2016 Nature Calendar Now Available!

2015 nature calendar british columbia washington mountains

2016 Nature Calendar Covers – Canadian/US Holidays (Calendars use the same interior images)

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20% OFF! Use the code PRESALE20 (case sensitive) at checkout and get your for 20% off! Code valid through November 19th, 2015.

   My 2016 Nature Calendars are now available! I have put together some of my favourite recent photographs into a 11″x17″ (28cm x 43cm) calendar. Included are 12 photographs of landscape and nature scenes from British Columbia and Washington State. There are two versions of this calendar – one with Canadian holidays and one with US holidays. The Canadian Calendar’s cover photograph is from British Columbia, the US version has a photo from Washington state – but all the images within the calendar are the same.

You can view a full preview and purchase this calendar through the links below (be sure to choose the correct version!)

Bagley Lakes Panorama

Panorama of the Bagley lakes in the Mount-Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington State, USA.

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Panorama of Bagley Lake (Purchase)

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   You can see this view of Bagley Lakes from the Fire and Ice Trail in the Heather Meadows area of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. This lake lies between Table Mountain (left) and Mount Herman – the Chain Lakes Trail runs right past it on the way up to Herman Saddle. I still have a lot more in this area to explore with my camera, but I was quite happy to find the lake with these sorts of colours and water levels. On the right you can see where the Chain Lakes Trail goes over a rocky slope that extends right down to the water. Now that my new computer doesn’t choke on larger resolution files, I was able to make this image with two rows of vertical images (35 of them) for the extra resolution which is how I try to shoot all my panoramas now. This worked very well, and I hope to see this one printed in the future.

   The talus slope in the middle of the frame is where I photographed an American Pika a few years back. I could hear a few cheeping their warning calls while I was shooting this panorama but I wasn’t able to spot any of them.

You can view more of my photography from Heather Meadows in my Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Gallery.

Whytecliff Park in the Fog

Fog nearly hides the island at Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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Fog at Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver

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   I mentioned in an earlier post that some of my early October photography plans were somewhat thwarted by the fog rolling by the shore in West Vancouver. I was happy to find almost no fog in Horseshoe Bay but I visited Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver shortly after and as you can see, there a lot of fog just offshore. Part of my plan was to photograph one of the BC Ferries as it passed, but obviously this was not possible. There are almost no photography days where everything goes according to plan, so I embraced the fog and stopped at Whytecliff just to photograph it. Quite often a change in plans just means I manage to photograph scenes I could not anticipate ahead of time. I did enjoy photographing this scene with the fog as it is not something I get to work with very often, so this was a nice change. It was a bit cold though, which made for a more peaceful visit than usual. Going to Whytecliff in the summer means the beach will be elbow to elbow with beachgoers.

For more of my photography from this area of British Columbia visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery in my Image Library.

Freighter in the Fog at Vancouver’s English Bay

A Freighter anchored in Vancouver’s English Bay surrounded by fog.

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Freighter in the fog at Vancouver’s English Bay at sunset

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   When I photographed Horseshoe Bay earlier this month some of my plans were changed by unexpected fog so I took the opportunity to check out the nearby Cypress Lookout. The lookout is up in Cypress Mountain Provincial Park in West Vancouver and offers a good view of the city of Vancouver and much of Metro Vancouver too. I was hoping to get a good spot (the lookout can be rather busy) before blue hour and made this photograph of a freighter briefly showing through the fog while anchored in English Bay. The land you can see just beyond the freighter is Point Grey just to the east of UBC.

For more photographs from the Vancouver area visit my Vancouver Coast & Mountains Gallery.

Mount Larrabee in the North Cascades Range

A lone fir tree stands in front of Mount Larrabee in the North Cascades of Washington State, USA.

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Mount Larrabee in the North Cascades

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   After I photographed the Heather Meadows area in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest last year, I vowed to spend a bit more time there during my next visit. So a few weeks ago I photographed several compositions I had my eye on last year, but which conditions were not right for at the time. This is one of those scenes – a large fir tree standing out against the sky with a backdrop of Mount Larrabee in the North Cascades Range. I photographed this view from the short Fire and Ice Trail in the Heather Meadows area which shows great views of the Bagley Lakes, some of the North Cascade peaks, and Table Mountain.

