A few Random Photos from Stanley Park in Vancouver

Fall foliage colors on Maple trees along the Stanley Park Seawall at the west end of Coal Harbour.

fall leaves on the stanley park seawall coal harbour vancouver

Fall Foliage along the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver (Purchase)

Last Fall I made several trips into Burnaby and Vancouver to photograph various areas – and twice I wound up at Vancouver’s Stanley Park as my late afternoon/evening destination. Fall foliage in 2020 was hit and miss, and in some areas just plain bad. In this part of Vancouver, however, it was pretty decent in many places. Stanley Park is always a good spot to look for fall foliage, and even if there isn’t any, I never dislike an evening spent there. Even in the rain! After a walk around Lost Lagoon and a few other park areas, I headed further towards downtown to Devonian Harbour Park and made this photograph of a few people walking along the Seawall with some good fall leaves as a backdrop. This location is next to the Vancouver Rowing Club building at the west end of Coal Harbour.

lights on canada place in vancouver

Colourful lights on the sails of Canada Place (Purchase)

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I have photographed Canada Place many times, but not always at a higher resolution, so I made the above photograph and a few others to change that. Zoomed in at 100% you can’t tell the title of a book someone on one of the benches is reading, but you can tell what colour the cover is! I was going to make some panoramas including Canada Place and the Trade and Convention Centre next door, but the pandemic thwarted those plans. Not only are there not conventions going on at the moment, but some floors of the newer Convention Centre space are still reserved for a makeshift hospital should the pandemic overwhelm local hospitals (which has not happened, luckily). As a consequence all the lights on many of its floors are off. It just doesn’t look great in the evening with the lights off, so I skipped it entirely. Canada Place is my favourite anyway, and I like this colour scheme of lights on the “sails”. Sometimes I don’t like the colours used here, and really do prefer the light projections they had back in 2012. Not sure how often these are changed, but I liked the 2020 version.

Lost Lagoon

sunset light trees along shoreline lost lagoon

Evening light on trees along the shore of Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Purchase)

I have visited Lost Lagoon many times in Stanley Park, but had never walked all the way around it. I fixed that in October and walked the entire loop. There was not much left in the way of fall leaves, but I did like the scene above in the way that the light lit up the edges of the trees (mostly Red Alder, here) even without their leaves. I didn’t photograph the waterfowl around the lagoon much at all, as I knew I had a lot of those kinds of photographs from my earlier trips to Burnaby Lake Regional Park. I did photograph the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) below on the walk though. This one seemed to be having a bit of a dispute with the passing Wood Ducks who swam really close on their way by. This Heron was opening up its beak and making a lot of squawking noises to tell them to keep their distance (I presume). Songbirds they are not!

great blue heron at lost lagoon at stanley park in vancouver

A Mildly Irked Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park (Purchase)

Brockton Point Lighthouse

sunset lights up sky behind the brockton point lighthouse

Sunset Lights Up The Sky Behind the Brockton Point Lighthouse (Purchase)

I enjoy sunset light and while I don’t often sit around and wait for it, I am always happy to use it when available. When I stopped at Brockton Point in Stanley Park to photograph the Brockton Point Lighthouse and various subjects in North Vancouver, I got lucky with some high cloud that turned a nice pink colour. The Brockton Point Lighthouse was built in 1914 and sits along the northeast part of the Stanley Park seawall. The area gives nice views of Burrard Inlet, North Vancouver, the Lions Gate Bridge, as well as downtown and the Port of Vancouver. A bit later in the evening I made this panorama of the view of North Vancouver with Mount Seymour behind it. There are a lot of new towers and construction since I last photographed North Van from across the inlet, but the shipping traffic is omnipresent. While I’d prefer they weren’t in the photograph, I included the large bulk carrier Federal Illinois on the right as that kind of ship is a very frequent presence on the water there. I plan on making this photograph again when I am able to get back to Stanley Park while there is some snow on the mountains.

north vancouver and mount seymour from brockton point in stanley park

North Vancouver and Mount Seymour from Brockton Point in Stanley Park (Purchase)

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Lumberman’s Arch

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Lumberman’s Arch and a path through a double row of London Plane Trees (Platanus x acerifolia) (Purchase)

Originally this area was a village site called Xwáýxway before the Federal Government “claimed it” as their own. The Lumberman’s Arch above was erected in 1952, replacing an older arch called the Bowie Arch which was dismantled in 1947. The gravel path in this photograph winds south through the Lumberman’s Arch picnic area, past the Aquarium (behind the green fence on the left) to the Japanese Canadian War Memorial and beyond. The trees lining this path are called London Plane Trees (Platanus x acerifolia) and this appears to be the only spot they are planted in Stanley Park.

