Posts Tagged ‘langley’

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)

-click to enlarge-

   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)

-click to enlarge-

   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.

View of Glen Valley Farmland and the Fraser River

View of Glen Valley farmland, the Fraser River, and Coquitlam/Burnaby Mountain from Bradner Road in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.

panorama of glen valley farmland and the fraser river in langley abbotsford

View of Glen Valley Farmland in Langley and Abbotsford (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   This view of Glen Valley’s farmland is one that I had forgotten about for many years. I remember looking out the car window and seeing this view as a kid from the backseat of my parents’ car. On a rare, non rainy day last fall I remembered the viewpoint when I was nearby, and decided to drive up to Bradner Road to see if it was still there. I was happy to find it hadn’t been overgrown by trees and still offered good views of Glen Valley below. It wasn’t the clearest day but I think I will be back there in the spring to see if sunset offers any interesting light from this vantage point.

view of glen valley farms in abbotsford and langley

View of Glen Valley (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   One of the common crops farmed in Glen Valley are cranberries and blueberries. The bottom left of the above photograph shows one of the many partially flooded cranberry field after harvest. The fields are flooded in the fall so that the berries float to the surface (after a bit of a beating) for easy collection.

glen valley farmland and the fraser river

Glen Valley Farmland and the Fraser River (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   The third photo here shows Glen Valley, The Fraser River, Macmillan Island, Coquitlam, and Burnaby Mountain beyond. I was a bit surprised how far I could see from this elevation. The top of the Port Mann Bridge and many taller buildings in Surrey were also visible.

For more photos of Glen Valley and the surrounding region please visit my Fraser Valley Gallery.

Langley Bog in Derby Reach Regional Park

Langley Bog from the new viewing platform at Derby Reach Regional Park (Houston Trail) in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

langley bog viewing platform and the coast mountains from derby reach regional park

Langley Bog from Derby Reach Park Viewing Platform (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   A few weeks ago I went to the Langley Bog for the first time as there was a new viewing platform off of the Houston Trail in Derby Reach Regional Park. I had never walked on the Houston Trail but was aware of it and the bog (which is generally closed to the public) on my many drives past the trailhead. While the Langley Bog is a very interesting place biologically, I didn’t find all that much insight into that via the viewing platform (built by the Derby Reach Brae Island Parks Association). Granted, everything was frozen solid at the time and spring/summer may yield more wildlife viewing and other interesting things. This may be a good spot for birding in the future. I also hope that this is not the end of construction. Burns Bog has a lot of trails and boardwalks (via the Delta Nature Reserve) where you can walk, with relatively low disturbance of the bog itself. It would be nice if this kind of thing could be incorporated into Langley Bog in the future.

For more photos of the Langley area visit my Fraser Valley 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

-click to enlarge-

   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.

Fishing Boats on the Fraser River

Fishing boats tied up on a dock along Bedford Channel – on the Fraser River in Langley, British Columbia, Canada

fraser river fishing boats

Fishing Boats along the Fraser River (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   On my recent walk through Brae Island Regional Park in Fort Langley, British Columbia I stopped at one of the viewpoints on the Bedford Channel shoreline. Bedford Channel runs between Fort Langley and Brae Island and many may be familiar with it by crossing the bridge over it to the now defunct Albion Ferry. Earlier in the year I’d stopped at this view point but the spring freshet water levels were very high and I wasn’t about to get near the river. On this visit I was able to walk along the shore for a while and photographed these fishing boats docked along the channel. While not quite as nice as the scenery I found later at Tavistock Point further along the trail, it was a nice spot to pause for a while.

Campbell Valley Regional Park Photos

A Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) with a bed of Pacific Bleeding Heart flowers (Dicentra formosa) – at Campbell Valley Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

vine maple and pacific bleeding hearts in campbell valley park, langley, british columbia

Vine Maple and Pacific Bleeding Heart in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   Today I have two photos from Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia. One of the things I have been working on with my photography is to improve the photos I make of scenes inside the forest. There can often be so many competing elements all heading in different directions that a pleasing, non cluttered composition can be difficult. So I decided to work on that, and am getting results that I think are an improvement and more compelling than previous efforts. This photo (left) of a Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) with a bed of Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) growing below it is one example.

walking path in campbell valley park in langley - british columbia

Walking path in Campbell Valley Regional Park (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   I’ve recently been editing and key wording all the photos I’ve made in this park over the last few years. Many were already processed, but there was still a lot of work to be done. I’ll place them all in their own gallery on my website soon – right now they are scattered over a few different categories. Campbell Valley Park is only about a 15 minute drive for me, so I will likely be spending even more time there as a lot of the park I have yet to explore.

For all my photographs of this park visit my Campbell Valley Regional Park Gallery.

Barred Owl (Strix varia)

A Barred Owl (Strix varia,) in Campbell Valley Park, Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

barred owl strix varia campbell valley park

Barred Owl (Strix varia,) (Purchase)

-click to enlarge-

   I went for a walk through some trails last week and while I wasn’t going there specifically for photography I brought the camera along. I figured that if I didn’t have it with me, an eagle would land in a tree right in front of me and well, I would be out of luck photographically. No eagles this time, but a Barred Owl (Strix varia) did land right in front of me and posed for long enough for me to get a few decent shots of it. I have never seen an owl this close before, and I’m lucky I had a camera poised to take the shot. A few weeks ago I was in the same spot on the trail taking some macro shots of Pacific Bleeding Heart flowers. If the owl had shown up then I would have had the macro lens on (instead of the 70-200mm), camera on the tripod, mirror lockup turned on, the ISO too low, and an aperture stopped down enough that a handheld shot would have been impossible. I guess what I am saying is I feel fortunate to have had all the factors work out for me this time! Getting a nice composition is difficult with so many branches sticking out everywhere though.

Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa)

pacific bleeding heart dicentra formosa in campbell valley park
Pacific Bleeding Heart
(Dicentra formosa)
-click to enlarge-

   This is a Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) flower I found in Campbell Valley Park. It doesn’t break any new compositional ground being a simple macro shot, but it did require a fair bit of patience to shoot. While in the middle of the forest, low to the ground, the breeze was still throwing these flowers around quite a bit so getting this shot required about 30 minutes. I managed to get a few shots that were sharp, luckily.

   One thing that has helped me greatly in getting sharp macro shots is the live view mode on my new Canon 7D – a feature my old camera did not have. I find that especially with the macro shots zooming in using the screen not only allows me to focus better (using manual focus) but determine when the subject has stopped twitching in the wind. It also means I do not have to lie down on the trail to look through the viewfinder to compose the shot like my old camera.