The last direct sunset light reflects off of Hope Mountain at Silver Lake Provincial Park in Hope, British Columbia, Canada.
Sunset on Hope Mountain from Silver Lake (Purchase)
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Silver Lake Provincial Park is one of my favourite provincial parks in British Columbia. Whenever I drive through Hope, BC I usually stop here even if I don’t plan to photograph anything. A few weeks ago I was checking out some other locations near Hope and ended the day at Silver Lake. I have photographed Silver Lake quite often, so much so that “new” takes on the subjects there are somewhat hard to come by.
The first idea I had for something different was to explore the view looking west towards the lake from Silver Skagit Road. From that perspective, Mount Stoneman and Silver Peak both make a nice backdrop to the lake. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of logging between the borders of Silver Lake Provincial Park and Mount Stoneman, and that angle is no longer all that photogenic. The view towards Silver Peak is clear of logging, but the light conditions I had at the time were not conducive to photography. This was still useful information though, I know what conditions I’ll want before I drive up that side of the lake again. So that option for “new” photography exhausted I headed toward the day use area parking lot at Silver Lake, but hoped to hike down a new trail to get a new angle on things.
The photograph above shows the view of Hope Mountain from the south end of Silver Lake. There were near perfect reflections on the lake (as usual) but I opted for this composition as I wanted to show some of the foliage around the shoreline. Many of the trees at this end of the lake are Red Alder (Alnus rubra) but these foreground horsetails are more interesting. There are many patches of these Swamp (aka Water) Horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) in Silver Lake – especially near the boat launch and the south end of the lake. While most of my previous photographs have been made between the day use area and the boat launch, this area is about 500 meters (1640 feet) south of there along the lakeside trail. The trail continues off into the bush from there, but I was running out of light and had no idea where the trail ended up so I will have to explore that another day.
The second photograph here shows the usual reflections you can see at Silver Lake. This time it isn’t Hope Mountain I’ve chosen, but the forest at the northern end of the lake and a large boulder on the shoreline. I photographed this from the Silver Skagit Road near the outflow of Silverhope creek from Silver Lake. You can see some more of that Swamp Horsetail at the right of the boulder.
Approximately 10km up the Silver Skagit road from Hope, British Columbia you’ll find the entrance to Silver Lake Provincial Park. The park contains a boat launch and a 25 spot campground, but as I live within an hour away in Langley I have mainly visited here on the way back from the Thompson Okanagan or as a day trip. The photograph above was made on an evening where I was lucky to have a near perfect reflection and some great fall foliage colors. Fall color is somewhat hit and miss in the Fraser Valley, but in 2013 there were some pretty great colors in the foliage of the Vine and Bigleaf Maples. Silver Lake is a great fall destination at all times of the year, but my favourite time here is in the fall. After turning up Silver Skagit road you will see several great views of Silverhope Creek, as well as Eureka Falls just before the turnoff to the park.
Hope Mountain reflected in Silver Lake after a storm at Silver Lake Provincial Park near Hope, British Columbia, Canada
Hope Mountain/Wells Peak Reflecting in Silver Lake
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I posted an earlier version of this photograph almost 4 years ago. Since then my perspective and skills with post processing (and making photographs) has changed quite a bit. With most of my older images I look at them and see potential that alternate processing may release. In the case of this one, my reaction was more along the lines of “what was I thinking!?”. So I’ve reprocessed this photograph of Hope Mountain/Wells Peak reflected in the waters of Silver Lake and I think it is a much improved representation of this scene than my original processing.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Another photograph I made this Fall at Silver Lake Provincial Park in the Skagit Valley near Hope, British Columbia. I was fortunate on both of my trips here last Fall to have a near perfect reflection on the lake – I only wish I’d had even more hours of light to work with all the possibilities!
I always find it difficult to narrow down a years worth of photographs into one list of the “best”. It is a good exercise, however, to really sit down and go through your work and determine what images best fit your current vision for your photography. I did this back in 2010 and 2011 as a part of Jim Goldstein’s project and I am please to enter my images again for this years version.
In late September I went to Silver Lake Provincial Park in the Skagit Valley near Hope, British Columbia. The Fall colours had just started to appear. A few weeks later, however, they were almost in full swing. The above panorama was made about 3 weeks after my previous shot – how quickly things change! Again I was very lucky to have a near perfect reflection on Silver Lake – I’ve been there a few times when there were almost waves due to the wind. The majority of the Fall colours here are provided by Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum) and Vine Maples (Acer circinatum).
Last week I shared a reflection of some early Fall colours at Silver Lake Provincial Park in the Skagit Valley near Hope, British Columbia, Canada. I drove out to Silver Lake last Thursday hoping for a calm surface for a great reflection – and I was not disappointed. This is Hope Mountain and Wells Peak reflected in the calm waters of Silver Lake in the late evening. The tougher part of photographing this scene is that the mountains are so close to the lake. I often need to shoot with my widest lens (Canon 10-22) @ 10mm most of the time to get both the top of the mountain and the entire reflection in the frame. This caused a number of problems. One being a bit less possible variety in compositions that have the complete reflection, and some issues with stitching a few panorama attempts that I had made. After I had walked through the park a bit more, I was able to find this spot along the shore I had earlier not been able to get to due to higher water levels in the Spring. This gave me a bit more vertical room to show a little more sky and reflection than when I was closer to the mountains.
I don’t know if I have mentioned this on my photoblog before, but I host a photography theme called “Mountain Monday” on Google+. If you are a photographer that is not on Google Plus yet, I wrote a blog post outlining why I think it is a great place for photographers. This week marks the 1 Year Anniversary of Mountain Monday! I made my first #MountainMonday post on September 26th of 2011 with this photo of Silver Lake. It seemed appropriate that I share a new photo of Silver Lake for this week!
I have put together some of my favourite images made in the last year into this 11"x17" (28cm x 43cm) nature calendar. Included are 12 photographs of landscape and nature scenes from British Columbia and Washington State.
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.