English Bay view of the Northshore Mountains and the fishing charter boat Edgewater Fortune
English Bay view of the Northshore Mountains and the Edgewater Fortune
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Last week presented a relatively rare late winter opportunity – fresh snow on the local mountains combined with a relatively clear sky. I have had a number of Vancouver related snowy images in mind for several years, but weather and other factors conspired against me getting all the way to Vancouver. This year has been a good year for the skiers, but that doesn’t mean the snow is sitting in the trees easily seen from sea level. Last week, however, we had a bit of fresh snow and good weather so I went straight to Vancouver.
One of the places I photographed last week was the Kitsilano Beach Park area just to the southwest of downtown Vancouver. I had not visited Kits Beach in many years, but this did show a great angle on the downtown buildings with the Northshore Mountains in the background. This photograph shows Crown, Goat, and Grouse Mountains (and some fresh snow) high above Stanley Park, the Lions Gate Bridge, and the fishing charter M.V. Edgewater Fortune anchored in English Bay. This is just a small portion of a much wider 20+ frame panorama that I will likely post later on. I liked how this one end of the photograph showed just the boat, the park, and the mountains – without much evidence of the big city right next to it.
The M.V. Edgewater Fortune has a bit of an interesting history. Originally it was the HMCS Fortune (MCB 151) – a Minesweeper in the Royal Canadian Navy before it was decommissioned in 1964. It then spent some time with Greenpeace as the Greenpeace Two, and was later renamed the M.V. Edgewater Fortune and is currently utilized as a charter fishing yacht along coastal British Columbia.
A male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) sitting on a garden post. Photographed in late winter in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada.
Male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
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Almost a month ago I wrote about trying to photograph a male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) in my backyard. I had noticed him sitting at the top of many of my trees singing during most afternoons first song on this page. As of today he is still up there singing away, perhaps he is having some trouble getting noticed in the Hummingbird dating scene, I’m not sure. A week or so after I posted my Black-capped Chickadee photo as a sort of hummingbird consolation prize, I was able to photograph this male in the vegetable garden.
It is rare that I am able to spot wildlife in my backyard and still have time to get in the house and grab the camera, but this Anna’s Hummingbird is pretty predictable in the order of trees he chooses to sing his love ballads from. He is also probably used to me staring up at him by now. I first photographed him at the top of the Hazelnut where he sat for a long time. I actually found making a photo of him reasonably difficult as the magnitude of light reflection from his purple gorget (the neck/throat/head feathers) was so high it would throw off my exposure. The bottom photo here shows a happy medium between the full purple/red brightness of his gorget feathers and the rather subdued reddish/brown shown in the first image.
Male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) in Hazelnut Tree
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After singing at the top of the Hazelnut for a while this male headed further back into the property and sat on a Mountain Ash tree, but only for a second. He immediately took flight again and almost got right on my face. Perhaps this was a territory thing or he was just curious, I’m not sure. Either way I was glad to see him land on a metal post very near me, and posted for just 3 photos before taking off to another frequently utilized perch in a Walnut tree. The first photograph here is that image, though I’ve cheated somewhat and cropped it to nearly 100%. You can see the uncropped version here. While I would love to get a hummingbird in flight photo seeing them perched has been pretty rare for me so I am happy to have good results. You can see a cropped version of this second photograph here. Note the very small hazelnut flowers at the end of those buds – this was the first time I had noticed them.
For more bird photographs please visit my Bird Photos Gallery.
Last month I mentioned I have plans to photograph a few new sujects and posted a photograph of Blueberries in a bowl shot in a lightbox I made out materials I had on hand. One of the limitation I found in photographing new things in new ways was that I didn’t own a “real” flash. The built in flash on the Canon 7D is a bit lacking. So I did some research and I purchased a Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash earlier this month.
It has been a long time since I’ve purchased a new piece of equipment. I’ve stuck with the gear I slowly accumulated between 2007 and 2011 for the most part. The important part is using the equipment, not talking about it, debating gear choices online, or otherwise obsessing over it. Perhaps that will be a post all its own soon. I knew nothing about flashes, so I had to do a bit of research before I settled on this one. That was the easy part, learning to use it will be a bit more interesting.
Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash – Back
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I made these photos in that same lightbox. I spent a few days learning about a few settings, how to trigger the Speedlight with my 7d’s on camera flash, and a number of other things new to me. Having done this, it was a bit frustrating to try to make a photograph of this flash unit without being able to actually use it for the photo!
Among many other park features, I enjoy the architecture/design of the historic buildings in Stanley Park. These include the Vancouver Rowing Club, Rose Garden Cottage and the Stanley Park Dining Pavilion shown above. The Stanley Park Pavilion was built in 1911 and features the Lord Stanley Ballroom, the Rose Garden Tea Room, and Stanley’s Bar and Grill. The Stanley Park Ecology Society also has it’s offices in the Pavilion.
This is a Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) I photographed in the backyard the other day. Recently I have figured out that one bird call I’ve been hearing outside is not the usual songs from Chickadees, Juncos and other common local birds, but of a male Annas Hummingbird. I have seen it every day for the last while, and now that I’ve learned the pattern of trees it seems to use, I am trying to photograph it. Naturally it is nowhere to be found when I have my camera out, but is almost in my face when I’m out with the dog (and no camera). While trying to find it and a Golden-crowned Kinglet I’ve been seeing a lot of lately, I couldn’t resist photographing the Black-capped Chickadees and Juncos anyway. This particular Chickadee seemed even more curious than they usually are, and wasn’t afraid of sitting near me in the rose bushes. I actually had to back up at one point to make this photo as it was within the minimum focusing distance of my lens (70-200). Hoping to have the same “problem” with that Hummingbird soon. If I do I’ll be sure to post it here.
Panorama of Coal Harbour from Stanley Park seawall along the western end of Coal Harbour in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Panorama of Vancouver and Coal Harbour from Stanley Park (Purchase)
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During my last trip to Vancouver’s Stanley Park in October I photographed a few places I had been before from new perspectives. After having visited the Air Force Garden of Remembrance for the second time I headed to the west end of Coal Harbour. I have photographed some of the buildings of Vancouver’s West End before, but most often from further into Stanley Park near the Totem poles or the 9’oclock Gun. The first panorama here shows a very wide view of what you can see of Vancouver from the end of Coal Harbour. On the left you can see the boat houses of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (and the cranes of Port Vancouver behind them), Canada Place and the Trade and Convention Center, the buildings of downtown Vancouver, and finally Devonian Harbour Park and the apartment and condo towers in the West End.
Sailboats moored at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and Vancouver Rowing Club (Purchase)
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The second photograph shows one of the views in Stanley Park from the seawall looking towards downtown Vancouver. These boats are moored at the Vancouver Rowing Club – a building familiar to most as it sits at the entrance of Stanley Park next to Georgia Street.
Finally we have the photograph below looking towards the West End condo towers from the seawall next to the Vancouver Rowing Club.
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)
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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)
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.