A Snowy Walk at Derby Reach Regional Park

Fresh snow creates an outline on each branch of this thick deciduous forest at Derby Reach Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

snow on the trees at derby reach regional park near the fraser river

Snow Outlines the Branches in a Deciduous Forest (Purchase)

In early January we had a light snowfall overnight here which actually stuck around through the next day. So often even a large dump of snow is a bit slushy the next day, or everything turns to rain, and there aren’t many photography opportunities in those conditions. I can often see snow on the mountains without such conditions down here closer to sea level, but snow covering the trees like in these first two photographs is certainly more elusive. As this was something I’ve been waiting for I actually made a photo from the backyard of a tree across the street that was lit by a street light in case everything was gone by morning! Luckily, that didn’t happen.

As the conditions looked promising I headed out to Williams Park which is a small local park I like to visit, often just for a walk. There is a creek running through the length of it and the sound of water is always a good accompaniment to a 2-3km stroll. It can also be nice with snow around, but the scenes there weren’t speaking to me that day so I headed north to Derby Reach Regional Park. Forest scenes can be a tough subject to find a composition with – so many branches and plants heading in different directions can create quite a mess of sorts. With some snow on the branches, however, it is a bit like a highlighter has been drawn on all the branches and they stand out in a more individual fashion. I photographed the scene above, one I’ve seen a dozen times without really noticing any distinctiveness to the flow of the branches, but the snow changed that. It was pointed out to me that this first photograph would make a good jigsaw puzzle. For those who enjoy a lot of frustration, I suspect.

snow on the trees at derby reach regional park near the fraser river

Fresh snow on branches of a tree at Derby Reach Regional Park (Purchase)

Further down the trail this individual tree grabbed my attention again due to the fringe of snow on each branch that makes the tree (a Red Alder in this case, I think)

snow on the trees at derby reach regional park near the fraser river

Tugboat Towing Barge of Sawdust Down the Fraser River (Purchase)

When I visit Derby Reach Regional Park I tend to frequent an area called Muench Bar which gives a nice view of the Fraser River and on a day of good weather – the Golden Ears Mountains. I tend to photograph these peaks too often frequently, as previous posts in this blog will attest. When I’m along a big river like the Fraser, there is usually some boating activity and I’ll often photograph them as they go past my location. Here I had both subjects available, so I photographed this Ledcor Tugboat towing a barge full of sawdust down the river – with the Golden Ears (Mount Blanshard) in the background. The clouds were frequently obscuring then dissipating from the mountain peaks but I was usually able to wait until they became visible.

snow on golden ears blanshard and ice in the fraser river

The Golden Ears and the Fraser River (with ice!) on A Winter Day (Purchase)

We don’t often have a cold snap long enough to form ice on the Fraser, but this happened a few times this winter. At one point parts of it were frozen over, which isn’t that common. During this cold spell there were again chunks of ice flowing in the river, and I included the pilings in the foreground mostly due to the nest boxes at the top. These nesting boxes are for the Purple Martin (Progne subis) I believe – though they might be used by other species as well.

snowy golden ears mountains at derby reach

Fresh Snow on the Golden Ears and Derby Reach Regional Park in Langley (Purchase)

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As I was heading back to my car from Muench Bar after sunset there were some more interesting blues in the sky and I again made a panorama from my favourite view of Mount Blanshard. I have previously photographed Mount Blanshard from this same spot in the spring. I should try to get a photo like this in every season to complete the series.

For more photographs from this snowy day visit my Langley Township/Langley City Gallery.

Random Photos Volume I

I thought I’d begin sharing more of my photos here that don’t have enough of a story to warrant a blog post all their own.

