Mount Cheam reflected in the waters of Maria Slough on Seabird Island, Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada
Mount Cheam and Fall Foliage Reflecting in Maria Slough at Seabird Island (Purchase)
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As you’ve probably noticed fall is my favourite season, so I’m going to post a few photos from the 2017 season before I make new ones for 2018. This is Mount Cheam that can be seen from most points in the Fraser Valley (and further west). I’ve viewed Mount Cheam from Seabird Island on many occasions but I don’t often get the right conditions for good photographs. Either the mountain is hidden behind the clouds or more frequently Maria Slough doesn’t have a lot of water in it and the reflections aren’t quite like they are above. So it was good to see great fall foliage, a clear view of the mountain, and a great reflection in Maria Slough during this stop at Seabird Island. I also have a vertical composition of this scene.
Bigleaf Maple Fall Foliage Reflecting in Maria Slough at Seabird Island (Purchase)
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I was not aware of the name of Maria Slough until recently when it was mentioned as a potential barrier to the Mount Hicks Fire spreading onto Seabird Island. The fire has since been contained, thankfully. I’ve also had my eye on this Bigleaf Maple tree (Acer macrophyllum for a few years – but was never driving by when it had good fall leaves and Maria Slough was full of water. On this day I found what I was looking for and made this panorama including the Maple tree and some of the surrounding shoreline.
Sunset at Alouette Lake on an early summer evening in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
Sunset at Alouette Lake Beach
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Early this summer I went to Golden Ears Park to photograph Lower Falls on Gold Creek. While this was my primary goal I was also hoping for some photographs of Alouette Lake during the day or perhaps with some sunset light in the clouds.
I tend to visit Golden Ears Park in the spring and fall, and avoid the warm summer days as the park is quite popular and the parking and crowds can become a problem. The day I visited was early in the summer, but was also a weekday so the crowds that show up in the summer weren’t frequenting the lake yet. As I’m writing this the park gate is temporarily closed, and has been closed many days for the last few weeks as the parking lots fill up. There is a lot of parking at Alouette Lake, and I can’t imagine what the place is like when it is that busy! So I stick to the times of year when there are 10 cars in the parking lot and the place is a bit more relaxing.
When I arrived at Alouette Lake in the evening I had to wait for a while for the colour to show up in the clouds. This was by no means a certain thing and I didn’t actually think it was going to happen. I wouldnt’ have minded though – my main reason for being here was to photograph the waterfall and I’d already accomplished that. Any sunset colour was just going to be a bonus. While there was almost nobody at the lake at that hour there were a few drunk (I presume) women wading in the swimming area for about 25 minutes that didn’t stop splashing, screaming and swearing at the top of their lungs. This is a nice, serene spot normally (in the evenings) but until they left it was anything but. Luckily the best colour in the clouds didn’t materialize until after they were gone and I had the beach to myself while I made these photographs. The color that did arrive was a bit strange, with much more purple than I’m used to in a sunset but I like the result regardless. Trying for sunset light in the clouds while looking to the north can be rather hit and miss, but I was happy with the results this particular evening.
View of the beach and swimming area at Alouette Lake
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This last photograph is the view of the beach in the late afternoon. There are a lot of mountains around Alouette Lake, and I think they make this a much more photogenic location than your typical lake in the woods. The closest peak on the left is Edge Peak, followed by Mount Nutt and Mount Gatey. Far in the distance (right) are Mount Clarke and Mount Ratney.
You can see more of my photographs from this park in my Golden Ears Park Gallery.
Sunset light on Mount Shuksan reflected in the tarn at Huntoon Point in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie Forest, Washington State, USA.