For more photography from this location visit my Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Gallery.

500px Creates 500px.me – Hosts Photos in China

500px fingerprint logo   Earlier this year I wrote a post outlining why I no longer wanted to participate in the 500px website. As you may have heard, a few days ago another rather large issue with 500px came up regarding its deal with the Chinese Company Visual China Group. Initially I wrote this to be an addition to my 8 reasons post, but I think it merits mention on its own as well as mention on the list.

   Last week many 500px users noticed a site called vcg.me that contained 500px user profiles and photographs. I don’t know how they found this site, but it appeared to quickly mirror new photo uploads, comments and favorites. This caused some confusion and discord in a number of 500px groups (their user forum) and in other posts on the internet and social media. Initially I speculated this was another Chinese site scraping the content of another website, which isn’t that uncommon. I believe this very thing had happened to 500px before, but in this case, it was not a malicious site – it was 500px themselves.

   Back in July of 2015 500px announced they had obtained $13 million in funding from China’s Visual China Group (VCG) in order to fund various ventures including expansion into China. I didn’t think too much about this at the time, China is a huge market and a lot of companies want to explore business there. When the vcg.me site (now rebranded 500px.me) showed up earlier this week it became apparent that there could be some major issues with the move into China. This was to be an entirely new Chinese site written in Chinese and hosted in China. 500px support confirmed with various users frantically asking for an explanation that indeed this was a 500px affiliated website. This was the first the company had indicated that a whole new site would be the platform for a move into China, though nothing official was really released until a few days later when they started damage control. They promised that at some point in the future users would be able to control what images showed up on the Chinese site. Allowing this only after the fact really is too late – the cat is already out of the bag and images have already been transferred to the new Chinese based hosting. As I write this 500px.me has been hidden while it is finished – something I bet 500px wishes it had done from the start.

   All of 500px’s customer communication failures in this matter aside, the main issue for me is the Chinese based hosting. As you might know I pursue copyright infringements of my work. All of the legal and copyright infringement “enforcers” I have dealt with immediately bow out when China is mentioned – there is simply no way to enforce copyright laws in that country (or many others). I have tried on my own with a few infringements that I found particularly frustrating (one of my bear photos used on a trophy hunting guide’s website) and got absolutely nowhere with the web hosts or the companies in question. While I realize that any image I upload anywhere may be used in China and other jurisdictions where I have no legal power, I’d prefer my images do not start on servers in those countries. I don’t know all the implications the 500px.me Chinese based site might have for the intellectual property rights of its users, but I bet there will be some. 500px indicated to me on Twitter that if a Chinese infringement occurs they will “act on your behalf to send takedown notices and infringement notices”. Since this is not possible for my lawyers and companies that handle copyright claims already, I have no idea how 500px can guarantee this. I suspect they won’t be able to do anything more about this than any other company or law firm currently can – so their statement to the contrary likely means nothing at all.

   Another issue that I find unsettling is one of censorship. As I stated, I don’t have much of a problem with 500px pursuing business for its photographers in any country, including China. I had imagined that this would take place on their current site but it has been indicated by many that the main 500px site is banned/blocked in China because it contains a lot of images that the Chinese government doesn’t want their citizens to see (and not just the nudity). Having the files located in China itself allows the government and VCG to censor it so that it can be shown domestically. While this is not new on China’s part, I do find it an unsettling part of this deal.

   I had abandoned 500px in late 2013 due to the reasons I outlined earlier this year, but I had left 5 images behind as a kind of advertisement of sorts. After finding out that this vcg.me/500px.me site was indeed an official 500px entity – I deleted all of these images immediately. Perhaps I was lucky and caught them before they were transferred to Chinese servers, but I have no way of verifying this. As it stands now, 500px has blocked access to vcg.me and 500px.me as they (presumably) continue to develop the sites. Unfortunately this also means people cannot directly see if their content is being transferred there or not. A lot of users seem angry enough about 500px’s handling of this that they are deleting their images and their accounts entirely. I feel that is probably the proper course of action at this point, but I can’t help still feeling disappointment in what 500px has become after their promising beginnings only a few years ago.

