Back in 2013 I photographed this scene after hiking to the top of the stairs to view Bear Creek Falls. From this viewpoint one sees great views of Lake Okanagan, downtown, and the hills to the south of the city (the Thompson Plateau and Myra Bellevue Park). The fire damage to the hillsides above Kelowna here are from the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire of 2003. The firestorm that started in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park spread to inhabited areas of Kelowna covered 250 square kilometers (61 776 acres) and destroyed 239 homes.
To get to this location park at the parking lot on the west side of Westside Road in Bear Creek Provincial Park. From there it is a simple walk up the Loop and Canyon Rim Trail (with its many stairs) to the Bear Creek Falls view points. From there (if I recall) one of the trails heads towards the lake and this view.
For more photographs from Kelowna and other areas of the Thompson Okanagan visit the Thompson Okanagan Gallery in my Image Library.
One of the many small areas in Vancouver’s Stanley Park that has been on my list to photograph is the Air Force Garden of Remembrance. This is a small area, located just west of the Stanley Park Dining Pavilion and contains a bench, a small garden, a waterfall and a pond. The garden was created in 1948 to commemorate the Air Force personnel who died in World War II. I had previously photographed this in the fall fo 2013, but came back hoping for some nicer leaf colours and a few more of the flowers still around – and I picked the right time this year. The pond’s waterfall was dry, however – likely due to our historic dry summer months in 2015.
Wishing Well at the Air Force Garden of Remembrance (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
I haven’t tried the starburst/sunburst trick before. It can be a bit of a gimmick in my opinion – you’ll see some photo galleries with the majority of shots with a sunburst in them. Here the sun was right in the way, and I either embraced it in my composition or tried to block it with tree trunks or foliage. Setting the aperture to f/16 and f/18 allowed this effect to work in these photographs. I like the results, but I will probably only use this technique when the sun is getting in the way.
The photograph below isn’t from the Air Force Garden of Remembrance, but is actually just above the Stanley Park Rose Garden. I liked the way the Douglas Fir trunks lined up, though this certainly doesn’t show a natural forest setting.
Fall leaves on the ground in the forest at Stanley Park (Purchase)
Having just written a post about great fall colour at Whatcom Falls, here is one trip where colour was a bit more of a challenge to find. Fall is one of my favourite times to photograph but finding good fall colour in the Fraser Valley can be difficult depending on the year. In the fall of 2015 colour was hard to find, as it was when these photographs were made – back in 2011. However, as I’ve probably said here before in terms of fall colours (and wildflowers) you often just need one to make a scene work. These photographs show just one Vine Maple (Acer circinatum along Silverhope Creek in Hope, BC. This is one of several good spots for photography along Silverhope Creek on the way to Silver Lake Provincial Park.
Whatcom Falls park in Bellingham is one of the few US based places I remember going to as a kid from British Columbia. I remember going down and spending the afternoon fishing and having lunch or dinner on one of the park benches. When I visited it again probably 20 years later I remembered the name, but not the waterfalls or what I was about to find to photograph. I made this image way back in 2009, but it remains one of my favourites of the main falls in Whatcom Falls Park. I occasionally “complain” about the fall foliage colours in this part of the world, but it looks like 2009 was a great year! Most of the fall foliage we get around here are from the Bigleaf Maple trees (Acer macrophyllum), or sometimes from the smaller Vine Maples (Acer circinatum). When they get the right conditions they can really give some great colors. The above photograph is the view at Whatcom Falls park of the main waterfall from the Limestone Bridge that crosses Whatcom Creek. Most of the fall foliage colours in this first photograph are from Bigleaf Maple trees.
This second photograph is the view looking downstream on the other side of that same Limestone Bridge. There are a few larger Bigleaf Maple leaves in this photo but most of the colour here comes from the smaller leaved Vine Maples.
Freshly picked Fraser Valley Highbush Blueberries in a bowl.
Experimenting with my lightbox – a bowl of blueberries (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
In early 2015 I decided to try something new photographically, which is probably a good idea to do from time to time. Occasionally I want to photograph something that isn’t a landscape, nature or macro subject. I’d seen many tutorials on how to construct your own lightbox on the internet, so last spring I built one. Then I didn’t use it for a few months as I made excuses about not having the right equipment (I didn’t) or subjects (I did). When I was picking blueberries at the end of last summer I decided I would try to get a “product” shot of these fresh blueberries in a bowl. Typically my blueberry related photography has been more along the lines of blueberries still on the bush. Next it was a matter of finding a relatively photogenic bowl which was harder than I’d first anticipated.
After a number of exposures only using my Canon 7D’s built in flash and two desk lamps shining in the sides of the lightbox, I fully realized that this was a whole new kind of photography thing altogether. I’ve never tried to artificially light subjects, and not owning a dedicated flash seems to be a bit of a drawback in that regard. However, trying something new shouldn’t always be easy, and so there were many ugly exposures before this one came to life. So, thinking this was my best effort so far, I put it up on the blog here which drew my attention to how “white” the background of the image is (or isn’t, in this case). That is my point here though – I’m trying something new and that is not something that usually starts with success right away. I am hoping I will soon regard this image as a failure, even though right now it is the best of its type that I have – because that would mean progress has been made.
