Growing up in the area around Vancouver, British Columbia, especially out in the Fraser Valley, Mount Baker is a constant presence on the Eastern horizon. Many roads seem to point straight towards Baker or sometimes Mount Shuksan. While I am most familiar with the view of Baker from Langley, it can be seen all the way from Stanley Park in Vancouver, the Southernmost point of the area in Tsawwassen, and from North of the Fraser River – here in Pitt Meadows. I made this photograph from the edge of one of the many Cranberry fields on the road to Pitt Lake. As Baker is such a constant for anyone living out here, it was quite a surprise for me as a kid to realize that it was not a Canadian mountain – it actually is in Washington State. I was young enough that I am not sure I believed that right away.
Archive for April, 2012
A few weeks ago I headed to Golden Ears Provincial Park to hike to Lower Falls on Gold Creek. The trail was very muddy, and hard to walk on for much of the way but it was one of the first really nice days this Spring. To be out walking without the heavens pouring down was nice. I was never able to find the trail from Lower Fall to the above trail that I had intended to hike though. This gave me more time to make photographs between the Gold Creek bridge and Lower Falls. I made this photograph next to the Gold Creek bridge at the end of the Golden Ears Park road. Gold Creek is pretty wide in parts at this location, and while I did concentrate on some details of rocks and ripples, this wider view shows the overall look of this part of the creek.
I have photographed downtown Vancouver from Stanley Park a few times in the past – with fair but not spectacular results. When my first DSLR was new I would try to photograph the skyline well after sunset. At that time of day there isn’t much contrast between the dark buildings and the sky, so these photographs did not turn out very well. I learned that if you photograph during “Blue Hour” there will be much better contrast between the dark buildings and the sky – with much better results! Blue Hour is the period of time between total darkness in the sky and sunrise or sunset. Just like the “Golden Hour” this may not actually last an hour. In Vancouver at this time of year I think the blue hour lasted about 20 minutes facing southeast though there was still good blue light facing west for about another 10 minutes after that.
This Panorama, taken during the blue hour after sunset, shows a dark sky but you can still see the profile of all the buildings. Much better than a photo taken when the sky is really dark!
FYI – if you ever photograph downtown from Stanley Park near the Nine O’Clock Gun is the location I made this photograph. I was still there at 9 o’clock… with a few others who had gathered to hear its blast. Well, this isn’t a cap gun, the shockwave was dramatic even though I was standing 50 feet away. There were some tourists and teenagers who were standing right next to the wire cage that houses the gun, and one passerby tried to get them to plug their ears or step away from the thing as it was almost 9. This sage advice was ignored and when the gun went off there was a lot of screaming and even some tears due to the noise. If you are out there photographing near 9 o’clock and the red flashing lights go off – plug your ears!
On Friday I headed into Vancouver to photograph the Cherry Blossoms blooming this Spring. One of my first stops was Queen Elizabeth Park. I was there just over a month ago when there was still some snow on the ground and the only plants that were showing themselves were a few Snowdrops. Now, however, the gardens are coming to life with many bulbs in bloom and some trees such as Magnolia and Cherry in full bloom. This is a Magnolia Tree just to the north of the Blodel Conservatory. I made this photo from underneath because I liked the contrast of the flowers and the blue sky, and the path was very busy with tourists flooding the park from the parking lot.
Queen Elizabeth Park is a busy place, but I didn’t expect there to be four tour buses in the parking lot. There were a lot of tourists in the park, which made wide angle shots of some of the Cherry and Magnolia trees impossible. When there are 5-10 tourists climbing the Cherry tree it is hard to get a shot without people in it. I can only imagine what this park is like in the Summer! Next time I go back I will try a time lapse of all the people – that might be interesting.
From Queen Elizabeth Park I headed to Stanley Park to photograph downtown Vancouver during “Blue Hour”. I will be posting some of those images really soon. Stay tuned!
Sometimes there can be a lot of benefit in going through your photo archives. With the passage of time comes the benefit of new technology, processing techniques, and changes in your photographic vision that can increase the appeal of older, overlooked images. I have been finding a lot of images in my archive lately that I have been adding to my website. Some due to simply missing them the first time and some because I know how to process them in a much stronger way now. When I learn new processing techniques in Photoshop I am often reminded of older images that could benefit from my new knowledge. This can become a lot of work!
This is Wells Peak in Silver Lake Provincial Park near Hope, British Columbia, Canada. I have posted a similar image before but I also like this horizontal perspective, even if less of the reflection is revealed.
Late last year I published a post on this blog called “Creating Drama with Shutter Speed“. While at the Capilano River in North Vancouver, British Columbia I had made a few photographs of a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). By utilizing different shutter speeds I found that (in this case) a shutter speed of 0.6 seconds brought a lot of drama to the scene by blurring the river in the background.
This photo is another photo I made that day of the same Heron, again with a slower than normal shutter speed ( 1/6th of a second in this case). While I think my favourite of the day is the slow shutter speed Heron photo from that other post, this one comes in a close second for me.
Way back in 2007 I purchased my first DSLR – a Canon 30D. I only had the 50mm Canon lens with it (f/1.4) and was forcing myself to use that lens to its full potential before I bought something else. This meant a lot of “zooming with my feet” and compositions that were slightly constrained. Though this was largely due to budget concerns, I do think this helped me choose my next lenses wisely. I always waited at least 6 months between lenses to make sure I knew what I “needed” next. I have not regretted any of my lens choices so far.
I made this photograph in 2007 with the 30D and it remains one of my better photos of Mount Cheam. This location is on Seabird Island just outside of Aggasiz, British Columbia, Canada. I have returned to this location many times, but still cannot seem to find a time where that slough is full of water. A big muddy expanse just isn’t as photogenic!