Posts Tagged ‘mountains’

Iconic Locations and Iconic Misbehavior

Sunset light on Mount Shuksan reflected in the tarn at Huntoon Point in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie Forest, Washington State, USA.

tarn reflection mount shuksan evening sunset huntoon point

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.

mount shuksan evening sunset huntoon point

Evening view of Mount Shuksan (Purchase)

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   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 shuksan arm mount sefrit mountains north cascades

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.

mount shuksan evening sunset huntoon point

Evening view of Mount Shuksan (Purchase)

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   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.

reflections of mount shuksan in picture lake sunset baker

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…

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.

Mount Baker from Huntoon Point

Sunset light in the clouds above Mount Baker – photographed from Huntoon Point, Washington State.

mount baker fall foliage sunset from huntoon point washington

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.

mount baker sunset from huntoon point washington

Sunset at Mount Baker (Purchase)

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   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.

mount baker after sunset from huntoon point washington

Mount Baker after the sunset (Purchase)

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Visit my Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest gallery for more photographs from this evening as well as the surrounding area.

My Top 10 Photos of 2017

   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.

My Favourite Photos of 2017:

walking over the floating bridge at sasamat lake
1. Sasamat Lake

(Port Moody, British Columbia)
Blog post: Sasamat Lake on a Fall Day

fall foliage and mount shuksan from huntoon point in the north cascades
2. Mount Shuksan from Huntoon Point

(North Cascades, Washington State)

adult barred owl strix varia perched
3. Barred Owl (Strix varia

(Langley, British Columbia)
Blog post: Adult Barred Owl (Strix varia)

mount cheam fraser river fall leaves agassiz
4. Mount Cheam and the Fraser River

(Agassiz, British Columbia)
Blog post: Mount Cheam and the Fraser River in Agassiz

fall foliage reflection in rolley lake
5. Fall Reflections at Rolley Lake

(Mission, British Columbia)
Blog post: Fall Reflections at Rolley Lake Provincial Park

sailboat in burgoyne bay saltspring island
6. Sailboat in Burgoyne Bay

(Saltspring Island, British Columbia)
Blog post: Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park Farm Buildings

dogwood tree flowers eddies white wonder
7. Dogwood Flowers

(Langley, British Columbia)
Blog post: Dogwood Flowers – Eddie’s White Wonder

vancouver trade and convention center and coal harbour
8. Vancouver Convention Center & Vancouver’s Coal Harbour

(Vancouver, British Columbia)
Blog post: Vancouver Convention Centre

sunshine on mount webb in chilliwack lake provincial park
9. Spotlight on Mount Webb

(Chilliwack, British Columbia)
Blog post: Rainbow at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

sunset at the white rock pier
10. Sunset at the White Rock Pier

(White Rock, British Columbia)
Blog post: An Evening at the White Rock Pier

   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.

Canadian forces snowbirds in formation over white rock
Canadian Forces Snowbirds

(White Rock, British Columbia)
Blog post: Canadian Forces Snowbirds Over White Rock

My top 10 photos from last year can be found here: My Top 10 Photos of 2016.

Mount Cheam and the Fraser River in Agassiz

Mount Cheam, fall foliage, and the Fraser River in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada.

mount cheam and the fraser river from agassiz bc

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).

mount cheam agassiz farmland

Mount Cheam and Agassiz Farmland (Purchase)

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   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.

mount cheam peak with fresh fall snowfall

Mount Cheam Peak with Fresh Snowfall (Purchase)

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Visit my Fraser Valley gallery for more photographs from this area and more.

North Vancouver Industry and Buildings

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

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.

north vancouver sulphur mountains

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.

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

View from Mt. Erie Park in Anacortes

View from Mt. Erie (on Fidalgo Island, Washington State, USA) of the Straight of Juan de Fuca, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (Ault field), and the Olympic Mountains.

view from mt. erie on fidalgo island in washington state

View from Mt. Erie on Fidalgo Island (Anacortes) (Purchase)

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   Last fall I drove down to Washington State to visit Blaine, Anacortes and a few other spots along the way. My last stop was Mt. Erie Park in Anacortes, and I am glad that I wound up there at the end of the day. I wrote a bit more about that trip in a previous blog post which explains why I stopped at Mt. Erie Park and photographed the moonrise and the North Cascade Range as well as some nice sunset light on Mount Rainier. While I made them on the same evening, the photos here show a different view – looking south towards Whidbey Island.

