White Rock East Beach Sunset

Sunset from East Beach in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada. Air pollution and/or smoke from a recent fire in Squamish account in part for the atmospheric conditions.

sunset at white rock bc from east beach

Sunset from East Beach in White Rock, British Columbia

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   I’ve often joked that I only photograph sunsets if my back is to them. This is often true as a nice sunset will cast some interesting light on various subjects – from plants to mountain peaks. I find most sunset photographs uninteresting unless they have a subject enhanced by the evening light. A sunset on its own is not generally one of those subjects.

   The pier at White Rock, British Columbia makes a good subject in the evenings, and the foreground in the first photograph here helped. I can’t think of very many recent photographs I have made where the sun is in the frame. This is something I tend to avoid, even though those “sun peeking out from behind a tree photos” seem popular these days. The top photograph illustrates this best, but this evening had an atypical haze and coloration in the sky. I presume this was a combination of smoke from a rather large port fire in the City of Squamish (the night before) and pollution from Vancouver. I believe this caused the halo around the sun as well. I’ve had several times when smoke from fires of various sorts have either enhanced atmospheric conditions or just made them unworthy of pursuit – I’ve been “smoked out” on a number of occasions. I think this made the photographs here more interesting, though the somewhat unnatural colors have to come with an explanation. I always try to avoid “overcooked” colors, but this one matches the way things looked on this evening at White Rocks East Beach. I did have to do some toning down of the saturation in the sky to get to this point, however.

The sun sets behind the White Rock Pier and Vancouver Islands mountains

Sunset and the White Rock Pier

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You can view more of my photography from the Vancouver area in my Vancouver, Coast and Mountains Gallery in my Image Library.

Akebono Cherry Blossoms in QE Park

Tourists viewing the spring Akebono cherry blossoms in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

tourists looking at Akebono cherries in queen elizabeth park

Tourists viewing Akebono cherry tree blossoms in Queen Elizabeth Park

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   This is one of the hotspots for Vancouver cherry blossoms – Queen Elizabeth Park. I have been here in previous years to photograph these trees and the QE Park gardens, but this time there were crowds well beyond what I had experienced in the past. Seems I had forgotten that this was during spring break week, and there were a lot more people out viewing the cherry blossoms. There are many popular spots to view cherry blossoms in Vancouver during the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival but this spot and Stanley Park remain my favourites. I decided to embrace the reality of the crowds and made this and a few other photographs of the people enjoying the cherry blossom. Surprisingly, the rest of the gardens had very few people in them despite the abundant daffodils, magnolias, tulips, and other flowers.

You can view more of my garden photos in my Garden Photography Gallery in my Image Library.

Great Blue Heron at Coal Harbour

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias fannini) hunting in a small pond at Devonian Harbour Park, near Coal Harbour and Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

great blue heron sitting on a log in vancouver bc

Great Blue Heron

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   In mid March of this year I went to Stanley Park to photograph the cherry blossoms and a few other things. After I was finished photographing cherry blossoms I walked along the seawall to the Convention Center. On the way, in Devonian Harbour Park (between Stanley Park and Coal Harbour) I saw this Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias fannini) fishing in a small pond. One of the largest urban colonies of Great Blue Herons reside at Stanley Park – so seeing herons here was not really a surprise. I made this photograph not only because I was already standing close to the Heron, but because of the reflection of the buildings in the background. This pond is right next to the Stanley Park Causeway, which is a bit like a highway most of the day, and just beyond that are very expensive apartment buildings in the “West End” of Vancouver – so this is a wild animal in an urban environment. As is usual for Herons, this one made a good subject by standing still most of the time I was there. One of my favourite Heron photographs was just across the harbour in Stanley Park – a Heron fishing at night.

You can view more of my Bird Photography in my Bird Photography Gallery in my Image Library.

Cascade Falls Suspension Bridge

Cascade Falls and the suspension bridge in Cascade Falls Regional Park near Mission, British Columbia, Canada

cascade falls suspension bridge in cascade falls regional park

Cascade Falls Suspension Bridge

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   The new Cascade Falls Suspension Bridge is now open in Cascade Falls Regional Park. I have been waiting for this for a while as last year I tried to visit Cascade Falls but the park was closed for construction. I had some concerns that this would somewhat ruin the feeling of the park and the falls lookout, but I enjoyed what they have there now. Previously, a clear view was rather tough to come by (without jumping a fence) and this new bridge really gives a clear view of the falls from several viewpoints. The layout here (suspension bridge next to a waterfall) is reminiscent of the Lynn Canyon bridge in North Vancouver, but isn’t nearly as long. The view here is also a bit better I’d say, and doesn’t have the tourist trap atmosphere (or cost) of the Capilano bridge. The Cascade Falls suspension bridge spans 35 meters (115 feet) from one side to the other which makes it the shortest of the 3 Vancouver area suspension bridges.