Reflection of Mount Shuksan in a Huntoon Point Tarn (Purchase)
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I’ve written and posted about this iconic location many times, as it is one of my favourites to visit in the early fall – the Mount Shuksan/Mount Baker area in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest of Washington State. The location in this first photograph is often photographed, but not nearly to the extent of the Picture Lake area nearby. There isn’t really a lot of things I can say about my trip here in the fall of 2017. I had good conditions, great light, and was planning on going back 4 days later. Unfortunately, there was about 30cm of new snow 4 days later, and the road to Artist Point was closed, so those ideas will have to wait until later in 2018. I am happy with my photos from the one day I had, but they don’t lend themselves to discussion as well as some of the bad photographer behaviour I witnessed while up there. So lets get into some of that – I feel I need to purge these stories from my brain from time to time for my own health. I’m sure these won’t surprise you much, especially if you’ve photographed at popular, iconic locations before.
Most photographers reading this have probably seen others behave poorly while photographing the same locations. A few of these, I’m sure, are just awful people no matter what activity they are doing. I suspect others are just putting way too much pressure on themselves to copy exactly what they saw online or in a magazine. Generally I’ve seen most of the bad behaviour at an “iconic” location, or near one. Most of these locations can deliver a wide variety of weather conditions, seasonal changes and other variable that can making matching that magazine photo you have in your pocket… difficult. If that trophy is all you are there for, then you are probably going to have far less fun that I would. Some of the people having a bad time of it feel generous enough to make sure everyone around them feels the same way.
One example of poor behaviour I witnessed was at the location of the first photograph here – the tarn at Huntoon Point. This is a relatively common spot to photograph, though I’ve never seen lineups here like I have at Picture Lake. When I was here a few years ago, there was a man standing further up on the hill occasionally tossing pebbles into the tarn in order to ruin the reflection for others. He seemed much more pleased about this than the other’s photographing there at the time. I can only guess he had his photo and was thinking that his work would some how be more unique if nobody else could shoot there the rest of the evening. If I’d been trying to actually get a shot there I’d just have wandered away rather than engage with him verbally. This is a location with great 360° views, so it isn’t as though there is a shortage of subjects in the area. Actually, to avoid a photographer like that I might have wandered to a nearby spot and shot the second photograph in this post – a view of Mount Shuksan with some great sunset clouds above it, and hints of fall foliage below. Last fall I photographed both of these scenes within 5 minutes of each other, and without a pebble tosser to move me on.
Sunset over Shuksan Arm and Mount Sefrit (Purchase)
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Anyone who has been to Artist Point and looked towards Mount Shuksan from there has likely seen the tarn just to the east of the parking lot. The trail along the ridge runs right past it. Last fall this was the scene of one of the worst bad photographer behaviour spectacles I’ve ever seen – mostly because it went on for over an hour. Initially I didn’t know a photographer was involved. There was a family walking through (and playing in) the tarn near Artist Point with loud music blaring from a stereo. Beach balls and other props (I presume) were floating around in the tarn. A number of people stopped, jaws open, and stared at these people. Most did not say anything, but some went over and there were raised voices and wild pointing at the various transgressions. None of this made any difference. Then it became clear that the individual who was addressing the concerns of passing hikers was a photographer, there to do some sort of family photo shoot.
When she started shooting she got the family into one spot, then was yelling at the top of her lungs things like “wow this is the worlds most photogenic family”, “that is just adorbs”, “yeah baby!” and other antics that would have embarrassed even Austin Powers. I suspect some of the over the top vocalizations were to mock those who had dared suggest this was bad behaviour, or at least that is the only “excuse” I can see for it. After this debacle really ramped up a few more people then went over and asked her to turn the music off, as well as get back on a trail (I’d have been fine with them just sticking to the rocks). One old man, who looked like he wasn’t one to swear yelled, in apparent exasperation – “What the **** are you doing!?” loudly at her. People were stopped in groups and clearly talking about them. None of this changed the behaviour. The family itself didn’t seem to act like anything weird was going on. One woman I talked to said she was going to say something (I hadn’t, having witnessed the futility of others who had tried). I suggested she go and get a business card under the guise of wanting portraits of her family. This was an idea I couldn’t easily pull off with a backpack and tripod of my own. Not sure if she did that, but I almost wish I’d tried so I could mention her here, possibly. All that aside, I went further up the trail and had a wonderful time once I was out of earshot.
