Nanaimo Harbour on Vancouver Island

   Two de Havilland Harbour Air seaplanes (DHC-3 Turbine Single Otters) at the Nanaimo Harbour Water Airport in Nanaimo, British Columbia

seaplanes at nanaimo harbour water airport

Two Single Otters at the Nanaimo Harbour Water Airport

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   Last year I spent an evening at Maffeo Sutton Park in the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. I had spent a few previous sunsets at Jack point across Nanaimo Harbour from the downtown area, and was now looking for some more urban photography locations. I was lucky to get some good light (and weather) that evening, and had a decent sunset in the sky for many of my photographs. The first photo (above) shows two of the Harbour Air seaplanes floating at their dock at the Nanaimo Harbour Water Airport with some of the boardwalk and marinas in the background.

bc ferry quinsam

The BC Ferry Quinsam entering Nanaimo Harbour

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   This is the BC Ferry ‘Quinsam’ entering Nanaimo Harbour from its Gabriola Island to Nanaimo run. Though a bit larger it reminds me of the Albion Ferry that used to run across the Fraser River between Fort Langley and Maple Ridge until a few years ago. Biggs Park/Jack Point is in the background (right).

sunset sailboat in nanaimo harbour

Sunset behind a sailboat in Nanaimo Harbour

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   Initially I was unable to read the name on the side of this sailboat at the time, but from the numbers on its sail I could determine its name: the Cu na Mara. Here it is sailing past some of the boats anchored at Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park during sunset.

panorama of nanaimo harbour

Panorama of Nanaimo Harbour

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   My other goal was to make some “blue hour” photographs of the boardwalk and buildings of downtown Nanaimo. This perspective can be found from the Swy-A-Lana Fishing Pier. You can view other photographs of my trip to Nanaimo and other Vancouver Island locations in the Vancouver Island Photos gallery.

Mazama Ridge in Mount Rainier National Park

   Sunset over the Cascade Range from the Skyline Trail on Mazama Ridge. The Paradise Inn, Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center and Paradise Valley Road are in the foreground – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA.

sunset over mount rainier national park from mazama ridge

Sunset in Mount Rainier National Park from the Skyline Trail on Mazama Ridge

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   On the first day of my trip to Mount Rainier National Park last year I hiked up to Mazama Ridge. I’d seen a number of photographs from there before, and it looked like a good place to start exploring the area around Paradise – beyond the views available from the roadside. I parked at the small lot (elevation: 5250 feet or 1600 meters) near the Paradise River bridge in Paradise Valley, and hiked up the Fourth Crossing Trail. I’ve been part way up this trail in the past, and though parts of it feel a lot like climbing stairs much of this is right next to the Paradise River which makes it a bit more pleasant. The Fourth Crossing Trail eventually meets up with the Skyline Trail after a climb of around 250 feet (76 m) in elevation. If I had to do this again I would park near the Paradise Inn and walk the Skyline trail from there rather than heading back down to my car along the Fourth Crossing Trail in the dark.

   From the junction of the Skyline and Fourth Crossing trails there is a series of switchbacks to get you up to Mazama Ridge (at an elevation of around 5800 feet (1770m)). The Skyline Trail then comes to a junction with the Lakes Trail (which Google refers to as the Mazama Ridge Trail). As I was still primarily scouting I headed down the Lakes Trail in search of wildflowers and places to photograph. This trail heads downhill gently at first, but if you wish it will take you all the way down to Reflection Lakes. The panorama below is a view of the Tatoosh Range before the trail gets down into the trees.

the tatoosh range from mazama ridge

Summer wildflowers and the Tatoosh Range

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   This stretch of the Lakes Trail is also where some of the iconic views of Mount Rainier with wildflowers are found. If you do hike this trail, or any of these trails in Mount Rainier National Park please don’t trample the wildflowers or other foliage along the trails. The “keep on the trail” signs are around for a reason as some visitors to these sensitive areas seem to see nothing wrong with wandering off the trail and crushing the wildflowers. It was at this point in the trail I was talking to one of the park volunteers and we noticed some moron about 50 feet off the trail behind us trampling through the wildflower field. If that wasn’t bad enough, he was dragging an aluminum stepladder around up there. After I’d left up the Skyline Trail I ran into the volunteer again – he’d given the stepladder guy a good lecture. This really shouldn’t be necessary…

   After making a few photographs along the Lakes Trail I headed back up to the junction with the Skyline Trail. I scouted the Skyline Trail up past the Stevens Van Trump Historic Monument at which point the light turned the sky a nice colour and the shadows disappeared from the foreground. At this elevation the Tatoosh Range comes into a better view compared to lower down on the Lakes Trail. I’ve said this before but often I prefer photographing the Tatoosh Range over Rainier itself – especially when in the Paradise area. I wrote a bit more about this in an earlier post featuring a panorama of the tatoosh range. Rainier takes up a lot of the sky and can be tough to photograph backlit by the sunset in the evenings. Dawn would probably be an ideal time, but I’m saving that for when I actually stay at the Paradise Inn or relatively nearby.