cascade falls in cascade falls regional park

Cascade Falls from main viewing platform

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   After a brief (but not flat) hike up the trail to the falls you reach the first view point next to the suspension bridge (photo 2 above). This is close to where the older viewing platform was located and gives a similar view. From there you can cross the suspension bridge to the second platform. The initial step onto the bridge is rather steep, and if this were any other sort of surface it would be rather slippery. The metal covering the bottom of the bridge gives a really good grip, and you won’t likely be slipping on it unless it was covered in ice. The bridge does not bounce much when walking on it, which I am sure many will appreciate. This might be different if there were 20 people walking across it, but I was mostly alone during my trip there a few days ago (a weekday). The first third of the suspension bridge gives a good view of the falls, as well as a view downstream of Cascade Creek (below).

cascade creek in cascade falls regional park

Cascade Creek below the suspension bridge

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   The viewing platform on the other side of the suspension bridge gives a completely new view of Cascade Falls. After a good breeze came up I had a lot of mist from the falls to contend with – which would be a nice feature on a hot day. My photos from here still look a little strange to me, as I am so used to seeing the usual view of the falls, this looks like a bit of a different place. The view from the new viewing platform is a bit better as there aren’t the rocks obscuring the view of the pool below the falls is the case with the first platform.

cascade falls in cascade falls regional park

Cascade Falls from second viewing platform

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   When I was here I was lucky to photograph Cascade Falls with good cloud cover (and even light), but shortly after this the sun came out. The first platform before the bridge gave a great perspective on the rainbow at the base of the falls.

cascade falls in cascade falls regional park

Rainbow at Cascade Falls Regional Park

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For more of my photographs from this and surrounding areas please visit my Fraser Valley Gallery in my Image Library.

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) Fruit Closeup

Closeup of a Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) fruit in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada. Salmonberry flowers are a favourite flower of hummingbirds – and food for birds, mammals and the occasional hiker.

salmonberry fruit rubus spectabilis in fraser valley

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)

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Adapting to changing (web) technology

   As technology moves forward, the manner in which we display our photography on the web has had to adapt. It was not long ago I was instructed that the largest screen size I could safely code for was around 800 pixels wide. At the time, 1280 pixel wide monitor resolutions were current technology, but many people were still using older monitors, and you had to have a website they could use too. As monitors became larger and larger, the size one could safely build a website for slowly increased. Then came the cell phones…

   I’ve enjoyed gradually being able to show my photos larger and larger on my website (though not fullscreen). My first website had larger images at only 480 pixels wide. Now it seems we are being pulled in two directions at once as we need to support both the larger personal computer screen resolutions (ie. retina displays) and cell phones simultaneously. Early in 2014 around 5-10% of my site users were on tablets and cell phones. Now that number is approaching 40-50% – and the current website here doesn’t play nice with smaller screens. Usable on a tablet but not very pleasant to use on a cell phone. Now that Google is changing their standards for search – those who do not have mobile compatible websites will often be left out of search results entirely.

   So with this development, and the percentage of mobile users that have been getting a poor experience on my sites, I’ll be learning how to convert to a responsive design that adapts to whatever platform is being used. I already have a prototype for my main site that doesn’t change the layout (for desktops) and works fine on a small cell phone. This blog will be more difficult to adapt, as will Photoshelter – if I don’t simply change both to a pre-existing mobile supported theme. So you may see some changes here and things won’t look like they did before, but I’ll likely work towards having all 3 of my site areas (site, blog and image library) looking as similar as possible – and mobile friendly!

   Stay tuned!

Ohanapecosh River Fall Foliage

Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) fall foliage colors along the Ohanapecosh River at the Grove of the Patriarchs – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

ohanapecosh river fall foliage colors in mount rainier national park

Fall Foliage at the Ohanapecosh River in Mount Rainier National Park

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   I first photographed this scene at the Ohanapecosh River in Mount Rainier National Park in the fall of 2009. This spot is right next to the small suspension bridge that crosses the Ohanapecosh River on the trail to the Grove of the Patriarchs. I liked the fall foliage colors of these Vine Maple (Acer circinatum trees along the blue waters of the river. I have visited this spot a few times since during the fall and have either been there when the leaves are still green, or after they have turned brown and begun to fall off – but it is always a nice spot to eat lunch. I’d love to photograph this scene again with a fuller extent of oranges and reds in the foliage, but that will be a matter of getting my timing right. Now that I’ve discovered what the park is like when the wildflowers are in full bloom which is usually in August, exploring Rainier for fall foliage colours may have to wait a few more years.

For more photographs of this area including other versions of this scene please visit my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery in the Image Library.

Moon over the Lions Gate Bridge

The Moon rises over downtown Vancouver and the Lions Gate Bridge – from Ambleside Beach Park in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

moon over the lions gate bridge in vancouver

Full Moon over Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge

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   When I photograph a location in the evening I try to look up where the sun is going down, and where the moon may be rising (or its general location). As I had no plans to photograph in the evening on this day, and instead to photograph and hike in Seymour Provincial Park – I skipped that part of my usual preparation. Naturally I found myself at Ambleside Beach in North Vancouver photographing the Lions Gate Bridge and surrounding areas at sunset. During blue hour the moon was very bright in the sky. After a few compositions trying to ignore it I found the reflections without a known source looked rather odd. This composition included the moon so the reflection on the water made some sense.

For more of my photography of the buildings in Vancouver and the Lions Gate Bridge Cities & Buildings Gallery in my Image Library.