Sunset at Mount Shuksan and Picture Lake (Purchase)
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The above photo is the iconic spot where Mount Shuksan can give a great reflection in Picture Lake. I have stopped photographing here for the most part, but always stop and take a look, as it is a very nice view. I also enjoy the occasional shock and surprise when asked why I’m not taking my gear out of the bag. One of the reasons I don’t linger in this location tends to be the behaviour of other people, though most of those seem to be photographers. The tourists walk on the boardwalk, enjoy the view, and don’t seem to do much inappropriate for the most part. If you look at the photo above you can see on the far left the road is right next to the lake. Remember that the next time someone describes the arduous hike to this location!
The crappy behaviour I’ve seen at Picture Lake includes:
• Yelling at people parking along the roadside I mentioned above. One photographer abandoned his equipment entirely and ran towards some tourists screaming about where they had parked. The poor tourists got back in their car and fled the area. Yes, cars can kind of get in the way here, but it is also easy to change the composition slightly so they aren’t an issue.
• Photographers standing in a clearly marked “meadow under repair” off the boardwalk area – harassing others because they shoot the wrong brand of camera. “That’s how I know your photos are going to be garbage”. Like an internet conversation but in person, which is much, much worse. I wouldn’t say I appreciate this kind of “Gear Preaching” when I see it online, but at least I have something worse to compare it to now.
• In a different people and a different year entirely – but the pebble tossers have visited at this location too. Photographers throwing rocks periodically into the water in order to keep the reflection messed up, which is a pretty messed up thing to do.
• Photographer holding up a magazine with a photo of Shuksan and Picture Lake trying to match the shot. Again, in the closed “don’t step here” area.
• This last one was someone who was trying to be nice, but it is still a silly thing to do. I guess they thought I didn’t know what I was doing so they tried to stop me from shooting in a vertical orientation. “Oh no no wait… (comes jogging over to me)… this is a horizontal shot”. Had I been in a more surly mood I probably wouldn’t have just pointed out that I always tend to shoot both orientations. The vertical shot from that day is only one of two photos of Picture Lake I have ever sold. It didn’t work nearly as well in a wider format, actually.
Glad I got all that off my chest. We now continue our regular programming…
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.
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.
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 (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.
Sunset light in the clouds above Mount Baker – photographed from Huntoon Point, Washington State.
Mount Baker and Fall Foliage at Huntoon Point (Purchase)
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As I have indicated in other posts, fall is the time of year I usually visit the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State. I usually photograph Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and the other North Cascade peaks and ranges in the area. Sometimes I am there along with some great fall foliage as well, though it has a much different look than near sea level. Where I live this leaf color is usually dominated by Bigleaf Maples, Vine Maples, and a few other species. Up in the mountains near Mount Baker, much of the color comes from smaller trees and shrubs such as the Vaccinium species (Blueberries / Huckleberries etc) and Sitka Mountain Ash (Sorbus sitchensis) as shown in the first photograph here. There is always a lot to photograph in the area between Picture Lake, the Chain Lakes, and Huntoon Point on Kulshan Ridge, even if there isn’t a nice sunset. One of my favourite spots and I always find new compositions when I am there.
When there is a nice sunset sometimes it can be difficult to photograph Mount Baker in that light. From this area you are looking southwest towards Mt. Baker. This can be problematic if the clouds aren’t cooperating in lessening the bright to dark one finds in looking from west to east across that view. Luckily there was some thin cloud cover in most of the sky, but not far to the west where the sun was free to shine through. These were near perfect conditions for sunset there, which I have not seen before myself. There was even some great light over the mountains to the north (the Border Peaks, for example) as well as above Mount Shuksan to the east.