   The photograph above shows the view from Mt. Erie looking south towards Whidbey Island. The cluster of buildings in the lower left corner is Ault Field which is part of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. The body of water is the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the Olympic Mountains beyond.

view of rodger bluff and lake campbell on fidalgo island

Rodger Bluff and Lake Campbell on Fidalgo Island (Anacortes) (Purchase)

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   Looking down from Mt. Erie you see a lot of farmland, islands, lakes and ocean. The most prominent and closest lake is Lake Campbell and I liked the view of the lily pads and other foliage growing at the west end of the lake next to Rodger Bluff. Pass lake is the lake you can see a bit further in the background. The panorama below shows a wide view looking to the south from Mt. Erie. In that photo you can see many of the locations I’ve mentioned above as well as Similk Bay and Mount Rainier (center).

panorama of whidbey island and olympic mountains from mt. erie in anacortes

View of Whidbey Island and the Olympic Mountains (Purchase)

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For more photography from the Washington State area visit the 7 galleries in my Washington State Collection.

Rainbow at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

A Rainbow over Chilliwack Lake with Mount Redoubt in the background. Photographed from the beach at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.

rainbow over chilliwack lake and mount redoubt

Rainbow at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   A few years ago I would have categorized this photograph of a rainbow at Chilliwack Lake as “lucky”. The day I made this photo I had slowly worked my way towards Chilliwack Lake while exploring and photographing various points along the way in the Chilliwack River Valley. I’d run into the odd patch of rain, and that was okay as this was supposed to be a day of photographing rivers and those “in the forest” photographs that benefit from a lack of direct sunshine. When I pulled into the day use parking lot near the boat launch at Chilliwack Lake I was hungry – I really wanted to just sit and eat my soup for dinner. The sky had dark clouds and it was raining lightly. My soup beckoned from the thermos in my car’s trunk. Instead, I got my tripod and gear together and walked down to the shore of the lake just to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I jogged at the end of that walk. The way these things used to go is I’d sit in my car and enjoy some soup or whatever I was eating for dinner. I’d get my gear, head down to the water and I’d run into a few people walking back up asking if I’d witnessed the rainbow. I hadn’t – I’d only witnessed soup. So this photograph exists because I’ve learned soup can wait but meteorological phenomena won’t. It also helps curtail the sting of people asking if I’d seen that Bald Eagle fishing, one cloud lighting up way after sunset, the double rainbow – all things I’ve missed in the past by not just getting out of my car and having a quick look around.

   Now I categorize photographs like this one as a success due to learning to look around and make sure there isn’t something I might be missing when I would rather be eating instead. There were actually 3 rainbows here when I came within sight of the lake. A double rainbow so the south (the one I photographed, but it had faded by then) and another to the east. It was quite a sight – but I had to decide quickly what to photograph. I made one wider shot of the lake trying to get both rainbows in the same photo. That might have succeeded, but it wouldn’t have been a good photo, so I switched to a longer lens and made this photo which had the most important subjects. The lake, the rainbow, and one of my favourite mountains. With the dark clouds the rest of the scene was somewhat gloomy, but the rainbow helps balance that I think.

sun shining spotlight on forest at chilliwack lake

Spotlight on the Forest at Chilliwack Lake (Purchase)

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   The second photograph here was made 2 minutes after the rainbow photograph. The rainbows had all completely faded but this one spotlight of sunshine lit up the forest and dead snags on the hillside below Mount Webb, but only for a minute or so. If I hadn’t had the longer lens on my camera for the first photo here I might have missed this. I think this part was a a bit of luck.

   This photograph (as well as the first) bring to mind another piece of advice I often hear for photographers – if it is suddenly stormy, that is when to go out and photograph. This isn’t bad advice, but I do believe some of the accuracy is predicated by where one lives. I’ve always lived in this corner of British Columbia, so weather patterns elsewhere are a bit of a mystery. Here, however, once it starts raining you can wait days (or weeks) until it stops or a spot of sunlight makes its way through the clouds. I imagine in other places storms come and go quickly, so getting out when a storm starts is perfect timing. Here, rushing out to photograph when it starts raining here may just get you wet. If I were to make a BC rainforest amendment to that “rule” I’d say the perfect time to go out is on a day when there are expected intermittent showers and maybe some sunny breaks. That is the kind of day where the above photographs were created, and when I’ve seen most of these kinds of scenes. So there.

For more photographs of Mount Redoubt and Chilliwack Lake visit my Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park Gallery.