Fallen Leaves at Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park

When I stopped to photograph a roadside scene of some fall foliage along Dunlop Road in Qu├ębec’s Gatineau Park last fall I heard a small creek nearby. I walked down and made the photograph below of some fallen leaves and Fortune Creek. Still one of my favourite “small scenes” I photographed on that trip. You can see the rest of my photos from the park in the Gatineau Park Gallery.

fall fall leaves along fortune creek in gatineau park

Fallen Leaves along Fortune Creek in Gatineau Park (Purchase)

Love in the Rain

Love in the Rain is a sculpture created by Bruce Voyce and is currently located at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The sculpture is for the attachment of “love locks” which couples can attach and then dispose of the keys in a nearby receptacle. Previously the locks were becoming a problem on fences and other structures in the city. When I first set up to photograph this composition there was someone sitting along on the bench, which I liked in contrast to the two “lovers” in the foreground. Then they got up and left. I wasn’t willing to sit on the bench myself for this as being 20 feet away with my back to my equipment was a bit risky in a reasonably busy park, so I didn’t. Maybe having the bench empty is a happier photograph anyway? More of my Vancouver photographs can be found in the Vancouver gallery.

love in the rain sculpture in Queen Elizabeth Park

Love in the Rain Sculpture in Queen Elizabeth Park (Purchase)

Mount Blandshard – “The Golden Ears”

At this point I have a lot of photographs of the Golden Ears (Mount Blandshard) from various locations. This is one I made from the banks of the Pitt River (in the Pitt Addington/Smohk’wa Marsh) during a cool stretch of weather in February.

golden ears from pitt meadows

The Golden Ears from Pitt Meadows (Purchase)

Grass Seed Head in the Snow.

There are occasions in winter where I am essentially snowed in – more than a foot of snow or so on the road can make it tough for me to get my car out of the driveway. This year with balding all season tires and that much snow, I didn’t even attempt this. So what to do? I went in the backyard and instead of photographing my usual Chickadee photos from the rose bushes, I went for this grass seed head poking up through the snow. A bit more minimal than subjects I usually photograph.

grass seed stalk poking up through snow

Grass Seed Head in the Snow (Purchase)

More photos like these can be found within the New Images Gallery in my Image Library.

North Vancouver and the Northshore Mountains

The City of North Vancouver below the Coast Mountains in the early evening from Stanley Park in British Columbia, Canada

north vancouver below north shore mountains in

The City of North Vancouver (Purchase)

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   While I am usually looking at downtown Vancouver when I photograph in this part of Stanley Park, I usually point my camera towards North Vancouver as well. On this evening in April there was still some snow on the North Shore Mountains, which made for a great backdrop to North Vancouver’s lights in the early evening. Crown Mountains is the peak in the background above the lights of North Vancouver.

   You can view more photographs of Cities and Buildings in my Image Library.

Mount Webb from Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

Fresh snow on Mount Webb in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

mount webb black and white chilliwack lake british columbia

Fresh snow on Mount Webb at Chilliwack Lake in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

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   I mostly make my photographs in colour. I think that is just the way I am better able to see most landscape scenes. I am trying to see a bit better in black and white, and recognize which scenes and light may be appropriate for that type of conversion. Sometimes colour just isn’t the best option. During my trip to Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park back in October, I made this photograph of Mount Webb with black and white conversion in mind. The sun, if it showed up, was going to set behind this mountain, and from this angle I was not going to see any sort of nice alpenglow or sunset light anyway. I was early for any potential sunset display, so I photographed this mountain when I arrived as the light I had at that point was appropriate for my intentions.

   The reason I decided this scene would be better in black and white was due to the light at the time, and the textures on the mountain. I still tried to process it in colour, but the results were not satisfying. I like the textures in this photograph from the rocks and the fresh snow, and even the small glacier at the bottom of the rock face that I had never noticed before on previous trips to Chilliwack Lake. The textures just didn’t show themselves in colour as well as they did with black and white.

You can view other photos from the same day in my image library: Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park.

Chilliwack Lake Fall Colour

Fresh snow on Mount Webb and some fall foliage colours at Chilliwack Lake in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

fall colour at chilliwack lake and mount webb

Fresh snow on Mount Webb and fall colours at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park (Purchase)

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   A few weeks ago I was in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park looking for some fall colour and hoping to catch some fresh snow on Mount Redoubt. I found both of those, but the clouds preferred to keep most of Redoubt to themselves. This is Mount Webb, also with some fresh snow, and is part of what is likely a more interesting composition than is possible with Mount Redoubt itself. Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park’s gate is closed for the winter, but I’ll be back in there when there is some winter snow on the ground. Hopefully the mountains choose to make an appearance on that day as well.

fall foliage along shore of chilliwack lake in chilliwack lake provincial park

Fall foliage along the shoreline of Chilliwack Lake (Purchase)

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   I also liked this composition that doesn’t include as much of the surrounding mountains. This one focuses on the contours of the water’s edge and shows the fall foliage colours just a bit better than the photograph above. The spot on the beach here is not that far from the outflow of the Chilliwack River, where there were a great many salmon congregating to spawn. While making the above exposures I had some difficulty conveying the smooth surface of the water because it would occasionally be interrupted by a jumping salmon. Always an interesting event to witness, if not particularly convenient at that time.

