Jack Point Sunset in Nanaimo

A sunset over the Coast Mountain Range and Nanaimo Harbour from Biggs Park/Jack Point/Duke Point in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

sunset at jack point in biggs park nanaimo

Sunset at Jack Point in Nanaimo, BC

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    A sunset photograph from my trip to Vancouver Island last spring. This was made on my first trip to Jack Point/Biggs Park near Nanaimo, BC. An “interesting” place to walk out of in the dark, but well worth the results I had on both evenings in the area.

Mount Rainier Sunrise

Early morning light on Mount Rainier and a wildflower meadow above Upper Tipsoo Lake – in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State, USA

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Mount Rainier and a meadow of wildflowers above Tipsoo Lake

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   Showing up early in the morning at Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park I was not surprised to see a number of photographers lining select parts of Upper Tipsoo Lake. Unfortunately, “the shot” people seem to want from there is off the trail, which is the second reason I probably will never have “the shot” from that location. On this morning, however, all the photographers were grumpy and lamented to me about the wind that was destroying any chance they had of getting a reflection. I pointed out to a few of them that climbing the hill might yield something interesting (this was the reason I was there). Nobody followed me. I am not necessarily against “trophy hunting” photography, of course I photograph some iconic locations as well. I do think those photographers would have been well served to climb the hill behind the lake to see what other perspectives might be available – especially after conditions were not favourable to their initial plans. The photograph above has a few elements I enjoy – nice light on the mountain and wildflowers in the foreground. I have already published one photograph of the same Mount Rainier sunrise from my climb of the hill. Neither of these would have been a photographic opportunity I would have had if I’d retreated to my car after failing to find the “the shot” I saw online.

More photographs of Mount Rainer National Park can be found in my Image Library.

The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in Lynn Canyon Park, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

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   The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge at Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver is always best photographed on gloomy days. There are fewer reflections off of the trees and the metal floor of the bridge. Each time I visit this bridge I am reminded how much more satisfying the experience here is compared to the more famous, larger, Capilano Suspension Bridge. The bridge in Lynn Canyon is not only free, it offers a much more scenic and natural location and without any of the “tourist trap” feel of the Capilano Bridge. On my trip here last fall I did some hiking and also photographed Twin Falls which is just downstream. If you visit I highly recommend you head down the stairs, stairs and more stairs to the falls, though I be aware it is probably full of fence hopping swimmers in the summer months.

Narada Falls at Mount Rainier NP

The base of Narada Falls at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State, USA

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Narada Falls in Mount Rainier National Park

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   During the summer of 2012 I was in Mount Rainier National Park on a photography trip. As with many days at Mount Rainier – the clouds rolled in and you couldn’t see the mountain – not even the Tatoosh Range. On my first trip there in 2009 I remember explaining to some German tourists (who were excited to see Mount Rainier) while standing in the Paradise parking lot that actually the mountain IS right there… you just can’t see it. I suggested some of the waterfalls but they weren’t interested – they must not have been photographers! So with similar conditions presented in 2012 I photographed Narada Falls instead. There are only so many points where you can see the falls, so doing all that much creative with wider angles is not easy. For this photograph I pulled out the 70-200mm lens to find some details I liked. I have a number of photographs of some other details of Narada Falls but I think my favourite is this photo of the water hitting the rocks at the base..

   I also chose this photograph to again play around with some black and white conversions. This was my favourite iteration of Narada Falls in black and white from my experimentation. Does this monochrome version work for you?

Vancouver’s Downtown Buildings

Vancouver’s Canada Place and the Trade and Convention Center building in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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Downtown Vancouver – Canada Place and the Trade and Convention Center

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   Last fall I was again in Vancouver and made this and a few other photographs of downtown Vancouver from Stanley Park. This panorama features the “Sails” of Canada Place, Harbour Center, the Vancouver Trade and Convention Center and other downtown buildings. I think my “Blue Hour” photographs of Vancouver are still my favourites, but these conditions are a close second.

You can see more photos in my image library gallery: Cities and Buildings.

Spring Day At Pipers Lagoon

A grove of Garry Oaks (Quercus garryana) and Woolly sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum) growing along the shore of Pipers Lagoon Park in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.

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Pipers Lagoon near Nanaimo, BC

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   Pipers Lagoon Park is a great park to visit if you are near Nanaimo, British Collumbia. While not very large, Pipers Lagoon packs a lot of interesting plants, trees, and wildlife into a small area. When I was there in June of 2013 I saw a wide variety of marine birds, large numbers of shore crabs, wildflowers, and even some Garry Oak groves. You can see some Garry Oaks on the left hand side of the photograph above, and some Woolly sunflower plants growing in the foreground. Not an easy location to photograph wildflowers though, being right on the water there is always a bit of wind.

You can view more photographs from Vancouver Island in my Vancouver Island Gallery.

