Katzie Marsh Loop in the Pitt-Addington Wildlife Management Area

Fall foliage along the edge of Katzie Marsh Loop Trail in the Pitt-Addington Wildlife Management Area – Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada.

fall foliage along the katzie marsh loop trail in pitt meadows

Fall Foliage along the Katzie Marsh Loop Trail (Purchase)

The Pitt-Addington Wildlife Management Area is a 2,972 hectare nature reserve in the northern part of Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. Much of the reserve used to be known as Grant Narrows Regional Park, but that was dissolved in 2011 when the Katzie First Nation were given control of the area – now called the Pitt-Addington Recreation Area. I have photographed near Pitt Lake many times, but mostly from the easy to access roadside spots. There are great views of the Pitt River, Pitt Lake, and the surrounding mountains readily available without straying too far from the car. A few weeks ago, however, I wanted to see what views could be found on the trails along the various dikes that head from the roads out into the marsh. Despite the presumption that most of the fall foliage would be gone, and the fact the midday light was filtered through a lot of smoke, I wanted to see what the area had to offer regardless.

I decided to start with the Katzie Marsh Loop. From the main parking lot, past the boat launch, there is a gravel road called the Swan Dike Trail that heads straight towards the Golden Ears Mountains. The main view on this stretch of the trail is not of the Golden Ears, however, but of Pitt Lake, the mountains to the north, and the Katzie Marsh to the south. I expect I’ll be back to photograph these mountain views again when the snow blankets them in a month or so. Along this trail I saw a number of Great Blue Herons (as one would expect) but also had a few passing Osprey, Bald Eagles, and various duck and waterfowl species. Approximately 500 meters from the parking lot there is an observation tower to climb for a better view. I also photographed the marsh plants below (likely sedges or reeds – I was unable to accurately identify them from my photograph) in this stretch of the loop trail.

plants growing in katzie marsh in pitt meadows

Wetland plants (reeds or sedges) growing in Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

On the eastern edge of this part of the Katzie Marsh Loop the road continues to a (private) boat launch and dock. The loop trail itself turns south at this point, away from Pitt Lake (approximately 2.4km from the parking lot). While the trail is no longer a well maintained gravel road, the dike is easy to walk on, and quite flat. Heading south there is a long stretch of water on the left hand side, with Katzie Marsh area on the right. There are a lot of interesting trees and patterns in the rocks along this stretch, and I think it gave a better view of the waterfowl using the marsh as well. The first photograph above shows some remaining fall foliage in the Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) trees at the base of the mountains to the east. Looking backwards to the north along this section of the loop trail also gives good views of the mountains to the north and some nice reflections.

After walking an additional 1.6km from Pitt Lake the trail turns a bit more to the southwest. This is where I found the pond below with a nice reflection of the trees behind it. There was a lot of waterfowl in this area, but many of them left as I approached (I hadn’t seen them until they flew away). There were a few cautious herons who remained, however. From this pond the trail turns even more westward and you come to another observation tower that gave a great view north towards the mountains, Pitt Lake, and gave a good overview of the Katzie Marsh itself. There were two large Kingfishers making a lot of noise in the area. They did not perch close enough to me to photograph, but they were continually on the move and if I’d had the time I likely could have made some good photographs from the cover of the tower.

fall leaves reflection in katzie marsh pond

Fall foliage reflected in a Pitt Marsh Pond (Purchase)

Near the observation tower the trail narrows and is no longer a wide dike trail. The trail for the remainder of the Katzie Loop not only was narrow with blackberries reaching out to grab all my clothing, but offered very little in terms of views of much of anything. This section of the trail is also right next to the water, and eroded in a few spots, so I had to pay attention to avoid a wet mishap. This made for a relatively uninteresting 2km trudge back to the parking lot.

autumn leaves trees foliage katzie marsh pitt meadows

A Row of tree on the edge of Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

I think if I had the time and were to walk the Katzie Loop Trail again soon, I’d turn back at the southern observation tower and go back up to Pitt Lake and then to the parking lot rather than do the whole loop. The last stretch is not interesting, maybe slightly dangerous if you aren’t paying attention, and doesn’t have much in the way of any opportunity for photography or views. All in all I walked 6.8km in completing the loop. Skipping the last stretch to the parking lot would make the “loop” a bit longer at around 9km total distance. This is likely what I will do next time I visit when the snow has arrived. Some of the trip back will be facing the mountains too which will be a great view.

For more photographs of the Pitt River and Pitt Lake area visit my Pitt Meadows Gallery.

The Pitt Addington Marsh

Pitt Addington Marsh, Gloomy Peak, and the Coast Range after sunset in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada

coast mountains reflected in pitt marsh

Gloomy Peak and the Coast Range reflected in Pitt Marsh (Purchase)

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    A month ago I headed to the Pitt Polder Ecological Reserve in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Candada to check out potential for fall colours, and to photograph the northern lights should they show up (they didn’t). This is Gloomy Peak and parts of the Coast Range reflected in a pond along the Pitt River. A familiar spot for me, but I did like the light here after sunset even if it was rather brief.

Birch trees and cotton grass at pitt marsh

Paper Birch and Chamisso’s Cotton Grass at Pitt Marsh (Purchase)

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   The Chamisso’s Cotton Grass (Eriophorum chamissonis) was one of the reasons I walked into the marsh along the dike. I had read they grew here, and I enjoyed them as a foreground element when I first ran into them at Washington Pass. I think I will try to photograph this area again when the leaves are exhibiting some nice fall colours. While the Maples cannot be relied upon for nice colours, the birches usually deliver, though they are few and far between.

widgeon peak reflected in pitt marsh

Widgeon Peak and Pitt Marsh (Purchase)

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You can view more of my photography from British Columbia in my image archive’s British Columbia Galleries.