Mount Cheam Panorama

Panorama of Mount Cheam in the evening from Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada.

panorama of mount cheam during blue your from agassiz british columbia canada

Panorama of Mount Cheam in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia (Purchase)

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This is a panorama of Mount Cheam, a familiar sight to anyone living or often traveling through the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. I made this photo by the banks of the Fraser River in Agassiz just after sunset in January. The time right after sunset is often referred to as “Blue hour” and you can see why. I often like to photograph buildings in downtown Vancouver at this time as you can still see the outlines of the buildings against the sky (unlike when the sky is darker). I find this is also a great time to photograph mountains – so it is worth hanging around after any potential sunset light or alpenglow has faded. Always wait until the light is completely gone!

Chilliwack River Winter Panorama

winter panorama of the chilliwack river near chilliwack lake provincial park

The Chilliwack River

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3 exposures stitched, Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM @ 17mm

Now that I have written a post about getting away from solely using wide angle lenses for landscapes and to look for the details I thought I would post a wide angle panorama!

This is the Chilliwack River near Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park taken at the same time as some of my other Chilliwack River shots.

One thing I keep noticing with this shot is that the majority of longer exposure river shots I see are looking upstream while this is looking across/downstream. Does this make it look unnatural or different in a negative way?

Image Post-Procesing Objectivity

panorama of mount redoubt and nodoubt peak from chilliwack lake provincial park

Alpenglow on Mount Redoubt and Nodoubt Peak from Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park
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6 exposures stitched, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM @ 144mm

   When I spend time shooting I will normally take a quick overview of the days results immediately. There are often a few shots that will stand out – and those are often processed and sometimes show up here on the blog right away. I have learned that taking a long step back from a series of new photos can be beneficial to me in terms of my objectivity in culling the weaker shots. If I were to go through all the shots immediately I still carry my mental image of what I had planned for a photo. Not everything I try works out of course, and sometimes my initial expectations turn out to be too high. Sorting and processing images a month or two later gives me a lot better perspective of what is a “good” shot or a bad one – as many of my initial expectations have settled down. This has generally worked out so far – and I think I am better at choosing strong images than I used to be in part because of it.

However…

   I recently had an experience where the month+ delay in processing a panorama didn’t really seem to help. I processed and stitched this panorama 3-4 times – never quite happy with the colour of the sky. Things got to the point where I was no long able to view the photo at all objectively.

   For this particular panorama I stood in the snow next to Chilliwack Lake for over an hour, freezing, taking the odd shot but waiting for the right light. When it came – I shot about 3 panoramas (and many single shots) with a few different compositions. I like the composition of this one the best. The colour of the sky seemed quite purple compared to what my brain was telling me looked “natural”. This could be a case of over analysis – but I try to process images such that they are faithful to what I saw at the time. So I processed the 6 shots that make up this image again in Camera Raw with some PS adjustments to account for the colour. Then I did this again. Still not happy I put the image away for a few more weeks. I should note the purple color is present in the raw file – not as a result of some other colour processing I have done.

   Now that I have picked up this panorama again, I am still not sure if this looks natural. I like the colour on the mountain peaks, this is how it looked when I was there – but the sky still bothers me. I have stared at it so long I no longer remember what it looked like in person – perhaps that is the downside in waiting to do post processing? Maybe I just have to drop an image for longer or toss it entirely? I again processed an alternate panorama – taken about 7 minutes before the one posted above – and the sky looks bland and the clouds undefined – the whole image is uninspiring.

So what is the good thing about all this?

   During this process I learned a few more Photoshop techniques that I otherwise would not have. Tweaking sky colours using Selective Color in Photoshop, for example. Next time I have a sky colour problem as a result of changing colour temperature etc – I know how to fix it. I have also learned that sometimes I might need to move on from processing an image that just isn’t right – or leave it behind entirely.