Views from the Traboulay PoCo Trail – Golden Ears and the Pitt River

View of the Golden Ears, Raven Peak and Osprey Mountain (left) and the Pitt River from the Traboulay Poco Trail in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.

mount blandshard osprey mountain pitt river

The Pitt River, Osprey Mountain, and the Golden Ears (Purchase)

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   It is relatively warm and spring-like now, but a few months ago I was still looking for winter photographs in my area of British Columbia. The Golden Ears (Mount Blandshard) are one of the nearest mountain views that I can reach from where I live, and so they are a frequent subject of mine. I have photographed them from many locations but hadn’t done so from the Port Coquitlam perspective, so I drove out to the Traboulay PoCo Trail in February to photograph the Golden Ears and the Pitt River.

pitt river and osprey mountain in winter

Osprey Mountain and the Pitt River (Purchase)

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   While the Traboulay PoCo Trail encircles Port Coquitlam entirely, I parked at the Prairie Avenue parking area and walked just the short distance between there and the DeBouville Slough. This gave me the great view (first photograph above) of the Golden Ears, the Pitt River and a few surrounding mountain peaks. I also made a few other photographs in this area, including this one of Osprey Mountain with some nice “belt of venus” sky coloration. This was not a view I’d anticipated, but that is hard to do in a location you’ve never visited. Some times trip planning on Google Earth etc is very useful, but it is never as useful as actually visiting a location.

   The last photograph here is a nice post sunset view – alpenglow on Mount Baker. The river in the foreground is the Pitt River in a spot near the DeBoville Slough while Mount Baker itself is in Washington State. I also made a photograph of Baker a bit earlier in the evening with what I would call “sunset light” on Mount Baker.

alpenglow on mount baker from the pitt river

Alpenglow on Mount Baker from the Pitt River (Purchase)

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   Not to wade to far into what is often a contentious discussion over the definition of alpenglow, but the photo above is exactly what I’d call alpenglow. The definition of alpenglow is that the light has to be indirect, so it is usually reflecting off of clouds or the atmosphere in some way. Sunset light can create a great glow, but is still direct light. So the photo I linked to above would be “sunset light” and the photo shown above is “alpenglow”. I see a lot of photographs where direct light is labelled as alpenglow. Alpenglow is great light, subtle, and is harder to find than good sunset light. Quite often it just doesn’t materialize when I am looking for it. I think this might be why actual alpenglow is a bit coveted, and why some want to move the definition towards something easier to obtain such as the direct sunset light. I do wish I saw light like this more often!

For more photographs from Port Coquitlam visit my Port Coquitlam Gallery.

Frozen Fraser River and the Golden Ears

Ice on the Fraser River with the Golden Ears Mountains in the background – photographed from Brae Island Regional Park in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

frozen ice fraser river winter golden ears langley british columbia

Ice on the Fraser River with the Golden Ears Mountains in the background (Purchase)

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   Winter is usually a fleeting concept for much of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. We get the odd snowfall, a few cold spells below zero, and it doesn’t always have a lot of impact (easy for me to say, usually working at home). Sometimes we have extended cold snaps with snow that lead to interesting conditions we don’t see all the time. In late December and early January we had almost a foot of snow on the ground and temperatures were getting down to -12°C at night, which is more winter than we are used to! I headed to the Fraser River in early January to see if I could get some good photographs of the ice on the river and the snow on the mountains – not conditions I get to see all that often.

   Brae Island Regional Park is a location I have photographed before for its good views of the Fraser and the mountains to the north. The best view is often from Tavistock Point though there are other northern facing spots as well. Unfortunately, most of those had fallen trees and brush from the winter storms blocking them. In the few spots I could get down to the water without going off the trail the river ice had ridden up the bank making venturing further a bit too risky not knowing if there was sand or water below. The above photograph was made at Tavistock Point after sunset. As this was facing north, there was only a slight “Belt of Venus” effect in the sky which isn’t really noticeable here. The approximately 2.5 km of trails to get to this point normally takes me about 25 minutes to walk, but as there was snow this trip took me about 50 minutes. Many people had walked the trails in the previous days since the last snowfall, and we had one above zero day in between, so the trail was sheer ice or very slippery. The frozen river conditions made this well worthwhile but if you have similar conditions and aren’t up to falling on your butt a number of times on the way I’d skip it for warmer days!

frozen ice fraser river winter golden ears langley british columbia

Golden Ears Reflections (Purchase)

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   The photograph above was made slightly earlier in the evening than the panorama. This was photographed near one of the spots I mentioned with fallen trees, but I was able to get near the water enough to make this photo, though I had to edit out a small tree branch I just couldn’t get out of the way. The frozen Fraser River was enough of a subject to keep me busy, though I do wish that I had been able to find more spots with mountain reflections in the water. The Golden Ears Mountains (Mount Blandshard) themselves are a great subject, and consist of McPhaden Peak, Edge Peak and Blandshard Peak. The mountain that is reflected in the Fraser on the right hand side (in the first photograph) is Mount Robbie Reid.