the tatoosh range from mazama ridge

Summer wildflowers on Mazama Ridge

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   I had seen a few photographs with the shadows of mountains at sunrise and sunset, but hadn’t give it much thought in terms of finding this phenomenon myself. It was on Mazama Ridge I saw this for the first time. The dark blue in the sky is the shadow of Mount Rainier cast down towards Stevens Valley and the Cascade mountains to the east.

the shadow of mount rainier from mazama ridge

The Shadow of Mount Rainier from Mazama Ridge

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   I’ve shown the following image before, but I think it remains my favourite of all the images I made that evening on Mazama Ridge. A lot of Magenta Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora) in the foreground (as opposed to the usually dominant Lupines) and great sunset colours in the sky. This was near the intersection of the Skyline Trail and the Paradise Glacier Trail.

wildflowers and the tatoosh range from mazama ridges skyline trail in mount rainier national park

Rainier Wildflowers and the Tatoosh Range from Mazama Ridge.
Wildflower species include Broadleaf Lupine (Lupinus latifolius), Magenta Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora) and Western Anenome seedheads (Anenome occidentalis)

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   You may also be interested in my report from the area north of the Paradise Inn – The Skyline Trail and the Golden Gate Trail and the Mount Rainier National Park gallery in my image archive.

Rolley Falls in Rolley Lake Provincial Park

Rolley Creek Falls in Rolley Lake Provincial Park near Mission, British Columbia, Canada

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Rolley Falls on Rolley Creek

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   Last Fall I visited Rolley Lake Provincial Park. I parked in the day use area and hiked around part of the lake to photograph Rolley Creek and Rolley Falls. This was an easy (mostly flat) hike that was only about 2 kilometers. A few weeks ago I hiked there again from a different starting point – Burma Street near Stave Lake. On the map, if you ignore one obvious aspect, this seems like it should be a 500-600 meter hike. As all I was interested in was a spring photograph of the waterfall, this looked like a good idea, and I would also be able to check out the lower falls which is right next to the road. It was, but I wasn’t able to get close enough to it without wading across the creek, which I wasn’t prepared to do. My “shortcut” was indeed short. I believe the distance actually wound up being as expected – about 600 meters. This did involve about 200m (650 feet) in elevation gain, however. Seems I overlooked my usual step of checking a topographical map before I decide which way is the “easy” way. I completed the climb anyway, and made the above photograph – this time with lush spring foliage surrounding the falls.

For more images from the Fraser Valley please visit my Fraser Valley Gallery.

Sasquatch Provincial Park

   A few weeks ago I drove out to Harrison Hot Springs, BC to explore Sasquatch Provincial Park. On the past two occasions I had attempted to visit the Hicks Lake area of the park during the off season I had been turned away due to construction. This time everything was open and I was able to explore around the area around Green Point, Trout Lake, Hicks Lake, and Deer Lake.

Trout Lake Creek

   At the entrance to Sasquatch Park there is a small parking lot at the park sign. I’d seen a small creek on the map flowing through this area from Trout Lake down to Harrison Lake. Most creeks I find look like all the others, but this one had enough character and dense foliage surrounding it to make things interesting.

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Trout Lake Creek near the entrance to Sasquatch Provincial Park

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   I this this may be one of the spots I visit in the fall just in case there are some interesting colours here.

common garter snake at hicks lake in british columbia

Trout Lake Creek Panorama

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Hicks Lake

   Once at Hicks Lake I parked at the day use area and hiked part of the Hicks Lake Trail. My aim was to photograph some of the streams and potential waterfalls flowing into Hicks Lake (I’d picked a cloudy day for just this reason). Near the group campground area I found a trail down to a beach on the north side of the lake. The cloudy day I had planned for transformed into a mostly sunny one, so at this point there were not photographs of the lake itself that I wished to make. However, this did give me the opportunity to photograph a few Common Garter Snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) that were basking on the sandy beach. I posted another photograph of one of these Garter Snakes in an earlier post.

common garter snake at hicks lake in british columbia

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) at Hicks Lake

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   Near the group campground area a small creek runs down the mountain into Hicks Lake. I spent a few minutes photographing these really small cascades flowing through the ferns and other understory foliage. Sometimes photographing in the forest can be rather challenging as there are so many plants growing in various directions complicating the search for a simple composition. Around a creek or a waterfall I think this can work well as a frame for the scene, providing there isn’t as much chaos in the middle of the photograph.

common garter snake at hicks lake in british columbia

Small waterfalls near Hicks Lake

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   From the lakeside creek I walked back to the day use area and then to the perimeter trail around the campground. I remembered quite a few of these spots from many years ago when I camped here with my parents. It was good to see all sorts of kids fishing along the shore like I used to. I hiked a bit more of the the Hicks Lake Trail south towards the end of the lake. There didn’t seem to be many streams on this side of the lake, so I headed back just before reaching the south end beach (Sandy Beach). I did hear some rushing water while at the south end, so perhaps on another trip I’ll investigate this. Walking back through the campground I checked out the final few streams on my list, didn’t find much photographically interesting – so I headed to Deer Lake.