I believe I will soon be buying a flash for this kind of photography and a few other uses I have in mind. Once I spend some actual cash and not just time putting together a cardboard and poster paper lightbox the real “pressure” will be on!
Fall Maple leaves (Acer Macrophyllum) on the slopes of Sasquatch Peak in Sasquatch Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada.
Fall foliage on Sasquatch Peak at Deer Lake (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
This year was not a great one for fall leaf colors in the Fraser Valley, probably in part due to the 4 month drought we had this summer. I am used to not having area-wide color and having to hunt a little for it though. Much like wildflowers, sometimes you only need one good spot to make a good photograph. One of the areas I checked for fall foliage this year was Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park. Just a short drive up the side of Harrison Lake near Harrison Hot Springs, Sasquatch Provincial Park is a nice recreation spot with 3 lakes, campgrounds, and hiking trails.
In the spring of 2013 I photographed a nice reflection at Deer Lake and noted it might be a good place to come back for fall foliage. The first photograph here is the result – though it did come with some problems. I had set up to somewhat recreate the photo linked above but a man showed up and was about to wade out into my reflection area to fish. I pointed out I would like to make two quick photos and I’d be finished. He doesn’t say anything but proceeds to wade into the water right in front of me and began fly fishing. After briefly wondering how my tripod would work as a cudgel I decided to simply photograph over his head and forgo the reflection shot for this year. I like the results – the top photograph here and its alternates in my library have a nice mix of green conifers, fall maple leaf colors, and various snags and other light colored tree trunks. About 10 minutes after making these photos I heard him yelling and swearing. I looked around the corner and I guess his casting had gone awry and he had hooked himself in the back. I still do not feel bad about this.
I briefly chatted with the older man and woman in the above photo as they were fishing for Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) off the end of the dock at Deer Lake. As with many other lakes in BC, Deer Lake is stocked with fish by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. For some of the reflection photographs I made at Deer Lake I had to wait until the ripples from rising fish dissipated – so it would appear this lake has a decent fish population. The fall foliage in the background of this photo is growing on the slopes of Sasquatch Peak, which is taller than the nearby Mount Hicks.
I included the above photograph in my 2016 Nature Calendar and the Top 10 Photographs of 2015 blog post. I think this might have been the best fall foliage scene I found this year, and the lack of wind (or fish ripples) at the time made for a very nice reflection. I may try to visit Sasquatch Provincial Park in the winter and see what scenes I can find when the trees have no leaves at all.
Boardwalk over a marsh on the Deer Lake Trail (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
This is the Deer Lake Trail between the parking lot and “The Point” – just below the Bench Campground. I liked the colours around the boardwalk here, and the light colored trunks of the Red Alder (Alnus rubra).
I consider these lists more of a top 10 favourite photographs of that year than the “best”. Which of my photographs are “the best” is probably better left for others to decide. Once again, I am making this post so I can be a part of Jim Goldstein’s annual Your Best Photos project. Look for his post early in the new year with all the entries from a wide variety of photographers. His project is always a great place to find new photographers and their work.
I hope you enjoy the following photographs and I am curious if you have a favourite. Clicking on each photograph takes you to my Image Archive but below you’ll also find links to corresponding blog posts if they exist. While these are in no specific order that first panorama of Bagley Lakes might be my favourite overall. Here are my top 10 photos of 2015:
Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) at the Weaver Creek Spawning Channel in British Columbia, Canada
Male Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) jumping in the Weaver Creek (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
One of the best places to see spawning salmon near the Metro Vancouver area is the Weaver Creek Spawning Channel in the Fraser Valley. Weaver Creek runs through the District of Kent from Weaver Lake through to the Harrison River. In the fall Fisheries and Oceans Canada opens the channel area to the public to view the spawning salmon. I first came here as a kid, but have returned a number of times in the past few years to photograph the salmon.
Male Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) swimming upstream (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
Without an underwater housing and other special equipment most of the photographs one will be able to create will be looking at the salmon in the water, or jumping out of it. Photographing fish under water, from above, just leads to distorted salmon photos that don’t really work most of the time. After a few years of failed attempts at salmon photography I worked within these limitations and imagined a photograph with the salmon backs out of the water, with a glow from sunset or some other sort of reflection on the water. I did manage to create that salmon photograph eventually but it remains a bit more abstract than the images on this page.
Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) on an aeration plate (Purchase)
-click to enlarge-
Throughout the channel there are “aeration plates” that add oxygen to the water but also likely prevent erosion of the small rises in elevation between the sections of the channel. The first image in this post shows a male Sockeye leaping into the air to get over one of the higher jumps to get into the channel. The aeration plates in the upper part of the channel are considerably lower. One of those is shown in the image above. Sometimes the salmon don’t quite have enough momentum or strength in order to get over the plates. This one came close, was swept back into the lower level but made it on the second attempt.
Salmon spawning in the Weaver Creek Spawning Channel (Purchase)
I have put together some of my favourite images made in the last year into this 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.
Use code JANSAVE15 for 15% OFF at checkout through Jan 25.
I am a landscape and nature photographer based in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Most of my subjects are in Southwestern British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest's Washington State. My photography is available for licensing as stock, fine art prints, and giclée canvas wraps.