When I was in this same area a week later I photographed the Lions Gate Bridge from the Stanley Park Seawall. I’ve always liked this bridge at night with the reflection off the water of Burrard Inlet and the lights of West Vancouver beyond. This is a scene that I often shoot as a panorama as it fits the shape of the bridge well, and it eliminates a distracting, lighter coloured sky above that can happen during sunsets. There is no sky in the photograph below. The Lions Gate Bridge was opened in 1938 and was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2005. The official name of the bridge is actually the First Narrow Bridge, though I rarely hear it actually called that.

lions gate bridge at night from stanley park

Lights illuminate the Lions Gate Bridge and the waters of Burrard Inlet at night (Purchase)

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Painter’s Circle

fall foliage and benches at painters circle in stanley park

Fall Foliage at Painter’s Circle in Stanley Park (Purchase)

Painter’s Circle is one of the areas in Stanley Park where artists (but not photographers) can sell their work with a permit. I liked these 3 park benches in Painter’s Circle lined up with the fall leaves behind them and made this photograph. I am not sure what species of trees these are, and normally that would really bother me but since so many different, non-native species are planted in Stanley Park this isn’t unusual. In some cases I can find mention of them such as the London Plane trees near the Lumbermans’ Arch above, but this is a bit more of an obscure location. These look to be much younger trees and perhaps do not have as well a documented history. I should have tried the app Seek by iNaturalist on them but I didn’t remember to do so at the time. Sometimes I’ll take a closeup of leaves on a plant I can’t identify and that app will ID right off the computer screen too. Even if it doesn’t know the species it quite often points me in the right direction. Really useful app!

More photos from Stanley Park can be found in my Stanley Park Gallery.

View of Vancouver and North Vancouver from Burnaby Mountain

View of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and beyond – from Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

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View of Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Burnaby (Purchase)

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As with many of my better images these photos of a view of Vancouver were not really planned. I had a plan, but when that fell through (as they often do) I had to adjust (more on that later). This is the view of Vancouver from the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area near Simon Fraser University. I’ve been surprised both times I’ve photographed here that I have not seen other photographers (beyond those with cell phones) as the view is quite popular. When I went to school at SFU this was a busy area at sunset as people parked their cars to watch (and do other things) – and this was much the same last week when I was on Burnaby Mountain. Two separate people were even brought by their drivers, and had their own security. Why this area is popular is understandable as the view is spectacular on a nice day!

The panorama above shows many notable buildings and locations in and around Vancouver (best viewed in the larger “lightbox” version if you click on the smaller version above). On the left the blue lights are from BC Place and above the stadium you can see Mount Arrowsmith on Vancouver Island. Then we have the towers of the downtown area of the City of Vancouver and the Port of Vancouver structures next to Burrard Inlet. Beyond Vancouver you can see other areas of Vancouver Island (including the light of Nanaimo), and ships waiting to load/unload in English Bay. The darker area before you get to the Lions Gate Bridge is Stanley Park, and then you have the bridge itself, and the lights of the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver. In the foreground you have Capitol Hill in north Burnaby (I can see the house I lived in for a few years in this photo), and then the Burnaby Refinery (Parkland) next to Burrard Inlet.

view of vancouver after sunset

View of Vancouver from Burnaby Mountain after sunset. (Purchase)

I had initially planned to photograph a few scenes in Port Moody (which I was able to do) and then photograph some blue hour photos of snow on the mountains to the north (Mount Seymour, etc). I didn’t expect a sunset due to cloud cover and I have had a few ideas for those photos for a few years. It became immediately clear that there was not a lot of snow on the mountains (visible) and that plan was going to have to be abandoned.

When I was editing these photos I was reflecting whether these images would have been possible for me to make maybe even 5 years ago. My camera at the time would have done a good job, but I’m not sure I’d have been able to get in the right position and more importantly, the right frame of mind, to make these photos. I used to over plan my photography days, and if I’d shown up here to make blue hour photos of mountains covered in snow (and not found those scenes) I might have still been stewing on this and unable to make the transition to shooting something else. You just can only shoot what is actually there, and even if that thing isn’t what you initially wanted or expected, there is almost always something else to photograph. Knowing more about what locations are nearby and what potential they have also helps! Even if you photograph nothing at a location, seeing what might be possible there in the future can help a lot.

