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.

mountain goat below table mountain in the mount baker wilderness

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.

sunset in washingtons north cascades mountains with mount shuksan

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.

Horseshoe Bay on a Fall Day

   Good weather and sunny days can be hard to find on occasion in Southwest British Columbia during the fall so last week I headed to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. I had never before visited Horseshoe Bay except to board a ferry to Vancouver Island, so a sunny day seemed like a good opportunity. My initial plan was to stop at Lighthouse Park, Whytecliff Park and then Horseshoe Bay and enjoy the waterfront view along Marine Drive. However, a fog bank hung just offshore which made it clear visiting Lighthouse Park would be an exercise in disorientation. I was happy to find that Horseshoe Bay had no fog, with just a small amount visible off in the distance in Howe Sound.

shoreline at horseshoe bay british columbia

Horseshoe Bay Waterfront (Purchase)

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   After parking at Horseshoe Bay Park I walked down to the beach and onto the Horseshoe Bay Public Dock. From there I photographed the panorama above showing some of the shoreline in the park as well as the Lookout Coffee Shop (Blue building) at Sewell’s Marina. I had heard of Sewell’s Marina before, if only because it was into these boats and docks that the Queen of Oak Bay had “hard landed” back in 2005. The video of that incident is interesting, and nobody was injured. It does appear many of the boats at the marina were not that lucky.

   The BC Ferries vessel pictured below is the MV Coastal Renaissance – one of the newer Coastal Class ferries making the run from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay (Nanaimo) or from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay (Victoria). I photographed the MV Coastal Renaissance on this occasion as it approached the ferry terminal to dock. I didn’t consult the ferry schedule before my trip but was lucky to photograph both the MV Coastal Renaissance (arriving) and the older Queen of Surrey (departing) while at Horseshoe Bay.

bc ferry coastal renaissance coming in to dock at horseshoe bay

BC Ferries’ Coastal Renaissance docks at Horseshoe Bay (Purchase)

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   I had the impression that there was more to Horseshoe Bay than what I found, but it was a very nice spot to stop and photograph. If I were the sort eat lunch at a restaurant after hiking nearby this would be a good spot to do it. I tend to have a thermos of soup or a sandwich in the cooler instead though. The most (maybe only) interesting building along the shore is the Lookout Coffee Shop. The rest of the buildings there are rather generic – the great scenery here is the winning feature, not the architecture.

sewells marina and lookout coffee shop horseshoe bay

Sewell’s Marina and the Lookout Coffee Shop at Horseshoe Bay (Purchase)

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   This is the Horseshoe Bay Public Dock which offers a good view of most of the sights in Horseshoe Bay. From here you can look at the ferries, the boats in the marina, and north towards Howe Sound and the mountain ranges further up the Sea to Sky highway.

horseshoe bay public dock at horseshoe bay

The Horseshoe Bay Public Dock at Horseshoe Bay (Purchase)

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

Salmon Fishing on the Fraser River

Two salmon fisherman in an aluminum boat in the Fraser River at Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada

two salmon fishermen in a boat on the fraser river in british columbia

Salmon Fishing on the Fraser River (Purchase)

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   Salmon season sees fishing boats of all sizes in the Fraser River of British Columbia. I photographed these two fishermen in a small aluminum boat one evening on the Fraser River from Brae Island Regional Park.

For more photographs from the Fort Langley area visit my Fraser Valley Gallery.

Corn Lily (Veratrum viride) and Water Drops

Corn Lily or False Hellebore (Veratrum viride) covered in water drops in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

sunset at blackie spit showing boundary bay and the coast range mountains

Corn Lily Covered in Rain Drops (Purchase)

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   Corn Lilies aka False Hellebore (Veratrum viride) are one of those plants that seem to collect raindrops on their leaves quite readily. I found this rather young Corn Lily plant at Paradise Valley in Mount Rainier National Park in the spring of 2009 which was well covered in water drops. Many photographers enjoy working with the Corn Lily as it also has some great patterns and textures to work with. I have also found Corn Lily plants at Mount Seymour here in British Columbia, but due to a dry summer I had to blow the dust off that one in order to photograph it!

For more photographs from Paradise Valley visit my Mount Rainier National Park Gallery.

Blackie Spit Sunset in Crescent Beach

Late evening light from the nature trails at Blackie Spit in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

sunset at blackie spit showing boundary bay and the coast range mountains

Sunset at Crescent Beach’s Blackie Spit (Purchase)

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   Earlier this year I spent a fair bit of time exploring Crescent Beach and photographing the various views to be found there – many of them from Blackie Spit. The majority of these photographs included urban views such as Burnaby and the Northshore Mountains but the area does have a lot more natural scenes as well. I thought I would post this photograph made from Blackie Spit but this time with more of the natural view. There is an old dock or bridge in this scene but I liked that this composition had the lush grasses (or sedges, perhaps) in the foreground along with the mountains in the background. Some warm sunlight at the end of the day helped too.

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

Golden Ears Mountains and the Fraser River

The Golden Ears mountains as photographed from Brae Island Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.

golden ears mountains and the log booms on the fraser river in langley bc

Golden Ears Mountains and the Fraser River

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   Last week I visited Brae Island Regional Park near Fort Langley, BC. I have found with previous trips to this park that timing can be important. My first visit there was mostly noteworthy for the vast quantities of mosquitoes I encountered which allowed me to break a personal record for bites in one evening (50). I guess late May is not a good time to visit. I was able to photograph at the various viewpoints of the Fraser River on my trip there one year ago without any mosquito action so I headed there again this year at about the same time – early September. I didn’t get to see a great sunset, but I did like this scene that I photographed from a viewpoint just east of Tavistock Point. The panorama above shows the Golden Ears mountains (Mount Blandshard) and Mount Robbie Reid (right) which are a familiar sight from the Fraser Valley (especially Langley and Maple Ridge). The Golden Ears are formed by McPhaden Peak, Edge Peak and Blandshard Peak. The majority of the trees on the other side of the Fraser River are in Kanaka Creek Regional Park (in Maple Ridge).

   Despite the general lack of mosquitoes this trip was not free animal intervention. My walk to Tavistock point took about 25 minutes from the parking lot. The way back took me about 35 minutes, and it had little to do with the darkness. I had a flashlight out, but despite that there were so many frogs out on the trail that I had to go pretty slowly to avoid stepping on them. A recent windstorm and the dry summer also left a lot of dry, crumpled cottonwood and alder leaves on the trail, which were hard to distinguish from the frogs against the crushed gravel. I stopped counting at around 35 frogs but I don’t think I stepped on any, luckily.

Visit my Fraser Valley Gallery for more photographs from the Fraser Valley.

Pyramid Peak in North Cascades National Park

Storm clouds over Pyramid Peak in North Cascades National Park, Washington State, USA.

storm clouds rolling over pyramid peak in north cascades national park

Pyramid Peak in the North Cascades (Buy Print/License)

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   I made this photograph of Pyramid Peak in the North Cascade Mountains just before the storm clouds rolled over top towards my vantage point on the Diablo Lake Overlook. As is common in the mountains, I had anticipated a mostly clear day but nature had other plans. I find the color version of this photograph appealing, but I do think the black and white one above has better impact. What do you think? Do you prefer color or black and white version for this photograph?

Visit my North Cascades National Park Gallery for more photographs from this area of Washington State.