Deer Lake

   Deer Lake is just up the road from Hicks Lake, and is the last of the 3 easily accessible lakes in Sasquatch Provincial Park. As I was there late on a Friday evening, traffic through the campground was fairly heavy with last minute campers trying to find a spot. I parked in a day use area and had enough time to explore around the south edge of the lake near the Bench Campground. I spent a few minutes making this photograph of the surrounding forest and some snags reflecting in the lake. The blue tinge at the top of the photograph is the result of campfire smoke from the Bench Campground nearby. This may be a better scene to photograph when there are fewer campers making dinner! It also looks like a great spot in the years we have decent fall foliage colours.

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The forest and snags reflecting in Deer Lake

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   On the north side of “The Point” I photographed campfire smoke lingering over the Lakeside Campground and one of the picnic areas at Deer Lake. With the light fading, I got in the car and drove back to Harrison Hot Springs hoping to catch some sunset light on Mount Cheam and Harrison Lake. Those photographs will have to wait for another blog post coming soon.

common garter snake at hicks lake in british columbia

Campfire smoke over the campgrounds at Deer Lake

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18 Roses in a Backyard Rose Garden

   This spring I decided to document as many rose varieties I could find in my parent’s rose gardens. I’ve made a few photographs of them in the past, but I figured documenting them by name and variety (accurately) would be a good idea. Most of these roses fall into the categories of Rambler, Climbing, Old Garden, Shrub, Species, and David Austin’s English Roses. This is a sampling of those photographs – you can find all that I’ve made so far in my Roses Gallery.

rosa new dawn

New Dawn (Climbing Roses)

rosa glauca

Rosa glauca – Red Leaved Rose (Species Rose)

eglantine rose

Rosa rubiginosa Eglantine (Species Rose) was said to be Shakespeare’s favourite rose

fimbriata rose

Rosa rugosa – Fimbriata (Old Garden Roses)

celestial roses

Celestial (Old Garden Roses)

Read the rest of this entry »

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) on the shore of Hicks Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

common garter snake at hicks lake in british columbia

Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

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   Last week I spend a day exploring Sasquatch Provincial Park near Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada. I did some hiking, and while at one of the beaches on Hicks Lake I found several Garter Snakes basking in the sand along the shore. Not my intended subjects, but as a wildlife photography opportunist, I was happy to take advantage of the chance. I used my longest lens with a 1.4x extender so I wouldn’t have to get close enough to these snakes to disturb them. The ants on the beach, however, seemed disturbed enough to crawl up my legs and all over my camera bag. Not sure how beach oriented people would fare at this location…

Steelhead Falls in Mission, BC

Steelhead Falls near the Hayward Reservoir Trail in Mission, British Columbia, Canada

steelhead falls in mission bc

Steelhead Falls in Mission, British Columbia

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   Yesterday I headed to Steelhead Falls in Mission, British Columbia. I had previously attempted to find this waterfall but the main parking lot was closed, and when accessing the trail I went the wrong way (there were no signs) and was disappointed. Starting from the parking lot yesterday the falls were pretty easy to find after a short hike (in the correct direction) to Steelhead Creek. This is a great falls to photograph – there are many tiers and cascades that have a wide variety of angles of approach so the options are plentiful for photography. I was lucky to have the cloud cover hold as the forecast was for afternoon clearing. Photographing waterfalls in the sunshine is usually a nightmare so I prefer to head out on overcast days for even lighting and cooler temperatures for hiking.

steelhead falls in mission bc

Side view of Steelhead Falls in Mission, British Columbia

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   While loading up in the parking lot on the way in, there was a lot of strange vocalizations by the Ravens (Corvus corax) in the trees overhead. I had initially thought some of the noises may have been an owl, but later saw a Raven making the same noises that sort of sounded like blowing on the open end of a bottle. Either way, it was a really creepy (though interesting) way to start a solo hike with nobody else around.

Silver Lake Reflections Redux

Wells Peak and Hope Mountain are reflected in Silver Lake after a storm – Silver Lake Provincial Park near Hope, British Columbia, Canada

hope mountain reflected in silver lake

Hope Mountain/Wells Peak Reflecting in Silver Lake

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   I posted an earlier version of this photograph almost 4 years ago. Since then my perspective and skills with post processing (and making photographs) has changed quite a bit. With most of my older images I look at them and see potential that alternate processing may release. In the case of this one, my reaction was more along the lines of “what was I thinking!?”. So I’ve reprocessed this photograph of Hope Mountain/Wells Peak reflected in the waters of Silver Lake and I think it is a much improved representation of this scene than my original processing.

For more images from this location please visit my Silver Lake Provincial Park gallery.