For more of my photographs of Vancouver visit my Vancouver Gallery.

Vancouver Convention Centre

The Vancouver Convention Centre and the North Shore Mountains in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

vancouver convention center and the northshore mountains in british columbia canada

Vancouver Convention Center and the Northshore Mountains (Purchase)

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   Last week I traveled to Vancouver to photograph some of the downtown area as well as any potentially lingering cherry blossoms in Stanley Park. Stanley Park is often a relatively quick trip for me, even coming from the Fraser Valley, but this time it took me about 65 minutes to get from the Cambie Bridge into the park. Gridlock isn’t nearly as much fun as photography! When I finally got into Stanley Park I stopped at the first parking spot I came to, paid my exorbitant $13 for a few hours of parking, and went looking for blossoms. I didn’t find many, though the daffodils and some tulips looked great. After walking around Stanley Park for an hour (time never wasted) I went along the seawall to photograph Canada Place, the Vancouver Convention Centre, and anything else I found. Normally I have photographed those two buildings from Stanley Park but it was time for new perspectives.

   The first photograph here shows the view looking north from the sidewalk between the east side of the Vancouver Convention Centre and Canada Place. I liked this angle as it not only showed some of the form of the centre and placed it well in the usual backdrop familiar to those who have visited Vancouver – the North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet. The two main mountains you can see here in the background are Crown Mountain and Mount Fromme. Grouse Mountain is the one with the ski hill lights on it. The blue, teardrop shaped sculpture seen at the end of the building is another familiar thing to those visiting Vancouver – the raindrop!

vancouver convention center in the early evening as seen from canada place

Vancouver Convention Center and Coal Harbour (Purchase)

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   The Vancouver Convention Centre (formerly the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre) opened in 2009. I have often referred to Canada Place as the Trade and Convention Center but after 2009 it is also known as the Vancouver Convention Centre East Building. During the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics the East Building was the press building for the games. A wide variety of events and conferences are held at the main building – when I was there last week the Vancouver Ted Talks were about to start.

   As I walked along the seawall at Coal Harbour I took note of some other angles that looked interesting. You’ll see more photographs from this area soon, but I wanted to concentrate on the main Convention Centre for this particular post. The second photograph here was made from the side of Canada Place, which offers good views in most directions and is a great vantage point to view the newer building.

For more photos of Vancouver buildings visit my Cities and Buildings Gallery.

My Top 10 Photos of 2016

   Once again it is time to post my 10 favourite photographs from the past year. I do this yearly as it is a worthwhile exercise, and to take part in Jim Goldstein’s annual Your Best Photos project. His collection of these posts is a great place to view photographs and find some new photographers to follow.

   I hope you enjoy my selections here and am curious to hear if you have a favourite. If you click on each photograph you’ll be taken to my Image Archive. Many of these photographs have corresponding blog posts that I’ve linked to underneath the thumbnails here. These aren’t in any specific order, but I did place the photograph “Rainbow over Hatzic Lake” at the beginning as I think this is the first time I’ve photographed a rainbow (successfully at least) outside of my backyard. I was also shielding the camera from a rainstorm with my body, so the photo deserves extra points for that. 😉

Here are my top 10 photos of 2016:

rainbow over hatzic lake in the fall
Rainbow over Hatzic Lake

(Mission, British Columbia)
Blog post: Rainbow over Hatzic Lake

top 10 photos - sailboat in the salish sea in british columbia
Sailboat in the Salish Sea

(Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver, British Columbia)
Blog post: Sunset at Juniper Point in Lighthouse Park

Read more

View of Downtown Vancouver from North Van

Downtown Vancouver’s buildings at sunset as photographed from the Burrard Dry Dock Pier (near Londsdale Quay) in North Vancouver, British Columbia Canada.

downtown vancouver at sunset photographed from North Vancouver

Sunset Behind Downtown Vancouver (Purchase)

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   While I consider myself a landscape and nature photographer I do enjoy photographing almost anything – including cityscapes. I have photographed several panoramas of downtown Vancouver in the past, though most of these have been from various vantage points in Stanley Park and some from Kits Beach. I have been wanting to do the same from North Vancouver’s perspective and had the opportunity to do so a few weeks ago.

