Capilano River Regional Park – Second Canyon Trail

Second Canyon Trail winds through the temperate rainforest at Capilano River Regional Park in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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Second Canyon Trail in Capilano River Regional Park (Purchase)

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   The lower part of Capilano River Regional Park is one of those spots that many tourists likely miss on the way to see the Capilano Reservoir and Cleveland Dam. Below Cleveland Dam you’ll find the Capilano River Hatchery and Capilano River Regional Park – but the left turn into the park is easy to miss (and I have, many times). I’d been to the hatchery before, and photographed Herons foraging along the river and a few other things, but I had never really hiked many of the trail network in the park. In May I visited this park again hoping to get a better idea of the trails in the area and what views they may offer. The image above is from the Second Canyon Trail as it nears a viewpoint where you can see a waterfall, the Capilano River, and the Cleveland Dam from a much different perspective than most are used to from the top of the dam.

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Waterfall in Capilano Canyon (Purchase)

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   The viewpoint at the terminus of the Second Canyon Trail is also a good spot to look at a beautiful waterfall flowing into the Capilano River. I am not sure of the origin of the water in these falls (or the name, if it has one). It may be related to the Metro Vancouver water supply, of which Capilano Reservoir provides 40%, or perhaps to do with the hatchery. Natural or not, it provides a relaxing scene from the viewpoint platform.

waterfall flowing into capilano river in capilano river regional park

Waterfall in Capilano Canyon (Purchase)

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   A more impressive waterfall is formed below the spillway at the base of Cleveland Dam. While this is basically a waterfall at the bottom of a concrete chute, I tried to make this view look as natural as possible. Capilano Canyon is quite narrow from the perspective of the viewing area, so a wide angle view of the “waterfall” is not possible from this perspective. During much of the year a large volume of water flows down the spillway, and this waterfall doesn’t even likely exist – lost in sheer volume of water coming over the dam.

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Door to Nowhere in Capilano Canyon (Purchase)

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   One interesting item of note in the canyon is the existence of this “door to nowhere” over looking Ring Bolt Pool and the base of Cleveland Dam. This door protects the end of a tunnel built during the construction of Cleveland Dam in the 1950’s. Originally there was a ladder from the base of the canyon up to this door to allow access for workers. Now it is an area where the dam and canyon can be visually inspected as required.

   I’ll have more photographs from Capilano Canyon soon. I had planned on seeing much more of the park when I was there, but photographing all the subjects I encountered took more time than I’d anticipated – which is not a bad thing at all. A relatively small area that can keep me photographing for 3-4 hours is a spot to revisit!

For more photographs of Capilano Regional Park and the surrounding area visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.

Female Anna’s Hummingbird in the Fraser Valley

A Female Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) perched in a tree. This is most likely a female Annas but it could be a juvenile. Photographed during the summer in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada.

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Female Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) (Purchase)

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   Earier this year I was able to photograph a male Calypte anna in my backyard. Once I learned the calls of these birds I was able to find them much more often. Turned out there were at least 3-4 males in my backyard at various times. I was happy to get that photograph of one sitting on a fence post in my vegetable garden (they don’t tend to sit still for long). Since then I’d been able to watch some mating display dives as well as a lot of small skirmishes over territory, but none came close enough for me to get a good photo.

   A few days ago I was walking the dog in the backyard when this hummingbird landed next to me in an Apple tree. I quickly put the dog back in the house and went back outside with my camera – and I was fortunate that the hummingbird was still around. She landed in the tree next to me and started preening which seemed like a decent indication I wasn’t considered much of a threat. I made these two photos during the 90 seconds or so she sat there, and was quite happy with how close I was and the tongue flicking I was able to photograph.

female anna's hummingbird flicking her tongue - Calypte anna - in the fraser valley of british columbia

Female Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) Flicking Her Tongue (Purchase)

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   I’ve looked at a lot of photos today trying to determine if this is in face a female Anna’s Hummingbird or a juvenile male. It could be a juvenile, but I finally decided this was more likely a female. At least the adult males are easy to ID with their flashy gorget and behaviour!

For more of my wildlife photos please visit my Animals and Wildlife Gallery.

Sunset at Juniper Point in Lighthouse Park

   Last week I visited Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver to photograph a potential sunset from Juniper Point. My plan for the day had been to hike and photograph in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park as the forecast was for a cloudy (but dry) day that would be perfect for exploring forest and river photo opportunities. As it turned out the day was mostly sunny with just a few clouds. After 10km of hiking and only a few photo I decided to switch gears and spend the evening at Lighthouse Park to explore some of the trails I hadn’t previously walked. Juniper Point seemed like a great place to start.

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Sunset View from Juniper Point at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver (Purchase)

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   Upon arriving at Juniper Point I found the opposite issue to what I’d seen in Lynn Headwaters – too many clouds. This is great for even light on waterfalls, rivers, and plants in the forest but not often conducive to ocean/sunset photography. I’ve learned to be happy with just getting the layout of an area on first visits, so not coming home with some good photos was going to be just fine. There were a lot of rock climbers at Juniper Point so I sat down and watched them for a while, and photographed the occasional boat passing on the water. It was nice to be sitting outside in the evening at Lighthouse Park and still be able to feel my fingers! As sunset was still well over an hour away, I had almost decided to wander a few more trails when I started talking to a local photographer Jason Darr instead. I am glad I did for a number of reasons but this also kept me at Juniper Point until the light became very worthwhile.

   As you can see from the first photograph above, the relatively grey skies gave way to a pretty decent sunset in one area of the sky over one of the Grebe Islets, Bowen Island and the mountain peaks in the Sunshine Coast’s Tetrahedron Range. The main photography “star” of this spot is this one tree that hangs over the cliffs. While the area is called Juniper Point, this tree appears to be either a stunted Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) or perhaps a Grand Fir (Abies grandis) both of which are native to the park. The large cones on this specimen eliminate the possibility of this being one of the other tree species in the area from what I can tell. I am not always in biology mode when photographing, so as usual I came home without all the right evidence for a proper identification.