It is once again time to post my 10 favourite photographs – this time from 2017. I do this every year as it is a very good exercise (and not always easy) but also so I can participate in Jim Goldstein’s annual Your Best Photos project. His collection of these posts is a great place to find new photographers you may have been unfamiliar with before.
If you click on a photo you’ll be taken to a larger version in my Image Archive. I’ve also linked to corresponding blog posts that contain these images if you want more information about the location or to see other photos from that area. These photos aren’t in any specific order though I am still enjoying the first one a lot as I probably wouldn’t have attempted to make it in previous years. Sorting images for my calendar often gives me a head start on this list. While it did help this year for some reason the images I chose as my favourites are fairly different this time around. This is partly due to the variety I want to show in my calendar as well as I try not to include any human made elements in those photos.
I hope you enjoy this years selections and am curious to hear if you have any particular favourites.
Ooops – there is an eleventh photo below! I included this one as an extra photograph because I like it and it also represents something new. I haven’t tried to photograph an airshow since I had a rangefinder camera with film in it in the 80’s – so it was time to try again! Thanks, in part, to the autofocus on my Canon 5D Mark IV, this experiment turned out quite well.
Mount Cheam, fall foliage, and the Fraser River in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada.
Mount Cheam and the Fraser River in Agassiz (Purchase)
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Mount Cheam is a familiar sight to anyone who drives through almost any part of the Fraser Valley and looks towards the east. Once you reach the eastern sections of Chilliwack Cheam really starts to command your attention in the sky. I’ve photographed Mount Cheam and the Cheam Range from a number of locations but I always thought there just had to be some way to get the Fraser River, or any river really, in the foreground. During one of my trips deeper into the valley this fall I decided to turn onto a side road I’d passed on many occasions heading towards Agassiz. Turns out, this was pretty much the sort of location I was looking for. The photograph above (also the cover photo of my 2018 Calendar) has all the elements I was looking for: Mount Cheam, the Fraser River, and some good fall foliage colors! Most of the trees providing fall foliage along the banks of the Fraser River here are Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa). The colorful trees on the hill in the middle of the photo are predominantly Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum).
The area I found with new (to me) views of Mount Cheam in Agassiz is mostly farmland. I’m sure on a return visit there are some good views with a barn in the foreground, though the more southern part of Chilliwack has many of those opportunities as well. I had been heading to Harrison Hot Springs after photographing the first location, but saw the fall foliage provided by these two Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) trees and had to pull over again for a few more photographs. I am looking forward to visiting this spot in other seasons to see what it has to offer in different conditions.
View of the buildings and industrial areas of North Vancouver, Burrard Inlet, and Mount Seymour from downtown Vancouver.
View of North Vancouver and Mount Seymour from downtown Vancouver (Purchase)
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I tend to associate North Vancouver with wilderness, mountains, waterfalls, and skiing. My usual destinations in North Van are usually areas such as Mount Seymour and Lynn Canyon Park. Looking at North Vancouver from Vancouver you can see the mountains and the forests, but there is a lot of industrial land along the waterfront as well. The first panorama shows cargo ships picking up grain from various grain terminals on the North Shore. Mount Seymour, as with many photographs of North Vancouver, makes for a good background and is home to one of 3 ski hills on the North Shore. North Shore industries such as shipyards, lumber and coal export, are also present along the edge of Burrard Inlet.
View of North Vancouver Industrial Shoreline from Vancouver (Purchase)
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The second panorama here shows the industrial waterfront a bit further west than the first. One of the more familiar industrial uses that people recognize are the large sulphur piles at the North Vancouver Sulphur Works. Here the “La Bamba” which is registered in the Marshall Islands is docked and loading Sulphur. There are also large piles of coal for export further east in North Vancouver. Crown and Grouse Mountains (which is home to Grouse Mountain Resort) form the background here.