Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! Thank you for all your support in 2013. :D

christmas decorations on this years christmas tree

Christmas Tree Decorations

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My Top 10 Photos of 2013

   Choosing a top 10 list of photos at the end of every year never seems to be easy for me. It might be better categorized as a list of favourites as my choices do not always remain the same over time. I’ve made many photos this year I am proud of, and I think illustrate improvements over my photography from previous years (always a good thing). The exercise of choosing a list of only 10 photos is difficult, but I think it is a task that is well worthwhile – and I always enjoy being a part of Jim Goldstein’s annual Your Best Photos project. I have to ask myself what I like about my images, what I don’t, and which is a stronger representation of certain categories or locations I photographed during the year. Choosing images for my yearly Calendar is the start of this task, but at the very least I still have to weed out two images from that pile.

   So in no specific order: My top 10 Photographs of 2013!

eureka falls and silverhope creek in the skagit valley
Eureka Falls and Silverhope Creek in the Skagit Valley

(Hope, British Columbia)

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Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival (2013)

A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) roosting in a tree at Chehalis Flats during the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival in British Columbia, Canada

bald eagle roosting in a tree at chehalis flats during the fraser valley bald eagle festival in british columbia, canada

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) on the Chehalis Flats

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   Last weekend I headed out to the Harrison and Chehalis Flats area to photograph Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) with Seattle area photographer Steve Cole during the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival.

   The cold temperatures had frozen a lot of the shallow waters along the Chehalis Flats area. While the flowing water in some of the channels still had some spawning salmon, much of the water was frozen. I suspect many of the dead salmon that would normally be eagle food were frozen into the ice, and as a consequence there were not nearly as many eagles as usual along the roadside where I often photograph. One eagle did sit on the ice eating a salmon head for a few minutes before flying away. The adult pictured above perched in this tree and remained fairly still so I was able to make some photographs. Not the opportunities that we found last year but still my second most successful trip out there.

Frozen Eureka Falls

A frozen Eureka Falls “flows” into Silverhope Creek near Hope, British Columbia, Canada

frozen eureka falls and silverhope creek near hope british columbia canada

Eureka Falls frozen in a recent cold snap

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   I visit Eureka Falls several times a year on my way to Silver Lake Provincial Park near Hope, British Columbia. This was the first time I had been there in winter, however, and the place looked much different than I am used to. Normally I visit Eureka Falls in early spring when the water levels are higher and of course the foliage is green. The ice on the waterfall was quite thick, but you could still see water flowing underneath the ice. The lower water levels on Silverhope creek at this time of year also allowed me to try some new angles and get closer to the water than I normally am able. Now that I have some more appropriate cold weather clothing I have many locations I want to photograph this winter now that hypothermia is less of an issue! Now all we need is to get some actual snow…

North Vancouver Lights and Mountains

The City of North Vancouver below the Coast Mountains in the early evening from Stanley Park in British Columbia, Canada

north vancouver below north shore mountains in

The City of North Vancouver

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   While I am usually looking at downtown Vancouver when I photograph in this part of Stanley Park, I always point my camera towards North Vancouver as well. On this evening in April there was still some snow on the North Shore Mountains, which made for a great backdrop to North Vancouver’s lights in the early evening.

   You can view more photographs of Cities and Buildings in my Image Library.

Star Magnolia Fall Foliage

Star Magnolia tree fall leaf colour at Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

fall foliage on magnolia tree in queen elizabeth park vancouver british columbia

Star Magnolia Fall Leaf Colours

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   I have photographed this Star Magnolia tree before – in spring when it was in full bloom. When I was in Queen Elizabeth Park earlier this fall I noticed I was standing in almost the same spot, and the tree had some nice fall foliage. I managed to make a photograph reminiscent of the first spring photo. I may try this again during winter when there are no leaves, or perhaps if I am lucky when there is snow on the branches, though that is probably rare in Vancouver.

   This is one of the photographs in my 2014 Nature Calendar

Mount Webb from Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

Fresh snow on Mount Webb in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

mount webb black and white chilliwack lake british columbia

Fresh snow on Mount Webb at Chilliwack Lake in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

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   I mostly make my photographs in colour. I think that is just the way I am better able to see most landscape scenes. I am trying to see a bit better in black and white, and recognize which scenes and light may be appropriate for that type of conversion. Sometimes colour just isn’t the best option. During my trip to Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park back in October, I made this photograph of Mount Webb with black and white conversion in mind. The sun, if it showed up, was going to set behind this mountain, and from this angle I was not going to see any sort of nice alpenglow or sunset light anyway. I was early for any potential sunset display, so I photographed this mountain when I arrived as the light I had at that point was appropriate for my intentions.

   The reason I decided this scene would be better in black and white was due to the light at the time, and the textures on the mountain. I still tried to process it in colour, but the results were not satisfying. I like the textures in this photograph from the rocks and the fresh snow, and even the small glacier at the bottom of the rock face that I had never noticed before on previous trips to Chilliwack Lake. The textures just didn’t show themselves in colour as well as they did with black and white.

You can view other photos from the same day in my image library: Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park.

Petroglyphs in Port Alberni

Petroglyphs carved in a rock face on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

stanley park rose garden cottage

Petroglyphs in Port Alberni

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   These petroglyphs were the first I’d ever seen on Vancouver Island during my trip this spring. Not much is known about these apparently, though as whole they are called “K’ak’awin” by the Hupacasath First Nations people. Not always clear what sort of creatures some of these were depicting, but they were very interesting to look at.

   I photographed one other petroglyph in Port Alberni – this one looks a bit like a sea turtle to me.