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A vivid Howe Sound sunset from Juniper Point (Purchase)

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   While I may still occasionally ignore the lesson to stay at a location until the light is entirely gone, the above photo illustrates the potential benefits of waiting. Even without the colourful light there were many great textures and patterns in the clouds above the sunset, but for just a few minutes they lit up too, though in a more subtle manner. I used one of Howe Sound’s Grebe Islets as a foreground element which lined up nicely with the sunset over the Tetrahedron Range, as well as those textured clouds higher in the sky. I prefer to do minimal post processing work on my images, so my 2 stop graduated neutral density filter had a lot of use in the various compositions I made with this particular scene.

   One does not need vivid sunset light to make interesting photographs, though it certainly helps. When I first arrived at Lighthouse Park I found fairly harsh light showing through the clouds, with poor visibility in the distance (towards the south and Vancouver to the south east). This worked well for the photograph below of a small Hunter 280 Sailboat heading through the Salish Sea towards Vancouver. The mountains in the background are located on Vancouver Island – most likely near Ladysmith.

a small hunter 280 sailboat on the salish sea georgia straight west of vancouver bc

A small Hunter 280 Sailboat in the Salish Sea/Georgia Straight (Purchase)

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For more photographs made in West Vancouver visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.

Liberty Bell Mountain from Blue Lake

Liberty Bell Mountain and Early Winter Spires at Blue Lake in the North Cascades of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington State, USA.

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Liberty Bell Mountain and Early Winter Spires at Blue Lake in the North Cascades (Purchase)

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   A few years ago I hiked up to Blue Lake in the Washington Pass area of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest – an area I had always thought of as part of North Cascades National Park. While Washington Pass is very close to the National Park, and some of area is in part maintained by the National Parks Service (especially the Washington Pass Overlook), it is part of the National Forest not the National Park. The parking lot and trail head can be found along Highway 20 (North Cascades Highway) 1.26km/4128 feet west of the Washington Pass Overlook turnoff. The short hike to Blue Lake is only 3.2km/2 mile and gains 350m/1050 feet of elevation to a total of 1906m/6254 feet. This photo is made a few hundred feet higher than that, along (and up) a trail to the west of the lake.

   As you can see from the above photograph, Blue Lake is aptly named. I was fortunate on this trip to arrive when the Subalpine Larch (Larix lyallii) were turning colour. Subalpine and other species of Larch are one of the few conifer species that are deciduous – they lose their needles each fall. This can be a beautiful display but is only found in higher elevations in this part of the world. Blue Lake is situated immediately below the iconic Liberty Bell Mountain. Liberty Bell is the spire on the left hand side of this photograph next to Concord Tower, Lexington Tower, and the Early Either Spires (North and South). Another view of Liberty Bell can be seen in my older post with some photographs from Washington Pass.

For more photographs from the Washington Pass area of the North Cascades visit my Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Gallery in the Image Library.

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.

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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.

PCT Renard 58 under the Lions Gate Bridge

PCT Renard 58 is an Orca class steel-hulled Royal Canadian Navy training and surveillance craft shown here passing under the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver.

pct renard 58 passing under the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver

PCT Renard 58 passing under the Lions Gate Bridge (Purchase)

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   I had been walking along the Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver’s Stanley Park to photograph the view of the snow on the Northshore Mountains with the Lions Gate Bridge. All sorts of interesting vessels pass under this bridge, from rowboats to giant cruise ships. This particular ship is the PCT Renard 58 which is an Orca class steel-hulled Royal Canadian Navy training vessel. PCT stands for “Patrol Craft Training” and the 8 Orca class PCT ships are based in CFB Esquimalt on Vancouver Island. I did make a photograph consisting of just the Northshore Mountains and the Lions Gate Bridge but I thought I would share this photograph as it has a bit more of a story. The peaks you see in the background are Beauty Peak, Crown Mountain, and Grouse Mountain (L to R).

For more photographs made in Stanley Park visit my Stanley Park Gallery.

Harrison Lake Sunset

A vivid Harrison Lake sunset near Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada. The distant mountains are Sasin Peak and Deroche Mountain.

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A vivid Harrison Lake sunset near Harrison Hot Springs (Purchase)

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   A few days before I made these photos of a sunset at Harrison Lake I talked online about not making very many sunset photographs and generally avoiding them. Most often at sunset I am photographing what that light is reflecting off of, not the sky itself. I find the majority of sunset photos out there to be rather banal unless they have an actual subject of interest other than the sunset itself. That said, I had to pull over to the side of Rockwell Drive on the shore of Harrison Lake when I saw this light starting to develop (somewhere between Sasquatch Park’s Green Point and Harrison Hot Springs). The challenge then was to find something to do with it, and there was no time to get in position somewhere I knew to be favourable. The first photo here shows Sasin Peak, Deroche Mountain, and some fortuitous rocks and old dock pilings in Harrison Lake. I also made a square version of this Harrison Sunset.

   Before the colours to the west really exploded, I made this exposure looking north towards Mount Breakenridge. The colour here is much more subtle, but it works regardless. When the sky to the west became really vibrant this last scene here had very little color, even less than when I made this photo. Strange how that sometimes works out.

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Harrison Lake and Mount Breakenridge after Sunset (Purchase)

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   As you know I occasionally work with black and white for some of my photos, and so here is one last photo of the same scene with a different composition.

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Harrison Lake and Mount Breakenridge in B&W (Purchase)

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For more photographs of Harrison and other lakes visit my Lakes & Rivers 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.