For more of my Panoramas please visit my Panoramas Gallery.

Winter at Crescent Beach and Blackie Spit

The tidal marsh at Crescent Beach (Blackie Spit) with the skyline of Burnaby and the North Shore Mountains in the background.

skyline of burnaby behind blackie spit and boundary bay from crescent beach

Burnaby Skyline in Winter from Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   New Years Day 2016 was rather chilly at about 1°C, but was a clear and sunny day so I thought it was a good opportunity to photograph Crescent Beach in a different season than I had before. I also assumed that since it was rather cold there would not be many people out on the trails and the paths near the beach. I was very wrong, it was more crowded than I’d normally seen it. I couldn’t argue with the conditions though, I had some nice light at sunset and earlier when I was photographing the shorebirds at Crescent Beach along with this skyline photograph of Burnaby from Blackie Spit. I’ve photographed this view of Burnaby, BC before, but it takes on an extra dimension at sunset with some snow on the mountains. I would like to photograph the tide marsh at Blackie Spit during high tide as well, but found during an earlier day that my favourite vantage point is not accessible at high tide! I do like how the foreground works here without water, and again with the photo of Mount Blandshard below. In the first photo above the mountains are (L to R) Mount Strachan, Unnecessary Mountain, The Lions, Brunswick Mountain, Cobug Peak, Beauty Peak, Dam Mountain, Goat Mountain and Mount Fromme. The ski area on the right is Grouse Mountain.

boulders in the green waters of gold creek at golden ears provincial park

Silhouetted Tree Branches at Blackie Spit (Purchase)

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   One of my favourite spots at Crescent Beach is the Blackie Spit Wildlife Refuge Area. At the entrance to this area there is a sign asking people to keep their dogs out and away from the wildlife. I find that there are often a lot less people in this part of the park. While I was photographing there on New Years Day my main landscape lens died and I started looking for scenes suitable for other lenses. This silhouette from a maze of tree branches stood out, and I made this photograph with my longer 70-200mm lens. Photographs are often stronger when they isolate the most interesting part of a scene, but in this case everything was so chaotic I made a photograph illustrating that apparent disorder. I’ve actually made a number of photographs purposefully of seemingly chaotic scenes, I should make those into a series one day after a shoot some more of them.

belt of venus golden ears from crescent beach

The Golden Ears after sunset at Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   This photograph looks northeast from Blackie Spit over the tidal flats, the mouth of the Nicomekl River, and towards Mount Blandshard (the Golden Ears Mountains) and Mount Robbie Reid. I have usually seen the most pronounced Belt of Venus (Earth’s Shadow) effect while up in the mountains, but on this evening the blue to purple band was quite distinct at sea level. I had to make this photograph a number of times to avoid all the flying Canada Geese flocks taking off in the evening. I made another photograph with these Canada Geese in the photograph later on, though I had to experiment with shutter speeds to get the right amount of blur (while keeping them discernible as birds).

waves at crescent beach sunset

Waves at Crescent Beach (Purchase)

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   As I was walking back to my car I noticed the waves from a passing boat created these fairly evenly space waves on the shore at Blackie Spit. The pilings here are the remains of the Crescent Oyster Company buildings which were built on pilings above the water. The Crescent Oyster Company was bought by a competitor in 1957 after which the buildings were removed, but these pilings remain.

For more photographs of Crescent Beach visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.

Golden Ears Mountains and the Fraser River

The Golden Ears mountains as photographed from Brae Island Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

golden ears mountains and the log booms on the fraser river in langley bc

Golden Ears Mountains and the Fraser River

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   Last week I visited Brae Island Regional Park near Fort Langley, BC. I have found with previous trips to this park that timing can be important. My first visit there was mostly noteworthy for the vast quantities of mosquitoes I encountered which allowed me to break a personal record for bites in one evening (50). I guess late May is not a good time to visit. I was able to photograph at the various viewpoints of the Fraser River on my trip there one year ago without any mosquito action so I headed there again this year at about the same time – early September. I didn’t get to see a great sunset, but I did like this scene that I photographed from a viewpoint just east of Tavistock Point. The panorama above shows the Golden Ears mountains (Mount Blandshard) and Mount Robbie Reid (right) which are a familiar sight from the Fraser Valley (especially Langley and Maple Ridge). The Golden Ears are formed by McPhaden Peak, Edge Peak and Blandshard Peak. The majority of the trees on the other side of the Fraser River are in Kanaka Creek Regional Park (in Maple Ridge).