Pitt Marsh Sunset Redux

Sunset at the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area on the shore of the Pitt River in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada

sunset at the pitt river marsh

Sunset at the Pitt River (Purchase)

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   I am always learning new techniques in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop, and often a consequence of this is the desire to revisit older photographs and reprocess them. A lot of my older photos were processed using methods that were time consuming and sometimes not that effective. Finally learning to use masks was a gamechanger, for example. There are a lot of these photos where I am happy with the processing, but others that I have started to revisit in order to process them with my current vision of how they should appear. Thankfully my new methods are a lot faster, and the occasional revisit to an older photograph doesn’t take me nearly the time it used to.

   This photograph is a good example of one where I wasn’t happy with the initial processing. I like this photo – but the initial version has a foreground that was too dark, the colours were slightly reddish, and there were a few other brightness issues I wanted to fix. I think this processing balances the colours much more faithfully to the original scene as I remember it, and deals with the darker foreground. You can read a bit more about the things I learned while actually photographing this scene in the original post.

My 10 Best Photos of 2011

reflection of mount shuksan in the silhouette of picture lake
Mount Shuksan Alpenglow

   It is always tough to narrow down a years worth of images into a list of the “best”. I did this last year and I think it is a valuable exercise. Jim Goldstein of JMG Galleries creates a list of everyone’s top 10 images each year. I made my first top 10 last year. This years list has fewer landscape and more wildlife photos. This is partly due to my not getting out to shoot as many landscapes as last year, and partly due to my backlog in image editing.

   You can click on each of the following images to go to the blog post that may tell a bit more about the location and how I made the photograph.

In no particular order my “Best of 2011″…

Read moreMy 10 Best Photos of 2011

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!

Pitt River Sunset Reflection

Widgeon Peak is reflected in a pond at the Pitt Marsh Wildlife Management Area on the shore of the Pitt River in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia.

sunset at the pitt river/addington marsh

Pitt River Sunset Reflections

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   A few weeks ago I shared another photograph from this location – the Pitt Addington Marsh near the Pitt River. I made this photograph and a few others of the great reflection in the pond in front of me. When the great light showed up in the sky later on, I tried to get back to this spot to make some more photographs of the reflection with the better light but it was not to be. I am hoping to get back to this location when it snows. Fresh snow on the mountains and the ground with a reflection would be pretty cool I think.

2017 edit: We had a ton of snow this last winter (by our standards) but this meant that there was too much for me to drive to this location. I’m still waiting for an opportunity for the snow photo in this location!

Mosquitopalooza at the Pitt River

sunset at the pitt river/addington marsh
Pitt River Sunset
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   Even though it is nearing the end of July, Summer has not yet reached Southwestern British Columbia. Normally we have had a warmer July than this, and we are just starting at least about 3 weeks with no rain and warm temperatures. Not this year. As I generally do not like hot weather anyway, I have not been too disappointed with this. No sunburns, no “heat domes”, no drought. The other side of this coin is we had a much cooler, wetter spring/early summer than usual. While that is nice weather for being outside a lot of the time, it can also mean mosquitoes.

   I have never purchased bug spray. I used it once, but it gave me a rash so I’ve just put it out of my mind for the last few years. With the exception of one evening up at Artist Point near Mount Baker, I have had very few run ins with mosquitoes. At worst an evening in the bush or near a lake meant a bite or two at the very worst. Returning last week to the Pitt-Addington Marsh I was in for a very different experience. Luckily, the light ultimately did turn some of the clouds a nice pink color, so I got the sort of shot I was looking for. What I was not looking for were the 45 mosquito bites I suffered while making this and other photographs of the area. The back of my neck was like bubble wrap the next morning, but the majority of the bites were actually through my shirt on my back. I will be buying bug spray soon!

   I have learned from previous experience that “stay until all the light is gone” is wise advice. I made this photograph after I had completely packed up my equipment having had decent but not awesome colour in the sky. I stayed in the location though, and the image above shows what ultimately showed up in the sky. I quickly setup my tripod again, got out the GND filters, and tried to take advantage of this light. From start to finish I had 4.5 minutes before it was completely gone, for good this time.

I made this image with my Canon 7D, EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens, B+W Polarizing filter, and my Sing-Ray 2-stop graduated neutral density filter.

Pitt Marsh Sunset

sundown at pit-addington marsh wildlife management area near pitt lake
Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area
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   This photo was taken 2 days ago just outside the gates to Grant Narrows Regional Park. Well, it used to be a regional park, it is now in limbo and under the jurisdiction of the Province. I suppose the overall area can be labelled the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area for now.

   I have long had my eye on this area because it is so close to where I live and seems capable of great scenery at sunset. I’ve never quite managed to be there at these times though, the area loves to gather the first clouds coming into the Lower Mainland around Vancouver. I still have a lot of shots developing in my head that I wish to take in the future – but new ones always come to mind as soon as I am there and in conditions I hadn’t planned for! Each time I am there, regardless of weather conditions I am always rewarded with either great scenery or a lot of wildlife, mostly waterfowl.

   This scene is not really a “sunset” as the sunset was actually somewhat to my back as I took this – but I like how the clouds opened up and let in some colour over the mountains (probably the area around Raven Peak). I will have more images from this location posted soon.