Further Reading


Mountain Goat in the Mount Baker Wilderness

A Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus) climbing the southern side of Table Mountain at the Mount Baker Wilderness in Washington State, USA.

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Mountain Goat Below Table Mountain

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   In my last post I mentioned walking a few kilometers out on the Chain Lakes trail from Artist Point in the Mount Baker Wilderness. I made several landscape photographs at sunset while out there, including my previous post showing the panorama of Mount Shuksan. When first heading out on the trail I stopped and was going to wait for a hiker (wearing a lot of white) further out on the trail to pass though one of my compositions. As it turned out, this was a Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus) which I had forgotten were even a species I might discover here. Apparently they are fairly common in the Ptarmigan Ridge area but there are only about 2 800 in Washington State overall. Last year in a nearby location on the Table Mountain Trail I photographed a small flock of Sooty Grouse which I had also happened upon by chance. I was quite happy to find wildlife there two years in a row – especially in the case of the Mount Goat as I had never seen this species before. I don’t have any super telephoto lenses, so I made do with my 70-200mm lens and the 1.4x extender I keep in my bag for occurrences just like this one. Animal portraits are nice, but sometimes I prefer photographs of wildlife in the context of their environment. Headshots don’t show the environment animals live in. Perhaps I have partly formed this opinion because I lack the long telephoto lenses that most wildlife photographers carry with them. I bought a car instead!

   Usually when I am in an area where I expect to run into wildlife I review what one should do when you encounter it – so I am familiar with how to deal with Bears and Mountain Lions but not Goats. I stayed well back on the trail as it was walking along the trail towards me initially. I don’t believe Mountain Goats get agressive for no reason, but I stayed out of its just in case (and my bear spray was in the trunk of my car where it is not that useful). After it walked up the slope briefly I continued up the trail, got into a better position, and made this photograph. He or she was nice enough to pose for a few minutes (while watching me warily) while I made some images.

For more of my photographs of wildlife visit my Animals and Wildlife Gallery.

North Cascades Sunset from Chain Lakes Trail

   An early fall sunset in Washington State’s North Cascades featuring Mount Shuksan.

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Sunset in Washington State’s North Cascades Range Featuring Mount Shuksan (Purchase)

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   Mount Shuksan is one of the most photographed mountains in Washington State’s North Cascades Range. The majority of these photographs are likely made at the iconic Picture Lake view due to the great scenery and easy access (100 feet from your parked car). I have photographed that view quite a few times, and it is still one I love to look at. I went to the Mount Baker Wilderness last week and did stop at that iconic location, but I didn’t get my camera out of the bag even though the conditions were good – I simply took in the sights there while eating my soup for dinner. Shuksan is one of my favourite mountains, but I am looking to expand my library of more interesting photographs, not pad my already too large collection of pretty but creatively boring iconic images from Picture Lake.

   I had previously hiked the Chain Lakes Trail up to Herman Saddle on the north side of its loop but this time decided to try the south side as time permitted from the Artist Point parking lot. As was the case last year, I spent far more time than I’d anticipated photographing in the Heather Meadows and Bagley Lakes area and didn’t get as far on the Chain Lakes Trail as I had anticipated. Heather Meadows and a long lens seem to be a combination that unlocks a lot of compositions for me – which you will likely seen a post coming soon.

   Despite my slow pace at Heather Meadows I did time my walk up the Chain Lakes Trail from Artist Point correctly. I was in a good position to photograph the sunset light on the mountain, and was even lucky enough to get some decent colour in the sky behind Mount Shuksan. I enjoy the light in the evenings, but mostly the light itself, not the sunset. I prefer the colours found in the east at sunset than the west, though perhaps this is also because they are much less frequent and harder to find. Getting a good exposure is also a bit easier as the dynamic range of such scenes is much lower than a western direction during sunset.

For more of my photographs from the North Cascades visit my North Cascades Gallery.