Locked Behind A Gate At Silver Lake

   In early December 2013 British Columbia had a cold snap. This isn’t unusual in winter, but came a bit earlier and slightly more severe than usual. On the day I headed to Silver Lake Provincial Park with Steve Cole the temperatures in the area were around -12°C (10°F) ignoring the windchill. I hadn’t really considered the possibility of seeing the lake frozen over, but Silver Lake was covered in ice. Unlike a few nights of winter photography I enjoyed a few years ago at Chilliwack Lake – I was properly dressed this time. One tends to learn a lesson after 4 hours in such weather wearing jeans and tennis shoes. Well, hopefully.

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Winter at Silver Lake in Silver Lake Provincial Park

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   At some point during our photography along the edge of Silver Lake some “hunters” stopped on the opposite side and starting shooting into the lake. I presume this was an exercise in shooting the ice trying to break it or determine its thickness. Or perhaps some people just like shooting guns. I didn’t think to much of this until I started throwing rocks onto the ice (after we were finished photographing) to see how far they would go. I guess I revert to being 5 when around a frozen lake, as it doesn’t happen often. Rocks on frozen lakes can travel quite far apparently, which made me think about whether a bullet could skip/slide across a lake. We decided to walk aback through the woods rather than along the lake shore for this reason. I had no desire to catch a bullet from idiots trying to kill some frozen water.

   When we got back to Steve’s truck I was momentarily alarmed as I didn’t spot it right away – and there was a truck driving away down the road. Turns out his truck was there, but I didn’t like the momentary thought that we could be stuck this far from anywhere without a vehicle. There was one car and another truck parked outside the main park gate when we left.

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Frozen shoreline plants at Silver Lake Provincial Park

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   Driving down the short road to the junction with Silver Skagit Road took just a few minutes. It was not a nice feeling to discover that the gate at the Silver Skagit Road and park road junction was LOCKED! We got out, and sure enough – there was a nice padlock sticking up freshly applied to the chain and metal post. This was not a calming moment. The options seemed to be freezing in the truck all night or walking the roughly 9km (5.5 miles) for the one way trip back to Hope, BC. Neither sounded like any fun in dropping temperatures (it made it down to -15°C/5°F that night). I was sufficiently pissed off that I contemplated acts of vandalism, but we drove back to the two other vehicles to see if those people had any appropriate tools to extricate us from the situation. The other truck and car were already on their way out of the park. The lady we talked to expressed some panic over the situation, had no tools, but also indicated she had just talked to someone about gates. She pointed out that she and the other man had talked to the people in the truck we saw driving away. They had discussed the gate, but nobody had indicated to her that they were about to lock it, or that it would be locked in the future. These two were locals from Hope, BC and regularly visited the park on weekends – and had never seen the gate locked before. In my own trips to the park in the fall after closing I had never seen that gate locked either. There are also no signs indicating that gate is ever locked, could be locked, or is locked during certain times or seasons.

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Silverhope Creek flows past a frozen Eureka Falls

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   At this point Steve and I indicated to the man and woman that we would go back to a makeshift campsite we had seen along Sowerby Creek where I had seen various rocks and the remains of a post with a cement base. I wouldn’t dream of vandalizing property in most other circumstances. However, when someone locks 3 vehicles in an area that far from town, with temperatures that cold – ON PURPOSE I will certainly consider it. When we drove back towards the gate we passed the woman who was still there but the gate was OPEN! She didn’t know what had happened, but my presumption was the guy had busted through the gate somehow – probably using his old truck. All of this certainly has made me think of what tools and supplies I have in my own car when I go on such excursions!

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Ice patterns along the shore of a frozen Silver Lake

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   In the following days I was sufficiently ticked off by this incident that I contacted BC Parks asking who was in charge of this gate. The BC Parks website for Silver Lake Provincial Park indicates the following:

The Silver Lake Provincial Park campground is now closed for the season and will reopen May 2014. Those wishing to enjoy the lake may still do so by walking the 1 km in from the main gate.

As the gate that was locked is beyond 1km and is closer to 2km from the lake, I had assumed that the main, locked, park gate was the gate in question above, and I still believe that. BC Parks contacted me, expressed concern about this incident but also told me they are not in charge of the gate that was locked. The BC Parks area supervisor indicated to me that the gate was under the control of a logging company (Tamihi) and that their supervisor had told him he would talk to me about the incident. A few weeks of calling and a few voicemails later I’ve gathered the impression that this willingness to discuss the issue has waned, as I was never able to have that conversation. It is possible the truck driving away that had discussed the gate with our fellow prisoners did not contain those who locked it, but it does seem pretty coincidental. Perhaps the brave ice hunters we heard shooting across the lake locked it, but that seems unlikely.

Skutz Falls on the Cowichan River

Skutz Falls along the Cowichan River at Cowichan River Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada

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The Cowichan River’s Skutz Falls in Cowichan River Provincial Park

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   A panorama photograph of Skutz Falls I made last spring during a visit to Cowichan River Provincial Park. Judging from other photographs I have seen it would appear this day had rather high water levels in the Cowichan River. I suspect a return trip some fall when there is nice autumn colours will be in order. I suspect the water levels will be about right at that time of year.

You can view more photographs from Vancouver Island in my Vancouver Island Gallery.