condominiums at Harrison Hot Springs (Purchase)

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   This past week I drove out to Harrison Hot Springs area to photograph sunset light on Mount Cheam. I had a number of locations in mind, did some hiking, but it turned out my favourite photo (so far) from the day was this one. Photographed from Harrison Lagoon, these are some beachfront condominiums with the Cheam Range behind. The peaks visible in this photo are (from left to right) Stewart, Baby Munday, Knight, Lady and Cheam Peaks. Mount Archibald is the peak on the far right, but is not part of the Cheam Range.

You can view more photographs from this area in my Fraser Valley Gallery.

Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival (2013)

A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) roosting in a tree at Chehalis Flats during the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival in British Columbia, Canada

bald eagle roosting in a tree at chehalis flats during the fraser valley bald eagle festival in british columbia, canada

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) on the Chehalis Flats (Purchase)

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   Last weekend I headed out to the Harrison and Chehalis Flats area to photograph Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) with Seattle area photographer Steve Cole during the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival.

   The cold temperatures had frozen a lot of the shallow waters along the Chehalis Flats area. While the flowing water in some of the channels still had some spawning salmon, much of the water was frozen. I suspect many of the dead salmon that would normally be eagle food were frozen into the ice, and as a consequence there were not nearly as many eagles as usual along the roadside where I often photograph. One eagle did sit on the ice eating a salmon head for a few minutes before flying away. The adult pictured above perched in this tree and remained fairly still so I was able to make some photographs. Not the opportunities that we found last year but still my second most successful trip out there.

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.

Carbon Antlers (Xylaria hypoxylon) Fungus

Carbon Antlers (Xylaria hypoxylon) also known as Candlesnuff Fungus on the forest floor of Campbell Valley Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada

carbon antlers - xylaria hypoxylon - or candlesnuff fungus in campbell valley park

Carbon Antlers (Xylaria hypoxylon) aka Candlesnuff Fungus

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   When the conditions are right, and we’ve had a wet fall season, I often head into the forest in search of mushrooms and fungi to photograph. I found these Candlesnuff Fungus/ Carbon Antlers (Xylaria hypoxylon) in Campbell Valley Park in Langley, British Columbia. This was not a species I had seen before, and in many ways is more interesting than the simple cap mushrooms I’ve photographed in the past here. Also in contrast to the mushrooms I’ve photographed, this species was unique enough (I hope) that I was able to determine the actual genus and species for it.

carbon antlers - xylaria hypoxylon - or candlesnuff fungus in campbell valley park

Carbon Antlers (Xylaria hypoxylon) Fungus

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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.

Mushrooms in the Fraser Valley

A trio of Fall mushrooms growing on a mossy stump at Campbell Valley Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada

mushrooms on a mossy stump at campbell valley park in langley british columbia

Mushrooms in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

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   This small group of mushrooms was growing in a mossy stump at Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia. Virtually any forested area in the Fraser Valley will have a lot of mushrooms this time of year, especially if there has been enough moisture to support them. I like photographing mushrooms, especially when the fall colours are fading in the parks close to home. I had actually gone to this park the day before, but forgot my macro lens. While my 70-200mm does a great job of photographing subjects like these from a distance, I pushed the minimum focusing distance a bit too much and wound up with sharp moss and out of focus mushrooms in some photographs (a lazy mistake). So I went back the next day with the macro lens to do a proper job. I wasn’t able to decide if I liked the wider angle version or the tighter composition of the second image, so I posted both of them here.

mushrooms on a mossy stump at campbell valley park in langley british columbia

Trio of small mushrooms on a mossy stump (Purchase)

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   Despite my Biology background, I have little knowledge of mushroom and fungi identification. I always try to ID everything I photograph down to the species level if possible. With mushrooms, unless they are very distinct, I have very little luck getting to the Genus level on occasion. Since I can’t ID the ones I photograph, I’m never going to be someone who goes out to get ones to eat! Too many subtle variations between species, sometimes requiring a microscope for proper identification. I think I will stick to the ones in the grocery store!

Rolley Creek Fall Colours

Vine Maple Fall colour foliage along Rolley Creek at Rolley Lake Provincial Park in Mission, British Columbia, Canada

rolley creek in mission bc

Fall foliage along Rolley Creek (Purchase)

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   Some years are great for Fall colours, and some not as much. This appears to be a year in the Southwest corner of British Columbia that is not so great. Our dry Summer seems to have allowed powdery mildew (a fungus) to grow on the leaves of the Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum) and as a consequence has impacted the Fall colour display. So instead of great yellows and some orange, many trees are turning from green to a orange tinged brown. Not nearly as photogenic!

   While the Fraser Valley does not have a wide variety of plants that make great Fall colours, there is always the Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) to the rescue. This tree, while not as nearly large as the Bigleaf Maple, seems to always come through with at least decent Fall foliage colours in some locations. Just like looking for wildflowers, sometimes all you need is one! While hunting for what turned out to be the elusive Rolley Falls (more on that in my next blog post) I was able to find this Vine Maple along Rolley Creek on the way to the falls.

Cucumber Tendrils in the Greenhouse

cucumber tendril in a greenhouse in the fraser valley of british columbia

Cucumber tendrils in a Greenhouse in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia

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   A bit of an older image (photographed in 2011) but I found a lot of photography opportunities with my Canon 100mm macro lens and these cucumber tendrils in a backyard greenhouse. I photographed the leaves and the flowers from a few angles but settled on these curled tendrils as the most interesting aspect of these plants.

   More of my macro photography can be found in the Macro Photos Gallery.