   Despite the general lack of mosquitoes this trip was not free animal intervention. My walk to Tavistock point took about 25 minutes from the parking lot. The way back took me about 35 minutes, and it had little to do with the darkness. I had a flashlight out, but despite that there were so many frogs out on the trail that I had to go pretty slowly to avoid stepping on them. A recent windstorm and the dry summer also left a lot of dry, crumpled cottonwood and alder leaves on the trail, which were hard to distinguish from the frogs against the crushed gravel. I stopped counting at around 35 frogs but I don’t think I stepped on any, luckily.

Visit my Fraser Valley Gallery for more photographs from the Fraser Valley.

Gold Creek and the Golden Ears Mountains

Gold Creek winds through the mountains and forests of Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada.

gold creek in golden ears provincial park

Gold Creek along the Lower Falls Trail in Golden Ears Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   If one were to point to an “iconic” composition from Golden Ears Provincial Park most would choose the second image here, showing some of the peaks of the Golden Ears mountains. While this may be the most popular scene, I decided to feature a slightly different composition in the photograph above. Even without the mountains in the background, I still like the impact of this scene. I have a few different compositions of this, but I think the wider panorama above shows off the area more effectively. In conditions where there were clear skies and/or some snow on the mountains, I think the bottom scene might prevail.

   I have previous photographed this area, but never really have encountered “perfect” conditions for doing so. I had planned on photographing this area in the snow last winter, but snow wasn’t really part of our 2014/2015 winter unfortunately. I headed to Golden Ears Park a few weeks ago on a cloudy day, as I knew my main goals were wildflowers, waterfalls, and Gold Creek itself. When I reached this view, about half way to Lower Falls along the Lower Falls Trail, I decided that the iconic view was worth a photograph regardless. The slight haze in the sky and the clouded background still allowed for enough contrast to photograph Evans Peak (left) and Edge Peak behind the foreground of Gold Creek and the many Red Alder (Alnus Rubra) trees lining the edge of the forest.

emerald green waters of gold creek in golden ears provincial park

Emerald waters of Gold Creek in Golden Ears Park (Purchase)

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   Which one of these compositions do you prefer? Do you think the second composition here is effective despite the imperfect conditions in the sky?

For more of my photographs from this area visit my Golden Ears Provincial Park Gallery.

Golden Ears Sunset Panorama

Sunset hits the clouds clearing from Mount Blandshard (The Golden Ears) – photographed from Tavistock Point at Brae Island Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada

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Clouds clearing from Mount Blandshard at Sunset (Purchase)

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   As I mentioned in my previous post I also photographed Mount Blandshard (aka The Golden Ears) while at Tavistock Point last week in Brae Island Regional Park. The forecast had been for a cloudy day but as I came up to Tavistock Point the clouds started clearing from Mount Blandshard. I was able to make this panorama just as the light from the sunset came through the clouds to the west.

The Golden Ears Mountains – Mount Blandshard

The Golden Ears Mountains – Blandshard Peak and Edge Peak in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada

panorama of the golden ears mountains in maple ridge, british columbia, canada

Panorama of the “Golden Ears” Mountains – Blandshard Peak and Edge Peak

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   Part of the Garibaldi Ranges – The Golden Ears mountains are a familiar sight in Metro Vancouver, especially from Langley and Maple Ridge. On of my favourite mountains, I have been looking at these since I was a kid. This “Blue Hour” photograph was made from the Pitt Polder area of Pitt Meadows.

See more of my mountain photographs in my Mountain Photos Gallery.

Reflection of Mount Blandshard

mount blandshard - the golden ears - reflected in a pond at the pitt-addington marsh in pitt meadows
Mount Blandshard
(The Golden Ears)
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   The mountain peak here is Mount Blandshard (1 716 m or 5 630 ft) and it is always nice to see it reflected in the ponds of the Pitt Marsh in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. Mount Blandshard is known locally as “The Golden Ears” and is probably one of my favourite local mountains as I was able to see it out my bedroom window when I was a kid. Looking at Mt. Blandshard from the south the mountain has two peaks which sort of resemble pointy ears. However, it seems the name is more likely a corruption of the mountains original name The Golden Eyries.

   This was a cold day, and you can see a bit of ice in the water of the pond messing with the reflection just a little bit. The last time I was making photographs here I managed to catch some epic sunset light. On this day I was actually a bit surprised that I did not find snow at ground level – so, as usual, the planned shots went out the window. This location is only 30 minutes or so (plus a toll bridge 🙁 ) from my house, so I will be visiting it again – I have quite a few ideas I’ve never found the right conditions for that I am itching to finish.

   My next post will likely be another photograph I made at this location on the same day – but of the same view as my previous “epic sunset” photo. A change in seasons creates a very different photograph!