   I had spent the day photographing around North Vancouver in areas such as Maple Flats, Cates Park, and Deep Cove. When the light was running out at Deep Cove I determined that this would be a good chance to shoot the sunset and downtown Vancouver from somewhere in North Van. I had previously tried this at the dog park near the automall, but there always seems to be a large amount of barges and boats blocking the view from there. I’d heard that near Londsdale Quay would be a better spot, so I headed there from Deep Cove. There has been a lot of changes in that area since I was last there, so I had to find my way to various viewpoints in new ways. I wound up on the Burrard Dry Dock Pier (just east of Londsdale Quay) which offers a great view of downtown Vancouver. I was able to make some good photographs here including the one above. While I had to dodge the Seabus and a few other boats moving through the foreground (and their wakes) this turned out to be a great location to view Vancouver.

For more photographs of downtown Vancouver visit my Cities and Buildings Gallery.

Sunset at Kitsilano Beach Park in Vancouver

Kitsilano Beach Park and buildings in the West End and downtown Vancouver at sunset. Photographed from Kitsilano Beach Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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Sunset at Kisilano Beach Park in the City of Vancouver (Purchase)

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   Earlier I shared some blue hour photos of similar scenes of Kitsilano Beach Park, Vancouver’s West End, and English Bay that I made back in March. The two photographs here were made about 20 minutes earlier when there were some sunset colours in the sky, and even a hint of Earth’s shadow (aka the Belt of Venus – top, right). This is the kind of sunset photograph I enjoy – the light from sunset in the sky, on the mountains and the buildings to the east. I was in Vancouver on this day due to the good weather and that we had just had some fresh snow on the Northshore Mountains – conditions that had eluded me the previous winter. The top photograph here includes Mount Seymour with some fresh snow above the buildings of the West End of Vancouver city. I think the two make a good combination.

kitsilano beach and the boathouse restaurant at sunset

Kitsilano Beach and the Boathouse Restaurant at Sunset (Purchase)

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   The second photograph here shows the Boathouse Restaurant at Kitsilano Beach Park during the night’s sunset. It had not yet become chilly at this point in the evening, so there were still quite a few tourists and locals on the beach. On a typical summer day (I shot this in March) I doubt you’d be able to see any sand around the beach goers from this vantage point – Kits is a rather popular beach during the summer.

For more photographs of Cities and Buildings (mostly Vancouver) visit my Cities & Buildings Gallery.

Twin Otter Seaplane and North Vancouver

A West Coast Air Twin Otter (De Havilland Canada DHC-6-100 Twin Otter C-FGQH) at the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre (CXH).

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West Coast Air Twin Otter at Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre (Purchase)

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   The float plane in the foreground is a De Havilland Canada DHC-6-100 Twin Otter (C-FGQH) built in 1968 which had its first flight on February 23, 1968. Currently the Twin Otter flies for West Coast Air (now part of Harbour Air Seaplanes) and carries 18 passengers. Behind the seaplane docked at Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre (formerly Vancouver Harbour Water Airport) is North Vancouver and the Northshore Mountains (a subset of the Pacific Ranges). I photographed this scene from the Vancouver Trade and Convention Center (Vancouver Convention Center West Building) in downtown Vancouver.

For more of my Vancouver area photographs visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains gallery in my Image Library.

Great Blue Heron at English Bay in Kitsilano

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) sits on the rocks next to English Bay in Kitsilano. Photographed from Kits Beach Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

great blue heron ardea herodas in english bay vancouver

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at English Bay in Kitsilano (Purchase)

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   I believe I have indicated my affinity for photographing Great Blue Herons in the past – they tend to stand relatively still while hunting for food and therefore make great photo subjects. I have a few photographs of herons at night, and this wouldn’t be possible for me with many other species. Not only do the herons stand still while waiting for prey, they often hunt on shorelines where I can use reflected lights to illuminate them during a longer exposure. This particular Great Blue Heron was hunting along English Bay at Kitsilano Beach Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I was busy making blue hour cityscapes of downtown Vancouver and happened to have my longer 70-200mm lens on my camera. This was the perfect lens for my panoramas, and luckily was also the perfect lens for photographing this Heron when I noticed him silhouetted against the lights reflecting off English Bay from Kitsilano. With the naked eye this Blue Heron was barely visible, but with a longer camera exposure (6 seconds in this case) the details of both the bird and the surrounding area were revealed.

For more wildlife photographs take a look at my Animals and Wildlife Gallery in my Image Library.